This month marks the 20th anniversary of an icy showdown for the ages – the Olympic face-off between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding after Harding’s then-husband hired a goon to take out Kerrigan’s knee in the weeks before the Lillehammer Games. Kerrigan quickly recovered and snapped up a silver medal, and Harding was knocked off the podium by a broken shoelace (or karma… depends who you ask). Flash to the present: As ladies’ singles figure skating competition kicks off at the Sochi Games, Logo TV is launching a cross-platform mini-series called “Ice Queens” to commemorate the “Whack Heard ‘Round the World” and to celebrate figure skating for all its high drama.
Chock full of former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants, Ice Queens includes season 4’s Willam Belli as Harding, Morgan McMichaels as Kerrigan, Delta Work as an FBI agent, Yara Sofia as Oksana Baiul, Colby Melvin as Harding’s scheming hubby Jeff Gillooly, Christopher Adames as literal hit man Shane Stant, and Vivienne Pinay as a reporter. Below, check out the promo and Belli’s exclusive behind-the-scenes dish about this “awesome little Zamboni ride that everybody’s all tucked in for.”
Seeing as Belli was infamously disqualified from Drag Race, he winkingly says he saw Harding as someone who “seemed very wrongly vilified, so I identified with that greatly.” Looks-wise, he “went for a more stylized look” than Harding’s signature poufy bangs and down-to-business ponytail – but it was more for form than function because that style “looked like Mr. Potato Head meets Jay Leno” on his head, claims Belli.
Preparation for the role was a mix of melodrama and Method: “I just thought, ‘Who is this Tonya girl? What are her motivations?’ I watched the Long Island Lolita [Lifetime movie] and mixed it a little with Miss Piggy from Muppet Babies – very early ’90s.” And when Belli arrived at the Van Nuys skating rink where Ice Queens was set to film, Belli discovered that his props were the final push into character: “They gave me a rigged-ass skate. The laces were actually broken,” he laughs. “I’m like, ‘I see what you’re trying to do here.’”
Belli thinks the loving lampoon will appeal to a wider, if camp-loving, audience in the same way it took hold with him. “I liked that it’s kind of about the underdogs,” he says. “Nancy’s an underdog, too – she didn’t even win. That Oksana [Baiul] b—- swept in.” But, when in doubt, he’ll always bring it back to that hideously fabulous of-the-era style. “I think the drama was so heightened because it was the ’90s with all that crushed velvet and rhinestones. It’s heightened to such a grand level that only drag queens could play it,” he laughs. “Drama is always better with rhinestones and 4 way stretch velvet.”
Back-to-back episodes of Ice Queens premiere tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Logo TV and continue through Sunday. All 10 episodes will also be available on LogoTV.com, the LogoTV app, and Logo’s social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine).