As evidenced by her name, Olivia Lux has been the new queen ready to shine on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13. And she’s done just that, being one of the top performers of the season with 2 challenge wins so far and multiple sickening lip-syncs. Heading into this week’s episode, she is in the top 5 and just a breath away from the season finale showdown.
‘I kind of started dabbling around with expression when I was in theater school,” Lux explained to Shadow and Act of her beginnings as a drag queen. “I found makeup early on [and] was a makeup artist. And then because of makeup, I feel like I like ended up in a territory that was like, ‘Well, if I put on heels and a dress, I could maybe be doing drag.’ [laughs] So that’s how the whole thing manifested like manifested for, for me. My inspiration in drag definitely came from my family. I’m really close with my mom, my grandma and my two aunts. We lived together for a big portion of my life. I’d like to think of them as like the muses for Olivia Lux and this just like this powerhouse…like old Hollywood-meets-modern showgirl and always putting Blackness at the front.”
The New Jersey-born and New York City-based queen sashayed into the workroom as a drag newbie of sorts, having only been doing drag for a little while compared to the years and years of experience from many of her season 13 sisters. In the first episode, she was immediately pitted against Rosé, who is also from NYC and a staple in the drag scene in the city.
“It’s absolutely intimidating when you walk in, you immediately start to think about yourself in this space,” she said of walking into the workroom. “And I feel like myself as just a regular person as Freddy, I do that a lot. I walk into a space, and as a fellow POC person, that’s probably something that we all can relate to. It was like, ‘OK…so let me see the people that resonate with me that identify with me in this space right now. ‘When I first walked into the workroom very much so was that and I immediately just started to think about my own personal journey and how everyone has their own journeys. And that made me really feel good about my artistry and really feel great about looking at someone else’s and saying that is f*****g sickening, versus comparing my artistry [to theirs]. It just made it easier for me to think about our own separate journeys. So it was intimidating at first. but I will say things progressed and you kind of saw on the show, I am so happy that I kind of like found my own way and was able to connect with people. And it just was like a really great moment for that.”
Lux was also candid about representation in the fandom and the unique experience that Black queens go through when they are on the show. Luckily, she was tipped off and given advice by former queens of color based upon their experiences on the show and after. “In the fandom, everyone is so passionate about Drag Race,” she said. “You have to know those key words that you’re like, ‘I love all these girls except these girls, because they don’t resonate with [me]. And like, ‘Oh, I don’t [stan this queen because] I don’t relate to them.’ Those are underlying things that other [PoC] girls have talked about and briefed me on to make sure that I’m well-equipped to battle and go out there and conquer the world with my artistry.”
The show hasn’t shied away from having topical and important conversations this season during this critical moment in history, such as showing the queens having workroom conversations about the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests. For Lux, having these conversations shown on the show could change the predetermined notions of queens that some fans may have when it comes to race and background.
“I always say if you have a feeling toward someone or something, or a nonfeeling in this case…non-resonance, it’s great to have that dialogue and conversation. And I think we did that a lot on the show during certain episodes where we kind of talked about being PoC artists, it’s really great to have those conversations. And I’m so happy that Drag Race is kind of putting that to the forefront and letting us have that dialogue as an LGBTQIA+ community. That’s important and education is key. So [hearing] people’s experiences [and] the Black experiences will hopefully open that or some people that may not find the Black Queens resonating with them.”
As for her favorite looks, one of them is her acclaimed yellow runway look when she donned a gorgeous gown. “I felt so pretty and the yellow gown,” she explained. “It was a nod to that like kind of old Hollywood style that I love to trickle into. A little pageant and just glamour the house down boots. Also, the mad scientist with the liquid mercury. That came out of just sheer, just being like…I have the silvery thingy and it’s going to be cool and it looks like mercury..so let me be a mad scientist! And I loved that I got comments on it that were like, ‘This is so like different for you, but it’s so you.'”
With the pedal going full steam ahead toward the end of the season, Lux is looking forward to a postseason of success that is highly-anticipated, though it doesn’t look like seasons past due to the pandemic.
“I want to leave my mark on the season, and Drag Race in general, as the power of love and light, the power of just being positive and thinking the best in people [and] making the best of situations. I think a lot of times in competition settings, the good girl or the one that plays by the rules or the one that is continually just like happy all the time, um, can take, get taken advantage of, or kind of just like get disregarded and pushed to the side. But I really do feel like I armored up and became this ‘light warrior.’ And I love that like term…like to be this like beacon of light and positivity, but also be fierce and have that armor and like go out on your mission and have that passion to succeed is like what I want to leave on Drag Race. I really hope that people see that you can be a diva, but polite. All the deep divaliciousness with all the light, positivity and smiles.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays on VH1.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.