The premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 is nearly upon us. And, mama, I could not be more excited! RuPaul, the presiding Queen Mother of the “House of All Things Gay,” seems determined to take her empire to the next level. How that is even possible … I don’t know! But I can’t wait to find out.
My favorite queen/judge (and not the other way around), Ross Mathews, took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about “Drag Race,” the new crop of queens and the current landscape of LGBTQ representation in film and TV. Ross even agreed to do a special “Drag Race”-themed “Cross Examination” with me, where he may or may not have spilled some “tee” on RPDR’s most iconic queens. Check it out below and be sure to tune in to the premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on Vh1 this Friday at 8/7c.
Ross Mathews: Thank you. That wasn’t about me. That was about speaking to the kids. I don’t want them to hear his message. I want them to hear mine.
SC: Exactly. And that speaks worlds. It’s important to have people like you out there advocating for love and positive representation of LGBTQ people. So, thank you again.
RM: Thank you so much.
SC: With that said, let’s just jump right into it! Why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 and what we can expect.
RM: Well, you know this is my fourth season as a permanent judge and I used to watch the show from my couch and just talk at the TV. And now, I can’t believe that when I talk that they can hear me. You know? And season 9, I think, is bigger… is better… is bolder… and a whole different level than it’s ever even been. Which I didn’t think was possible? I just remember thinking during production like, “WOW! How did they up their game?” Because “Drag Race” has always been phenomenal and inspiring and jaw-dropping and OMG TV, but they’ve really somehow managed to surprise even me. And I was there.
SC: Amazing. Is there anything in particular that you’re super excited for people to see from season 9 or are you “lip-locked” on those details?
RM: Of course, I’m excited about Gaga! I’m thrilled about that. Also, one thing I really always wanted as a fan, was that I wanted to get to know the queens a little more before someone went home. Because I always felt the first eliminated queen sort of got the raw end of the deal. They got just a minute or two to show us what that had before someone had to go home. So, I felt at times that the first person to go, shouldn’t have been the first person to go. Because I met them later, saw them perform and saw that they a lot more tricks in their bag that I never got to see. So, this season, I’m really excited that in the first episode of the season we get a taste of each one of them. We get to know them.
SC: Excellent. Speaking of seeing more… As I’m sure you have noticed, the landscape of LGBTQ representation and characters in film and TV has changed quite dramatically over the past few years. Apart from “Drag Race,” are there any films or shows that have left an impact on you?
RM: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. I mean, “Moonlight.” That was a story that so many people I know can relate to and it just won Best Picture! I think our stories are being told more than ever and I think because of shows like “Drag Race.” I mean, look, we’re going from LOGO which is a great network that I watch all the time and now there’s other people looking at what LOGO is doing and saying, “Hey! Wait, wait… Let’s put it over here with an even louder megaphone.” And I think that is phenomenal. I think that’s just showing how mainstream we are. I think once people know us… They love us. And I think more people are knowing us than ever.
SC: Exactly. We’re super excited about the move over to VH1. The more people that this show in particular reaches the better, in my personal opinion.
RM: Yes! And it is going to reach some people who right now don’t know that they’re going to be huge “Drag Race” fans. Right now, they aren’t even thinking about LGBTQ issues. They are going to look at this show and think, “Look at these amazingly talented people. How could anyone ever hate them!”
SC: I couldn’t agree more. One of those talents that the queens of “Drag Race” always seem to have is coming up with incredible catchphrases that without fail spread like wildfire within the gay community and become part of the vernacular. What is your favorite catchphrase to come out of “RuPaul’s Drag Race?”
RM: Oh my God! Oh my God! There are so many… Are you kidding me?! I love “How’s your head?”
SC: No complaints!
RM: That one always makes me laugh. There’s so many. There’s the snapping of the tongue from Alyssa. There’s “Not today” Bianca. I mean, I use a phrase from “Drag Race” at least 10 times a sentence a day. Because I am only human. I mean, how can you not?
SC: Are you able to do Alyssa’s famed tongue pop?
