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Is Dawn the villain? Drag Race star spills the tea on being chaotic

Is Dawn the villain? Drag Race star spills the tea on being chaotic

Dawn on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16
MTV

“I was like, ‘I don’t want to be a villain. I’m not a bad person,’” Dawn tells Out in her exit interview for Drag Race season 16. “But then I was like, ‘Oh, it just means that I’m fun, chaotic television.’ Okay, why not?”

Straight from New York City, Dawn remained a fan-favorite and was a formidable competitor throughout her entire run on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16. And yet, she and Morphine Love Dion made it to the top 6 of the competition without winning a challenge, which culminated in their bottom placements and subsequent lip sync for your life to “Body” by Megan Thee Stallion.

Despite getting bodied by Morphine in that final lip sync, Dawn is just as optimistic, bubbly, and chaotic as when we first met her. During an exit interview with Out, Dawn opens up about her partner’s initial clash with her drag persona, reveals how she feels about the memes claiming that she’s the “real villain” of the season, and shares plans for her life and career after Drag Race.

Scroll through to read Out’s exit interview with Dawn, who you can follow on Instagram, X/Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch. You can also support Dawn by buying her merch on UpUntilDawn.net and/or booking a personalized video via Cameo.

Out: How would you describe your overall Drag Race journey?

Dawn: I would describe it as fulfilling, chaotic, and so f*cking fun.

The fans were immediately excited about you when the Meet the Queens of season 16 dropped. And you did extremely well throughout the competition… just, for some reason, it didn't happen for you to win a challenge. Was that a frustrating experience during the competition?

Honestly, while I was there, it wasn't frustrating. I was very much of the mindset, 'Have fun, go far.' Every week that I did not go home, I was just grateful to get to do the next challenge. I just wanted the opportunity to do everything that I could while I was there.

It started becoming a little bit tense at the end. When I realized that, if I wanted to make top four, I kind of needed to have a win. I had obviously been trying to get wins… but at that moment, it became a make-or-break moment. That's when it became a little frustrating. I was like, 'Oh, this might not happen for me.'

You had an immediate bond with Amanda Tori Meating when season 16 first started. But who would you consider your closest friend out of the people who are still left in the competition?

Sapphira [Cristál] was very much my rock during the whole show. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but we shared a station in the workroom. So every time that we were getting ready or going to the runway, she was always right there. She was someone that I could really talk to and express any insecurities that I was having, or just kind of run ideas by. She was always so kind and helpful and loving. She'd just give me a hug and call me her baby. She was always there making me feel better.

You may be surprised that me and Plane [Jane] were actually pretty good friends by the end of it. I found her as someone that I could kind of volley with and kind of have fun with. And also Nymphia. I don't know. Me and Nymphia, especially in those last couple of episodes, we started getting ready next to each other. I was around for a lot of the conversations that she was having about her childhood and growing up and stuff. I honestly love all of those top-six girls.

Speaking of Plane Jane, one of the funniest memes to come out of this season is the one joking that Plane is the 'villain of the show' and you are the 'real villain.' Have you been able to have some fun with these memes?

Oh my god, absolutely. I think the first time I saw it I was like, 'What?' But then I watched the episode back and I was like, 'Oh, yeah, duh.' To me, it's kind of about: what is a villain? At first, I was like, 'I don't want to be a villain. I'm not a bad person.' But then I was like, 'Oh, I don't think this means I'm a bad person. It just means that I'm fun, chaotic television.' Okay, why not?

I'm not sitting there bullying people, or getting in their heads, or being nasty. Not to say that Plane was doing that either. But I'm fine with that title because I know that my relationships with those queens are good. And my mom still loves me, so I'm happy.

Speaking of people who love you: we all thought it was adorable to see that emotional moment that you got in Untucked. Your partner came up and sent you a message. What was that moment like for you to experience while filming the show?

That moment was insane to me because, at that point, we were in the top seven and I wasn't carrying any weight. I knew that I was doing a good job, but kind of coasting a little bit. I just wasn't feeling important, I guess. I wasn't feeling relevant. I wasn't feeling like a main character. I was getting worried about how it would come off once it was airing, and if I would be seen as a present or likable person on the show.

At that moment, seeing him come on screen affirmed to me that I was still there. That I was still an important person on the set and that I had value, I guess. And then, obviously, there's the other side of it too: I was tired and drained. To have someone that I love so much, who supports me so much, sitting there talking to me, when I hadn't seen him in weeks… I mean, y'all saw. I just started crying instantaneously.

Your partner talked about meeting Dawn and not necessarily 'loving' Dawn at first. That was an interesting point of view that we don't usually hear! Like, the partners of the drag queens and what they go through. What has been your experience now watching the show with your partner?

I mean, the thing is that he didn't have an issue with Dawn when he first met Dawn. I'm not a raging b*tch in drag or anything [laughs]. What happened was… I'll give you a little more context. When I started auditioning for the show, I was so stressed and anxious. It became this thing where, whenever I was in drag, I was hyper-fixated on looking the best and doing a good job and being ready for the show and everything like that. It really got in my own way and started making me act out in that capacity.

So it wasn't that he hated Dawn. It was just that I was taking on this persona when I was with her. It wasn't even healthy for me, and most certainly not healthy for him. I mean, we squashed that beef I think maybe two nights after it happened, and then I made a point to change that behavior.

Watching it back with him has been so much fun. He thinks I'm great. He thinks I'm funny. But he also likes to give me sh*t, so when I'm being a little bit chaotic and evil, he'll give me sh*t for it. And it's great. He loves Dawn now.

So let's talk about 'Bathroom Hunties.' This challenge is similar to the design challenge of Club 96 on All Stars 4 and the hotel challenge on All Stars 5. It's a head-scratcher because you have to design this room, and host guests in it, and come up with special amenities and features and marketing ideas. What was going through your head doing a challenge that requires so many different elements and skills?

It makes sense why they keep that for the end, because that sh*t was hard! Especially because, like you said, there's so much that you have to juggle. You need to have the design of the room. You need to have the concepts for different things. You need to have a presentation and a full walkthrough. You need to have matching f*cking outfits… there's just so much going on.

I think that Nymphia [Wind] and I lacked a clear structure for all of it. We had the design down, but we needed something a bit larger that could have encapsulated everything that we were doing. We kind of just missed the mark a little bit.

What's next for Dawn?

Oh, god. It's crazy because, at this point, you reach your dreams of being on Drag Race, and then it feels like you have a world of opportunities. Sometimes you don't even know what to do with that. But I'm going to be touring around. I'm going to be in your city doing new things. Now that I have more time to devote to drag and not the day jobs, I want to just enhance my aesthetic and my drag tenfold. I'm also getting into the content game, so be on the lookout for my YouTube channel, and I want to start Twitch streaming too. I've just built such a great community of people who like me and like my vibe on Drag Race… I just want to keep doing it and having fun.

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 airs every Friday on MTV.

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.