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Sashay Away: Laila McQueen on Double Elimination, Strippers, and New York Queens

Sashay Away: Laila McQueen on Double Elimination, Strippers, and New York Queens

Laila McQueen

We caught up with the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8 queen following this week’s episode.

This week, RuPaul shocked all her Drag Race contestants, as well as the fans, when she sent two queens home. It was only the second double elimination in the show's history, and was followed by a mysterious call in which she invited another queen back.

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One of the queens to get sent home was Laila McQueen. The Boston queen described her drag style as stripper punk but was not quite able to come out of her shell for the judges. We caught up with Laila following her elimination. Find out what inspires her drag:

Out: How did you catch RuPaul's attention?

Laila McQueen: Well I auditioned three times. And when you audition, they ask you to do pretty much a condensed version of the whole entire show, so it's a very vigorous audition process. And a lot of queens try to show what they think the judges want to see. So the year I got on, I said 'Fuck it. I'm gonna be an idiot like I always am, and I'm gonna be crazy. I'm just gonna do what I always do and hopefully they like that.' And it worked.

What was it like seeing yourself on TV?

It is so weird. I come from a small town, and I've never done anything like that. So to watch myself on TV it's like, 'You sound weird and you look fat and everyone sees you.'

You're pretty young. What was it like being around so many seasoned queens?

In the sense of a competition, especially because I'm a weirdo when it come to drag, it was intimidating. But in the matter of age and experience, I always hang out with older queens. I always hang out with older people so that really wasn't an issue for me.

You worked in strip club before, right?

Yea, I worked in a little boutique next to the champagne room. So they had stripper shoes and sex toys and thongs. It was for if a girl came to work and forgot something. I worked there but I'd go sit at the bar for most of the shift.

So did that inspire your final lip-sync performance?

I'd say working at a strip club influenced my whole style of performing because I watched the girls. I watched them do little tricks and moves. I like to roll around on the floor and kick my legs up a lot. I also used to do a drag show at a strip club so I'd do a few little pole tricks. I think it influenced my entire style of lip-syncing.

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Were you surprised by the double elimination?

Oh hell yes. I was absolutely stunned. I was not expecting that, especially on the second episode. It's very shocking and very embarrassing on my end.

So RuPaul called someone right after the elimination to come fill the space. Who do you hope comes back to the show?

Well I was hoping when I turned my phone back on when I got home, I would have a voicemail that said, 'Hey girl, sorry about that.' I don't know what the mix up was. Maybe she forgot her glasses and thought I was someone else on stage. I'm not sure. I hope no one comes back.

If you had a second chance, what would you do differently?

I would try to be less shy. I think that was my one problem. In a room with Bob the Drag Queen and Thorgy, everyone's just so loud, and it's so hard to stand out. My sense of humor is very dry and sarcastic like Daria. I'm not always the one to be yelling things out. Once everyone stops screaming, I'll be like, 'Derrick, you look really overweight today. You should fix that.'

So what have you been up to since you left the show?

I had a regular job working at a restaurant for like 10 years. And I've just been doing gigs. I do a lot of artwork. I go to art school. I'm doing a lot of artwork that I hope everyone will enjoy seeing now that I have this new fanbase from the show. I'm just trying to get ready for all the madness.

Which queen are you rooting for now?

Well despite what the TV says, I think they're all really nice, and I like all of them. I like Thorgy and Bob. I'm really into the New York queens. I think a New York queen has the potential to take it home this year.

RuPaul's Drag Race airs Mondays 9/8c on Logo. Check out a preview of next week's episode below:

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