With every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race comes the long-awaited (for some contestants, long-feared) sewing challenge — and on season 15, the show decided to switch things up yet again.
On last week’s episode (aired Friday, January 27), the 13 remaining queens were split into three fashion houses inspired by judges Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews, and tasked with turning unconventional home decor materials into runway-ready haute couture.
For Luxx Noir London, the challenge proved to be nothing short of triumph when she earned her first win for creating zebra-print pants and a flowing silk top. But for queens Salina EsTitties and Amethyst, their less-stellar looks landed them in the bottom two.
Facing off in a lip sync for your life to Janelle Monáe’s iconic single “Q.U.E.E.N.” in front of Monáe herself, Salina and Amethyst twerked, dipped and bounced their way through one of the most entertaining lip syncs of season 15, fighting for their right to stay. For her spot-on performance, Salina earned another week in the competition, while Amethyst was finally sent packing after her third time in the bottom.
Amethyst spoke to Billboard following her elimination about her grueling sewing challenge experience, her love of Lady Gaga, and how one piece of personal information turned into “high school” drama with the other queens while filming.
You’ve had quite the journey on Drag Race — what was it like getting to watch it unfold?
It doesn’t really feel real, if I’m being quite honest. I still get giddy over seeing myself on Drag Race — that’s actually still crazy to me. I’m still fangirl-ing a lot. I think that’ll go away soon. Otherwise, it’s been such a blast, connecting with the fans.
Were there any moments while you were filming in particular that made you go into full fangirl mode?
If the work room entrance didn’t do it for me, then I think walking the runway for the first time really did. It’s just the moment that it’s suddenly real.
Over the last few episodes, the queens have conducted a pretty thorough investigation into your prior relationship with Robin Fierce — was that a weird thing for you to deal with while filming this show?
It wasn’t weird, necessarily. Like, I didn’t mind explaining it to my sisters. I think the only super weird part to me was how much of a hot topic it was among them. Once I saw that Robin was on the show with me, my mind immediately was like, “Do we tell people? What’s the plan of attack?” So I told myself from day one that if somebody asked, I wouldn’t lie. I just never saw it getting to the point that it got to, weirdly — the whole “who broke up with who” conversation. It was just so high school to me. I didn’t mind giving my side of the story, but it was weird that this was our topic of conversation.
I gotta say, watching people try and unravel the “mystery” of your breakup despite you literally explaining that it was a mature, somewhat mutual situation is very funny to me.
Girl, it’s the gays, we just gotta make it a drama.
Before we get into this episode, I want to talk to you about the runway you served last week as Lady Gaga at the 2009 VMAs. You nailed the look — what made you choose this interpretation of the theme “Beautiful Nightmare?”
As we all know, Lady Gaga opened that performance by singing, “Amidst all of these flashing lights, I pray the fame won’t take my life.” That was the idea I wanted to run with for this, because when I saw “Beautiful Nightmare,” I thought, “Well, my beautiful nightmare is going to be watching myself look so good on TV and then having to deal with trolls online telling me I’m an early-out.”
I just think Gaga set that metaphor up so eloquently, and I’m a firm believer that if something isn’t broken, you don’t need to fix it. Or as RuPaul would say, “You ain’t gotta reinvent the wheel.” I knew, “Am I going to get read for recreating this look head-to-toe? Probably.” But I do feel like the performance of it all sold it and took it to that extra level, especially with the bleeding.
As soon as the blood came out, I said out loud, “Yep, she did that.”
Exactly! I knew people would forget the fact that I was walking down the runway in a bodysuit and thigh-highs if I could give them that gag. So I was really happy with myself.
To this day, that stands as one of the most iconic awards show performances of all time.
That’s why it was so far in the front of my brain and I was able to replicate it so quickly! Ever since I saw it in 2009, that’s just where it lives, girl. Like, pure horror, the audience was literally scared of her!
Speaking of looks, this week was our first sewing challenge of season 15. What was going through your mind when they announced the challenge, knowing that you’d already been in the bottom twice and you’re not a seamstress?
A lot of explicit language that I probably should not repeat in an interview. [Laughs.] I will say, when Ru said it was unconventional materials, my ears did perk up a little — because I feel like that’s weirdly easier? Then, I can get away with using hot glue because it’s weird objects. That just didn’t work out for me, as we can now see.
I would like to talk about that — I feel like this was a very strong showing from everyone including you, and that made it harder to single out a bottom two. There were no LaLa Ri’s on that stage.
Yeah, for sure. Ru even said while we were walking the runway, “Y’all are making this hard.” It wasn’t that I looked bad, it was just that it didn’t measure up to everybody. But that’s another reason why when they announced the sewing challenge, I was saying a lot of swear words; 11 out of the 13 of us were sewers. It was like, “Well, there’s simply no way for me [to win].” I got really in my head and I started to rethink things that I shouldn’t have been rethinking, because in a situation like that — having less than a day to put this look together — you don’t have time to sit around and stare in a mirror and rethink. You have to go.
I really want to commend you on your lip syncs this season — you’ve killed every lip sync you were in, especially this “Q.U.E.E.N.” one. What, to you, is the key to nailing a lip sync?
It’s so nerdy and boring, so be ready; I went to theatre school for acting, and my approach to lip syncs is actually how I would approach doing a monologue, or a scene. I was trained to have an action for every line, and you want every action to be different. So you’ll pick very descriptive lines of the song, and then figure out what it is that you’re going to sell with that line. That’s why I love lip syncing, because you’re telling a story through your performance of the song.
Diane Warren is getting up there on the all-time list of top Oscar nominees for best original song. Her nod this year for “Applause,” sung by Sofia Carson in Tell It Like a Woman, is her 14th — a tally equaled by only seven other songwriters in the 89-year history of the category). Moreover, this is the sixth year in a row she has been nominated, the longest continuous run […]
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