Following every RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, the Observer gets the scoop from one of the contestants. Next up: Alyssa Edwards.
Let me see if I’ve got you figured out. You seem like you don’t care if people are laughing with you or at you. You just want everyone to have a good time. That sounds like a true entertainer. Have I gotten it right?
100% . Let me just say this. My best friend, we watched season five in her house with her children. I said, “Am I really like that?”
“Sun up to sun down,” she said. “That’s 100% you, Justin. You’re turnt up, on full blast and you only know one setting: on high. That is really you. You give your opinions.” I am my own biggest fan. I sometimes feel like it’s my world and everyone is just visiting.
Even though you didn’t go all the way in your season, I don’t think there are any Drag Race fans who don’t love you. Why do you think you’re so adored?
I think that maybe I’m just true to who I am. People know I like to laugh and have a good time. Even when I’m sassy, it’s still kind of stupid-silly. And I think when you watch the show, people feel a certain way about me, the best formula is be yourself and forget the cameras are on.
I was once asked, “Do you think this editing shows you as you really are?” I forgot there were cameras. They showed me sassy or bitchy or cuntilicious but above all I got to share a little bit of my world with the audience and that’s what so beautiful about this show. The series is more than a competition show, it’s more than gay men carrying on in wigs and high heels. It’s a journey of courageous stories. There just happens to be a $100,000 check waiting. It’s like the Super Bowl of drag, everyone has their favorite. And now we have social media so you can send a little tweet to the queens.
I’m very very pleased and proud of myself. I thought in season five, Damn, you could have done better. Well, I probably shouldn’t said that.
Everyone loves your expressions and screengrabs them. Do you play to the camera?
Sometimes I didn’t even realize. I’ll watch it and think What the hell was I doing? Now it’s funny. I was probably on the couch eating Fritos and bean dips and it’s like What the hell are you doing with your life? I’m about to get in makeup so I did things like that all the time.
Is there still a chance of your show Beyond Belief happening?
Absolutely. We kind of revamped the sizzle reel and we are waiting for someone to check yes and get it on the air. Beyond Belief is so amazing. It’s so interesting to me that people are into my drag, but what I do at that studio is really the pride and joy of my life. It’s the greatest accomplishment and greatest reward I ever received. I got dance dads, not just dance moms. It’s legendary. Fingers crossed someone in 2016 says they want to see this, because I’m about ready to make this into a web series.
Alaska was your partner in the last episode. Did she give you any clues she was sending you home?
No, but I think it’s the name of the game. Survival in this drag island, you better fend for yourself.
Let’s talk about Santino telling you that you had the worst dress ever during season five.
I thought Is he for real? I got my good rhinestones, my jewels, my pumps, my dress is tailored, serving Dancing with the Stars Latin realness. I think he was having a moment.
I have to know: What were you like as a kid?
Socially awkward, introverted and shy. Very shy. I was a hyper little kid. I had two different personalities. In my house, with my siblings, I was exactly what you see now. But in 7th grade I was asked if I was gay. This boy on the bus flipped his wrist up and then flipped it down limp, and asked if I was like this way or that way. I associated that with dance hands, so I said I do both. I’ll never forget that. They started telling people that I was gay. My sister asked if I told a group of guys that I was bisexual but that wasn’t what I was thinking at all. From that point on, I shut down. The more I talked, the more it was always, ‘Are you gay? Are you a boy or are you a girl?’
One of the most touching moments in all the seasons was when your dad appeared on the monitor and asked for forgiveness for not accepting you. What is your relationship with him like now?
I think forgiveness is the most powerful emotion, and I have forgiven him. I truly have. We’re trying to build a relationship but that’s hard. Let me say that he is a great grandfather to his grandkids.
Last question. What, officially, makes someone a Gila monster?
Ha, ha, ha! When you wake up and you are so rotted that beyond being a disgusting human being, you’re beyond monster, you’re past monster status. Then you’re a Gila monster. It’s like on airlines, you’re platinum, and then there’s executive platinum. You gotta earn that level of status in the monster category.
Thanks so much, Alyssa.
Just remember to tell everyone: It’s not personal, it’s drag
It’s not personnel.