Has any queen inspired more texts, tweets or conversation than Season 10’s The Vixen? The Chicago queen walked into the workroom declaring that she came here to fight and, as RuPaul said, she left a champion.
In her tenure on the show, The Vixen created a national conversation about racism in the Drag Race fandom and what it means to be a Black gay queen in America. After her elimination, INTO spoke to The Vixen about her memorable Drag Race run.
What was it like to walk into the Season 10 workroom and see so many black queens in the workroom?
It was so shocking. I was of course very happy but I mentally prepared myself to be the fly in the milk. And so it was really caught me off guard, but I was ecstatic.
And why do you think it was important for America to see a variety of Black queens?
It’s important to know that not all black drag queens are the same. There were thing we related on but we each had a point of view and we each added a different flavor to the season. I think it was very important for people to see how multifaceted Black drag queens can be.
I want to go back to your talk to Aquaria about racism in the fandom and media narratives around black contestants. I mean, what you said has become even more true this seasonwhat had you observed before that that led you to say that to Aquaria?
I think every season we see especially if there’s an argument between a Black and white queen, or a Black queen and a nonblack queen, it really becomes an attack on the Black queen. And I think even Black queens who do well go through so much negativity and hate and backlash from the audience because the world has a problem with anti-blackness. I got hate for winning challenges, I got hate for losing challenges. It’s just a problem. And knowing that it’s true in the world, means it’s true in the fandom. it made me very conscious about the way arguments play out to the fandom.
Knowing about the fandom and its racial issues, did that weigh in on your decision to be on the show at all?
No, it didn’t because I’ve been auditioning for five years. At this point, it was like, I know how things are going to go but there’s nothing that will keep me from this dream I’ve had for so long. I think we all are aware of the optics in the situation so I think what was unique about this is that despite of being aware of this I still wanted to be a contestant.
Something a lot of people don’t know about you is that, after that “South Side trash that ruined Pride” comment, you actually performed Beyonce’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” in a “South Side trash” outfit, and the person who said that comment was in the audience. Can you talk to me about what that moment was like?
Oh, that was it felt like God was like just playing tricks that day. It was the biggest stage that I had been on for that show and we had just upgraded the stage. It was the height of summer, it couldn’t have been a more awkward situation for the guy. Here I am doing my thing, being paid to address this issue you created because you were being ignorant and you have to sit there and take it. Before I got on stage, someone told me he was there and people were tweeting that it would play out that way. And you know what? Karma’s a bitch.
One of the most talked about moments in your Drag Race tenure is when you expressed dissatisfaction with Eureka on the runway. Were you worried at all about telling the judges that their views of a contestant were off from your own?
Apparently I should have been! I think on the show I got into a groove where I was sticking to my guns and not thinking of the consequences at all. Because watching it, I’m like, “Bad move, don’t do that! No, no!” But in the moment I was hoping that if I could kind of express to them that she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, they’d hear me out.
In last night’s episode, you had a kind of transformative moment with Asia and then had to lip sync against her. What was that like?
Oh, that was awful. The sad thing about all of my lip syncs is that they were against girls that I had really bonded with and cared for, which only added to my strength week after week because not only am I sending girls home, I’m running out of friends because I’ve sent people I really care for out of the building. I was almost really glad to go home instead because I don’t know if I could’ve taken doing that to another person.
I want to talk to you about a very important topic: your coin. How has the show and the way you were portrayed on the show affected your bookings?
I’m sure it has. But the good thing is that I’m not alone in the world and there are people who relate and connect to me and I’ve been working long enough that people know I am 1) professional and 2) a damn good performer. I’m out here performing, I’m here in these streets, and she has her coin, don’t worry.
I want to talk about Aquaria and how you eventually warmed up to her. What happened behind the scenes that changed your relationship with her?
No, what was great about my argument with Aquaria is that we ended it on the consensus that she needed to leave me alone and that’s what she did. She gave me time and space to get over it, to heal and to see her in a different light and that gave me the opportunity to appreciate her from a distance. By the time I left the show we had some conversations and joked around and we had gotten past the bullshit.
You come from a legacy of black queens from ChicagoDida Ritz, Shea Coulee. What is something you want the world to know about Chicago queens?
The Chicago drag scene is amazing and it’s a really good place to grow because we have room for everything. We have a lot of gay bars. If you don’t see a show that you fit in, then you need to create that show. I did it for myself with Black Girl Magic. I created the show I wanted to see and that’s what great about Chicago drag. It’s a land of opportunity and if you’re looking for a home you can be a part of one, and if you don’t see it you can make it.