RM: I haven’t really tried it but I assume I could. Hold on… Hold on… I’m trying it right now! [pop!] Yea! I’m good.
SC: Perfect. That was impressive.
RM: Thank you.
SC: It’s like one of our favorite things to do around the office here. We just kind of wander around and tongue pop at each other. It’s like a whole new way of speaking.
RM: It says everything you need to say. Absolutely. It’s like we’re in “Avatar!” We can sort of just click at each other.
SC: Shall we can just conduct the rest of this interview in tongue pops then? Joking. Shall we jump into the “Cross Examination” portion of the interview. But I’d like to twist it a little bit for you… a special edition, so to speak, in honor of the “Drag Race” premiere. So, I’ll list off a bunch of words and if you could say the first “RuPaul’s Drag Race” queen that comes to your mind. Sound good?
RM: Oh my gosh. OK. Yes, but we’re talking nine seasons and two seasons of “All Stars” so I mean… Hold on. I apologize if I forget people. That’s a lot of queens to keep track of. Okay. I’m ready.
SC: First queen that comes to mind you hear the word tongue pop?
RM: Oh, my God. Legend. RuPaul.
SC: I kinda figured you would say that. That’s a pretty safe answer.
SC: Is she standing behind you right now?
RM: I’ll never tell.
SC: First queen that comes to mind you hear the word diva?
RM: […] Violet Chachki!
RM: Latrice Royale!!!
SC: A personal fave.
RM: Yas! Me too… Are you kidding me?
SC: How about the word tilapia?
RM: Oh! A little fish? God, see I’m friends with them! […] Shangela! Because of her hilarious song.
RM: Oh, um… Valentina. That’s a deep track on season 9. Valentina!
RM: I mean this in a complimentary way, you understand. I’m not rolling my eyes. So, please put that in there. But “extra” would be Bianca Del Rio. She is just extra everything. And by the way… I want extra more! I want even more of it. Right?! Its like some pizza. Give me as much extra as you can!
SC: Extra meat. Extra cheese. Extra everything.
RM: Extra everything!
SC: First queen that comes to mind when you hear the word thirsty?
RM: […] Now, how dare you? How dare you, darling? We are serving “tee” today, but there’s nothing in the cup.
RM: No, no, no.
SC: No thirsty?
RM: Not answering thirsty.
SC: Fair enough. I should’ve mentioned at the beginning that you could pass on any of these.
RM: Thank you very much.
SC: First queen that comes to mind when you hear the word leather?
RM: Raven! I don’t know, I just love when she wears tights.
SC: Agreed. Also, I feel like her makeup has probably had the biggest impact on how some of these girls from the later seasons do their faces. She’s just an incredible painter.
RM: Yeah! I think Raven and Miss Fame.
SC: Absolutely. How about the word lace?
RM: Oh, someone delicate. Lace… Oh my. I’m trying to picture… Like lace-front? Lace is tough. I picture someone who is kinda classy and delicate and sweet. And that would be… um… OH! Your friend, Charlie Hides! Charlie is class all the way. Charlie was like First-Class-on-the-Titanic kind of class. That’s fancy. And that was not an age dig. FYI.
SC: Shout out to you, Charlie! She’s incredible. Now, do you think that is because she’s got the English background?
RM: She just gives me class all the way. And when I picture lace, I picture like doily. And that’s fancy. I like fancy. I like doilies.
SC: Right! That will conclude our “Cross Examination” portion of our interview. So, thank you very much for doing that.
RM: That was hard! That was the toughest part.
SC: So, why don’t you tell us little bit about what’s next for Ross Mathews?
SC: Before we wrap, is there anything else you’d like to say about “RuPaul’s Drag Race?”
RM: I’m so proud to be a part of this show, because of what the show stands for and because of who stands for the show. “Drag Race” fans are the best fans! And just know that I pay attention to every tweet and Facebook mention.
SC: All right, final question. Finish this sentence for me: “Come on, season 9, let’s get _____!”
Don’t miss “Fierce Fridays” with Ross Mathews and Wendy Williams coming at you live from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” screening parties. The show will air every week between commercial breaks and will feature special guests.
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