'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 14 Cast Interview: The Queens Tease The Most Game-Changing Season Yet
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Interviews , Reality , Television

'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 14 Cast Interview: The Queens Tease The Most Game-Changing Season Yet

It may be hard to believe that the RuPaul's Drag Race is in its fourteenth season, and that's not including its primary spinoff, RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, and the countless international versions that the series has spawned.

The queens competing include Alyssa Hunter, Angeria Paris VanMicheals, Bosco, Daya Betty, DeJa Skye, Jasmine Kennedie, Jorgeous, June Jambalaya, Kerri Colby, Kornbread "The Snack" Jeté, Lady Camden, Maddy Morphosis, Orion Story and Willow Pill.

Shadow and Act sat down with all 14 queens ahead of this Friday's premiere to talk about the upcoming season, what to expect, their drag journeys so far and so much more:

 

Is drag's Real Housewife June Jambalaya going to bring spicy confessionals?

“In the beginning, I was really chill with it, but as the show progresses, you’ll start to see, ‘Oh, I get to know these girls and I get to poke a little fun, a little fun shade,” she said. “I’m not a mean girl, but it’s a little fun shade [laughs].”

On her “housewife” aesthetic, the Los Angeles queen tells us that this idea came from her time working as a personal shopper.

“I have styled some housewives and I was always very inspired by the modern woman, the need to always want to be the prettiest and the most put together in the newest dress,” she said.” I was like, ‘These women really put the work in to be that girl.’ And drag queens, we do the same thing. We put the work in to be that girl in our lane. So it just kind of seemed like something that no one was really doing. And I kind of had a lane to be a housewife of drag.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“It’s really cold. Which was great for my pores and makeup, but no. And some of my looks were a little revealing. It’s really cold. Not just the one [set] but everywhere you go. Every set, it’s really cold. [laughs].”

Bosco's 'evil' and 'naked' drag

“I’m definitely not the first person to do demonic or kind of a darker-themed drag,” she explained. “But I feel like I have a very specific lane that I do my drag in. I’m inspired by very glamorous villains. I always thought the villain in every movie growing up was the coolest character and had the best lines and the best costumes and the best theme songs. So I just kind of wanted to take that and apply that to my drag.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“I get a lot of joy out of how awkward it is without all the cuts. Because when you see the final episode, everyone’s looking fierce. But when you’re doing it in real life, you say your catchphrase, then you look at the cameras, and then they’re there for a minute posing while other people are watching you from the side. And it’s hysterically weird.”

Daya Betty on Springfield drag and Crystal Methyd

“When I first started drag, there was a lot of pageantry drag,” she explained. “And so I saw a lot of pageantry, [like] how refined, how poised it was. And then Crystal [Methyd, Season 12 finalist and her drag sister] in Springfield kind of really started the underground, crazy, almost similar to club kid aesthetic. And I don’t want to owe all the credits to her, especially because there’s tons of drag queens that have done the same thing. But in Springfield specifically, she was really kind of the catalyst to bring that kind of drag and focus more on the artistic side, maybe, rather than trying to present purely as female. So that’s where a lot of my drag comes from… it’s art, a lot of just like the nitty-gritty kind of punk. Sometimes things work, sometimes things don’t work, and that’s what makes it fun.

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“I don’t know why, [but] I thought the workroom was going to be small. And then when I entered, I was like, this feels like I’m on a basketball court. It felt ginormous. So I was really shocked. I was waiting to see the thing come down from the ceiling with the scoreboard, but it never happened.”

Jasmine Kennedie, the *only* NYC queen in season 14

“It’s definitely a blessing and an honor,” she said. “Out of all the different types of drag that comes out of New York City, I definitely feel like there’s so much that they could have picked and then they picked me. I feel honored. But yay! I get my little one season to my own. I’ll take it. Because usually, there’s a lot of who’s going to be the best in New York City queen and I don’t have to do that this year. I can just come in as myself, be myself, and I feel like I’m also representing a little bit of Jersey, a little bit of upstate in some Long Island. So if anything, just call me a tri-state queen. New York City’s cute, but I think I’m bringing a different side of New York City, I think, than what’s usually seen. So I think that’s divine. I’m super excited.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“I definitely would think for me it was the emotions that come out of it. I definitely didn’t expect my mind to go to so many different places that I did and where I ended up to be at the end. So I think going in, make sure you keep it as prepared as possible, but emotions definitely were probably the biggest thing I wasn’t prepared for. I’d say that’s it.”

Kerri Colby is making history....and is she the drama!? *Scarlet Envy voice*

“First of all, all I got to say is when somebody’s mama needs to come get somebody, I’m going to let them know that somebody’s mama needs to come get them, please!” she said, referencing her already-iconic line from Untucked that was included in the season’s first trailer. It’s not about drama, [but] I got to keep it real. I keep it 100 and I keep it ready.”

