How adorable! I attended Wednesday night's RuPaul's Drag Race Battle of the Seasons in NYC (many pictures and a full report coming) and the one piece of the show I filmed (seems more than fine since this was a one-time, non-content kinda thang) was Phi Phi O'Hara aka Jaremi Cary proposing!
(Images in the gallery above by Matthew Rettenmund)
Last night, Bob the Drag Queen was crowned the America's next drag superstar at the end of the the Season 8 finale of RuPaul's Drag Race, walking away—in heels—with the $100,000 prize.
Bob has an eye for the boys (All images in this post by Matthew Rettenmund)
At a festive press reception at Stage 48, immediately prior to a viewing party and late-night performance by several of the season's most popular queens, I was able to interview Bob, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Thorgy Thor, Derrick Barry and Chi Chi DeVayne ... not to mention special guests Dina Lohan and Tiffany “New York” Pollard.
Black-and-white and red-carpet all over
The girls were all perfectly polished in their replies, and unfailingly polite and funny. I'm not sure Season 8 was the most mind-blowing season, but it definitely had the most uniformly nice and diligent girls.
I missed part of the carpet, but I didn't miss Naomi Smalls walking in nearly naked. Hey, play to your strengths, right?
It was also highly entertaining watching a relaxed Bob (he hadda know he had the win in the evening bag) flirting with Logo's cute host, who helpfully shucked his shirt at the first suggestion.
Dina was a little shy around the Logo hottie, but right at home with New York!
Before the round-robin-style interviews, I caught New York freaking out at the sight of buddy Dina. The two hugged and laughed and mugged for the cameras. It was the surreal deal.
Naomi & Chi Chi favored each other, and Naomi had a hint of Sharon Needles in her expertly beaten face.
The first person I chatted with was Ms. Smalls, looking vixenish. She asked if she could stand because she'd otherwise “come untucked.” Far be it from me to stand in the way of a boy trying to be a girl. Looked great.
Interestingly, Chi Chi DeVayne had a very Naomi Smalls look about her. She was beaming, seemingly happy to have done as well as she did on the show.
Derrick's “winning” look
Derrick was sandwiched by a hot boyfriend and a hot friend and gave her usual sassy answers, including saying that her amazing outfit was custom-made for her (not by her). “That's winning!”
I tawt I taw Kim Chi!
Kim Chi is one of the most likable in her interviews on the show, but one of the hardest to interview—she likes to turn questions around or give Warholian non-answers. It's just her sense of humor, but it makes things interesting.
Thorgy 4: Thorgy, her boobs, her pic with Chi Chi, her pic with winning pal Bob
Thorgy was hilarious! A fan jumped ahead of me “just to get a picture,” and then proceeded to do a video and chat with her as I (and other outlets) stood cooling my heels. I finally leaned over to a young publicist and said, “Get rid of this guy.” I didn't mean to be so direct! But he did as I suggested and Thorgy thanked him, and then apologized profusely, as if she'd been rude to me. I loved her look—neon, clown-tastic and yet glamorous, too. I complimented her on her tremendous weight loss—remember her fat suit from just three months ago???
Finally, Bob asked for some gum as I fired up my video camera. “Oh, great, you're gonna chew gum throughout my interview?” I teased. “Yeah, you wanna fight about it?” she teased back. She had some spicy answers; I was ashamed that my questions didn't live up to the ones asked just before me, which, as I overheard, led to a discussion of why black Americans deserve reparations.
I don't think the show could ever go mainstream because drag is the antithesis of the matrix. You know, the matrix says, “Pick an identity and stick with it. Because I want to sell you some beer and shampoo and I need you to stick with what you are so I'll know how to market it to you.” Drag is the opposite. Drag says, “Identity is a joke.”
I think his show is very successful, but isn't really underground. The fans are mainstream-skewing gay guys and mainstream females. It also sells products to people with pretty set identities. Not that that's a criticism; I just think maybe drag of yore is what RuPaul has in mind, while Adore Delano is really pretty mall-friendly. Even Bob the Drag Queen would be right at home on The Late Late Show.
The Laila McQueen of all media (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
But regardless, what gay man can't relate to the Ru who says this:
I'm ambitious. I've always been an ambitious person and I love creating things. I love taking something apart, figuring out how it works and getting in there and making it my own. So I love writing and making music and performing. And I love a challenge.