BenDeLaCreme eliminating herself from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 (complete with her name written in white-out on the lipstick tube) will go down as one of the most shocking moments in the history of the entire series. For our BenDeLaCreme All Stars 3 exit interview, we sat down with this dynamic performer to chat about how she feels post-elimination, whether she has heard from RuPaul directly and what has made her proudest of her time spent this season.
There were many cheers and many tears from the fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 last night when you eliminated yourself from the competition.
Aww! I actually cried at my own viewing party. I think it was out of pride, actually. I felt really proud for what I did at the time that I did it. I did wonder how I would feel when it aired, as that was six months ago, and I did wonder if I would stand by it. I felt so good, though. My boyfriend was in the audience, we made eye contact and I just burst into tears.
Both during the self-elimination and now watching it unfold on the show, any regrets at all?
It was literally the most confident I was in any decision I had to make during the entire competition.
If you had to sum up why you eliminated yourself, what would you say?
It’s simple: Drag means that if you don’t like the rules, you make your own. There are many ways to measure your own success.
Your elimination has been the talk of social media and was arguably one of the most gag-worthy moments in Drag Race herstory. There have been countless memes and even a #DELA lipstick T-shirt!
Hey, I was going to make that! [Laughs]
You made sure to let RuPaul herself know that your self-elimination was not to be seen as a sign of disrespect in any way. Have you heard from Ru herself?
There is really not any one-on-one contact with Ru. She is very private, so there’s not really any circumstance where I would hear firsthand what her thoughts were. In the final moments speaking to her on the runway, I tried to speak to her not as just the host of the show, but as the person that I admire and who was a beacon for me when I was younger. I wanted to say thank you for helping me be a person that is strong and this bold. I would like to think that because she is that strong and bold person, that she would recognize part of my own ability to do that is her own guidance and teaching. I hope that made her proud.
What made you want to take another crack at the crown and actually come back for All Stars?
It was something that I really had to think about a lot. I had a fantastic time on Season 6. I did everything I wanted to, I was touring, writing and directing and pretty content actually. They asked me to do All Stars, and one part of me wished they hadn’t asked me because I was so content. The other part of me told me that If I said no, I would be saying “What if?” forever. I had to do it because if I didn’t, I would have always wondered.
Do you feel participating in a competition like this is almost a responsibility given the way our country is so divided right now?
There is always that huge element — that this competition is unprecedented. It is a huge cultural phenomenon where an art form that I love has been raised up to the level of mainstream medium. I think it is so important in our current political climate. We need things like this, expanding people’s minds and showing the opposite ends of the spectrum than what is currently coming out of Washington, D.C. You can’t give up the opportunity to be a part of that.
During Season 6 we got to see you showcase your talents, but on All Stars we got to see the heart of BenDeLaCreme. Are you happy with how you came off this season?
I was super pleased with it. I think a big part of why I was able to be that person is that my feeling was, if I was going to go back and do All Stars, I was going to do it completely myself. I was going to worry way less about what I think I am supposed to be doing. As for the challenges, I was able to make really bold choices and back them up with full fury. That is what set this season apart from my original season for me.
Speaking of challenges, your Paul Lynde “Snatch Game” character was an absolute stroke of genius. You portrayed him to a tee and also gave the younger kids a lesson on gay culture.
That is the wonderful thing about Drag Race in general. We reference things from prior generations. You have to know the history.
You showed this season that you are definitely not a confrontational queen, as opposed to how some of your sisters may want to mix it up. Is it difficult to get out of your comfort zone and really mix it up when thta happens?
It’s absolutely difficult. I actively have built my life in a way where I am someone who speaks slowly and I think through my thoughts and what I want to say. I surround myself with people like that also. Getting heated and yelling — yeah, I am not good at that at all. It’s not my jam, but you know going in that it could happen, but hey, when is the last time you had an experience where it only had aspects you liked?
You recently came out very publicly against online bullying of your fellow All Stars sister Morgan McMichaels by fans of the show. Why did you come out so strongly in support of your sister?
Because it was wrong. It is objectively wrong. There is an insane amount of commenting and freedom to speak any way to people that you may believe is not a real person because they happen to be on television. This particular incident was dangerous and had to be addressed. People need to be engaging in humanity and be kind. There is a dissonance that when someone is on television they are not a real person, and that is simply not correct.
What is left for you post All Stars?
I am touring so much. I have an upcoming show with Jinkx Monsoon and Peaches Christ; we are doing a live version of Death Becomes Her in San Francisco. I am still touring my solo show, Inferno a Go Go, which is my campy take on Dante’s Inferno, which is going on all over the country, and the U.K. and Australia soon. I am going to just keep making things I love to make and sharing them with the world.
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars airs Thursday nights on VH1.
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