When I first met Latrice Royale in Ft. Lauderdale many moons ago I knew she was destined for great things. Our circle of friends intertwined during my living adventures in South Florida mid-90s and we casually hung out a few times before I moved away to L.A. She has always been outspoken and larger than life but I believe it was appearing on season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race that gave her a true voice that resonated with not only the gay community but legions of fans that tuned in every week to see the Royale Way. No matter straight, queer, young or golden, Latrice Royale has touched more lives than she’ll be able to realize and ever know. She is the 1 in one in a million.
Every week on RuPaul’s Drag Race it seemed to be Mamma Latrice who would steer the dramarama elsewhere and either support fellow(ette) contestants or set their asses straight for giving others the business. “Oh, the shade. The shade of it all!” We sat and witnessed challenge after challenge dominated by the Madame Royale while others struggled and sashay’d their way back home. When she was eliminated during the round of “lip-sync for your life” against front-runner Chad Michaels I felt virtual daggers nail my heart. I believe America cried with Royale as she stood and thanked RuPaul for “changing her life forever.” I’ve watched every episode of RDR and have never seen a queen pour out such emotion in appreciation for being on the show as Latrice “M*ther F*cking” Royale had.
I have many a confidant in the drag circuit and this round was the first of the previous where the winner and top spots stayed silent among the mouths who spout along the Internet. In past seasons the winner was either revealed online beforehand by the anxious or silly enough was told in confidence by the winner herself and exposed for breach of contract, so I hear. Oh, yes… allegedly. Again, the shade of it all! The girls on RDR are in a tight contract that prevents them from telling the Tea or sharing the results and goings-on while filming and immediately afterwards. I respect that and can honor them by not prying or sticking my blogger-nose where it doesn’t belong. But I do love when I’m aware of the true grease. Just because I don’t share it here doesn’t mean I don’t know. No Tea – No Shade.
My celebrity interview with the ever-popular Royale proves just how in demand these Dolls from the show can be in. The exposure for these privileged entertainers is priceless and prosperous. This interview with Latrice has been over a month in the making. If you follow her on Facebook or Twitter then you know she is one busy gal-on-the-go and I respect that, truly. I know that when life is turned upside down for these girls after the immediate success from being on the show they are being pulled in many directions. I’m part envious and at the same time thrilled that it’s happening to them because the opportunities are endless and life-changing.
Latrice has been one of the most popular stars of the series. With that comes not only the rise in exposure on the traveling drag performance circuit but also responsibility to become more than she was before the show by giving back. Few do this to heart while Latrice has shown many the way by doing something special charity wise in the cities she works in. Of all the entertainers I’ve known and loved before I must admit that Latrice Royale is true drag royalty. I’m thrilled she had time to share what she is able to and has done so here, and that RuPaul has given her such the platform to let people learn how special and inspirational queens can be when given the chance.
Steven Michael – You made it to the final 4. Amazing, Mamma! It seemed that during your final UnTucked that you were almost predicting you were going home by saying a few optimistic goodbyes. Did you feel that way while they were doing their judging that it could be your time to depart? Can you share the feelings you were experiencing during those last few minutes on the show?
Latrice Royale – “I actually did feel it was my time to go… After Phi Phi didn’t win the challenge, I knew what was about to go down. I was okay with it. I had exceeded my goal, broke boundaries, set new standards and made Drag Race Herstory!! It was very emotional for me, just coming to the realization of all that I had achieved.”
You were a strong contender from the beginning. Everyone seemed to evolve and grow through the season. What was the hardest challenge while filming the show? Some of them were crazy…
“I’d say that The Snatch Game was without a doubt the most difficult time I had while filming. I was trying to hold myself from poppin’ completely off on that front row. LOL.”
Yes, those girls were being very immature and amateurish. The camera caught your angst and disgust. Thanks from the audience for reading them backstage about it afterwards. What are you feeling right now about you soaring popularity? How is it possible to handle in real-time? Everything has happened rather fast!
“This whole new life has completely surpassed any and all expectations that I had in my mind. I really and truly just wanted to share my story in hopes that it might inspire and motivate people. I had NO clue the effect that I would have on so many peoples lives.”
