It's been months since RuPaul blessed us with a new season of Drag Race, but it was truly worth the wait in the end. (If you didn't catch the first episode last week, don't even worry about it because SPOILER: All 12 queens are still in the running to become the next lip sync assassin.) But before you pick your favorites, Cosmopolitan met with the whole cast to get to know them better and found out which queen is extremely obsessed with water, which named themselves after a backpack (who says there are no new ideas?), and which one has the attention span of a goldfish.
Meet the new queens from episode two, airing tonight
How I got my name: I chose it because my first name starts with A and my last name ends with Z. Just like drag and the queer community, it covers both ends of the spectrum, so I wanted to represent that.
Dream lip sync battle: I would love to lip-sync to one of my go-to artists, which is Marilyn Manson. There's never been a song like that on the show. And pair me up against Sasha Velour. She's very that actress on stage, she loves to show a lot of facial expressions like I do.
What viewers should take away from this season: I really hope going into this election year and all of that and the politics of it all, that this can be a season that really pushes that message of everybody's safe at RuPaul's.
How I got my name:I got my name from the "Black Dahlia," cause I love the whole storyline. And then I had a party where we did the seven deadly sins and I just kept Sin as my last name.
I take inspiration from: My idol is Rihanna. I love everything she does. Most of my references are from her, and I'll just try to make it my own because I like to put a twist on it... I like when a queen can be kinda silly with their outfits, meaning you like to make it fashion but there’s some little tweak in it where it’s comedic.
JAIDA ESSENCE HALL
How I got my name: I had a random weird day with my friend and she had me throw on this little wig and was like, "You would be Jaida if you were a woman." And then my boyfriend told me that I'm the essence of beauty, so that's where I got the Essence part. Hall comes from my drag mother. She passed away, unfortunately. She was a major influence in my life... I felt like I owed so much to her that I wanted that to be a part of my name and who I was.
What motivated me to audition: There was something more that I want from drag and I was kind of fearful to reach out for it. But I finally got over it and I feel like I deserve to be at the top of what it is we do on Drag Race. I'm like, girl, Drag Race is the top of drag right now. There are so many avenues you can take outside of Drag Race to be successful, but I really felt like being on this show could open so many doors for me.
How I got my name: I normally go by Jansport. I just looked at a backpack one day drunk in McDonald's and said if I ever do drag, this is it.
My approach to drag: I like to say that Jan is the girl next door plus so much more. I like to give off this femme facade most of the time when I'm in drag, but I also like to do spooky and scary things and keep people on their toes.
The skills I was most excited to use: I am a performance-based queen and that's where a lot of my drag comes from and is inspired by. Every season there's a "Snatch Game" and there's musicals and dancing and stuff, so that's what I'm looking most forward to.
ROCK M. SAKURA
How I got my name: Rock M. Sakura is actually from Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. When I started doing drag, my arms were a lot bigger than a lot of the other queens. It was like a tiny, tiny head and big arms. And I love toys, so I thought Rock M. Sakura would be a good name. Sakura is also Japanese for cherry blossom, so Sakura could mean pink. Anime heroins always have hair that is a different color than everyone else’s, so I wanted to be the main character in anime. That was my life.
I was most nervous about: I was totally worried about the acting challenges because I have the memory of a fish, like a full-on goldfish. Like, you can tell me anything and I will forget it in two seconds.
On being compared to Kim Chi: I have a rare disease where I wake up every day and I think that I’m Kim Chi from season 8 of Drag Race. It hasn’t been an easy life, but I’m persevering. I knew people were going to compare me to Kim Chi all the time when I had an anime aesthetic and I’m also eight feet tall. Part of that is, you know, what you’re getting into going into a competition, but people will change their minds once you really shine.
How I got my name: I originally started drag as Amber Glamour Pussy, and that was rough. I stopped doing drag for a while, but when I got back into drag, I wanted something funny, a little vintage. So, Pie. What's more American than Pie? Nothing! And I’ve always been obsessed with the 1950s and the aesthetic as well as the aesthetic of everything being one way, but not so much behind closed doors. It was so much about the facade, and I love that.
What motivated me to audition: I love the idea of the colosseum of drag and walking into everyone screaming and going off. I also like sharing the art that we love with other artists who love what they do. Yeah, it’s a competition but it’s still such a safe space. I love the idea of drag excellence and showing what we can do. We get a great platform to talk about some real issues like mental health.
Meet the queens from episode one
How I got my name: My original name is Brita Filter, but we couldn't use it because we didn't want to get sued. Now it's just Brita, but I'm definitely anything but pure. I'm the queen of water sports when I drink too much, which is all the time. And I'm Polynesian, so it just felt really appropriate to have like a water-ish based name to represent my Polynesian-Hawaiian brothers and sisters.
What motivated me to audition: I'm a New York City drag queen, so I love my community so much. Bringing so much heart to my performances and helping people escape at night for a couple of hours when they've had a rough day [matters to me]. I really just wanted to bring my light and my passion for what I love to do to everyone else in the world. And I wanna make more money!
