In perhaps the biggest nail-biter since the 2018 midterms, beloved three-time Drag Race contestant Latrice Royale was given the chop by Monique Heart on week four of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars season 4.
Having peaked early in the competition with her variety show act in week one and her (underrated) rapping in week two, Latrice began to stumble in week three during Snatch Game of Love with a performance that narrowly kept her out of the bottom two. This week didn't fare much better for the queen, who first won viewers over seven years earlier on season 4 and then again later that year on All Stars season 1.
"I'm watching Latrice keeping quiet and just kind of letting Monique steal the focus," Manila remarked of her bestie and All Stars season 1 partner, in a confessional. For the maxi challenge, queens put themselves in to teams and had their day of "Jersey Justice" in court.
"This was her chance to have her redemption from Snatch Game," Manila continued. "Latrice has to bring it times two -- times ten." Unfortunately, Latrice's character Anna Mae failed to steal the spotlight from her teammates Monique and Monet.
But everything seemed fine back in the workroom. "At the end of the day, who wants to send your ass home, bitch?" Valentina told her as the group got ready for the main stage
"You're so beloved," Trinity added. "If this is your time to be in the bottom, you ain't going home. Ain't nobody want you going home." When the bottom two was revealed, Latrice found herself there, alongside Monet, setting up a showdown between Latrice's All Stars season 1 sister Manila and Monet's season 10 sister Monique Heart, the winner's of the challenge. In the end, sisterhood prevailed when Monique clenched her first lip sync win, keeping Monet in the game and sending Latrice packing.
Here, we talk to her about the elimination, having her voter rights restored and what's next for her career.
I want to begin by highlighting what Monique said to you during your one-on-one. "The reason that this sucks is because you are who you are to me and who you are to so many other young black gay men." What did that mean to you?
Well... [long pause]... it's still a little overwhelming to hear that come out of people's mouths. I'm aware of what it means to a lot of people but even at this stage to hear it coming out of my peer's mouths, to hear how they feel about me, the way they know their close friends feel about me... it's amazing. I'm so conflicted with my one-on-one with Monique because she seemed distracted to me, like she wasn't really listening. So I was like, "was she really just giving me a line of shit because she knows she's about to send me home?" or "does she really mean this?" And so I was a little conflicted about whether or not she was being honest.
Can you share any memorable encounters you've had with young gay black fans over the years who expressed feeling represented by seeing you on stage or on the show? Do any specific ones stand out?
Several. It's real hard because religion plays a big part in the background of the black community and so coming up in that, your parents are really not here for this kind of lifestyle. Most young black gays are shunned and put out and don't have anyone to turn to. And for me, I'm that beacon of hope to let them know that they can make it through. Because I kind of separated myself away from my family as well to find myself. Sometimes you have to do that for self discovery. So I do have encounters with a lot of young black men in similar situations.
You seemed convinced that there was no way your group could be in the bottom. Were you surprised no one else seemed to feel that way?
I definitely did not feel like we were going to be in the bottom because I feel like we hit all of our marks but clearly they had some other view that I didn't. Clearly. I stand firm in the way I played my part. Someone has to play it straight. You have all this chaos going. I'm not going to add to the chaos. I'm not getting on their level. Ever. Professionally. In a challenge. In life. Never. I'm not going to do it.
I want to talk about your relationship with Valentina. You came for the size of her booty during week two and this week she cut you off during an emotional moment backstage to declare that she was deeply offended by the judges criticism. What do you make of the way Valentina is playing the game?
[Laughs] Valentina lives in her own telenovela which I am really entertained by now that I know her. I love anybody who can really fully commit and she commits. [Laughs] She is out there. And whenever she is feeling it, she has to feel the fantasy and I am not offended by her. She means no harm. I just know that it's about her; It's the Valentina show
You and I have spoken in the past about how this show changed your life, specifically with regard to the relationship with your family. Can you talk a little bit about this now?
Oh my goodness, like can we talk about how my family has embraced and was so 100% at my wedding? Never in my life had I ever envisioned the moment that we are having. Like our beautiful Christmas: [my husband] Christopher and I went to Atlanta and celebrated it with my brother and my sister-in-law and then his mom and step-dad were staying at our house by themselves. We flew them to Florida so they could have a little mini-vacation. There's so much going on with the growth and development with our families, it's beyond our wildest dreams. And they're all coming here to Knoxville today to see my show and it's become ... it's the dream. We don't really know how to process it because we are waiting for the bomb to drop [laughs] but everyone is loving each other, connecting on Facebook. The worlds have collided 100%.
Let's switch gears for a second and talk about the restoration of your voter rights with Amendment 4 in Florida. An incredibly moment for you, no doubt. I think a lot of people don't consider the number of LGTBQ+ ex-felons who are in similar situations to the one you were in. What do you want people within our community to know about this issue?
Please educate yourself! I was really surprised at the number of people who were like "That's a thing? That's really a thing, that you can't vote?" I was like, "girl, where have you been?" But that's part of it, it's not something that's out there and talked about on the regular. So I definitely am now encouraging and using my platform to encourage everyone to get out and vote and find what their role is in this. The whole point is, I didn't have a voice, and you all changed that because you could speak for me -- I couldn't at that time. So when they see tangible evidence of how it can work, it's going to pay off and we're going to see a big change in 2020 because I'm going to keep on!
You have been doing drag for 25 years, well before this show existed. How has the art form of drag changed since you first started?
When I was coming up it wasn't as inclusive as it has become, in my personal experience. I mean that as in gender. I mean that as in sexuality. Whatever. Now drag has become more than just a man dressing up as a woman. It has so evolved beyond that. And now it's for all ages. It's just amazing how people are finding and rediscovering themselves through drag, through the art, and they feel connected to the community of people who get it. And... I couldn't find shoes as easily before!
Who are you rooting for this season now that you're gone?
Okay, so you know Manila's my heart. So that's my heart. I am definitely team Monet if that don't work out. Those are my babies right there. Those are the ones I got my eyes on.
Anyone you became unexpectedly close with?
I already knew Monet but she's the one that I wanted to be closer to just cause I just love her so much. And now we just got off this 37 day tour together we've definitely gotten closer. That's my little boo boo. She reminds me of me, she really does.
What's next for Latrice Royale?
E-very-thing darling. I'm really really focused on trying to do more theatre, whether that's developing my own shows or producing a show. I also want to be on the silver screen. I want to do more scripted television. I want to do the gigs. I'm trying to go next level and really not be seen in the nightclubs anymore. I'm too old for that. You reach a time where you're like "Bitch, you're in a nightclub? You're almost 50 years old! Nah baby. You need to do something with your life." So that's why I'm trying to use this year to transition out of the nightclub scene.
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