After Katya announced that she would be taking a break from drag to focus on herself, many people from the LGBT community responded and posted words of support. One of her RuPaul’s Drag Race season seven sisters, Pearl, shared a lengthy and honest emotional response on her Instagram Stories that we transcribed.
In her comment, she shares advice for queens who are thinking of going on Drag Race.
“It ain’t for everybody,” she says. “There’s a long road from home to the stage, and it can be dark and bleak and nobody is there to hold your hand through it or at least warn you.”
She also describes the other emotional trauma that can happen being a full-time drag queen, including sexual harassment and being taking advantage of by greedy managers.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling when you realize that every single gig you have ever done, you have been touched inappropriately or sexually harassed one way or another and you think that you have to just deal with it in order to do your job.”
Pearl continues: “It’s hard to describe how dumb you feel after being taken advantage of by a manager for so long because you didn’t know any better and were too exhausted to learn.”
But Pearl’s message to Katya, aspiring drag queens and her fans ends with hope: “Life is a beast that’s meant to be tamed and you are capable!”
Read Pearl’s full statement here:
Want to send my babe @katya_zamo good vibes while she takes a bit of time off and say a few things about “the beast” (Drag Race, drag queens, substance abuse and mental health).
I can’t speak for Katya but I love and support her and can relate to her acknowledging the deterioration of her mental health. For a long time (post Drag Race), I didn’t realize that it was me who actually had control over my life and what I chose to do. Before, I was incredibly naive and did what I was told even though at the time I wasn’t mentally fit AT ALL. Today, I’m done sacrificing my health just to represent a lesser version of me.
Since I’ve taken control, everything has changed for the better. I LIVE for what I do now. I fought so hard for a stable life (pre-DR) that I wasn’t aware of how all the trauma affected me. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times a local queen has asked me, “Pearl, what advice would you give me to better my chances of getting on Drag Race?” “What else can I possibly do to get on the show?” Well not getting cast may be a blessing in disguise for the majority and here’s why:
It ain’t for everybody.
The audience only sees a fraction of what goes into it: wigs, dresses, makeup, sparkly things, good lighting, laughter, meeting celebrities, follows and likes, capturing ourselves in times when we’re at our best, being on stage, but lemme tell ya, there’s a long road from home to the stage, and it can be dark and bleak and nobody is there to hold your hand through it or at least warn you.
It’s not just dealing with the death of your hair and skin, relationships, personal space and the lack of sleep (which is all very important on its own), what is a bit harder to explain is why you have to add extra hours to your makeup routine because at some point you’ll need to stop and cry for no particular reason.
It’s hard to describe the feeling when you realize that every single gig you have ever done, you have been touched inappropriately or sexually harassed one way or another and you think that you have to just deal with it in order to do your job.
It’s hard to describe how dumb you feel after being taken advantage of by a manager for so long because you didn’t know any better and were too exhausted to learn.
Eventually you don’t battle the negative thoughts that consume your head, you surrender to them. What was once considered an “annoyance” is now a major obstacle when you start to mentally deteriorate. You don’t understand the agility it takes to NOT crack at every small hurdle that is thrown your direction. You don’t realize you have drank or done drugs every single night for months on end, just trying to cope. Just because you go on DR doesn’t mean you HAVE to work (or be “on”) seven nights a week. Not everyone is cut out for it and THAT SHOULD BE OK.
Life is about creating balance and harmony, not [capitulating] every last piece of your soul. To future ‘Drag Race’ contestants: only work as much as you think is appropriate FOR YOU. Don’t let anybody tell you to strike while the iron’s hot because nobody will be interested in you by next season.
Life is a beast that’s meant to be tamed and you are capable! xoxoKatya Zamolodchikova RuPaul's Drag Race