This story about Vanessa Vanjie Mateo was contributed by a Hornet user through our Community Platform. You, too, can contribute stories to Hornet. Head here for more info on writing for us.
Being the first to leave a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is never an easy position to be in, and this year Vanessa Vanjie Mateo had that dubious distinction. She was the first to go on Drag Race Season 10 after a lip sync against Kalorie Karbdashian Williams.
We caught up with “Miss Vangie” post-elimination to discuss her brief time in the workroom, who she thought should have been in the bottom and what her drag mother, Drag Race royalty Alexis Mateo, had to say about the tenure of Vanessa Vanjie Mateo.
We’re sorry to see you be the first queen eliminated from this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race! While it was brief, how was the experience for you overall?
I feel like it was a blessing. Being there, seeing the workroom — it was such an iconic moment for me. I was such a huge fan of the show, and being able to experience it with my fellow Season 10 sisters was absolutely amazing.
As the process went on and you were meeting Ru, doing the mini-challenge and then the runway, was it everything you dreamed it would be?
It was everything I dreamed of and more, that is for sure. I will tell you, though, I didn’t dream of it being no “drag in 99-cent bullshit!” I don’t do drag on 99 cents! [Laughs]
For the mini challenge you got to work the runway in front of many Drag Race legends. What was that experience like?
That shit was so much fun! They put RuPaul’s music so loud, and I had a lot of fun doing it! I felt like I was Beyoncé at the Super Bowl, and I was getting ready to shut that shit down and have a black out!
Is there anything we didn’t see that you wish we’d gotten to see more of?
A lot of my commentary, for sure. I wish they had shown some stuff that they didn’t show on Untucked, too. And so much of the mini-challenge, too.
The mini-challenge was so much fun. They had us vogueing for a while; it wasn’t nearly as quick as they showed it. I remember just acting a fool and doing all kinds of craziness!
Your lip sync with Kalorie Karbdashian Williams was an amazing battle. Is there anyone you saw that was safe that you think should have been in the bottom as opposed to you?
There were definitely people whose outfits did not deserve them being safe in my eyes. The challenge was to take 99-cent items and make them into an outfit. Some people were using regular material and then gluing things from the 99-cent store onto that fabric. It was not what the challenge was.
Are you talking about anyone in particular?
Monet X Change, for example; she had sponges. No shade, but a lot of people didn’t like it. She can’t get upset. If I had known, I would have just gotten some fabric, made a swimsuit and glued two flowers over my titties and a flower over my puss and hit the stage.
You may have gone home first this season, but you got to meet Christina Aguilera, who was the special guest judge!
Yes! Hello, I love Christina Aguilera! I was the only one who knew all of the songs on all of her albums. I made sure I was interviewing her like you’re interviewing me when she came out. If I’m going home, I’m glad Christina Aguilera was there to witness it.
I’m glad I kicked my shoe off and was twirling all over the floor and that she was there to see all of it. I was basically harassing her, because I love her so much! If I get a chance to meet her, you know I am gonna roll out the questions.
There were so many challenges ahead of you. What was your Snatch Game challenge character going to be?
I was either going to do LaToya Jackson because she is a good friend of RuPaul and has been on the show a bunch of times. I was going to act completely wasted because she’s always drinking champagne and wine. That or I was going to do Linda Blair from The Exorcist and I was going to be completely possessed out of my mind.
In Untucked you spoke about your mother, your family, and your drag mother, Season 3 finalist Alexis Mateo, and wanting them all to be proud of you. Were they proud of you when you made it home?
They were, but it was more that I wanted to impress them so much. I wanted to go further than what I did. They were already proud that I made the show and had only auditioned once. I wanted to take this shindig and go far and have my family gag and think, “Wow, we have a little Beyoncé!” I didn’t want to be a Kelly or a Michelle … even though they’re both great.
Alexis was also proud of me. She told me to not get discouraged; she told me, “It’s not being on the show that defines you. It’s what you do after the show that defines you.”
Any regrets from being a Season 10 Drag Race girl?
I don’t think I really regret anything, other than getting sent home. The critique Michelle gave me, if I could go back I would make sure she could see my silhouette. Maybe I should have told her exactly what I was trying to do on the runway! [Laughs]
You are officially a Season 10 “Ru-Girl.” What’s next for Vanessa Vanjie Mateo?
Well, I am definitely going to tour. My website is up with my gorgeous face and some photos that I am signing as well. I’m coming out with a voguing track since everyone loves hearing me talk all this nonsense. I will have that out around the same time as the reunion, so keep an eye out for that. I will be at DragCon, so come by! I am taking any booking, have me come and I’m yours. I will have new material on social media. Oh, baby, I am gonna be working!