I wanted to call this “High Times of a Drag Superstar” but alas, I did not. Through social networking and creating trust among the queens, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing a great number of RuPaul’s Drag Race divas throughout the years. When the rumors began to swirl about the new cast for season 6 of RDR, I knew that regardless of who made the final cut I’d be speaking with attention-getting Laganja Estranja. Isn’t her name delicious?!
These girls are busy. I get that. Being on the show gives them an entirely new set of responsibilities regarding their brand and performance demands. I’m just thrilled that I’ve had so many of them here sharing personal story and inside Tea giving me fierce opportunity to ask the questions you want to know the answers to. We’ve got drag superstar and cannabis kitten Laganja Estranja in our hot seat ready to spread the spill and dare her share. Smoke ’em if you got ’em and let’s do this…
Steven Michael – How does it feel to be on the horizon of blowing up on national television?! The new season starts February 24 on Logo TV. We’re so excited!
Laganja Estranja – “It feels insane, amazing and very nerve racking. I am very excited for the world to finally see me and my craft, but I am also worried people might think I am too much. But then again it’s a drag competition, so the bigger the better, right?!”
Hunty, trust! I’ve spoken to a number of the girls from past seasons including your family Alyssa Edwards and Shangela, and know there’s little you can say about the show due to contract. However, what can we expect from this seas
“Expect the drama darling, at least from me! I grew up in the theatre and was touring professionally around the age of 14, so I live for the applause. There are going to be a lot of HIGH highs and LOW lows!”
Have you always been a fan of Drag Race and who have been your favorites, and why? Who didn’t get a fair shake?
“I have always been a fan of the show and watched form day one! My favorites have been of course, my Drag Mother Alyssa Edwards and Drag Sister Shangela and then Nina Flowers, JuJuBee, and Delta Work!”
What do you feel made you stand out to be cast for RDR during your audition reel? Had you auditioned before?
“This was my first time auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race. I think what really made my video stand out was my professional editing and quality product. My entire #TeamGanja helped me create the video and it was shot in amazing locations, which all gave the video a unique appeal!”
Ooh, I want to see that! And what advice could you give queens wanting to make it on the show in the future?
“As silly and as simple as it may sound, just be 100% YOU!! This is very hard to do when you are first growing (especially if people are always critiquing you) but it truly is crucial to your development. In the beginning, I looked a mess, but I knew I wanted to be a classy, ghetto barbie who danced her way through life one stiletto at a time. So as I’ve evolved physically and emotionally, I’ve still tried to maintain that essence of Laganja Estranja that was always there even before I started putting on makeup and a dress. Remember ‘You’re born naked and the rest is drag!'”
“Don’t forget to take care of your boy side, too. Treat him to fabulous outfits and fierce nights. That’s definitely something I don’t do often enough, but when I do it really makes the difference. Buy cheap and upgrade later! Get several cheaper wigs and sew them together and create your own style instead of buying one expensive wig already styled. Use inexpensive places like Target and Forever 21 for classic basics like a leather vest or versatile jewelry like a chunky necklace and then add your own flair to it. And again as mamma RuPaul says, ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love someone else?’ AMEN CHILD!”
You just held Drag 101 for the chir’enz. How important is branding to you and what’s the best way to get your name out there?
“Branding is everything! We live in the age of social media of retweets and tumbles! It is very important to me to now only be seen as a drag queen but first and foremost an ARTIST! I want to be a rapper, model, choreographer and director.”
Gal, you can create your own destiny and are doing just that. I’m very impressed. You shamelessly promote your love for cannabis which I can appreciate. Truly. Do you come across animosity regarding it?
“Of course, I’ve already been called a drug user and junkie and that’s before the show has even aired. But cannabis is not just a tagline or joke to me, it is my medicine. I am so thankful it is becoming legal in more states and dream of the day we can all have access for appropriate use!”
Testify to the choir, ladykin. And what trees do you prefer to partake, Indica or Sativa, and why.
“Sativa. I prefer to be awake and motivated not just sleepy and hungry all the time!”
I checked out your YouTube videos and you were giving me technical realness and jump splits for your life. I lived. I’m guessing you come from a dance background at Beyond Belief in Dallas. How’s having Alyssa be so close to you and her becoming the breakout star of season 5? How did you meet for the first time? Describe your relationship with her.
“I am originally from Texas and grew up there my whole life. I began working/choreographing for Justin [Alyssa Edwards] at his dance studio after I graduated high school. So, during summers when CalArts (the college I attended) was on break, I would go back home and teach at the studio. Alyssa was the first person to put me in drag and teach me the ways of beating my F-A-C-E! Having her be the breakout star of season 5 has been amazing to watch but also terrifying to live up to. I have BIG shoes to fill, and I only hope America can love me as much half as much as they loved her!”
You’ll show America you have your own gorgeous shoes to walk in, Doll. They’ll love you! What do you do on your time offstage?! Who are you with and why are they there? How do you find people to trust and confide in? And final thoughts.
“I answer interviews, update my Facebook and basically have no life besides LAGANJA ESTRANJA! And I wouldn’t have it any other way! I spend time with #TeamGanja working on projects and coming up with how we can move foward into 2014! Shout out to Hector Machado, Kristen Lovell, Kat Handler, Curtis William, and of course my Barbies Addiction!”
Thanks Mamma! Best LUQ in Drag Race and stay real to who you are during the rise. Be smart and succeed the house, Boots. You have fans in Palm Springs. Let’s go out for a drink next time you’re here in the desert! Fly high, superstar!
“Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me!! xoxo”