“Hiiiiiiiii!!!” was the first word that we heard out of RuPaul’s Drag Race legend Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 when she entered the werk room on Season 5 of the best and biggest reality show on television over the past ten years. Since her triumphant entrance, she took that season by storm, making it all the way to the final three, despite a lot of pressure and odds against her, and narrowly lost to Jinkx Monsoon. In this case, just as in many cases for RPDR, losing the crown doesn’t mean you lose in life. And Alaska is the farthest thing from that, as she has arose to become a huge force in the drag industry and one of the most beloved cast members the show has ever seen.
She has done a phenomenal job touring the world, creating some legendary songs with fellow drag race alum Courtney Act and Willam, and has put out some incredibly amazing music over the course of the past 3-4 years. She truly stands alone as one of the most unique, funny, sensible and amazing drag queens to come out of the show, so it was no surprise that she was invited to participate in “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2”, premiering on LOGO this Thursday night.
All this week, Manhattan Digest will be profiling each of the queens who made it onto this coveted list, and we are thrilled that Alaska took time to sit down with us to discuss. We chatted about how her life has changed since Drag Race, thoughts on the new season, her take on “bio-queens” and what to look out for in her bright future.
How have things been different since Drag Race?
I have a job now. I’ve had every type of job imaginable, but didn’t last very long at any of them. I made coffee, I was a dish washer, a busser, a sales associate in a clothing boutique and a porn store. Doing drag has been the only job I’ve kept for more than a year. I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a Ru Girl.
How do you feel about being a type of drag icon?
I’m just grateful to be working and to get to be an artist. I’m lucky that I have devoted fans who pay attention and get it.
What’s the deal with “If you’re not wearing nails, you’re not doing drag?”
The first time I attempted to wear nails, most of them fell off by the time I got from the dressing room to the stage. But once I figured out how to wear them, I noticed how it made my hands feel and move differently. And I couldn’t open doors for myself or carry heavy bags so I had to ask other people to do these things for me. It changed my entire countenance. I became obsessed with nails and I would immediately spot of a queen was wearing nails or not. And if they weren’t, they were usually a beginner queen who hadn’t discovered the magic of the nail yet. So I wanted to make a song that shared the importance of the nail with the world. Nowadays, I don’t care if you’re wearing nails or not. Some of the most established queens don’t wear them, and it doesn’t detract in any way from their art form. Honestly, my friend and Alaska impersonator Nevada makes me gloves that have nails sewn on them, because super glue ruins my fingers. So I’m not technically wearing nails. So maybe I’m not doing drag.
Have you seen a change in the styles and types of drag since you were on Drag Race? Was this influenced by Drag Race? What’s your take on lady drag?
Drag has exploded in recent years. Social media has become a place where we share drag ideas and makeup trends, and where young entrepreneurs can market drag-related products to a fervent niche audience. It’s great to see that. And we’ve seen nose contour taken to drastic new levels. All of this can be attributed in part to RuPaul’s Drag Race– the show gets more and more popular and reaches more people every year. And if by “lady drag” you’re referring to Bio Queens (who are female-identifying drag performers), I think they’re incredible. Unfortunately they still have to fight to be given a legitimate stage and opportunity to perform in some places, which to me is ludicrous. Drag is not just for people who identify as male. Drag is for everyone.
Would you say that you or Sharon Needles would be the First Spouse of drag?
I have no idea what that question means.
Without giving anything away, are we going to see a different side of you in All Stars? (Did you learn how to dance?)
I originally appeared on Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which was filmed many years ago. And in the time since, most of the queens on All Stars have been doing drag several times a week for a while. We’ve all grown and stepped up our game and I think it’ll be great to see what we all bring to the competition the second time around. And if you want to see my epic dance moves, you can watch my music videos for “This Is My Hair” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9RQlv5iXHI) and “Anus” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NPcFzYfRo4).
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I’ve been really interested in cheap beehive wigs on eBay, and shopping at Topshop. And I’ve been working on music. Stay tuned, and make sure to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars which starts on Thursday, August 25 on Logo TV.
For more information on the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2, check out their official site. For more on Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, check out her social media pages!