Now, Delta Work, who did RuPaul's hair for seasons 9 through 11 after competing in season 3, is speaking out about her experiences (something that she previously discussed on the Race Chaser podcast).
"The reason you called me isn’t because I’m the best at what I do, it’s because I’m the best at keeping my mouth shut," Work said in a new interview with Joseph Shepherd on YouTube. "They weren’t hiring a new hairdresser and a new makeup artist for RuPaul, they were hiring a new best friend for RuPaul and that’s what they needed."
How did Delta Work get the job doing RuPaul's hair?
Delta Work on Drag Race Emmy's Snafu (Part 1) - From the latest episode of "Exposed" on YouTube. Link in Bio
In 2017, RuPaul's Drag Race made the jump from Logo to VH1, solidifying the growing show. It was big news, with Lady Gaga appearing for the premiere. But behind the scenes, there was also a big shift as, within the first episode, Mathu Andersen, a star who had previously appeared in music videos for Janet Jackson and Gwen Stefani as well as being a creative producer on the series, ended his working relationship with RuPaul. The decision caused a scramble, leading one of the producers to call up Delta Work, explain the situation, and ask if she could come to set to take on the job.
"When I went into it, I didn't know who the makeup artist would be," she explains to Shepherd. The makeup artist ended up being Raven, who still works with RuPaul today. "We were going right into an episode. There were no conversations about what's to be expected, really. We're just going to learn as we go." According to Delta Work, she was provided with a bin of wigs that she styled with very little direction.
"My directive was just keep it off my face," she says. "Keep it big. Keep it off my face. Cheat it for the camera. That's where we're going to go and then we'll move on from there." The stylist also says that they were given very little feedback during the season from producers. But once the episodes began to air, they got a better sense. Working on the show led to flying to Europe to shoot for the famed Pirelli calendar, as well as a series of commercials.
"This is a person who is not just a drag queen but the queen of drag and has been used to just one person — always working with that person," Delta explains. That, in part, meant figuring out these new relationships and the boundaries of them.
What was the Emmys drama with 'Drag Race,' Mathu Andersen, and Delta Work?
Delta Work on Drag Race Emmy's Snafu (Part 2) - From the latest episode of "Exposed" on YouTube. Link in Bio
In an incident that has been publicly discussed before, namely by Willam, the 2017 Emmys were just as crazy as season 9. The series was nominated for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special. But as the award is based on a specific episode, the nomination was for the "Oh. My. Gaga!" episode, which Mathu Andersen was on set for. Instead, Delta Work was named in the nominations originally. After criticism from Willam, Delta's name was removed and no head hairstylist was named.
In 2018, the show was nominated and won the same category for season 10, with Delta Work being named as RuPaul's personal hairstylist, meaning she had won her first Emmy. For her acceptance speech, she dedicated her Emmy to Andersen. The show was also nominated and won for season 11, but Delta's name was not included, even though she did do RuPaul's hair for the season.
"I was no longer working with the production company so my name wasn't put forward," Delta explains. Between the time of filming and when the awards were announced, she was let go from her role. "I wasn't put on the Emmy and I wasn't allowed to go to the ceremony." She tried to mount a campaign to be added, going to the president of the Academy himself, but nothing helped.
"The production company can put on or remove anyone they want from the award," she reveals. "So they were within their rights, but they were not ethical."
Why is Delta Work no longer working with RuPaul?
As we pointed out in 2020, RuPaul changed up her drag circa RuPaul's Drag Race U.K. season 1 and AJ and the Queen. In particular, she brought on Curtis William Foreman to do her wigs. And while it hadn't been exactly clear why, now Delta Work has laid it out on the line.
When the production of AJ and the Queen was starting up, according to Delta, she was asked to do hair not only for Ru but for other players as well. Most of the production was with Warner Bros. as opposed to World of Wonder.
"The idea was you need to become part of the union in order to be a part of this show and while you're on the show, you will be doing hair on extras," she says. "And I said 'I don't do hair on extras, I do hair for the star of the show and then I'm done.' And I'm not trying to be fucked up but I'm already in my mid-40s, I know what I want." The decision caused a rift, as Delta wanted to use her other time to do other jobs while production wanted her on set every day for filming. Instead, Foreman was hired for the series. But Delta Work still reached out to Ru directly to see what she should prepare for Drag Race U.K. The response she got back was simple.
"Hey D, AJ has me busy. Working with Curtis from now on. Let you know if I ever have extra work," was Ru's email according to Delta.
"That's when I realized I could always have respect for the image of the supermodel, I always will, but I question the ethics of a person like that," she says.
Are Delta Work and Raven close after working on 'Drag Race?'
According to Delta, she and Raven were not really close behind the scenes. She says Raven once told her that they were not a duo package, and that they each needed to stand on their own.
"I haven't spoken to Raven since the Emmy that I won," Delta reveals. "I don't think there's a fractured friendship. I think there's a reality to people who see you but don't see you and I understand that I'm one of those people who is not really seen. That's a really tough part , just for life in general for me, is when you overestimate your importance to someone. That's sad. That is the fool, to me. I do feel like the fool in many ways. But I'm fine with it."