On the representation she and Kornbread are adding to the season as Black trans women, Colby said, “I think that we’ve already seen definitely interest progression, even from Drag Race Holland, just within their first few seasons just bringing it in. I think that we’re ready. America has spoken, the world has spoken, World of Wonder has spoken now. And it’s time to showcase the community.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“Honestly, I would say how real it is. You get that idea that it’s TV, it’s been around for 14 seasons, [and] people complain it’s not original. The thing is…it is actually very real.  I’m a very objective person, so I typically live outside of my head while also in it. And there were times I’m like, this s**t is real right now. Like, oh my God. And just the emotions are real, the reactions are real, the judges are real. Everything is just so real and it starts to kind of overwhelm you. But it also is so invigorating, honestly.”

What DeJa Skye is bringing to season 14 and her aesthetic

“I think that there’s multiple things I’ll be bringing to the season,” she said. “I think the one thing that will set me apart is the fact that I am a plus-size diva, yes ma’am! Me and Kornbread holding it down for the big girls. But I can definitely dance. I can perform. I’m out there. I think that I give, like Kornbread said, ‘authenticity.’ I have an aesthetic and I stick to it and that’s me through and through. So I definitely wanted to make sure that as I come on the show, when you see DeJa, you know it’s DeJa right off the bat.”

She also talked about how queens that are just being introduced to the world are often compared to former RuGirls. “The one way to make me upset is to compare me to another queen. Please don’t ever do that, America. Please don’t ever do that to me or any of the girls. We are in our own lane. We are our own people. I understand that Drag Race is the biggest drag platform at this moment, but we have been doing this for years before Drag Race. Just because you see a white line underneath someone’s eye doesn’t make it Trixie Mattel,” she said while also talking about how plus-sized queens also get compared. “Every single person has their own thing. Let them have their thing and move on, people.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“Seeing Drag Race for so many seasons, we are season 14 and hopefully there’s 14 more, [laughs] but seeing the fact that Michelle Visage is very nurturing. She’s very nurturing. She gets a bad rap. People will say that she’s mean, [but] she is so nurturing and the way that she speaks to you with critiques or even in a challenge, it’s so motherly. It’s never talking down to you. It’s never anything that you may think she is. She’s just such a mother and she makes you feel so comfortable. So that to me was definitely a good surprise.”

Angeria Paris VanMichaels hopes to subvert the pageant queen trope

“That was in my mind the whole time getting ready to come on Drag Race,” she explained. “I was like, I got one goal and it’s to make sure that I let the world know that pageant queens can have personalities. Baby, I can be pageant and polished and I can look like this, but b***h,  when I talk, when I open my mouth, girl, it’s something entirely different. I wanted to make sure that my personality was in the forefront and then my look was second. I wanted them to make sure that they knew. The world’s going to know, baby. Pageant girls, yeah. They make those too. They make pageant girls with personalities.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“For me, walking into the workroom, honestly…it was all the cameras. I was like, ‘OK!’ I was expecting maybe like one or two…it was like 50 cameras and people. And I was like, ‘Hey…’ [laughs]. I think that’s the thing that made it real, like, ‘B—h, you on a TV show.’ Oh, OK!”

Hola, Alyssa Hunter is representing Puerto Rico!

“It feels amazing. It feels so powerful,” said Hunter of being not only the first Puerto Rican queen in a while, but the first queen who is based in Puerto Rico while on the show. “I literally, I feel like a superhero right now. I gave my island hope. I gave all my sisters that hope to keep doing, keep auditioning because if I do it, they can do it. Since season 7 with Kandy Ho, there [were] no Puerto Ricans over there in the show. So when I got the call, I was [like], ‘No way.’ I broke up the Puerto Rican curse and I am the show. So no matter what happened, I feel so proud to be on the show and prove Puerto Rico people for the Puerto Rican flag in the map in Drag Race.

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“To see the girls. I think you never know who is over there, which girls they choose for competing with you. So to see the other girls, it was like shock[ing] to see the versatility and the diversity that they have. And to know them is great. It was amazing. And to me, that was the most powerful thing in the whole competition.”

Maddy Morphosis on making history as the first straight, cisgendered male on 'Drag Race'

“Honestly, the biggest thing I’ve learned doing this is that I can do it, just in general,” she said when we asked about the discourse surrounding her casting. “Me, even auditioning for the show, I felt confident in my drag, but I didn’t know if I could even get to the point that I’m at. And just going on the show, just reaffirming that I’m here, I’m here for a reason. I was chosen. It just gave me more confidence in myself and just knowing that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can do it. And I hope that my being on the show shows a lot of people at home watching that gender’s just a construct. It’s okay to explore yourself, explore your femininity. Especially all the straight guys watching that are just too scared to just be themselves. A lot of guys are just putting on a character for show almost and just realizing they don’t have to do that. The rules are made up, the guidelines are arbitrary. Just be your true, authentic self, no matter what.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“Walking in, I thought [there were] probably just some weird camera tricks…like it’s actually a smaller room that only has two walls and a big sound stage. And no, you walk in, it’s a huge, giant workroom. It’s just a giant room. And I was just like, ‘Whoa.’ And it’s cold [laughs].”

