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DRDU's Ashley Madison On Her Snatch Game Win & Who's Really The Shadiest Queen Of Them All

DRDU's Ashley Madison On Her Snatch Game Win & Who's The Shadiest Queen

Ashley Madison
Courtesy of World of Wonder

The Drag Race Down Under star opens up about playing gay Jesus and how she’s managed to avoid negativity.

Ashley Madison entered Drag Race Down Under season three with a ton of confidence and swagger, but she really caught the attention of fans with her hilarious impersonation of Jesus that scored her a Snatch Game win. She may have sashayed away before making it to the finale, but making Mama Ru laugh is the best consolation prize a girl could ask for!

Ashley sat down with PRIDE to talk about people’s response to her delightfully sacreligious Snatch Game performance, why she thought she’d never make it as far as did in the competition, and what she thinks of being called the shadiest queen of the season.

Congratulations on season three of Drag Race Down Under! Now that you’ve had a little time and space away from the competition, how are you feeling about your time there?

I’m looking back at it with such strong love because it was really stressful preparing for Drag Race. Like getting there and getting all of the outfits together, and organizing it—that was stressful. So I went on being like, I just want to have fun. I want to enjoy the experience. I want to have fun. And the other girls made that very easy because we all got along very well so I look back and I’m like, I had a lot of fun and I’d love to go back another day one day.

Well, we’d love to see you again! What was your proudest moment on the show?

Well the proudest moment is winning Snatch Game. I don’t think anything could have beaten that other than maybe winning the show because, you know, as we all know there’s one challenge to win when you’re on Drag Race—that’s the one to win.

That’s so true and your Snatch Game performance was biblically legendary. Can you talk about how you created that character and how you felt about its reception? Have you gotten any pushback from people?

Yeah, so I put together the character and I was a little worried about the backlash that would come because you are playing a religious character, but putting together the jokes I didn’t want Jesus to be the butt of the joke. I didn’t want it to be like, “Ha ha Jesus is a liar” or “Ha ha Jesus doesn’t exist.” I didn’t want to make fun of people’s religion. I wanted to find the humor in the story around Jesus and what it would be like if Jesus was gay and was alive today and did come back in the kinds of situations. And I think that all of the judges on the Main Stage last week when they commented on my Jesus, all said that—all said that that came across, that respect of Jesus. To be honest I was expecting a lot more backlash than I got. I mean, I’m not necessarily going out of my way to find it. I’m not reading the comments, I’m not googling my name, I’m not doing any of that kind of stuff. From the reception that I’ve gotten, you know, it’s been great and there’s been the odd kind of people who’ve been like, “I didn’t think it was funny” or whatever. And people are entitled to their opinions, but generally it’s been a good reception.

Courtesy of World of Wonder

I’m happy to hear that because we loved it, you were so funny! So throughout the season you’ve walked into the Werkroom with so much confidence, but it felt like in this latest episode that you lost some of that swagger. What was it about this challenge that threw you off?

I don’t know whether it was the specific challenge. I think it was what led me up to that point because when I got cast for Drag Race I wasn’t 100 percent sure why I got cast and I think I walked into the Werkroom with all of this confidence and it was just this kind of facade that I put up. I’ve got to act confident, you know, I’m on Drag Race, I’m a drag queen. People don’t want to see someone that lacks confidence on Drag Race, they want to see someone who has all this energy and knows who they are.

So I walked into the Werkroom the first day putting on a persona and then I was in the bottom in the first episode, and then safe and safe and I really thought this was going to be my trajectory and I was just kind of going to be safe and bottom until I went home. But it was winning Snatch Game for me that really threw me because I didn’t expect to win Snatch Game. I was happy if I went on to Snatch Game and was safe to go through. And I think that winning Drag Race, like winning the crown, was never even in my view point. I didn’t prepare a finale dress. And then winning Snatch Game was like, “Oh I think I’m done. My story is complete.” I had that trajectory and then I walked into the next challenge being like, I don’t know what else I have to show. I didn’t come and expect to succeed. I think it just got in my head a bit.

Snatch Game was such a high point and if you didn’t expect to win at all I can understand why that might have thrown you. The reading challenge felt like it came a little early before you knew each other very well. Now that you’ve gotten the chance to get to know your fellow queens better do you have a read you can share with us?

Oh god, I had so many reads written. I’m just gonna say it, I should have won the reading challenge. I haven’t seen the episode yet so I don’t know what they air, but I was funny! There were funny things said and I think that after everybody else flopped before me, I just don’t think that Ru was ready to laugh.

You might be right, it was a tough one and Ru is a tough critic. We do love a shady queen though and so we’ve been asking all the queens who is the shadiest on the show and your name has come up a few times. What do you think about that and do you think someone else is even shadier?

It’s hard because I think we all got along very well. We were all very like kumbaya the whole time and although the season doesn’t look like that from airing we all did get along and there weren’t any massive fights, or brawls, or anything like the first two seasons of Down Under. I’m fine being the shady one, I’m not going to blame anything on the edit. We had fun and we had a laugh, but personally watching the show I think it was Flor. She was very kumbaya to my face, but those confessionals were a whole other story.

I can see that! So the Drag Race fandom is notoriously hard core, they love a lot, but they can also be unkind. Have you had to deal with that?

I took that advice that Raven gave Art Simone in season one, which was don’t read the comments. And they always say don’t read the comments, don’t blah, blah, blah and I know there are some queens that Ru tells “Don’t read the comments” and what do they do? They read every single comment. And I’m not that girl. I’m happy living in my own little bubble, doing my own little thing.

So prior to this season airing I went on and changed all of my Instagram settings so that if you’re not following me you can’t comment on my Instagram kind of thing. I’ve just been in my own little bubble and so there’s negativity out there and I’ve scrolled past it and I’ve seen it and stuff, but thankfully I’ve just been able to remove myself and remove myself mentally. They’re talking about an image of me on the show, but other than that I’ve been quite fine.

Courtesy of World of Wonder

That’s good to hear, because I know some people have been really affected by it. Is there anything that’s happened on the show where you felt misunderstood?

There’s been a couple of moments. Everything I’ve said on the show I’ll stand by, I’m not going to say I didn’t say anything that happened. There were some moments that I wish were seen. Especially in the first three episodes there’s this aura that Ashely is a little bit of a b*tch and shady and whatever, but it’s interesting that there are parts that weren’t necessarily shown that showed the opposite of that. Like in the dance challenge I took Ivory aside and I was teaching her the choreography and in the second episode as much as Issis was helping everybody, I was helping everybody too. I helped everybody sew their outfits and they mentioned that through on the stage. So I think that although this is TV and we’ve got to make good TV and you’ve got to have your characters and stuff, I am nicer than I look like. It is what it is.

That’s amazing! Your lip sync with Bumpa Love was so great, but was there anyone else you wish you would have had the chance to lip sync against?

The only other one that was there that I would have preferred to lip sync against was Flor because I know that Isis, Gabriella, and Hollywood are all very fierce performers in their own different ways. If it had to be anyone it would have been Flor. Other than that it would have been Ivory Glaze. Maybe I would have lasted an extra episode if she would have fainted.

Amazing! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me!

This interview was lightly edited for grammar and conciseness.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.