It’s been a busy year for Bob the Drag Queen.
Ever since the 30-year-old comedian took home the crown on the season 8 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race, he’s been on a race of his own — traveling across the world (purse first, of course) for appearances, producing his own hour-long standup special (Suspiciously Large Woman, premiering at Outfest Los Angeles in July), and filming roles in movies (including the Scarlett Johansson-led Rough Night, out now, and the new comedy Cherry Pop, alongside Drag Race alums Latrice Royale, Detox and Tempest DuJour).
But one thing you won’t find Bob doing this is giving advice to the top four queens left coming for his crown on Drag Race season 9.
“You have to just experience the vibe on your own,” Bob told PEOPLE ahead of Cherry Pop‘s premiere this week at New York City’s SVA Theater, which kicked off NewFest and NYC Pride. “I didn’t really have expectations. I didn’t have anything to compare this too. I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh this will be like this.’ Because there is nothing like being the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I was just open to whatever happened.”
“Everyone gets a different thing from it,” he adds. “I don’t have advice. I just hope they get whatever it is they want from it and enjoy the ride.”
That doesn’t mean there’s still not lessons one can learn from Bob’s long career in drag, especially when it comes to traveling. “If you can avoid traveling alone, do that,” he urges. “And get nice luggage.”
It’s that sort of quick wit that won Bob (né Caldwell Tidicue) the hearts of fans (and RuPaul) during his season of Drag Race.
Snatching the top title was a dream come true for the Big Apple-based queen. Among the many things that changed post-win? The types of crowds that would come to see him.
“Before I was performing of fans of drag, and now I’m performing from fans of Drag Race — which are two different things,” he says. “I was always working with New York City crowds which is pretty hard to be honest. Like, you really need to be on top of your game. Where as fans of Drag Race? If you go out there and say something you said on TV, they go crazy. Before Drag Race it was much more, you go on stage and nobody knows who you are and you have to work hard to impress them.”
“Ultimately, I’ve adjusted to the fact that my shows are shorter now,” Bob continues. “I used to do an hour and a half of a show by myself. And nowadays it’s more of me making an appearance on stage and saying what I want to say. So I’ve learned to pair down what I want to say and be more concise.”
Despite his appearance on the show, where he was exposed to the inner workings of reality TV, Bob remains a fierce and loyal Drag Race superfan — a title he owned when he first entered the competition.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race is still my favorite show on TV ever,” he says. “I still watch it every week, enthusiastically.”
He has strong opinions about who he wants to see win the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar — though he admits choosing between Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Shea Couleé and Trinity Taylor isn’t easy.
“My favorite drag queen on the show is Peppermint. I love her so much, she’s so remarkable. She’s always been one of my favorite queens, even before she was on RuPaul’s Drag Race,” he says. “But I like to look at the show objectively. And Shea Couleé has done a really, really, really good job. And she deserves it. She has won more challenges than anyone. She’s amazing. They’re all amazing — but she’s my pick.”
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The one thing Bob won’t be doing is criticizing RuPaul, who has often come under criticism from former queens who says the Emmy-winning host and executive producer isn’t active in the queens lives after the show.
“RuPaul is not super involved in my career, but also RuPaul doesn’t owe me that,” Bob admits. “Girls who were upset by that — I don’t understand why you think RuPaul owes you a phone call and a platform and look what you have today? Like, what more do you want? Someone gave you an opportunity where you are actually being exposed to millions of people. You have traveled the world, you have made more money than you ever would have made on your own, and you’re still not f—ing happy? What more do you want?”
The RuPaul’s Drag Race finale airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET on VHI, and Cherry Pop premieres in L.A. and San Francisco in July before hitting VOD this fall.