RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, SEASON NINE

[ 0 ] March 14, 2017 |

QUEEN’S ON PARADE

AND WE HAVE ‘EM ALL!

~ by joel martens ~

“We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” That’s the indelible trademark quote from the creator and reigning queen of Logo’s remarkable RuPaul’s Drag Race. Indeed, the drag phenome has been working her magic on America’s consciousness since she came to the forefront in the early ‘90s with his first album and its title track, “Supermodel of the World.” I so remember those early days, do you?

Born RuPaul Andre Charles on November 17, 1960, here in SoCal’s sunny San Diego, the master/mistress of illusion, actor, dancer, mentor and now sage, was destined to change the world. As his mother once said, “His name is RuPaul Andre Charles and he’s gonna be a star! Cause ain’t another mother f**ker alive with a name like that!”

He and the 100-plus Drag Race stars who have graced the show, have indelibly challenged the roles we play in our society, shaking to the core what we define as male and female. As he once said in an early interview with The Rage Monthly, “For people to understand and accept what we are doing…They themselves would have to accept that they are doing a form of drag as well. Even if they have an inkling of what we’re actually doing, the de-constructing of what we understand as male and female and ‘realness’ in our culture—even if they have a sense that it is absolutely right on the money—most people don’t possess the courage to question it in their own lives. That’s why our show is so compelling. It’s because of these kids, our contestants, who against all odds, take that major leap out of what they know. It’s a courageous step in a lifetime and that’s why they are so compelling to watch.”

Quoting from RuPaul’s book, Workin’ It! Rupaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style, more sage advice, “You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important. The real you, is the energy force that created the entire universe!”

I don’t think I could add another thing to explain the phenomenon that is RuPaul and the unending fascination we all have with RuPaul’s Drag Race. Season 9 is here and the only way to explain the artistry of drag and who the queens are in this joyous, mad and delightful romp? To offer insights from behind the makeup, answered directly from the show’s delightful doyennes.

So here you are folks, all 12 of them, in their own words, answering questions for The Rage Monthly. (You know, I really am quite tired…)

AJA

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up? My biggest influence growing up was my mom, definitely. She’s such a leader and strong powerful person, but at the same time sweet and cute. My mom doesn’t take crap from anyone, but at the same time, she would take the shirt off her back to give to even the worst of her enemies.

First time you put on a dress? The first time I put on a dress I was at my cousin’s house. It was the smallest white dress I’ve ever seen in my life. She handed me this little bob wig that we used to call “The Becky.” Becky soon became my in-house persona and we would record videos of me prank calling people, dressed up in that little white dress. Where were the adults we needed?!

How about the first time you did drag professionally?
I think the real moment where everything kind of took off was when I was participating in local competitions and started winning them! That eventually led to me having the opportunity to host my own weekly events.

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. I’ve never had a drag mom. Not even YouTube could teach me! A lot of my drag was trial and error, that led to me looking crazy at times and then good others… The miracle of drag!

Favorite song to lip synch to? My favorite song to perform is “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne.

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment? I have “I fucked it up” moments all the time! But, the best goes to this time I was doing a dance number and this guy came to tip me and I accidentally kicked his drink out of his hand!

What or who inspires you? I love periodic fashion: ‘60s, ‘70s, etc. I also love European grunge, fashion like Vivienne Westwood and other more modern designers. I love anime and video games as well and I’m a big fan of pretty colors!

What does drag mean to you, really? Drag for me is an escape! When I’m in drag, I can take a break from being serious Jay. Aja doesn’t take herself too seriously at all and that allows me to have so much fun. Drag for me is also an outlet to be able to speak up on very political subjects, such as gender issues!

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? A lot of people, don’t think drag artist’s can make a living off drag. Even some drag artists don’t think they can do it. Truth is, if you’re invested enough, anything is possible! Like most things in life, a career requires many sacrifices, but they’re all minimal and worth it.

What do you hope people get from your performances? I hope when people watch my performances they have fun and remember that having fun is one of the best therapies in life. I hope I can bring joy to other people’s hearts by doing something I love!

Alexis Michelle

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up? Definitely the ladies of the great movie musicals: Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett. I saw Victor/Victoria starring Julie Andrews on Broadway when I was a kid and we were in the last row of the balcony. She was already everything to me as a child because of The Sound of Music. I was holding binoculars so I could see better, but when she made her first entrance, I was so excited I couldn’t stop trembling. I could barely see her!