First we were thrilled to see you cast and then the way you opened your heart and soul to the cameras impressed everyone in my circle here in Palm Springs. The show is our around-the-espresso-machine talk topic at work. Can’t wait to see you on Drag U. Do you enjoy the traveling aspect of this or would you rather be staying close to home, so to speak? And those baggage fees! ACK!
“LOL!!! NO, no! I love it!!! This has been my dream to travel the world! I am so glad I’m touring my great country first before traveling abroad. I definitely am looking forward to traveling to lands far and distant.”
I admit that I love traveling, too! It is a production but I’ve done it enough to know how to make the most out of it. Tell us the biggest misconceptions about the following:
RuPaul’s Drag Race:
“People seem to think that it’s easier than what it actually is. It looks effortless on TV, however, there is so much more than meets the eye.”
“Well, before the show, people thought that I was yet another ‘FAT, SLOPPY, NON-TALENTED’ QUEEN! During the meet the queens pre-show days, the kids were letting me have it. Based on my video, I could understand that you may have not gotten the true essence of who I am and what I’m all about. This is why I wasn’t really bothered by it, cause I knew the ‘Haters’ would have to turn around and EAT IT!!!”
Trust, Mamma! Tell it. Biggest misconception about doing drag as a living:
“That it’s all glitter and rhinestones!!! LOL. No, baby! It is a job that you must invest in or you will NOT go far. And by invest I mean emotionally, physically, mentally and most of all FINANCIALLY!!”
Your fellow LadyBoy contestants …
“That we actually really and truly love and care about one another. Some girls took their character to the extreme. However, Phi Phi is a sweetheart and so much fun to be around. LOL.”
Precisely. It makes for great television! Who is/are your inspiration(s) and who started you in all of this in the beginning of your career?
“My biggest influence in my drag career has been Tiffany Arieagus. My first drag show was at the Copa Ft. Lauderdale in her weekly Drag Wars contest.”
That’s when we first met. You were just starting out. It’s been fun to live this vicariously through you and I know others would admit to that, too! We just love you! What would you tell up and coming little Latrices who want to grow up and be just like you?
“Pride yourself on being the best person you can be. Don’t get caught up in the shady aspects of drag. Know who you are as a person and accept everything there is about you: Good, Bad, Indifferent!”
What do you think it was about your audition tape that the producers and RuPaul saw that made them cast Latrice Royale and want you in season 4?
“My tape was completely stripped down. Not over produced and super edited. It was me raw and to the point. Funny and witty, cause that is just a part of who I am, and I think they loved it.”
Well, Miss Congeniality. They weren’t the only ones! Your Royale Court is a’plenty and a proud strong faithful bunch. Hope they are scooping up those fabulous t-shirts and bling on your website LatriceRoyale.com! I worship the rhinestone crown pendants on the chain. Just saying. Any last thoughts you’d like to share with your fans and followers?
“I’ve lived a very interesting life. I come from a very humble background, and I have some life experiences that I am not very proud of. However, be that it may, I wouldn’t trade them in for all the money in the world. God only puts on you as much as you can bare and my mother instilled strength and perseverance in me. No regrets! All this would not have been possible if I didn’t have my testimony of life. Dreams really do come true!”
You are really living the dreams of gay-boy-wanna-be-showgirls and many of your peers in the community. What’s in store for Latrice “M*ther F*cking” Royale? Immediate plans for the future? Sex Change? Beginning your transition into female? Anything you can share?
“Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!! Are you kiddin’ me?? Child, please!!! I love that I’m all MAN! I am definitely working on other projects so this not the last you will hear of Latrice. Just stay tuned!”
I’m thrilled the way the interview turned out and thankful to Latrice for taking precious moments from her hectic schedule to share even more of herself so selflessly. Catch Latrice Royale on Drag U starting June 18 with sisters Raven, Alexis Mateo, Raja, Manila Luzon, Willam, Mariah, Shannel and Pandora Boxx just to name a few of the professors teaching the rules of drag queendom to hopeless women.
Read my Interview with Shangela here.
Read my Interview with Alexis Mateo here.
THANKS! to the generous photographers of their images.