I remember in interviews before the election you said, and I’m paraphrasing, that you’ve seen it before, that this window opens, then it closes and then this progressive movement takes a step back. From what I’ve seen you talk about recently, it sounds like you have more hope though that that door, maybe it’s closed a little bit, but the door is so open now that it can’t be closed. Is that how you feel today?
I do. I do feel that way. You know, I experienced the death of disco, which we never thought would go away, because it’s so brilliant. But what’s giving me the hope is the young people at Drag Con. There’s a movement. And even the guy who’s saying, “You look like a model.” You know? There is a voice, and it’s very loud. Social media is another part of this voice. It doesn’t feel like they can sew it up as they did before when they killed disco.
I know I don’t have you for much longer, but I just wanted to ask two quick questions about the show in terms of Emmys because I thought there were two great moments that I think Emmy voters really need to know your thoughts on. The first one is during season 9, and obviously, it’s the moment when Valentina has her mask on during the lip sync for your life and you ask her to remove it. What was going through your head when she started to do the lip sync with the mask on? Did you think it was a joke?
What I thought was going on was that she had hit the wall. In her audition I was so charmed by her, and I could tell she was smart, she was very talented, and she’s a quick study. But in her challenge, she got lazy with Nina Bo’Nina and they didn’t do the work. Then, when the lip sync happened, I felt she had not done her homework there either, and she hit a wall. What happens with these kids is that, they’re in this situation where they’re sleep deprived, they are away from their families, there are cameras in their face. It’s a really surreal situation. What happens is, you get broken down. It’s like the army, it’s like boot camp. You get broken down. Some people survive that, some people don’t. I think that was her Waterloo. I believe it was definitely her Waterloo. So, I was disappointed in that moment, because I knew that’s what had happened. I knew that she wasn’t in her optimal power position, and that she was done and I was disappointed. That’s what I was thinking. I knew what was happening. I knew she hadn’t rehearsed the song, and I thought, “Shit.” I really did think she was going to go all the way, because she’s smart and very, very talented. But this is where it’s important for our girls to have gone through the club system and the showgirl system. Now she’s in the club system, because she’s out working every night. But before going on the show, this is where being a showgirl would have prepared you for that.
My last questions for you are about “All Stars 2”. A bunch of television critics noticed that one of the most amazing moments in reality television in 2016 was the mirror reveal which, even watching it again, still gags me every time I see it. I had friends who had barely watched the show before it and were gagged. The production obviously planned it, but did it play out even better than you expected?
Well, you’ve got to understand that we are gay. We’ve been doing this show for a long time. We know how to bring the drama. The reason that was able to come to fruition is because we’ve been doing the show for so long and in past shows we’d sit around and think, “Wouldn’t it have been great if that would have happened?” So we said, “Oh, let’s do that here. Let’s do it in All Stars.” So because we’re also fans of the show, the producers, the writers and myself and we are fans of drag and then we’ve been given the gift to be able to do the show long enough, something would have occurred years ago where we thought, “Oh, if we ever got the chance to do the mirror thing we’ll do it … ” So that’s how that happened. Were we surprised? No. Because we were gagged at the idea of it even before it actually happened. You know? Or even the idea of it, when we did All Stars before. We didn’t have the opportunity before. But because of the format of “All Stars” we were able to really pull it off.
On this edition of “All Stars” you gave the queens the power to eliminate each other. Were you even shocked by some of the choices that occurred in that context?
I was surprised. Because we didn’t figure that they would reduce themselves to the point where they wouldn’t make strategic choices. The queens, because they were already famous they edit themselves. They didn’t want the audience to see them as cutthroat or as ruthless. So, they made the politically correct choices. They’d say, “Well, the judges felt that you were this, so I’m going to vote you off, because the judges felt this.” I think it was very rare for someone to say, “You know what? I’m going to cut your ass because you are competition for me, so goodbye. Sashay away.” That wasn’t the case. I think a few times it may have been the case. But I wasn’t prepared for the girls to be so…producing themselves. They were trying to reduce the reaction they got from the viewers.
But in a way, it was so good, because it made for better TV because you knew what they were going to do, and sometimes they were going to do it for the wrong reasons. It actually made for better television.
Yeah, although Alyssa [Edwards] really should have been in the top four. They kept Roxxxy [Andrews] because they didn’t want people to think they had thrown her under the bus.
Ru, thank you so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it.
Thank you so much, Greg.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season nine airs its final two episodes this Friday, June 9th and Friday, June 16th. “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2” is available on iTunes and Amazon.