By Bebe Zahara Benet
Can you believe we’re at the end of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”? It certainly has been a memorable season, and the finale certainly was memorable in its own right. With that combination of finalists, we also got to see quite a variety of drag artistry.
I like that Jujubee came to drag from her place as an actor in college.
“The stage has always been a place I’ve wanted in my life,” Jujubee told me. “It’s my place of comfort and freedom. Drag was a faster paced idea than plays. I got to get my quick fix and fell in love!”
In contrast, Raven comes to drag from dance. “I was a go-go dancer back when I was 20,” she revealed to me. “I was the one out of the bunch that always had conceptual costumes – a cop, Indian, cowboy! Basically, I would dress like The Village People!” Raven then got asked to take part in a drag contest. “It was only supposed to be that one time,” Raven explained. “Well, I ended up winning and became a regular cast member. The rest, as they say, ‘is history.'”
Tyra Sanchez told me her entry into drag came about because of her appreciation for one diva in particular. Can you guess which one? “It’s kind of crazy,” Tyra told me. “One word – Beyonce. I wanted to imitate her, to sing her songs and to do my hair like her.”
When I asked Raven if she thought she was going to make it to the final three, she wanted to let the world know she’s different from her on-camera persona. “I am not arrogant at all and realize I can sometimes seem as I am,” Raven admitted. “Those who truly know me are aware of my reverence and humility. I “did” see myself in the top three! I saw myself winning the entire competition. Everyone should see themselves as winners and should never doubt nor question themselves. Every night before I went to bed after each challenge I told myself, ‘”You” are the next drag superstar.'”
Jujubee also used the power of positive thinking to help drive her to the finale. “I had my mind set on the competition,” she said. “With hard work, anything is possible. I wasn’t competing with anyone else but myself.”
Not surprisingly, Tyra said she also had her eyes on the “Drag Race” prize. “When I started, the final three was my main focus,” Tyra explained. “Sometimes I would be like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to make it, or ‘I’m going to be in the bottom two,’ especially in the wedding challenge!”
Of course, Tyra had the distinction of being the only finalist who never had to lip sync for her life in the competition! She saw that as one of her big strengths. Jujubee felt her biggest strength came from inside. “I don’t put on a role,” she said. “I just give you me. My weakness will always be my height. Ha! Could my strength also be my weakness?”
Raven thought her strength was definitely her weakness. “I had come out of the bottom two twice with flying colors,” she said. “I proved to RuPaul I deserved to be there and am worthy of the title. At the same time, I also felt that having been in the bottom two twice before was also my weakness. Here I was in the top three and failed miserably within the first three challenges. It was definitely an iffy feeling.”
Despite all this talent in the finale, there could only be one winner. “I was just in a state of shock,” Tyra said of hearing her named called by RuPaul. “I didn’t know what to think. I just wanted to cry. I didn’t want to do anything but cry and thank God.” Obviously both Jujubee and Raven were sad not to win, but they gave the winner her props. “Not too many people know this, but Tyra came to the competition with “one” suitcase,” Raven revealed. “She utilized the resources in the workroom and turned out some amazing shit! We all had loads of drag we brought with us and she ended up taking it to the top!” Jujubee gave it up for Tyra as well. “She deserves it. Yes, I was disappointed I didn’t win, but now that I think back, she’s the one.”
So what’s next for the newest “Drag Queen” superstar? Tyra said she would love to work as a film actor and TV producer like Tyler Perry, and hopes to make it onto a screen near you both as Tyra and her alter ego, James. In the meantime, Tyra is settling into her title and what will be a very exciting summer on Logo’s “Drag Tour” featuring ABSOLUT drinks. You did a great job, my fellow “Drag Race” winner! Until next season, kisses and congratulations!