It’s a necessary but sad truth that someone has to be the first to sashay away on RuPaul’s Drag Race. This time around it was the firecracker Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, who had soundbites for days and comes from Drag Race royalty.
Don’t worry, she’s not mad. She knows that with the mainstream success of a show like Drag Race, so too comes the success of everyone on it willing to put in the work.
OUT: How would you describe your overall experience on the show?
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo: It was amazing. A lot of people audition, a lot of drag queens, and to me, in my eyes, it’s the best thing you can do. It puts you in the mainstream and it’s the Olympics of drag. The fact that I got to be on the show is a blessing and to be noticed and recognized was a proud moment of mine.
What would you change if you got the call to come back for All Stars?
I would make sure my silhouette was correct and I can give Michelle what she asks for [laughs]! I do know how to sew, but the challenge was to make things out of 99 cent shit, and I don’t use 99 cent stuff. I liked my look but I would have tweaked a couple things.
What was it like to be mentored by Alexis Mateo?
It’s amazing. To have Alexis as my drag mentor and drag mother is a badge of honor. She is someone that takes this seriously, this is her career. She does pageants, she’s an amazing entertainer and role model and she’s such a businesswoman. She’s the one who showed me all the ropes taught me everything.
What did she say to you after your elimination?
She told me not to be upset and that this is just the beginning. The race is not getting on the show, the actual race is after and what you do with it and how do you make yourself popular. She said look at Laila McQueen. She was in a double elimination, she went home early, and she had a rough time on the show, but she’s one of the most popular from her season. She works circles around some of the girls from her season. It’s not about what you do on the show that’s going to define you.
What advice would you give to girls auditioning for future seasons?
Be yourself, don’t stress, and if the time is right you’ll make the show. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make it the first time. Mayhem auditioned since season two I believe, and she made it in season 10. Don’t get discouraged and give it your all.
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Thursdays at 8/7C on VH1.