Taylor Dayne has been open about transforming into Electra Owl on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race season 2. She says the hair and makeup team did such a good job that she didn’t even recognize herself staring into the mirror. After surviving the first week, she was booted in week 2’s elimination. Though her experience was brief, it was life-changing. The Masked Singer alum spoke with Shadow and Act Unscripted about her journey to the Drag Race stage.
S&A Unscripted: How was your drag race experience?
TD: You know, at some point, I just had to take off the heels and rub my feet just like everybody else was. Just it was that kind of crazy, you know? And I’m a woman, and I can wear heels. So these poor boys that were then going into the but the whole thing, it was unbelievable. I would say it was an amazing experience, short-lived, but at the same time, wow, this is no joke.
What did you learn about drag culture while working on the show?
TD: I work with the best of the best, so you can’t really can’t fudge around these guys. From the hair team, the wig creators to styling. But you’re also in a competition. So the pace is extremely quick. But they’re helping you every step of the way because this isn’t really my genre of performance. But performing for sure. But my voice, my stories, my ability to tell it my way. This is different when you’re singing. Lip singing, to be honest, I found very daunting for me. But anybody can tell you, you can ask Leah Remini to anybody – what are my thoughts on lip sync? I said I don’t have them. It’s not my thing. People love it. People don’t. But this is past that.
How would you describe your experience working with your coaches?
TD: Oh, they are amazing. This has just been their experience. And they just were, as far as mentoring, they just were always loving and supportive. But they came out there fire.
You performed ‘Last Dance,’ which is a big karaoke song. It's also really big in the LGBTQ+ community and in drag culture. Was a song like that intimidating at all, knowing how iconic the song is and how special it is to the community?
TD: I didn’t find the song to be daunting. I just wish they turn on my mic because you should have heard me and Donna [Summer] do it together. Now, that’s not the daunting part for me. Every portion of that song is beautiful – the instrumental, melodic beginning. The song is a treasure.
What do you think contributed to your elimination? The judges felt that you were holding back on your solo performance because of minimal dance moves. But you also said that you're you are a little upset that you weren't able to sing. And I'm sure that you would have shown off your vocals, you probably felt like you would've gotten a little further.
TD: Just a little, I think a lot. But that’s not what this is about. This is this is part of what you’re seeing. So you’re asking me what my struggles were? As a woman in this culture where you’re trying to become something and challenge yourself, I took on this challenge with a drag mentality. Clothing – everything it came down to. We could learn a song, and we could do choreography. But the choreography- at the end of the day, we were putting on four hours of hair, makeup, and these different things. You need to work with them and then let that be part of the performance. It was more like a circus.
You're featured on ‘Be Someone.’ It's a fan favorite and a favorite song of RuPaul’s. A remix was even featured on the Runway song on ‘All-Stars’ Season 5. What does it mean to you to have been a drag race staple even before being on the show?
TD: Well, as a judge, a guest judge on Drag Race, it’s just an honor to be part of that community for so long. I have a long-standing, beautiful relationship with RuPaul for 30 years, probably more than that. As an artist myself, there was a part of me that was just stepping out. I was outside of the circle in that way. It’s a complete honor and watching how it’s transformed and how much Ru has contributed to this. So the art form is just it’s mind-blowing to me.