The first time you put on a dress? Probably three or four, in my mother’s closet.

How about the first time you did it professionally? 14 years ago, in New York City.

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. I never had a mama. It was a very personal road to self-discovery for many years. I have made some incredible sisters along the way and we push each other to do our best.

Clothes/Costumes: Off the rack or homemade? A mix of everything, but truthfully, after having beautiful, custom things and wigs etc., it’s hard to go back.

Favorite song to lip synch to? It’s forever changing, but currently “Natural Woman” is really getting me together.

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment? I had a habit as a kid, of asking women about their babies…When they weren’t pregnant.

What or who inspires you? My grandma and my other drag sisters. There is a lot of energy in the drag world right now and I get so inspired by what I see all around me.

What does drag mean to you, really? It’s all about letting your inner fantasies out. In a word: expression.

Tell us the story of when you found out you’d made it in RPDR? I was nearly painted for a show and couldn’t have this big emotional moment, so I had to put it on the shelf and go do a show. Later that night I was on my couch, still painted, naked and scrolling through Instagram and came across a pic of a whole bunch of Ru girls and this wave of joy hit me. I gasped and said, “My sisters!”

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? That we’re all bottoms.

What do you hope people get from your performances? I always want to entertain, whether it’s with high energy or just high stakes. I want you to have had a good time. And, maybe even thought about some things.

Charlie Hides

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up?  Once upon a time, a young man had court ordered electroshock therapy and promptly forgot his childhood. Then, the man who lived in the van under the bridge down by the river. Free Candy!

The first time you put on a dress?  I was an altar boy, so we wore frocks every Sunday.

How about the first time you did it professionally?  March 17, 1989. I hosted a St. Patrick’s Day Party at Club Cafe in Boston and screened my first short film. When the owner handed me a pile of cash from the door at the end of the night, I thought “Time to quit the day job!”

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience.  Mother Theresa was my drag mum. “Tess” and I used to go club hopping in Calcutta and knew all the places where you could pick up truckers.

Favorite song to lip synch to?  I always sing live, but I have been known to lip-sync to the chorus of my new single, “Don’t Call Us” (check out my YouTube video for the lyrics).

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment?  That time I got caught burning down the orphanage I was raised in. Ooops!

What or who inspires you?  Art, music, nature, pop culture, the lint in my navel…Inspiration is all around us.

What does drag mean to you, really?  Drag is an act of protest, a political statement, as well as an increasingly relevant form of creative self-expression.

Tell us the story of when you found out you’d made it in RPDR?  I’d just flown into London from Boston and was jet lagged and half asleep when I got the call. I wasn’t sure what they were talking about for the first couple of minutes, so I had to ask them to repeat themselves. When It hit me, I screamed, danced around the house and woke the neighbors. I’ve been on a high ever since.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists?  That we are all university graduates with an advanced degree in Astrophysics. I’m hoping to debunk that myth.

What do you hope people get from your performances?  Entertained. My job is to engage them for as long as I’m asking for their attention. If they temporarily forget their cares and worries and their spirits are lifted, then I’ve done my job. And if I can get a free drink and bus fare home, I’m happy.

Eureka O’Hara

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up?  My granny and my mom. When I was bullied growing up, they taught me to laugh it off and be as positive as possible. It really helped me live a better childhood. I love them so much!

First time you put on a dress?  I was 13 and convinced my mom to let me dress up like a girl at our mall’s Halloween event. I twirled through that mall and got my whole life…Just big as hell!!

How about the first time you did it professionally? I made my mom and whole family come to my first Friday booking. I made a costume from sheets and did “Money Honey” by Lady Gaga and my wig fell off and the dress fell apart. But, my mom wasn’t the only one screaming at the top of her lungs for me, the audience did too!

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience.  My drag mother is the amazing Jacqueline St. James, a former Miss Gay USofA at large. She is an open trans woman and my rock. She believed in me when no one would and when I cried, she held me. I can’t explain how much my drag mother is my hero! I advise everyone to get a mentor, be they a drag mother, father, sister, or friend. Without guidance, I would have never made it this far!

Favorite song to lip synch to? “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J…Really, anything by Jessie J!

