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Exclusive: 'Drag Race' season 13 cast speaks on 'renaissance' of drag in global chaos

VH1 —
the Werk Room as Drag Race
Cirque du Soleil
Royal Caribbean
the mundane.“When
the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Paris Hilton
RuPaul’s Drag Race
her Liberation Tour
The Mackie Doll
the Haus of Aja
Atlanta Pride
Courage World Tour
Utica Queen

RuPaul's Drag Race
Kandy Muse
Tina Burner
Kahmora Hall
Roxie Hart
Velma Kelly
Chamilla Foxx
Debbie Gibson
Britney Spears
Derrick Barry’s
Heidi Klum
Cindy Crawford
Gigi Gorgeous
Joey Jay’s
Adrena Lyn
Christina Aguilera
Desiree Matthews
Ariana Grande
Jaida Essence Hall
Tajma Hall
Bob Mackie
Dahlia Sin
Janelle No
joke!”As Aja’s
Lala Ri
Trinity K. Bonet
The Lala Ri Experience
Michelle —
Mother Nature’s
Olivia Lux
Alicia Keys
Alexis Mateo
Lagoona Bloo
Simon Cowell
Madonna Rusical
Brooke Shields
Gigi Goode
Whitney Houston
Bette Midler’s
Hocus Pocus
Comedy Queen
Ginger Minj
Carol Burnett
Joan Rivers
Miss Dion



Todrick Hall

New York City
Drag Race."Earlier
Las Vegas
the Vegas Strip
the United States
Los Angeles

Paradise 2020
Burner —

Positivity     52.00%   
   Negativity   48.00%
The New York Times
Write a review: Entertainment Weekly

