Several weeks ago I talked to Alyssa Edwards and Asia O’Hara, our Dallas-based drag queen superstars, when they both appeared on the four-part limited series RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race. You can find Alyssa’s interview here. The show is over, but the Season 12 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs tonight. I know, I know, we’ve all been crying now that Heidi N Closet is out of the running. But you must have a second fave. I mean, did you see Crystal Methyd serving up pinata realness? Meanwhile, I thought you might like to know what Asia has been up to while her Las Vegas show is taking a coronavirus hiatus. (Btw, now that Heidi is gone, she’s all #TeamJaida.)
How has quarantine life been going for you? It’s actually bad. You know, I have not been still in a couple of years. I mean, if I’m being completely honest, it’s actually nice to have time to just like be at home and be in one space. It’s actually a little refreshing. I mean, I do wish I could be working, but it hasn’t been absolutely terrible having time off.
You were just starting your Vegas show, weren’t you, when all this went down? Yes, we opened at the end of January.
How was that while it was still going on? Oh, wonderful. I think better than any of us could have imagined. It was definitely a lot harder, a lot more work than we had expected it to be or than we’re used to. But it was absolutely great. When the casinos start to reopen, it’s still going to be a few weeks before they open the show room. So we’ve got a little bit of time.
You were recently chosen to be one of the drag mentors on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race. [The contestants on Asia’s episode included Vanessa Williams, Loni Love, and Tami Roman.] Were there any big surprises for you working with people who weren’t drag professionals? You know what? Yes. I think the biggest surprise to me was how ready to dive in they were. I honestly expected them to be a little standoffish. They have a reputation to uphold, and they have careers, and you know, I expected them to be a little more reserved and really wanting to do things on their own terms. And so the surprise is that they were like, I’m here, I’m ready. And they weren’t shy.
When you were on Season 10, you were one of the most creative, avant-garde queens. The Tweety Bird and sea monster looks come to mind. How has your drag evolved since you were on the show? I think the proportions of it are slightly different. I think I do a lot more camp and a lot more sparkly, happy, fun drag than I did in the past.
As you were competing for the top prize, you talked a lot about wanting to make drag more accepted, more widespread. Do you feel like that’s happening? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I see it actually every night [in Las Vegas]. Because, you know, we do have a large part of our audience who are drag fans. But a large part of our audience are people that are just in Vegas having a good time and may not be incredibly familiar with RuPaul’s Drag Race. Those are the people that a lot of times I find myself talking to when I’m hosting a show, and finding out where they’re from and what they like. People are now perfectly fine with Instagram snapshots with me. That definitely shows that drag is becoming more widespread and more accepted. Really, people just think of it as art and entertainment and are, you know, ready to be a part of it.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied while sheltering in place? When it first started I was like, okay, well, what am I going to do? Like, I need to stay busy and I need to keep my mind going, but I also have to contribute. So, I was like, okay, I can make masks. So I’ve been doing that and doing the Werq the World benefits.
Alyssa Edwards says her go-to takeout for Friday night Drag Race viewing is TexMex. What’s yours? Girl — Raising Cane’s. I think that’s probably my go-to, and I don’t even know if I would consider it a takeout because it’s fast food. But it’s my guilty pleasure.