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Adore Delano Is Trans, Sober, & Looks Cooler Than Ever

Adore Delano Is Trans, Sober, & Looks Cooler Than Ever

Adore Delano
Kaio Cesar

“You have to be selfish in the beginning because you have to break the idea of what you were,” the Drag Race superstar tells Out about her transition. “You’re still the same person, but you have to recalibrate.”


Adore Delano is now sober, transitioning, and looking f*cking cool.

Earlier this summer, the ultimate RuPaul’s Drag Race fan-favorite shared a video on social media where she opened up about her gender identity, telling her followers that she is a trans woman and updating her pronouns to she/her. In the video, Delano thanked her fans for their continued support and broke down how this current stage in her life, joking that it almost feels like going through puberty all over again.

Speaking with Out for an exclusive interview, Delano is quick to point out that this is still very early days in her transition.

“I’m only on my third month,” she says. “But I’m just super reclusive and I’m okay with that. I’m more logical. I’m thinking more levelheaded.”

Part of this new state of mind also comes from Delano’s sobriety, which is playing a huge part in her experience.

“I can’t say that enough: sobriety saved my life. Even if I’m sad, I get over it. I figure it out. I find the root of the problem. I embrace the darkness a little bit more, and there’s an outlet for that: my art, my music.”

As I point out how happy and peaceful Delano looks these days, it seems like she’s been getting that feedback from everyone else, too.

“I was talking to my brother. He was like, ‘I just see such a difference in you when you’re sober,’” she recalls. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, because it’s like the Wizard of Oz cape just reveals itself.’ The curtain goes away and you’re like, ‘Oh sh*t, I had the power all along.’”

Adore Delano

Kaio Cesar

An interesting part of Delano’s coming-out video is her careful approach to explaining this whole process to her fans.

“The first time I was in front of the camera, I was 15, but it aired when I was 16,” she says. “I had these emotional scars from and American Idol [viewers] calling me the t-slur, and that being so prevalently used. It was something that was used on television to identify me on Comedy Central. I do have a lot of older fans that come to my shows and have followed me since Idol, like older women and their husbands. I can name them by name. So [in the video] I was more speaking in fear to that part.”

Delano then brings up her unique friendship with David Archuleta, another American Idol alum who recently came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“David Archuleta and I are really close,” she reveals. “I’m only a year older than him. I remember when we were kids, I would tell him, ‘The more perfect you act, the harder you fall.’ You have to be authentic to who you are because people will figure it out. Audiences sniff that out.” Unsurprisingly, rising to fame during the original iteration of American Idol wasn’t an easy journey for queer people like Delano and Archuleta.

“They were highly problematic… highly problematic. If I even repeated to you what they told my 17-year-old self, that would not fly now. HR would jump on that sh*t,” she says. “If I ever write a book, there would be a whole chapter about that. I look at myself and I feel so sad for that kid. Not because of the way I was dressing or presenting, but just because of what they were telling me backstage, what they were like. And I didn’t even make it that far, dude. Can you imagine if I made it to the spot that Archuleta made it? That would be insane. I wouldn’t know how to act for years.”

And while both of them took years examining their identities from the inside out, Delano and Archuleta had ever-evolving conversations about the risks and rewards of living as their most authentic selves. “David and I talk about the expectations of the American Dream, and how the concept of that whole bubble has changed now. And I always try to pep-talk him. I’m like, ‘That’s okay. It’s changed now. You’re going to be so surprised when people find out who you really are, you’re going to gain times 10 because you are exuding happiness.’ I’m so proud of him, I could literally cry. I love that kid so much.”

Adore Delano

Kaio Cesar

Though I promise not to make our interview too much about RuPaul’s Drag Race, Delano is quick to say, “It’s okay, it’s part of my legacy.”

In 2021, Delano revealed that she was supposed to be competing on All Stars 6 but didn’t have her variety show number cleared with production.

“When they did approach me for All Stars 6, we were ready to go and I wasn’t budging on my talent show number,” she explains. “I said, ‘I’ve been spitting fires since high school. This is something I really want to do.’ I had my producer come up with a metal track, and it was going to be this whole thing of breaking fake beer bottles over my head. It was going to be super rockstar. And they were like, ‘Do you have anything else? Do you think that you can come and sing one of your own tracks?’”

Understandably, though, Delano was concerned about having the exact same experience she had in the first episode of All Stars 2. “I said, ‘Absolutely not. I’m not going to be on there being judged for a song that I wrote and produced myself again. I’ll show a hyper version of drag.’”

While doing All Stars is not completely off the table for Delano, it is definitely not something she is rushing to do anytime soon. She is focused on her transition and her sobriety, working on new music, pursuing acting, and several other endeavors outside of Mama Ru’s universe.

“You have to be selfish in the beginning because you have to break the idea of what you were,” the Drag Race superstar notes. “You’re still the same person, but you have to recalibrate.”

She adds, “Right now, I’m just focused on getting surgeries in November, and then my mom is coming out to just take care of me and stuff. [I want] to go into the new year feeling more confident and euphoric about stuff. There are a lot of legalities that come with it too, with name change and stuff like that. But I have to really give myself some time to get the personals done, because I can just work every day and just go to sleep for three days when I come home. Right before my surgery, I’m landing from Australia, and then I have eight days [until] I go to surgery. I feel blessed, but I still have to give myself the time to recover after that.”

Watch Out’s full interview with Adore Delano below.

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.