As one of the first major television series to re-enter production during the coronavirus pandemic, Drag Race season 13 — premiering Friday, Jan. 1 on VH1 — captures the anxiety of an uncertain moment for queer artists while offering a hopeful glimpse at the vibrant future ahead, with a cast of 13 diverse queens from around the country igniting what New York City competitor Kandy Muse dubs "the renaissance of Drag Race."Earlier this year, EW exclusively caught up with with each quarantined queen via Zoom from the set of their season 13 promo shoot, a process that proved each new addition to the Drag Race family passes the true test of star power in 2020: No matter how small the screen or how much digital distortion plagues a virtual video call, the talent shines through the static, crystal clear each time.Among firsts for the franchise: Gottmik enters the Werk Room as Drag Race her-story's first competing trans man, and he plans to represent his community the house down ("drag is for everyone!" he stresses). "Our 13 queens proved that it takes more than a global pandemic to keep a good queen down," he added.But for all of the on-set adaptation to uncertain times, the appeal of season 13 boils down to what has kept Drag Race as fresh as ever, now almost 12 years into its glistening run on mainstream television: "Drag makes me f---ing happy," says contender Kahmora Hall, member of the legendary drag house that birthed season 11's sweet cyster Soju and reigning season 12 champion Jaida Essence Hall. This season comes at the right moment after this presidency, we're still going through a pandemic, we’re the pillars of life that people need."Read on for EW's exclusive interviews with the new cast.It’s a little on the nose for a Chicago-based queen to wear a T-shirt emblazoned with cartoon images of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly while painting her face for her first Drag Race interview, but don’t let her doll-like dressings fool you: Denali is all about the art of the switch. The art forms are so similar: Dramatic, sparkly, performative!”In addition to being a “major lesson in wig security” (Denali can perform flips and dives on the ice without her wig shifting an inch from her head), honing her skills on the ice gave her a confident leg up on the competition when she relocated to Chicago, a city with inspiring “diverse artistic expressions” and “club kid, pageant artistry,” but “not a lot of high-energy performers that know how to own a stage.” Soon after her arrival, drag mother Chamilla Foxx scooped her up after sensing her budding star, and together they streamlined Denali's talents without losing focus on her Mexican heritage. “I’m going to put that through my drag and express myself.” And, just like her, Denali feels season 13 is a pleasing fantasy on the surface, but will deliver a hard-hitting blow once the layers come off: “It was a testament to our resilience, because we came together and did that and competed while all of that was going on,” she says. Now that I’m in a good place out of drag, I’m in the best place in drag, and I’m going to kill this.”Gottmik, who uses male pronouns out of drag and female pronouns in drag, enters season 13 as the first trans man to compete on the American main stage, and the first transgender contestant to appear on a regular season of Drag Race since season 9’s Peppermint, and he doesn’t take the distinction — or the art form’s power — lightly. Once I got more comfortable with myself out of drag, my drag character was able to actually be my art, and that’s when I started taking it seriously.”Now, you’ll find him beating his face completely white (he’s inspired by spooky clowns, and even has grotesque images of them plastered around his apartment) as a canvas for the “weird and cool” because, such is life, “it’s the circus, bitch!” And in Gottmik’s ring, you’re getting full volume, comedy, and pure “psychopath” at all times. “I can play with this, and now it’s the best thing in the world.”If you’re trying to snatch Joey Jay’s wig, literally or figuratively, chances are you’re going to have pull a lot harder to uproot the tuft of neon locks sitting atop her head: For starters, “this is my real hair,” says Jay, who’s known for straddling the line between masculine and feminine, often without a wig. “I make sure my drag is always the glitz and glam, the razzle dazzle, because shine and sparkle never go out of style.”Her first experience with drag came at an early age, when she’d steal her mother’s shoes and wear them while she was out of the house (“I just didn’t know it was called drag!”), and she later committed to the art as a freshman in college. You’ve got to be born with it!”As far as aesthetics are concerned, she’s poised to keep those good genes — and the crown — in the family.In a real-life scene recalling her signature bop, New York City queen Kandy Muse is sitting alone in the V.I.P. Chatting virtually with EW between looks for the Drag Race season 13 promo shoot, she’s isolated from her cast mates in a sterile room all on her own, dreaming of a time when, “after Drag Race, we can all sit alone in the V.I.P. together” with the global coronavirus pandemic behind us.Before that, fans will get a “spicy” introduction to the rising drag superstar this year, as she promises to bring the peppy energy synonymous with her iconic lineage from the Haus of Aja, the disbanded collective founded by her drag mother, All-Stars 3 contestant Aja. “She was telling me, ‘Keep it in the family, go first!’ as a joke!”As Aja’s budding career as a rap star (and Dahlia’s subsequent cameo on nearly every episode of season 12 while dressed in her iconic broccoli outfit) proves, her drag family knows about staying power, and Muse’s eclectic approach to drag (“I do it all,” she says) will likely keep her in the game — and fans’ memories — for a long time to come.“I want people to know I’m coming into this representing a community of brown, POC gay boys back at home. I kind of was raised under all of these… I don’t want to say families, but different areas of drag,” she explains, noting that she’s only been a queen for three years, but has a lifetime of hard work put into the craft.Ri first became an entertainer at age 14, having studied choreography in music videos to teach herself the art. She then began formally training in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and more, laying the foundation for what she calls “The Lala Ri Experience,” which gives you “choreography down, a sexy look in a leotard — sorry Michelle — glamour,” and everything gorgeous that makes you feel like you’re “at a Beyoncé concert.”It’s a robust wall of talent even the almighty elements can’t dampen, as there’s a popular video circulating on Ri’s Instagram page showing her performing — twirling, twisting, jumping, and generally thriving as she adapted to the environment — in the rain at an Atlanta Pride event last year.“On this particular night, it started raining, and the kids came out for a show, so of course I’m going to still give them a show, even in the rain,” Ri says. “I love the drama, the wind machines, I’m a queen, but I’m not afraid to take it down a bit, be a little sultry, be a little jazzy, and then bring it up,” Lux says of her shows. I wouldn’t consider myself a pageant girl, but I consider myself a girl who’s good at pageants,” she says, reflecting on her Miss Paradise 2020 crown.The power she feels, rather, comes with the territory as a singer and drag queen. Automatically your voice is heightened, tenfold.”Here’s hoping she turns it up to 11 — on all fronts — across season 13.“The theme is: hideous,” Rosé — white-powdered from the chest up (and not much else) — excitedly says of her promo look, still in its early stages as she chats away about her life in drag. In drag and on stage, that’s the bitch right there,” she says, calling her signature facial and verbal contortions “Symoneisms” (partially inspired by Bette Midler’s performance in Hocus Pocus) that fans will soon grow to love. It’s not about the winning, it’s about the community coming together, because people got out of their beds and rushed to that venue to see me because I’m respected in the community.”Her season 13 sisters were well aware of — and slightly intimidated by — her name prior to the competition, but Iman says she provided a maternal energy as the girls bonded inside the Drag Race bubble, momentarily sheltered from the horrors of 2020, safe in mama’s arms.“Drag is like sugar. “Does that excite you?”Aside from her jock-y past (she used to play flag football and ice hockey), there’s plenty more to be excited about when it comes to this New York City staple, who admits she’s “auditioned [for Drag Race] more than I’ve had sex in my life.” The climax of her pursuit brought her right to the chaos’ doorstep: preparing for the most prominent drag competition in the world amid a global pandemic.“When I started drag in the past versus now, it’s such a different light, it’s so commercial and mainstream, it’s in every home in America,” she remembers. You see kids as young as nine or 10 saying ‘I’m a drag queen!’ Girl, if I tried that, I would’ve gotten hit, honey!”One thing Burner — who’s worked in New York for 17 years both as a bar manager, performer, and community activist — is going to assail a crowd with is quickfire wit. I try my very best to take people out of this world for at least a few minutes and put them into mine, and they’re a mixture of super kooky or sometimes they’re really spooky,” the drag performer says, often referring to herself as a conduit “being” (she’s a “Christian being,” a “tall being,” and possesses “special being skills”) at various points during our conversation. “I create an art installation on the stage and hold the audience by the balls by just standing there and delivering emotion and [lowers voice to a Satanic register] drama.”In essence, it feels as if Utica is many different people at any given time, bundled in an unorthodox package (yes, she’s this season’s “arty queen,” in case you haven’t guessed) that she’s able to adapt for diverse audiences.“I’m a childlike queen, I cater to lots of kids, I do kids shows….

As said here by Joey Nolfi