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment?  On my way to a booking, I was driving through mountains and my car was overheating. I pulled over and look under the hood and noticed a cap was steaming, so my dumb ass tried to twist the cap off and radiator fluid flew up my arm and side, giving me third degree burns! I had to drive another 10 miles—with my car overheating and my arm out the window—until I came to a Walgreens. I almost gave this elderly woman who worked there a heart attack, as I came in screaming and crying for burn relief spray!

What or who inspires you? Everyone that survives this life. I am inspired by the emotion of people. People give me the strength to overcome my difficulties, because I see them do it daily.

What does drag mean to you, really? I wanted to be a dancer growing up and with drag I’m not ridiculed because of my size, I am celebrated. Dancing and wowing my audiences is my drug.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? They are not cross-dressers. We do not dress up just to have sex with people! It is too hard to get out of drag and my big ass is too musty after a show to have sex in full drag!

What do you hope people get from your performances? I just want to make people happy and entertain them. If I can inspire along the way, then “Hell yes!” I want people to stop being ashamed of who they are, their size and shape and all!

Farrah Moan

The first time you put on a dress? When I was two years old, I wore a red silk dress around the house, all the time. I still have it, actually hanging in my closet… It’s tiny and “Oh, so adorable.”

How about the first time you did it professionally? The first time I was paid for a drag performance was probably when I was about 19-years-old. It wasn’t much at all, but was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. Living in Texas I never had a drag mom… But, when I moved to Vegas, so many of the seasoned queens there, have been so nurturing and kind to me.

Clothes/Costumes: Off the rack or homemade? I love a good mix of both. I’ll make and rhinestone all sorts of stuff, but, I also love collaborating with a designer on things.

Favorite song to lip synch to? Hmmm… This one’s a hard one. I love doing this cover of “Ignition” and I love anything by Christina Aguilera.

What or who inspires you? I’m inspired by beautiful, powerful, women! Then specifically, to be honest, I just wanna look like Christina Aguilera all the time.

What does drag mean to you, really? Drag means the world to me. I love every kind of drag: Scary drag, bearded drag, fishy drag, pageant drag, gender duck drag, clubkid drag, comedic drag, bio drag. I think it’s such a special and beautiful way to express yourself, whoever you are and to bring inspiration and happiness to people!

Tell us the story of when you found out you’d made it in RPDROh man, I was so depressed. I was in a really bad living situation… I wasn’t happy. When I got the call, I almost fainted. It’s so crazy, I didn’t think they’d pick me at all. I just knew in my heart for some reason, I had to send my audition tape in and see what happened. It was a very surreal moment, I told them “one second” and I muted the line and screamed so loud. It starts off being super-exciting then you’re like “Woah. Oh my god, I have so much work to do.”

What do you hope people get from your performances? I hope people question their sexuality and feel thoroughly entertained!

Jaymes Mansfield

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up? Pee-Wee Herman and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark: Openly weird and unapologetically awesome.

First time you put on a dress? At four I would put T-shirts on my head as my “hair” and another around my body for a “dress.” My mother never knew why the necklines of my t-shirts were always so stretched out.

How about the first time you did it professionally? I was booked to do a charity show at the Milwaukee LGBT Center. I made a puppet with a matching outfit and performed the song “Global Warming” by Vermillion Lies.

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. I’m a drag foster child and I had two drag mothers, the legendary Milwaukee pageant queen Rudi D’Angelo and the legendary West Hollywood trash queen the amazing Ruby Claire. Neither taught me performance, or how to shape my look, but rather offered encouragement and guidance.

Favorite song to lip synch to? My absolute favorite song to lip sync to is “The Homecoming Queens Got A Gun” by Julie Brown. I’m a huge Dr. Demento fan and ‘80s comedy records hold a dear place in my heart.

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment? One time when I was lip syncing to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” my wig fell off. Luckily, it happened during the part of the song where I had a sample of Mariah’s live, vocal fail on Good Morning America, so the audience thought it was part of the act.

What or who inspires you? Outsiders that somehow make it “in.” Eccentric people that don’t fit in, but create a style and make themselves hip. People like John Waters, Pee-wee Herman and Sandra Bernhard.

What does drag mean to you, really? Drag is my obsession. It’s art and drag is deeper than people give it credit for. It’s been around for centuries and it will continue on, after I’m lost to the sands of time. From Shakespeare’s casting of men as women, to drag queens casting bricks in the Stonewall Riots, drag is powerful.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? I’d say the common misconception about drag, is that people are so quick to box things in. They try and standardize it and it can’t be. There’s no limits to what drag can be or who can do it.

