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Known for her tongue pops, exuberant quirks, and -- shhh! -- back rolls, Alyssa Edwards is one of the brightest rhine-stones to have ever glitzed up the RuPaul's Drag Race work room. Having tucked away successful runs on Drag Race season 5 and All Stars 2, the pageant-y fave is doing a whole new reveal in this month's Netflix docu-series Dancing Queen, which centers on her de-dragged alter-ego of Justin Johnson and his longtime gig as a children's dance teacher in rural Texas. We checked in to see what happens when the lashes and glitter come off.
Am I speaking to Alyssa or Justin today?
'Cause I do live that Hannah Montana double life. Today you are speaking to Justin Johnson. Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson. I don't know why I said my entire name!
Very Southern of you. Did the dance moms in your show know you did drag?
No one at the studio knew I did drag! I was afraid of being judged and I didn't want my coaching to be affected by my personal life. I've given my all to these kids, and worked so hard. I built this studio out of a garage, and dance and teaching are all I've ever known, so I never wanted that compromised by anyone who was small-minded.
What happened when they found out?
When the promo dropped for season 5 back in 2013, the phone started going off. I walked into a room and you could hear a pin drop -- it was almost like The Twilight Zone. Then somebody said, "Well everyone in here has been thinking it, so I'm just going to say it: Justin, just when we thought you couldn't be more talented, you outdid yourself. We're proud of you." I started crying!
What advice would you give to to dance moms or dads out there?
Oh, lord. Dear dance moms of the world: Pay on the first! Because we're not waiving the late fee! Allow the coach to coach your child. Pick up a hobby. Grab a book from the local book store. Sit your ass in the car.
If you could pick one of Queer Eye's Fab Five to makeover into drag, who would it be?
I'd have to do an evaluation. I think the battle would be between Jonathan Van Ness and Tan France. Jonathan's drag name would be Johanna. "Please come downstage, Johanna! You're the first contestant!" Joining her will be Tan as Miss Tonsondra. "The time has come for the top two to please step forward!" It's going to be between them and they're going to have to audition for me.
And what song are they lip syncing to?
No, no, no. I don't need to see them lip sync, honey. I need to see that walk. I need to see that strut. I need to see their confidence. 'Cause let me tell you, you're going to have to have confidence in your gig, and in your career, before I paint that mug. If you don't have confidence, you can't be no queen. You carry yourself like a queen first and then you attract the crown. And that's the story.