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Drag Race's Morphine wants to prove that Miami is a certified drag capital

Drag Race's Morphine wants to prove that Miami is a certified drag capital

Morphine Love Dion on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16
MTV

Plus, the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 star tells Out that she’s collaborating with Aja for her potential return to the ballroom scene.

Morphine Love Dion had a great run on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16, but that journey came to an end in episode 13 when she had to lip sync for her life against Sapphira Cristál and was asked to sashay away from the competition.

Throughout the season, Morphine was the queen of confessionals, proved herself to be a lip sync assassin, and delivered one of the most stunning and polished mugs in Drag Race herstory. In her exit interview with Out, Morphine reflects on her trajectory on the show, the impact she’s already had in the Miami drag scene, and her plans to turn the 305 into a bona fide “drag capital” that is well-recognized by fans from across the country and around the world.

Scroll through to read Out’s exit interview with Morphine Love Dion, who you can follow on Instagram, X/Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. You can also support Morphine by buying her merch on MorphineLoveDion.com.

Out: I like to start zooming out a little bit and asking a big-picture question. How would you describe your overall Drag Race experience?

Morphine Love Dion: 11 out of 10. 11 out of 10. Both filming and while it’s been airing, just amazing. An amazing experience, honestly.

Like you, I also live in Miami, and I have to say: when the cast of season 16 was revealed, your name was the only topic of conversation between the Miami Gays. ‘Morphine is finally on Drag Race’ was the only conversation to be had. What’s been your experience getting this reaction from your very own people, the 305 gays?

My god! It’s like, not to be that girl, but I was always a little bit of a local celebrity here. So the fact that it’s even on a bigger scale… it’s just insane. I feel like when you’re someone that is prominent in a local drag scene and you get a big win like that, you forget that you’re actually representing an entire city.

All I wanted to do on Drag Race was to just represent my city in the best way, and I feel like I kind of did that. And now when I’m out on the streets. It’s just like, ‘Wow.’ I feel like J-Lo coming back to my city, my hood [laughs]. So the love has just been immense and amazing. I’m a Miami girl ride or die, no matter what. Even if I move or go anywhere, Miami will always be home and my city.

You brought up on the show that your family, here in Miami, still don’t know that you do drag. Do you have any update on that?

They still don’t know! I’m actually in the process of moving… which, funny enough, is really close to my family’s house. But that’s because Latinos, we love to stick together, right? We love to cram 700 people in one house. We love to do that, you know what I mean?

Oh, yes. I completely know what you mean [laughs].

So I’m moving into a cute little house. I think, little by little, it’ll start to come out. But as of now, it’s something that I’m not ready to do yet.

Are you moving up to Broward or are you staying in Dade county?

Hialeah! I think I even said on the show, ‘From Hialeah to Hollywood.’

I was gagging during the lip sync between you and Mhi’ya [Iman Le’Paige]. We had our two Miami girls, both great lip syncers, literally lip syncing for their lives. And then Mhi’ya throws her dress skirt on you, and you just fling it away, which was such a fierce move. What did that feel like? Did you take it as just a lip sync stunt, or were you actually annoyed by it?

My immediate reaction was, ‘Why is everything pitch black? Did I just go blind? What happened? Did I pass out?’ And then it clicked that Mhi’ya was playing dirty. But we come from Miami. Miami girls, we play dirty, especially me being from the ballroom scene, just like her.

I used to walk face, back in the day, in the ballrooms in Miami. And that’s how we do. We try to play dirty to our other opponents so that we could outshine them. That’s just how it is in the ballroom scene, and I feel like people don’t understand that.

I feel like a lot of Drag Race fans complain about drag queens taking away from the ballroom scene without giving it credit. But I feel like this time around, we actually brought that to the main stage. I didn’t get bothered. I thought it was funny and crazy. We were fighting, honey.

Speaking of your connections to ballroom scene, were you ever a part of a house? What are your connections to the scene?

I used to be a part of the House of Lords when they did ballroom. They used to do ballroom a lot, so I used to go to all the events back in the day and got my feet warm in the ballroom scene. I always walked face categories.

When I left the house, I was kind of 007, but I wasn’t really walking. Now I’m an honorary Gucci member, but I’m also in talks with Aja about possibly doing something. I can’t talk about it too much, but you might see me again in the ballroom scene, honey.

Morphine and Aja — that connection makes me very, very happy. And excited!

Yeah. Aja might be my ballroom mother very soon. That’s all I’m going to say.

You got very close, but you weren’t able to win a maxi challenge this season. So you get to the top five, and it must feel like an uphill battle for you to move forward in the competition, like a do-or-die situation. What was your mindset going into this makeover challenge?

The makeover challenge is something that, even before I ever auditioned for Drag Race, it was like, ‘I’m going to win that challenge no matter what. I’m winning that challenge.’ But it is what it is. It was what it was. I feel like I didn’t do bad in the challenge. My partner Miguel [Rivera Laureano] looked beautiful and stunning and gorgeous.

But I ended up having to lip sync again. That’s just the way the cookie crumbled. At the end of the day, I feel like my artistry was still shown in the best way possible, as far as my makeup and the makeover. I feel like I’m happy with how it went down. At the end of the day, it is what it is…

…Diana Ross was in The Wiz.

My mindset going into the challenge was, ‘B*tch, you better f*cking win and make top four.’ But it didn’t happen, so that’s that.

You looked like you had a great dynamic with your makeover partner. You were even getting a little flirty, I don’t know! How was that actually playing out in the werk room?

Oh my god, how embarrassing! [laughs] That is my man, I’m sorry. I know he’s married to a beautiful, beautiful French woman… but we were there for 5,000 weeks, girl. Seeing a man of that stature, I just couldn’t help but fall in love. I feel like maybe that’s why I lost! I was just so distracted. I was so distracted.

I think you just cracked the code, Morphine!

I literally was so distracted. Just helping him get together… talking about it again, it just makes me go back to that moment. Okay, I’m going to message Miguel.

Now that you have this huge platform from Drag Race, what’s next for Morphine?

I’m working on a lot, a lot of things. Music, maybe some makeup stuff that I can’t talk about… but my main goal, honestly, is to uplift Miami in a way that it’s never been lifted to before.

When you go to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, they always have packed events where people just appreciate drag. Here, it’s so touristy that we don’t have that. Hopefully season 17 will have even more Miami girls. I want to build up Miami to a big drag capital, you know what I mean? It already kind of is, but I want it to become even bigger than it’s ever been.

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.