Drag Superstar Trevor Ashley Is Set To Take On Queen Of The Universe

The drag superstar is ready to conquer the globe in the second season of the live singing competition where queens from across the world battle it out for the title of Queen of the Universe.

This season, 10 drag queens from nine countries will go head-to-head and wig-to-wig in the epic singing competition and Australia's very own Trevor Ashley is ready to conquer them all.

Ahead of the series premiering on June 3 on Paramount+, Trevor told 10 Play that after watching the first season he had tons of friends tell him he should compete in the show.

"It's weird when you've had a 20-year career, to then go back and do a singing competition, I've never done that! I've never done reality TV, so it was a struggle in my head to get around whether I wanted to do the show or not," Trevor explained.

"In the end, after COVID and my mother had passed away and all these things had happened I just thought, gosh, I just want to be out there in the world... to be able to work across the world, and this is the only way you can get to do that!

"It was such an incredible experience, I'm so happy I did it."

As RuPaul's Drag Race takes over the world, with franchises in over 15 countries, starring in the reality series has become the pinnacle for many in the drag community -- but for Trevor, Queen of the Universe was much more appealing as it focused on his talents as a live performer.

"I don't lip-sync, I never really have, so that idea of lip-syncing for my life... what's the point?" he said, laughing. "This show, you really get showcased properly, and it's a really positive show and -- with the production values they put behind you, the dancers and sets and vision and everything -- it's quite extraordinary. It really is expensive and huge."

Season two features an all-star panel of judges including RuPaul's Drag Race stars Trixie Mattel and Michelle Visage alongside Vanesa Williams and Spice Girl Mel B.

Shot in London, the series brings together talented live performers from across the world, featuring queens from Mexico, Israel, the Netherlands, Brazil, the United States, Italy, the UK, the Philippines, and Trevor representing Australia.

"In the lead-up to going to London to shoot I was getting up and doing 3 am Zoom calls, singing for two hours," Trevor said, "I had to hire a studio because I couldn't do it at home," he added, laughing.

"I'd be running off to a studio and singing in the middle of the night because everyone had to do it on whichever timezone schedule, it was tough! The lead-up was really hard."

Arriving in the UK, Trevor met the queens for the first time, as the 10 of them were simultaneously competing against one another, and bonding over the very surreal experience of the show at the same time.

"It would be rare if you went onto a season of Drag Race -- because they're country based -- that you didn't know anybody at all. This was big because there are nine different countries represented, and even the two American girls didn't know each other, so all of us met for the first time."

Without knowing much about the other queens, the first episodes of the series were all about sussing out the competition.

"In the Queen Room we'd be talking about what songs we were about to perform... some of the girls kept their cards very close to their chests," Trevor said, adding with a laugh, "I'm hopeless.  I have the biggest mouth in the world so I just talk and I didn't care!"

Trevor is also one of the more experienced queens, with a career of over 20 years behind him performing across musical theatre, cabaret, and TV, creating the role of Miss Understanding in the original cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

Unlike some of the other queens this season, Trevor doesn't have a drag name -- something he gave up after he began to perform more onstage.

"Back in the olden days I was Cleopatra Coupe," he said laughing, "I worked under that for five years but when I got into Priscilla I decided it was getting too complicated to be 'Trevor Ashley is Cleopatra Coupe is playing Miss Understanding'. The middleman needed to be cut out."

Renowned for his ability to impersonate some of the great divas like Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Shirley Bassey and Cher, Trevor also found ditching the drag name easier when doing celebrity impersonations.

"It just became Trevor Ashley is Liza or Shirley. It worked better for me," he said, adding that for Queen of the Universe, it was all about singing as himself.

"I've done so much drag where I'm impersonating somebody... the idea that I could just be me, Trevor Ashely, on the show... that was a really special thing for me."

Having performed on stages across the world and in front of audiences of all sizes, Trevor said he was most at home when performing his numbers, but to cope with the reality TV aspect of it all, he had a very particular way of coping.

"I pretended I was playing a contestant on a reality TV show so I didn't go crazy... it's weird and I know it sounds so stupid but it's the way I coped with the pressures of the show and being interesting!

"I was nervous going over but, as I said, the show is so positive and really constructive. Even standing in front of Michelle Visage for the first time, you're a bit terrified, but it was amazing to see how supportive all the judges were and how supportive all the other girls were of each other."

Queen Of The Universe Season 2 starts streaming exclusively on Paramount + from Saturday, June 3.