Lady Camden on being the first UK queen on U.S. 'Drag Race'

“First of all, it’s honestly a really big honor to be on the American season as a UK original,” she explained. “I would say that I learned the ropes of drag in the States, so my journey has been very American in a way. I guess where the British comes in is kind of just who I am as a person. I’m like ballet, theatrical based. I have a British kind of sense of humor, sometimes. And so I think the Britishness comes out in just me, but I have taken so much inspiration from queens on the show and not on the show who are American queens.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“You honestly don’t know what it’s going to look like when you’re there. Everything doesn’t feel like it is when you’re watching it. It just…it feels different.  I was thinking about this earlier today because you can be as prepared as possible for something like Drag Race and you can watch every season and think, ‘OK, I’m ready for literally anything.’ But they’re always going to catch you off guard with something. And that’s really the true test. And I think that that was what surprised me is that there are genuine things that will trip you up or you’ll have to kind of jump across and real challenges that you don’t expect.”

A lesson from Kornbread "The Snack" Jeté

Drag Race is nothing like what you expect it to be or what you learn in the industry,” she said. “The thing is, obviously everyone goes in with strong suits. But when you go into Drag Race, you learn a lot about self-discovery. Say for instance, there’s someone who isn’t a trained actor or who hasn’t acted any time in their life. When you get on that Drag Race platform, your adrenaline and your peak of things change. And I think you discover that there are a lot of hidden talents that other people have as well. And a lot of hidden talents that you have as well. Do I think my acting background kind of gave me an advantage in particular things? Yes. But I’m also a person who never So I definitely learned to not underestimate anybody, at the same time, always stay on your toes and not get comfortable with anything.

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“I think a lot of people don’t know that I’m introverted. I’m extremely introverted and I prefer most of the time being by myself, chilling and relaxing in the room alone. But on this show, I think I put myself aside a lot and I put others before myself in the sense of making sure everyone else was okay then my own kind of needs. Although I took care of myself, I’m not worried about that part…it’s definitely my care for other people to make sure everyone else is all right around me, I don’t think I would be able to compete as well if everyone around me wasn’t at a good spot, if that makes any sense. So definitely putting others before me, which I enjoy doing and I still enjoy doing now. I didn’t know that.”

Orion Story, the first Michigan 'Drag Race' queen

“I think, the scene around here [Michigan] is it’s still pretty pageantry,” she said of her local scene. “I think a lot of it’s still really cookie cutter. A lot of the queens kind of always a look the same, and I think a lot of people around here I feel don’t really know who they are. And I think that was the difference is I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I wanted to be my own person. And I have always had this vision of what my drag was and what it represents. Yeah, I’m going on representing Michigan, but I’m more so representing myself above everything.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“I think, going back to what Kornbread said, you get on the show and you really learn a lot about yourself. I think you come in and you think, ‘Oh this is what I’m good at, this is what I’m going to kill,’and you go on and you’re like, you find out, ‘Oh, I’m better at this than I thought I was.’ Something that you might not have known you wouldn’t have been able to do, [you may can do].

Jorgeous, the Tex-Mex dancing diva

“I will say I love Selena and I love J. Lo and they inspired all this, but definitely the drag scene in Texas and how to be I guess one of the pretty girls, but they do such an old school style of being pretty,” she said talking about the influences on her drag. “And when I was coming up and being the new school pretty, I guess, it wasn’t enough. You’re not wearing boobs, you’re not doing this. you’re not doing it right. But I definitely think that maybe seeing my drag, it will help inspire [people to] have a more newer take to drag.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“The thing that I did not know that I could do is actually be funny, you know what I mean? Because I am like a goofy person, but I didn’t know I could be kind of funny on the spot kind of, I guess. So that kind of taught me how to be more comfortable with myself and it’s okay to make a joke and people don’t laugh.”

The self-proclaimed "most-interesting" person on the cast, Willow Pill

“I’ve got a lot of inspiration of like dark and light. I love anything that’s very kitschy, butterflies, Bratz Doll[s], but then I also love anything that’s like blood and bone and nasty,” she said. “It’s just a mixture of all the emotions that one human goes through.”

What surprised her about Drag Race:

“I was surprised how quickly you adapt to the show. I mean, right when you walk in, you are shocked and you s**t yourself, but quickly, you just adapt to what’s going on. And when you watch the show, you’re like, oh my God, this all looks so terrifying. But when you’re there, you kind of go into survival mode and you’re like, there’s no time for nerves and you just have to do it and you do.”

Check out the full video interview below:

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14 kicks off with a two-part premiere this Friday at 8 p.m. on VH1.

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