She dazzled us with her fashion. She wowed us with her smile. She made us gasp with her no-holds-bar approach to drag. And now she’s America’s next drag super star. And she’s making her debut at the EXDO Event Center May 14. She is Raja. And we will watch her roar on the stage with RuPaul’s Drag Race runners-up Manila Luzon and Alexis Mateo when Logo’s Drag Race Tour kicks off in Denver, thanks to one of our own, Ginger Sexton, who won the Ultimate Queen Contest locking in the tour for a second year in a row. But before the fashionista takes the main stage, she spoke with Out Front Colorado about the show, her life afterward and what’s next.
Are you excited to come to Denver?
I can’t wait. It’s my first time. And I’m coming soon!
You winning Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race was the worst secret in the world. The entire blogosphere has been talking about it since you guys finished taping last summer.
Ugh! Even before Perez Hilton mentioned anything about it, people had been talking about it. I haven’t said a word. I kept it really quite and never responded to anything. I would love it to think about it: all the rumors happening so early is because I provided something that made people really pay attention. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think every new celebrity needs a little buzz.
We didn’t get to see you lip sync very much on the show, talk to me about your performance style.
I like to do music I’m really emotionally connected to. Of course I do some pop songs, but whenever I get an opportunity to do what I love to do, I do songs I can create a vignette. Create a whole moment. I love songs with Nina Simone and music from the 40s. I also do some really sexually charged and provocative numbers. I guess it just depends on what my mode is that night.
All the Drag Race girls have come through Denver, how are you different from them?
That’s a tough one. I’m not one to compare myself to other performers. Everyone has their own niche. I’m six-foot-three, so you’re not going to see splits or high kicks. Someone might end up with a black eye with my high kick. But I love posing and flirting. And you’re going to see a lot of that happening. It just depends on my mood that particular day.
I want to talk about two outfits. The outfit you wore on the premier and on the finale. Two very daring choices. Pants! Was it just fashion or was it game play? Because it looked like you could move around a lot easier than the other girls.
I think it was a combination of both. It was smart game play with fashion. I’m no stranger to reality TV. The first day is when they screw with you: you’re going to be doused with water, wind blown, or set on fire. And I just wanted to be prepared. I also wanted to show how I really looked. I don’t always need a sofa on my ass. This is just how it is. For the last episode, I wanted to remind everyone of the first episode. It’s not always what you wear, but how you wear it.
Let’s talk about Shangela. What’s your relationship like these days?
We don’t get to hang out that often. The only time we get to see each other is when we’re performing together. I like her. She’s a really talented person. A talented comedian. I think she’s got a real flair and a bright future.
You didn’t say that on the show?
We were in a competition. People go to the hockey match to see the fights. You don’t go there to see them hand the puck to each other. ‘Here you go Mary, I want you to win.’ We just don’t do it that way. And this is a sport I do well.
Heathers vs. Boogers. How did that come about? It was like you were the head Heather.
You know, people said I was the queen Heather. But I think I was just the tallest one. The idea actually came from Delta. The four of us (Delta Work, Carmen Carrera and Manila Luzon) just gravitated together. We were sitting around one day and we were like ‘we’re like the Heathers.’ We were very conscious and aware of it. Let’s make some fun TV.
Do you think you were edited correctly?
For the most part. There’s a warmer side to me that I don’t think people are aware of. I wish that would have been shown more. But I don’t mind being the bitch of the show. I’m very confident. And I know what I’m saying.
You had some moments, talking about your family and back home. What’s been the reception.
The show has really allowed my family to see me in drag. They’ve never been to a club. My father is 84-years-old. He has no interest in going to a gay bar. They’re Christian ministers. It was great for them to see exactly what I do, out side of a gay bar. They got to see me focused, really competitive. It was a really proud moment for our relationship.
Are they proud of you?
Very much. My parents watched it every week. They know everyone’s names. I would have never had that conversation with my family before.
What’s it like being in RuPaul’s presence.
RuPaul, I’ve idolized her since I was a young queen. Every time I’m around him, I can’t even describe in words. It’s like being around your great mentor. It’s like hanging out with Cher or Madonna. I really respect Ru. He’s a pioneer and an amazing person.
Who’s the queen that surprised you the most on the show?
Manila. When I met her, I really didn’t get it. I was like, ‘is she really this obnoxious?’ She was just so loud and opinionated. It was the day we did the space challenge and she dressed up as a monkey. That’s the day I fell in love with her. She was the one I had to watch out for.
Which queen disappointed you the most? Was there someone you met on the first day that you thought was going to go far?
Venus (D-Lite). I wasn’t really disappointed in her. I was just sad that I didn’t get to hang out with her and we didn’t get to see her talent. She’s really brilliant and smart. She’s an eccentric.
What’s the one thing that really sticks out in your mind that we didn’t see on TV?
I don’t think people see how difficult it is. Of all the things I’ve done in my life, being on Drag Race is one of the most challenging. For me personally, I had to challenge myself every day and push my limits and top myself. That’s really hard when you’re a perfectionists and an artist. What people see as one week, is actually filmed over two days. When we’re finished with one episode, we go onto the next the following day. You’re exhausted from making three outfits, scuffing on the runway, learning a new song to lip sync. That’s what creates all that delicious tension on the show.
What’s the one thing we didn’t learn about Raja on the show, but we’ll learn when you come to Denver?
You’ll get to see my performance style which incorporates a lot of fashion and a lot of visuals. It will be fun for people to see me moving and do a show. I’m really personable. So if people want to come up to me – people who handle me now have to pull me away because all I want to do is say hi to people and take pictures.
So you belong to Logo and Absolut for the rest of the year but after that, what are you going to do?
I’m experimenting with a lot of different things right now. I’m working on some music right now. Collaborating. I’m doing some of that. Want to do some design and have my own show.
Who would you sidekick be?