Stage 48 played host last night for the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 Finale Party! Four amazing girls remained in the competition going into the final episode: Peppermint, Trinity Taylor, Sasha Velour and Shea Coulee. So who won? What did Valentina and Alexis Michelle think of their portrayals on season 9? I have all the tea for you here, hunties. And just to help everyone out… SPOILERS AHEAD. So if you haven’t seen the show yet, don’t read on.
We once again brought it back to NY and crowned another local queen in Sasha Velour! I was so excited for her win, as she was the one who impressed me the most when I went to the premiere a couple of months ago. When asked if she thought she would go the distance in this competition, she said “Not at all. I think on the show, I wasn’t sure if they were feeling what I was doing because I wasn’t getting the same kind of feedback as the other girls. If anything that drives me more, and I have that New York kind of fighting spirit, is that I was not going to go home! I think I did well in the competition, and I had some time to grow in the process so I came back to the finale truly believing that I could win.” And she did.
If Sasha was one of the front runners this season, then Shea Coulee had to have been the other. Shea dominated all season long, with her four competition wins and fabulous spirit that made her an easy pick to win it all. Shea told me that this was her fifth time auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race, and when I asked her why it took this long to get on, she said “I think because by the fifth time, I just relaxed. RuPaul is really accurate in talking about the fact that you want so badly to impress, and I could not stop treating it like a job interview. Because, essentially it is. I was so busy with this short film that I did called “Lipstick City”, and it was coming out after the audition tapes were due. So I couldn’t even fake it, I looked so drab with a backwards hat and I think that was exactly what it is. Because the minute I stopped trying to present myself was when it all made sense.”
Peppermint’s journey on RuPaul’s Drag Race was phenomenal, as she is the first trans women to make it all the way to the finale. When asked what she has thought about it all, from start to finish, she said “This has been one of the most exciting moments and times and years for me in my entire life. A huge part of that is because of RuPaul and the show. It is also a year that i simultaneously decided to take control and change my own life, so there is a lot of work that goes into that, a lot of struggle. So when you balance all of that- the shows, the press interviews, learning what a “stan” is (it which I know now!), it has turned into a very heavy year for me. Heavy meaning very loaded with blessings and considerations that I didn’t even know I could feel.”
Trinity Taylor had a journey on the show, from being somewhat of a villain in the beginning of the season to really winning a lot of people’s hearts with not only her drag but her personal life as well. I asked her about the overall thoughts on the season- “It’s been phenomenal, it’s been a great experience. The competition has been fierce, the reunion was crazy, and tonight is going to be amazing.” I asked her what her thoughts were on the reunion and everyone coming for Valentina. “I think she got her feelings hurt a little bit, because here’s the thing. The girls were very jealous of her. That’s what i think. They also didn’t like her fans, there’s a lot to it, but my motto is always to be honest”.
The most talked about queen on this season has to be Valentina. Several of us pegged her as the one to beat, and we were all truly gagged when she was eliminated after forgetting the words to the lip sync song itself. However, her attitude remains upbeat about the entire experience. When asked if she was happy about her portrayal on the show, she said “Definitely, I am happy with the way I was portrayed because I stepped in very focused. And then I had a moment where I really had a misstep and a very human experience where it caught me off guard and got eliminated. And then at the reunion, I was able to show a side of me that when I am being attacked, I have to defend myself”. When I asked her what her favorite challenge was, she said “I think the princess challenge was really fun, even with Aja coming for me. I live for that kind of stuff”. Interesting.
If there was someone who was put in the “villain” portion of this season, and I put quotation marks there for a reason, its Alexis Michelle. She never did anything to elicit that word, but got a ton of backlash online from the fans for how she viewed herself and her competitors. When asked on that, she said “Well, yeah. I think if you can’t take reality television with a grain of salt, then you are kind of missing the point. It’s meant to entertain, so you know, we film so much content that the producers and editors have to boil it down to the fun stuff. Because as much as we thought every second we recorded was entertaining, it may not be in the context of through a lens. People that don’t understand about that process leads to some out of context moments, then you don’t get the beast that is reality television.” When I asked her how it felt that people were saying she was like the Roxxxy Andrews or Phi Phi O’Hara of this season, she said “Frankly, I have a tremendous respect for the drag that Phi Phi does, and a huge love for Roxxxy Andrews. She’s a sweet person. The comparisons between me and my behavior on season 9 compared to those girls and their behavior on their season is BOGUS. BOGUS! I want you to go ahead, find my worst moments and theirs, and put them side by side. Girl, please!”
We all headed downstairs to watch the live show, where previous winners (and fellow New Yorkers) Bob the Drag Queen and Bianca Del Rio were on hand to crown Sasha Velour with the season 9 title! The crowd erupted in excitement when she was announced as the winner, and it lead to a fantastic night full of performances from the top seven, hilarity with Bob and Bianca, and so much more. Congrats Sasha!
For more information on RuPaul’s Drag Race, check out their official website.