What viewers should take away from this season: I feel like a lot of things are very political and we're going in a very patriotic way [this season]. Drag is incredibly political—especially with it being an election year. We're kind of spokespersons for our community because we have a show almost every night and we have a microphone in our hand, so I feel like we have a responsibility to speak up for those who don't have a voice and to make sure that those people are heard, especially for everyone in our community and our transgender brothers and sisters.
How I got my name: I'm from Springfield, Missouri. There's a lot of drug problems, so I just wanted to represent my hometown in a positive, fun, crazy, way. It's like yeah, I feel like my name is a little bit edgy sounding, but I'm very wholesome.
What motivated me to audition: I had a full time job before and did drag on the side. I just became so obsessed with it and spent everyday at work just sketching out my ideas and planning it and always day-dreaming. I always felt like I was good, but you want to prove that your art is at the level of who you admire. I [was like] if I get on it, I'm gonna quit my job, and I can have this new life. And here we are! It's crazy.
My favorite thing about being in the drag community: I have never been super knowledgeable about politics and stuff, but one of my favorite things is going to community events in drag, taking pictures with kids, and just being seen. In Springfield, lots of people don't even know what a drag queen is, so [I like] just showing people that. "Hi, I look very scary but I'm really nice." We're just here to spread love.
How I got my name: Mine comes from my boy last name that just has two G's in it. And then Goode comes from season 3 of American Horror Story. Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson's last names are Goode, and I'm just obsessed with witches.
I take inspiration from: I don’t have really any inspiration from Drag Race necessarily, but one of the queens that definitely changed the trajectory of my drag after I saw her on the show was Violet Chachki. Violet really changed from having strictly fashion and turning it into camp and having such a tailored element to that. So for my own drag, I am cooking up my own inspiration and camp-y references. I just want it to be stupid.
The toughest part of the show: [The critiques] because that’s not something that you’re used to at home. There, you just get praise. It’s so bizarre to stand on stage and be told “you’re terrible” and [get] critiqued.
HEIDI N CLOSET
How I got my name: Mine comes from a joke from back home. I lived in a small country town and there was a bunch of closeted men and they would always hit on me and try and flirt with me. Being the proud open gay man that I was, I'm like, "There's no need to be hiding in the closet." Then I did my first drag show a month later and they were like, "What's your name sweetie?" I'm like, Heidi N Closet.
What surprised me most about the show: It was cold in there. I thought I’d be able to walk around in booty shorts, but it was booty shorts and sweaters.
Going in, I was most confident about: Nothing. But now I feel vindicated and rejuvenated, darling. [I'm leaving] a fully realized woman.
How I got my name: It was just a character that [my friend and I] made up. It was just a voice we used to pretend to do because we were in theatre school. And when I started to do drag years later, I was like, "Oh, that could be my drag name." And it wasn't until years later that I realized that it could be something sexy that you could do with your friend and your hand—or an acquaintance, you know. With consent, you could be Jackie Cox.
The skills I was most excited to use: I love improv. Because I approach my drag from a storytelling perspective, that's what improv is. Or listening to each other, I love that as well. Anything improv and acting is what I like.
What motivated me to audition: Being someone of Iranian heritage and wanting to put a face to this [drag] when I didn't have that as a kid. I never really wanted to be famous in the sense of I didn't want to walk out and [have people] be like, "That's Jackie!" But I did want to be able to tell my story to as many people as I could. Through my art, I get to do that and tell a personal story of what it means to be someone whose family is from a country that's literally banned under this current administration. That's a big reason I need to do this now—before the election—to put a face to all of these things you hear about in the news and how it really affects people.
How I got my name: I chose my name because I’m basically a bipolar Barbie, because she has different faces, so I wanted to have a very generic name like Nicky and Doll to change personality.
I was most nervous about: As a French queen, it was competing in English and definitely improv because you have to jump on your feet very quickly. Anything that involved spontaneity worried me. You are surrounded by 12 other very witty bitches and you need to be wittier than them.
What motivated me to audition: I come from a very small country compared to the U.S., where the drag culture is almost non-existent. After learning on my own and moving to the U.S., the next step was to go on this show because it’s the ultimate goal for every drag queen in the U.S. In France, you don’t really do drag for that because you can’t. And I can help shed light on the drag culture in France because the girls are spending more money than they are earning over there.
How I got my name: My name started as Black Widow. For two years, no one would call me Black Widow because they thought calling me “Black” would be wrong, so they just called me Widow. So I thought I needed a last name. In 2007, when we liked her, I got part of my name from Kat Von D. In 2020, we don’t like her, but my name has been this way for 13 years. And the Du part comes from Erika Von’Du.
What motivated me to audition: I wanted more Midwest representation, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I also wanted my city and state to stop making me feel bad that I wasn’t the first one [from Kansas City] to go on. I didn’t go on before Monique [Heart], but I’m like, "Stop hating on our sister." I was happy for her.
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