Photography by M. Sharkey
“This year has been a roller coaster -- everything I’ve ever wanted has come true,” Needles says just after stepping off stage as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in a San Antonio, production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “I’ve pretty much crossed off everything on my bucket list.”
Since beating out her reality TV competition, Needles has become the drag queen equivalent of a household name, toured the country, made her stage debut, purchased her own hearse, and cut an album, set to be released in early 2013. If that wasn’t enough, Needles returned to TV in October with FEARce! a weekly horror movie show on Logo.
For all her newfound fame and celebrity appearances, though, it’s the music career that seems to most excite the Pride of Pittsburgh.
“I didn’t just want to do a single, I wanted to have a strong body of work,” she says of the forthcoming record, which is set to be titled PG-13. And once that drops? Needles is planning to take her act overseas before hanging up her broom for a bit. “Just maybe,” she says, “I’ll take a break and spend a little more time with friends and family that are missing the person behind the wig and corset.”
And while not everything about life in the spotlight has agreed with Needles -- “I wouldn’t change anything,” she says of her new life, “though I’ve definitely made my mistakes” -- she’s poised to learn from her blunders and give up her crown once RuPaul anoints a new winner.
“Nothing lasts forever,” says Needles. “Drag Race isn’t just a competition I took part in, it’s also my favorite television show of all time, so I’m looking forward to sitting in my easy chair and watching the tears, the fashion, and the cat fights.”
Photographed at the Dream Downtown Hotel in New York City on October 8, 2012