From Drag Race Thailand to DragCon, Genie's Wishes Are Coming True
From 'Drag Race Thailand' to DragCon, Genie's Wishes Are Coming True
PRIDE got to chat with the Drag Race Thailand contestant ahead of her history-making DragCon LA appearance this weekend!
It's no secret that RuPaul's Drag Race is a worldwide phenomenon, but with two spinoff shows, it has officially gone international. RuPaul's Drag Race UK is coming soon, but Drag Race Thailand has already crowned two superstars.
Genie was the first American drag queen to sashay down the Drag Race Thailand runway in Season 2 and this weekend, she'll be the first DRT contestant welcomed as an official guest a DragCon in Los Angeles. She chatted with PRIDE about walking into the Thailand werkroom as an American, DRT's welcoming (and crowning of) trans contestants, and gagworthy DRT moments.
PRIDE: What was it like entering the Drag Race Thailand workroom as an American?
Genie: Being on a reality TV show where you put on makeup, wigs, and dresses to compete in a series of challenges that test your talent is ALREADY a crazy experience. Doing it in Thailand as a foreigner adds so many extra layers to that!
I knew coming in that this was going to be Drag Race Thailand with a capital T, and I totally respected that. But there were other elements to it that I didn’t expect or even think about before I accepted the invitation to be on the show! For one thing, I was pretty quiet on the show because, you know, you’re kind of left on your own if you don’t speak the same language. And I didn’t want us three foreign queens to form a clique. I was not going to be that person. Aside from that, there’s just so much to Thai culture, Thai aesthetic, Thai storytelling that is integral to the challenges we take on. From the outside, people might think you can get by with a few traditional outfits in your luggage, but no no no. To survive, you’ve got to have a whole different cultural lens on!
What was it like going from a fan to a contestant?
Oh girl, that was a trip. Okay…this is going to sound conceited and ridiculous, but please don’t take it that way! Years before getting on the show, when I was just starting to try drag, I always had this feeling that something bigger was coming. I knew in my gut that my drag career was supposed to blow up. It’s not that I thought I was the best queen ever (I did not, I was not). I just knew I had something different to show the world, and I believed in my own hunger. I’ve done a lot of risky, stupid, irresponsible, and shameless things to get where I am. But that’s what it takes!
I’m assuming you’ve seen RuPaul’s Drag Race. How does Drag Race Thailand differ?
Have I seen RuPaul’s Drag Race—of course I have! Drag Race Thailand is almost exactly the same in terms of format, but the way we’re evaluated as queens is very different, which I love. First of all, the aesthetic matters on DRT, but the art matters more. When we showed a look on the runway, we had to think through a story, a visual narrative, or an unfolding of a concept for the judges and audience to take in. The goal was to turn the runway into a set of magic moments. It’s like a meal, with an appetizer, main course, and dessert!
That said, with the success of Yvie Oddly (one of my absolute faves from RPDR S11), I think the US version of the show is moving back to the creative roots of drag while also moving forward to more conceptual drag that better represents the future of our art form.
What’s been the most gagworthy moment so far? Your personal favorite moment?
For sure the most gagworthy moment was Angele winning the crown. She deserved it and is an amazing ambassador for our season of Drag Race!
My personal favorite moment was walking into the werkroom dressed as a teddy bear! People just did not know what to think. It’s fun to forget about glamour and fashion for a while and just have fun!
There’s been some controversy the last couple of years with transgender contestants competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race. What do you think of DRT being so inclusive?
I know some people might say, "This is about transformation, and a trans woman is already a woman so why is she allowed to compete?" But the truth is, drag isn’t about looking like a woman. Maybe it was a hundred million years ago, but today’s drag? That’s about creativity and imagination and art and beauty. We had two amazing trans contestants on DRT Season 2. Both of them ended up in the top three (and Angele Anang won)! Their success wasn’t because they’ve transitioned to life as women. It was because Kandy and Angele are two of the most talented queens in the world.
Some of the DRT memes have made it over to the US. Have you seen them? What do you think of them?
Ahaha, yes! The world of Drag Race always needs more memes, and I’m thrilled that our show could contribute! Can somebody go make some memes with me now? I’m ready!
Congrats on being the first ever DRT contestant to make an official appearance at DragCon. How does it feel?
It’s all so crazy! I just had a show with Soju and Ariel last night, a pop-up showcase for our talent company OMNI. And now I’ll be heading into my first ever DragCon weekend. I haven’t even gone as an attendee before. And now I’m going as talent? I’m watching my life change completely around me. It’s magic. I feel like I’m a pumpkin who was transformed into Cinderella!