What do you hope people get from your performances? I hope my audience leaves whatever I do, feeling happy. Be it a live show or a web video, if I can make somebody laugh my job is done.

Kimora Blac

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up? My mom. She was a single parent raising my brother and I and instilled in me the importance of independence, hard work and self-belief. She always made sure we believed that life is what you make it. I actually didn’t have to “come out,” she just always told me as long as I was proud of who I was, she would always love and support me.

The first time you put on a dress? It wasn’t really a dress but when I was young (about 12) I had a bathrobe that I loved and would wear around the house. I loved pretending it was a fabulous sundress I would wear on Rodeo Drive, just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

How about the first time you did it professionally? About eight years ago, I was living in San Francisco and hosting at a club called The Crib. I was actually introducing Lady Gaga as the guest entertainer that evening—this was obviously way before she was discovered—now having her on the show this season brings it all full circle for me!

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. No, I didn’t. But if I had a drag mother, she would have to be a mix of Kim Kardashian, Anna Wintour and Raja from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Favorite song to lip synch to? “Sex Shooter” by Apollonia 6.

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment? One night in Vegas, I was wearing a new pair of Christian Louboutin’s and was so excited to wear them, that I performed in them and wore them that whole night. I tend to make fun of girls visiting Vegas who take their shoes off after a long, crazy night and are barefoot on the strip or in a hotel lobby. That night, I was that girl! Needless to say, I never wanted to see those pumps again!

What or who inspires you? Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Karl Lagerfeld, Olivier Rousteing, Alessandra Ambrosio and of course Posh herself… Victoria Beckham.

What does drag mean to you, really? To me it is a perfect fantasy life where I can live out all my fetishes and have no regrets about it! I’m able to do the things that “Von” is scared to do. I created Kimora to show my sexy vixen side so that I can show the world what sex kittens looks like!

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? For me, people think that I want to be a woman. Because my transformation is so drastic, it’s almost as if I am a different person. People sometimes think drag has rules, but honestly, the best thing about drag? You can create your own rules on fashion, makeup, in performance and acting.

Nina Bo’nina Brown

Who or what was the biggest influence for you growing up? I didn’t have too many influences growing up , but I was always into art and things that were different. But my parents also influenced me a lot.

The first time you put on a dress? My first time was at a church when I threw on a dress to try to be the “First Lady of the church.”

How about the first time you did it professionally? I believe it was for a local talent show at a bar.

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. I never had a drag mother and always did things on my own. But, I did look up to RuPaul.

Clothes/Costumes: Off the rack or homemade? Costumes are whatever I can find and would rather buy from like Party City or Walmart than make. I get whatever that I can make look good.

Favorite song to lip synch to? I honestly don’t have a favorite song as of yet to lip sync to.

What or who inspires you? I can find inspiration in a lot of things. I inspire myself, or it can be a game, a movie, family, God, RuPaul when it comes to drag, or even Naomi Campbell.

What does drag mean to you, really? Drag means many different things. Just being true to yourself, trying to be different and not a carbon copy of everyone else, and pushing boundaries but still keeping that feminine aesthetic.

Tell us the story of when you found out you’d made it in RPDR? I was at home and got a phone call. For me it was kinda bittersweet and was like, “finally!” But I was so happy, and I still am.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? The most common miss-perception of drag is that we’re straight, macho men [said with sarcasm]!

What do you hope people get from your performances? I hope people just get a sense of who I am, and hopefully feel inspired and have a good time.

Peppermint

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up?  My biggest influences were Mom, Janet Jackson and Grandma. They were all such classy ladies, I wanted to be them. Now I am!

First time you put on a dress? Upon my request, my Grandma put me in her dresses and dressed me up as Boy George all the time. I guess it was safe drag because it had the name “boy” in it. My first Solo drag appearance was as Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka. I stuffed my Mom’s denim jumper with pillows and made a wig with orange yarn. Painted my face blue and rolled around on the floor like a stuffed blueberry. It was so freeing!

How about the first time you did it professionally? Even that was questionable looking back, but we all have those right? I was 18, working at the Limelight and Tunnel Nightclub…For those that don’t know it, watch Party Monster. I used to pay to get in, but eventually, I sweet talked my way to earning $50 weekly to show up and do a song.

