It was an undeniably full-circle moment when Aquaria, who was inspired by RuPaul's Drag Race to take up the art of drag, was crowned as the winner of the reality competition's tenth season last night. After making a name for herself throughout the social sphere and in the tightly-packed, vodka soda-strewn clubs of New York City, Aquaria entered Drag Race as the one to beat. Too bad for her competitors she's stayed that way.
Having just been been officially crowned in her chosen city, Out caught up with the 22-year-old winner as she looked back on the landmark season.
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OUT: First of all congratulations, of course. Now tell me about the wild ride that is Drag Race - was it everything you hoped for and dreamt it would be as you watched it growing up?
Aquaria: Thank you! And absolutely - when we go away to Drag Race we can't talk about it and we say that we're going to summer camp. And for me, Drag Race was truly a summer camp experience. The first day you're canoeing, the next day you're papier-macheing, it was always something new every day and it was a challenge that I was always just excited to wake up to. Whether they had me waking up at a normal hour of the day or a ridiculous one, I was always excited to go out and film and try my best at any challenge. Even if it was something that I was uncomfortable with, I would still go in with an open mind and as much energy and excitement as I could. It was truly everything I could have ever wanted and more.
Lets go back to the very first episode - what was it like walking into the Werk Room on the first day and seeing so many of your New York sisters in the competition?
It was great. You take so much risk going into Drag Race and sacrifice so much and you never know how things will go once you get there. But to walk in and see four other girls that I'm very familiar with from the city was very comforting. I knew that I had at least a couple people I could bounce ideas off of and a couple people I could cling do if we had group assignments.
Which queens would you say you grew closest to this season?
Asia O'Hara, absolutely - she is a fucking star. She is just a shining example of how to be a great human being as far as leadership in the community and amongst her peers, as far as being a teacher, and being an all-around entertainer. Asia O'Hara exemplifies every aspect of life that I think everyone deems important and she's just proven what it means to be someone with so much heart and soul, and so much true talent and originality.
What was it like finishing the taping of the show all those months ago and keeping it a secret that you had made top 4?
It's kind of crazy and it's like edging all the way until the end, but it inspired me. It inspired me to make my drag better, and it inspired me to have a positive outlook because a lot of the girls did not have the top four to look forward to. It was nice knowing that there wasn't a set day where I knew I was leaving the competition. This whole experience is crazy from the start to the very end, but it's a lot better holding out until the end to see if you've won than having to wait and see yourself go home.
What were some of your favorite moments from the season?
Well I won three times so I guess - well, I guess I won four times, shit. But those were great moments for me. Almost all of the challenges were fun for me, but, as a performer, the PharmaRusical and the Cher musical were definitely fabulous. My ultimate favorite performance was the top four performance of "American" at the end. It was nice to finally show my singing ability when I don't have to sound like Cher, and it was nice to finally turn out a fierce-ass, well-choreographed performance (shout out to Todrick and the dancers). But it was just nice to just show myself being a superstar for Ru and that was the perfect setting. I've never felt like more of star than on that day.
What about your favorite runway look?
My favorite runway theme probably would have had to be my mermaid look. That was something that was designed by my friend, Kiss, in association with my friend Hana Quist, and it was something that was kind of a crazy labor to make and something where I actually had to leave things at home so I could fit this giant tail in my suitcase. I knew I needed to make it to that episode and I knew I needed to win whatever the fuck that challenge was because of the things I had to sacrifice to bring it with me.
It truly is the dawning of the Age of Aquaria.
This interview has been edited and condensed.