The whole "It Gets Better" campaign might've been bullshit -- reflecting a narrative that doesn't always ring true if you're not a cis white gay dude from a middle-class background -- but it does get less stupid.
That seems to be the message of Grown & Sexy, premiering Friday, January 4, on VH1. A talking head "survival guide" to thriving in your 30s, the show features famous people like Blac Chyna, Remy Ma, and Drag Race fave Katya Zamolodchikova talking about things like ridding your life of toxic people, learning to take a fucking nap, and facing your own mortality head-on -- you know, fun stuff!
OUT had the opportunity to catch up with Katya hours before the show's VH1 premiere (yes, it comes on right after All Stars) to find out what 30 looks like for her. ("Shit, I don't know!")
OUT: Hi, Katya?
KATYA ZAMOLODCHIKOVA: It's me. Happy New Year! How are you?
Good, just pretending that I'm cool, calm, and collected after spilling my coffee and some DayQuil all over my desk.
How are you?
I'm good, just getting started with my day. I'm about to eat some breakfast, I'm brushing a wig...
What's the wig for?
A bank robbery, No, it's for me and Trixie's web show taping next week. I always forget I have to plan a million looks for that one day of shooting -- just scrambling at the last minute, like usual.
What kind of wig would be good for a bank robbery?
Probably, you know... What are those called...a balaclava! One of those crocheted face masks? But with, like, weave sewed in. Basically, like, a full face of hair.
Very unshaven Pussy Riot. So, you're on this new show Grown & Sexy about how life changes once you hit your 30s. Has "scrambling at the last minute" always been your M.O.?
Yes. I'm certainly "sexy," but "grown"? [laughs] Probably only in the most literal definition of "grown." Like, I'm a human organism in active decay. Thirty is a weird age. You think you have to have it together by then, and there are a lot of "shoulds" going on, but I don't really give a fuck about any of that stuff anymore.
"Shoulds"? Like you should be married, you should own a house -- stuff like that?
Exactly. Career, spouse, children, mortgage, whatever, whatever. But that's a thing I like about having an unconventional job and being queer; I've never really felt like I had to have any of that.
Yeah, now that nobody can buy a home or afford a family it's like straight people are playing catch-up to stuff we've already been reckoning with since we were younger. Like, "Oh, you don't think you can 'achieve the American dream' or whatever? So nice of you to join us!" Did you used to think you'd end up married with kids and all that?
Never. I remember being very unfazed by the sort of typical life course that everybody around me seemed to be heading towards, all the milestones. I remember thinking, "My life is going to be different. It's not going to look anything like that." I wasn't sure what it was all going to look like. I just knew that all that bullshit of what's expected of you is just rotten.
What did change when you hit 30?
I realized, wow! I spent most of my twenties completely not taking care of or even enjoying my body. This urgency to preserve the shell of what's left set in. A clock started ticking to figure out what being a grown-up even is.
What does being a grown-up mean to you?
A grown-up is a financially self-sufficient person who ... That's pretty much all I can think of. Maybe has a reasonable amount of emotional intelligence? Someone who can be a somewhat productive member of society? Shit, I don't know! I know so many people in their 60s who are so immature and people in their late teens who are evolved and wise, you know? It just depends on their life experience.
You have a lot of teenage fans thanks to RuPaul's Drag Race. What kind of differences do you notice about how they talk about the world?
Everything just seems so dramatic when you're young. Nowadays, I'm just like ungh. Ungh! OK? At my age, there's less scurrying to figure out what the truth is. There's just now. I don't know the answer, and there might not even be one. Your 30s are just way more chill. Your 20s can be so fucking wacked out and crazy, just all over the place.
Do you think you'll go through any kind of growth like that once you hit 40, or is it all downhill after this?
[laughs] I bet it's more a process of uncovering or forgetting, getting rid of the bullshit and simplifying rather than accumulating. I would like to remain hopeful that 10 years from now I'll be exponentially smarter and evolved and all that crap, but it's probably just like damage control at this point. Just, like... Try not to die! [laughs]
Like you're Marie Kondo'ing your life, treating people you don't want to talk to like dumb sweaters or socks.
Yeah, one of the things you realize growing up is that you don't have to make time for bullshit. If people are being weird or dramatic or stupid, just ignore 'em. Get 'em out of your life, instead of wasting time with stupid, trifling nonsense! How old are you?
How do you feel about it?
I feel good about it. I have this wild thing called "self-confidence" now?
Ugh, that's the best!
Yeah, it's great. I trust my gut more, and I'm better at distinguishing fair criticism from something some asshole said that I don't have to listen to. I'm also very OK with leaving things now. Like, if I'm somewhere and I realize I don't want to be there and there's no reason why I have to be there, I'll just leave.
There's so much pressure to be everything to everyone at once, to please everyone. Don't! You don't have to be somewhere you don't want to go! You also don't have to force anything. I met someone at a party recently and we ran out of things to talk about, so I just sat there and enjoyed how awkward the silence was. Who gives a fuck! Just stare off into the distance. I love that.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.