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. I didn’t, actually. I think I came up in the era of Club Kids so drag moms were reserved for the ballroom scene mostly. Which I didn’t end up getting into, but, I really wish I had.

Favorite song to lip synch to?  Anything Janet or Kina…When I lip-sync.

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment?  There was a new girl in town who would appear in several shows, I never took the time to slow down and read her complicated name, so it was months before I announced her name correctly. I was butchering her name publicly, but no one corrected me. I felt absolutely horrible and I apologized.

What or who inspires you? I’m inspired by connecting with my people over social issues. So, although my material is not usually political, I want to be sure my performance is serving the right purpose.

What does drag mean to you, really?  Drag is my income, it’s my career, it’s my sense of family, my outlet to speak out and affect change, it’s my ice breaker on dates and it’s my ticket around the world. It’s also the reason you will never see me in person before noon. Ever. Not once.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists?  That it’s easy and we are all rich.

What do you hope people get from your performances?  A bit of happiness…That’s all.

Sasha Velour

Who or what was the biggest influence for you growing up? Anything I could get my hands on! I was naturally drawn to drama and glamor. I remember scouring my parents’ bookshelves for anything with pictures of fashion and obsessing over a book about the Romanov Dynasty!

The first time you put on a dress? My very first dress was a Wicked Witch of the West Halloween costume. Yes, my beautiful parents let me trick-or-treat in drag when I was only four-years-old and I loved it! I felt so natural in those flowy witch robes that I didn’t want to take it off! The best part was performing the melting scene and watching the dress pool around me on the floor as I sank down. Apparently, I’ve always liked the death scenes the best.

How about the first time you did it professionally? I went to the only gay club in my hometown of Urbana, Illinois, while visiting home from college. I put on a bra and panties, a Marilyn wig, and some leopard pumps from Payless. I didn’t have any money, and it took me a long time to learn how to make drag magic from nothing…So I didn’t look very special that night. But I gave them SHOWS nonetheless….

Favorite song to lip synch to? Anything by Shirley Bassey…I live for her intensity and those glorious vowels!

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment? First time I tried to tell a joke on the microphone. The punchline was “The patriarchy,” I don’t even remember the rest of the joke…But the response was crickets. It was hilarious to me though!

What or who inspires you? I love keeping up with weird fashion and researching drag history… But most of my inspiration comes from women and queer folks that I know from my own life, who teach me to be kind and creative and strong.

What does drag mean to you, really? Drag is an art form that combines performance of all kinds with fashion design, writing, producing and even community activism! It is fun and light-hearted, but also contains such radical new ideas of beauty and gender and really poignant expressions of self. I also love that drag creates a safe space for queers of all kinds, especially gender-non-conforming people. We need that more than ever!

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? That we are all very similar to each other. The drag community really mirrors the whole world, there are drag performers of every gender, body, age, color, and character! The one thing we all have in common is a love of extravagance and self-expression, but that’s enough to create a really beautiful community!

What do you hope people get from your performances? Fundamentally, I want people to be entertained and transported…I want to use the magic of performance to take them out of the present and into a fantasy of beauty and feeling and story, even for just a few moments. I think that’s what inspires people the most, makes them happier, or even moves them to action and insight!

Shea Couleé

Tell us a favorite childhood story. One of my Mom’s favorite stories is the time that she tried to take me to see Barney when I was four. The employee announces that Barney is coming out soon and all the kids got super-excited, myself included. But when “Barney” came out, I naturally clocked every inch of him before I was gonna give into the illusion and allow myself to believe that this was “the Barney.” This bargain basement Barney had the nerve to not only get a costume that wasn’t the proper shade of purple, he looked like a crown royal bag, but on his feet were these hideous black combat boots. He was serving cadet Barney realness…And I wanted none of it.

The other kids were rushing to get their moment with Barney, but not me. I just sat there eating my hot dog in silence. My mother, who hadn’t even glanced at his feet, asked, “Jaren, why aren’t you going to play with Barney?” To which I quickly replied, “That’s not Barney mom, just look at his shoes.” It was then that my mother knew that I was not to be fooled by poor illusions. I can spot a fake purse, just as easy as I can spot a fake, television Dinosaur.

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up? I have always been fascinated by television, film, music, and entertainment in general. We are all storytellers, and I love seeing how different visions are communicated. Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with Hollywood. Entertainment has been my biggest influence. I love to entertain and bring people joy and even if not joy, I love being given the power to affect another individual’s emotions. I always want you to feel something when you experience my work.

