Warning: This story contains spoilers from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 episodes 1 and 2.
It’s time. It’s time we talk about Silky Nutmeg Ganache who has, in the span of two episodes — OK, it was clear from the first half of the first episode — become the polarizing personality of the season. And in a line-up of 15 queens, including the notoriously loud and outsized personality of Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (but now, without our cyst-er Soju), that’s quite a feat.
Ganache’s strategy for this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is seemingly simple: come in like a wrecking ball. She said as much from her own lips when she ran through the workroom with guest judge Miley Cyrus on her back in episode one. She knows how to redirect attention to herself at a moment’s notice and has no problem doing so (ATTITUDE CHECK!!). And people — queens and followers of the show — quickly caught on that this seemed to be more than simply someone with personality, it was a vie for camera time. This week, that idea was brought to the attention of the show’s namesake.
This week’s mini-challenge featured the queens in “quick drag” shooting cameo appearances for celebrity- and politician-laden stock photos. Ganache and Brooke Lynn Hytes won, making them the two team captains for an acting maxi challenge in which queens shot parody films. But it was it was in the workroom where Ru got the tea.
While checking in with the teams, Ru asked Hytes’ group about the other queens. “I feel like there’s a lot of personality over there and it might clash,” Ariel Versace said. The rest of the group agreed.
“Who on the other team is problematic?” Ru probed. Going from “a lot of personality” to “problematic” is … a trip, but one we have certainly signed up for!
“I think their team captain is a little bit problematic,” Versace admitted. “She’s very loud, she has a big personality, and I feel like, at this point, that she’s not going to let anybody else on her team shine over her. So they might be in trouble.”
“She knows she’s on TV and she’s going to get her moment “ Hytes added. “When we were in with Miley she picked her up and put her on her back and ... it’s just a lot.” The cross talk after was mostly the rest of the team agreeing with the assessment.
“Are you all trying to one up her in the attitude department?” Ru asked, to a resounding “No.” “Well you might want to think about it!”
“I just think there’s a difference between having a strong personality and being obnoxious,” Versace said. Which, valid! There certainly is. Although more than one person has gone viral for being that obnoxious person online. And we all know, if you play it right, going viral can be financially beneficial.
Now enter RuPaul, “The Bone Collector” LLC. Sheree Whitfield is shook.
“[The other team is] saying that you dominate all the conversations and they can’t get a word in edgewise and you suck the air out of the room,” Ru tells Ganache later when checking in with her team. Listen, this is reality television. We love mess. But after turning the comment into a joke, Silky responded to the critique that she might not play well with others.
“Certain people have a perception about me at this point,” she said, essentially brushing off the notion and asserting her master’s degree in organizational leadership. “When business comes, I’m going to go handle business, but when it’s time for pleasure, I’ll have pleasure.” But she went further when alone with just the queens:
“I’ma let y’all bitches know, I’ma be here and be loud as hell … fuck you hoes.”
Ganache is completely in control of what is happening with her on the show — well besides that aborted whiteface look. She understands what she’s doing and how it will be perceived. There is a reason she made it onto the show, reportedly on her first attempt. And though she has been caught up in controversies, like recently making a “joke” that invoked Islamophobic ideas, she isn’t casting around aimlessly; Silky Nutmeg Ganache understands that Drag Race is a competition as much as it is a reality television show and she’s playing both. (Gia Gunn played the reality show part perfectly in All Stars 4, as a decidedly different character.) And whether you like Ganache's tactics or not, she’s playing to win.