UPDATE (06/01/2020): On season 12 of RuPaul's Drag Race, competition finalist Crystal Methyd won America's heart. Not only with her talent, but also undoubtedly through telling her own personal story and the way she treated her sister-competitors. If Heidi N. Closet hadn't walked away with the series' Miss Congeniality title, Methyd was certainly a shoe-in for it. But there was an aspect of her persona earlier in the season that caused some (including us) pause, her name.
As we pointed out in April, Methyd's name is a play on the drug "crystal meth" which has ravaged the LGBTQ+ community for some time. In her Werk Room debut, the star played on the name with a "party and play" joke. We reached out to ask about the origins of the name and was told she was unavailable. We then called for her to at least address it, given her new global platform. Now, the star has done just that in a new interview.
"That is a really hard question because I've had people talk to me about how they think that it's inappropriate — they don't think it's funny to make light [of] that situation," she told The Advocate. "I think when people say that there's a crystal meth problem in the gay community — it's not just the gay community it's the world, right? Especially where I live in central Missouri, it's one of the meth capitals. It is a huge problem. And so I just think that the reason I chose the name was because, in a weird way, I wanted to represent my community in a positive way. And although it's something that's like, obviously, really harmful and terrible to think about, it's also something that we do need to talk about and discuss and let people know that they can get help."
Methyd said that most expect something different from her as a performer because of her name. According to her the expectation is a performer who focuses on provocation and crudeness, whereas she likes to "dress up like a little princess and take pictures with kids," and create positivity. That's certainly been her legacy on the show.She went on to say that while some have criticized her for making light of the drug, other individuals who are in recovering have applauded it.
"I think that drag is supposed to be controversial, and so that is why the name is there," she said.
ORIGINAL (4/16/2020): RuPaul's Drag Race has gotten off to a pretty interesting start. The first episode was pretty strong with not only standout performances by the contestants but an amazing all-in judge with Nicki Minaj. Since, the season has also given us one of the best Rusicals in Drag Race herstory. But it hasn't always been great: there have been some sleepy episodes, and that one queen got disqualified before she ever premiered. But through it all, there's been one thing we've been waiting to happen that hasn't happened yet: we haven't addressed Crystal Methyd's name.
"Who's ready to party and play?" were Methyd's first words in her Werk Room entrance for this season. "Checkers anyone?" While for some viewers the line was a kitschy play on her clown-ish look, for many specifically LGBTQ+ viewers, this was a wink at the "pnp" euphemism that's commonly used on apps or over text. The phrase is a shorthand for doing crystal meth while hooking-up. For those who didn't get it completely, the point was underscored when Jackie Cox asked her about her name.
"Just Crystal?" Cox inquired.
"Crystal Methyd," Methyd responded. There's a resulting pause before Cox's "Oh!"
When asked for comment, representatives for Methyd said she was unavailable.
To be clear: this article is not calling for the "canceling" or "dragging" of any contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race. Crystal Methyd, and anyone for that matter, had a right to choose almost any name they want to do drag under. Drag has a history of politically incorrect names in fact, and that's totally fair. And who knows, maybe Crystal's name has more to do with the band Crystal Method. But when you're being broadcast on national television every night, and amassing a platform based largely on younger, often-times impressionable fans, operating under a moniker that seems based on a drug, currently ravaging the queer community deserves a statement of explanation at least.
In her Meet the Queens video on YouTube Methyd reveals what she says is how her name came about. According to the segment, she came up with the name Crystal and her friend gave her the idea for Method which she reworked. And while that's plausible, the performer is certainly leaning into the allusion to drugs.
We like Crystal Methyd, we really do! She's been turning out solid performances week-after-week and has a truly unique way of doing her face, which is rare on Drag Race. But if the judges are going to be questioning Heidi N. Closet on her name because of how you have to shape your mouth to say it ... there's better places to direct that energy.