The first time you put on a dress? May 1989. I was three months old, it was my christening. I wore all white and all eyes were on me.

How about the first time you did it professionally? In 2011. The summer after I graduated from Art School.

Favorite song to lip synch to? Beyoncé, “Grown Woman.”

What does drag mean to you, really? Drag is my deepest and most heartfelt worship and exaltation of the black woman. They are the mothers of humankind and yet are one of the most marginalized and oppressed peoples on this earth. Yet, in spite of it all, they still manage to carry on with grace, poise, and humility. They are magic and I would not even exist if it weren’t for them. They are my ultimate inspiration. So for me, drag is my ability to experience some of the magic I witness whenever I am around them.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? That it’s fine to touch us. Don’t touch us…Seriously, don’t touch me… I’m not kidding. So much of what we do hinges on our illusions. I am held together by a hidden set of strings and pulleys. If you disrupt something, it could all fall apart. So don’t touch us. Everyone can relate to spending time getting ready, and then you’re enjoying your night and some drunk asshole messes up your hair, spills on you, or rips a part of your outfit. It can really mess up someone’s vibe. I know I’m harping right now. But this is in hopes that people read this and respect our boundaries more.

What do you hope people get from your performances? Performing is such a vulnerable experience for me, it is where I am my most authentic self. When people see me perform, I want them to see themselves in me…Even if it’s in the smallest of ways. Because that means we connected and that’s a feeling I love. When I’m performing and the vibration in the room is in sync, I can feel God and it’s intoxicating. I hope that when people see me perform, they feel God too.

Trinity Taylor

Who or what were the biggest influences for you growing up?  Fantasy movies and TV shows. My all-time favorite movie as a kid, and even still today, is Labyrinth with David Bowie! I love anything creative, fun, and imaginative! I started drag as a dare when I was 18 and Alabama has no resources to learn drag, so I had to teach myself how to sew, make mixes, and do hair and makeup. Anything I needed for drag I had to do it myself!

The first time you put on a dress? When I was younger my grandmother would let me wear her silk nightgown to bed sometimes. It’s her fault I’m a cross-dresser!

How about the first time you did it professionally? I don’t know if doing a talent show is considered professional, but I did it full out… Wig, full makeup and costume, I was 18. I was a hot mess but it quickly escalated to a life changing hobby and career!

Did you have a drag mother? If so, please describe your experience. Yes, and she is incredible! She doesn’t do drag full-time anymore, but she is best described as: Club kid meets show girl! I’ve never met anyone more innovative, original and creative! She would slay Drag Race!

Favorite song to lip synch to? I don’t have just one because it often changes to anything I can dance to and shimmy my booty with!

Best or funniest “I fucked it up” moment? One time my tape popped on stage in the middle of the song. I’m sure the look on my face was pure shock, as I clenched my thighs and shuffled off stage! I bowed before my hasty exit, Of course.

What or who inspires you? Fashion! Movies! Other queens! I gather inspiration from everything!

What does drag mean to you, really? It’s my career so it means paying the bills! Drag has afforded me travel all over the world. So far, I’ve traveled to 19 countries and all over the USA. Drag has helped me grow into the person I am and it has taught me many business skills. Drag is my creative outlet to bring my imagination to life!

Tell us the story of when you found out you’d made it in RPDR? I was sitting in my living room and had opened up a picture on my phone to show my roommate. As soon as I showed him my phone screen, he says, “Drag Race is calling you” and both of our faces were stunned. My roommate ended up having to signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), because the surprise for others would have been ruined.

Most common misconceptions people have about drag artists? I think a lot of people think all drag queens want to be women. That is not true. There is a large section who are Trans, but just because we dress up in women’s clothes for artistic expression, doesn’t mean we all want to be women. I also think there’s a big stigma for nightclub performers: That we are all shady, promiscuous, do drugs and are alcoholics. This just simply is not true. Drag is just another hobby for some and a career for others.

Sadly, at the time of posting we had not received Valentina’s answers…

Here’s a quote from RPDR’s website: As to her drag name, Valentina said: “It sounded like a character out of a Pedro Almodóvar film. It sounded like a protagonist from a telenovela.  There’s actually a salsa called “Valentina.”

 

Good luck, Ladies!

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