Grag Queen Spills The Tea On Meeting RuPaul & Drag Race Brasil
Grag Queen Spills The Tea On Meeting RuPaul & 'Drag Race Brasil'
Grag Queen talks to PRIDE about getting RuPaul’s blessing to join the family and the challenges of hosting Drag Race Brasil.
In 2021, a Brazilian drag performer by the name of Grag Queen was announced as a contestant in the first season of Queen of the Universe. From the first episode, it became evident that Grag was a huge contender to get to the finale and perhaps even win the competition. By the time the grand finale came around, Grag was crowned the first-ever Queen of the Universe.
Behind the scenes, production company World of Wonder had already spent years trying to expand the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise to Brazil. As new rumors came to the surface, fans kept speculating on social media who would be the ideal host for the new series.
After Grag won Queen of the Universe, the Brazilian fandom of Drag Race became more united than ever rooting for her to be cast as the host of Drag Race Brasil. Though it took some time for things to become official, the show was eventually announced, and Grag was indeed chosen to host the competition.
During an interview with PRIDE, Grag Queen reflects on the pressure of hosting Drag Race Brasil, meeting RuPaul in person during DragCon, and becoming a mother figure to the cast of 12 queens competing on the show.
Scroll through to read PRIDE’s full interview with Grag Queen, and make sure to tune into Drag Race Brasil every Wednesday on WOW Presents Plus.
PRIDE: We’ve been waiting a long time for Drag Race to come to Brazil, and it’s finally here. How are the Brazilian fans reacting to the show so far?
Grag Queen: They're reacting a lot, in all the ways! But they're very happy. It's a franchise that we, as dreamers, really asked for. We really wanted Drag Race Brasil and we just made enough noise [to make it happen]. I went there and won Queen of the Universe to really say, 'RuPaul, that's time for us to show up for the world.' And then Mama Ru just gave us the opportunity and we're going to make the best juice from these lemons.
You went from competing on Queen of the Universe to being a judge on Drag Race Brasil. Did you bring your experience as a contestant to the way that you judge the queens on the show?
Yes, of course. I cannot run from that. I think empathy is a very good thing to have as a judge. I know the pressure and I know these queens are dreamers.
But I also know that it's television! So I really wanted to make my daughters comfortable, to make my daughters content, to understand that they're pursuing their dreams… but they're also on television. They are on a race. It's a show. We're hoping to make this experience and for it to become a memory. I also didn't want them to be inside their heads, to just have fun, because that's what I did and it worked out for me.
Over the years, a lot of people were considered to host Drag Race Brasil. In my opinion, you are absolutely the best choice to host the show. What was your reaction when you got the invitation to host the show?
I said yes even before the question mark showed up [laughs]. You are also a Brazilian gay guy, so you understand that we have everything [in our Brazilian LGBTQ+ community], but we can never agree on anything. You know what I mean?
I know exactly what you mean!
It just came up that World of Wonder was looking for Brazilian drag queens, and people started to wonder if they were maybe talking about Drag Race Brasil. So the discussion started, 'Who's going to be our host? Is it going to be Xuxa? Is it going to be Pabllo Vittar? Is it going to be Silvetty Montilla? But the opinions were never unanimous.
And then everyone seemed to be unanimous about me, saying that it sounded fair. It sounded right. I said, 'Okay, babes, if it sounds fair for you, it sounds fair for me.' I'm a very good singer, I just don't know if I can be a good host. But spoiler alert: I found out that I'm a very good host and I really hope that people [feel the same way].
I know that you had the chance to meet RuPaul at DragCon. What is it like meeting Mama Ru in person?
I really love to say that she invited me to know her. That is better than knowing her. You know what I mean? Imagine going to the Beyoncé concert and being asked to see her in the dressing room. RuPaul asked me to her dressing room!
I was giving out autographs and drinking the House of Love cocktails – which are delicious, by the way. I was with Rani Ko-HE-Nur, my Indian sister from Queen of the Universe. And a man from World of Wonder just came to me and said, 'RuPaul wants to meet you.' I said, 'B*tch, if she wants to meet me, I'm obviously doing that for Mama Ru.' In that moment everything just stopped. I stopped thinking, I stopped breathing. My heart stopped!
I just went there and she was waiting for me. She was with open arms saying, 'Welcome to the family. We're going to see more of each other this year.' Everything else she said after that, I just heard 'Blah blah blah.' I didn't speak enough English for that occasion. I was just freaking out. It's better than Beyonce, it's better than Jesus. It's RuPaul, my idol! When she said, 'Welcome to the family,' I didn't have to understand anything else. I didn't have to know more. That was enough.
I really love how diverse the cast of Drag Race Brasil is. There are queens from different regions, different ages, races, and backgrounds. How do you feel about this cast to represent Brazilian drag to the world?
I think they're very different. They're from lots of different regions in Brazil and they're really delivering excellence. They're also showing fans different types of drag than what they are used to seeing in Brazil. And I think it's amazing for people from outside Brazil to understand that we are fierce. We're P-U-S-S-Y pretty, you know what I mean?
I think the cast was very well chosen. I was also very surprised that, even though I know lots of resident queens here in Brazil, I didn't really know any of the Drag Race Brasil contestants. No names, no ages, no faces, nothing! At first, I said 'B*tch, they're not from Brazil. I don't know any of them!'
Especially after I won Queen of the Universe, everyone here wanted to become my friend. And I did already have friends who had signed up for Drag Race, so I was kind of worried about that. How I would be able to really judge a friend or judge someone that I respect as a legend. But because I didn't really know any of them, I got to create this motherhood relationship, a mother-daughter relationship that is so pure and that I really like. I know I'm only 28 years old, but I'm a mother of 12 b*tches – fierce b*tches! – and I'm in love with them. I really love and worry about them like a mother.
You’re bringing a lot of your singing experience to Drag Race Brasil. How hard was it to coach some of these queens in the singing challenges of episodes one and two?
I really wanted to bring a lot of my singing because, if people didn't like me as a host, they at least could like and respect me as a singer [laughs]. You know, strategies. But yes, they gave me this first challenge to judge people singing, which is the most amazing thing to do. And to get paid for! What's better?!
I think the universe gave me this opportunity to show people that I know what I'm doing, to show fans that I'm prepared to do this. I wasn't just a host who was judging people singing, I was a professional singer and host judging a singing challenge. I think it showed some respect.
I love Bruna Braga and Dudu Bertholini as your fellow judges. Did you know them before the show?
No, I only knew them from the internet and from television, but I didn't know them personally. I loved having the opportunity to build a relationship with them from the beginning, a real chemistry between people on the same judging panel. I just love those b*tches, and you're going to find out that there's no better chemistry in any other judging panel in the world.
Is there a message that you hope Drag Race Brasil can send to fans from all over the world who are now watching the show?
We are here to show our art, and to show how much you have to love being a drag queen to keep working in Brazil. And we're making a nation happy. Drag Race Brasil was a big dream for the LGBTQ+ community here. We, who work on the show, understand that. We know the pressure, but we are also living our dreams. I think the message we're going to deliver is that, even in the middle of so many obstacles, we can also survive. We can survive and show our true art – and true drag art is the best art in the world.