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Princess Poppy dishes on how her original plan to attend Emmys as troll was even more risqué

Princess Poppy dishes on how her original plan to attend Emmys as a troll was even more RISQUÉ

Princess Poppy on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15; at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards; via Instagram
MTV; Getty Images; Instagram (@poppyprincesspoppy)

During an interview with PRIDE, Princess Poppy also shared what they want to do next as a career and revealed how “obsessed” Daniel Radcliffe was with her goblin look.

simbernardo

Now this is what we call iconic behavior.

Exactly one week ago, Princess Poppy attended the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards to represent RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 alongside RuPaul, the show’s producers and judges, as well as her fellow costars. But while the other queens dressed up in full glamour for the Emmys, Poppy took a different approach: dressing up as a troll (which was also interpreted as a goblin) in an attempt to literally troll the Emmys.

Not only did Poppy’s experiment work, but she also became the no. 1 viral sensation of the night. Every single major publication that was covering the Emmys that night published articles and interviews about the “mysterious goblin at the Emmys,” explaining to their (mostly straight) audiences that this was a drag performer named Princess Poppy. From CNN to The Los Angeles Times to Entertainment Weekly to E! to People to Harper’s Bazaar to Vulture to Paper toThe Today Show to WWD to Entertainment Tonight, Poppy became one of the night’s biggest stars.

During an interview with PRIDE, Princess Poppy spills the tea on how the troll look was created, shares some of her original ideas for it, recalls how certain celebrities reacted to her at the Emmys, and even hints at the future career of their dreams. Oh, and if they really are retired from drag.

Scroll through to read PRIDE’s interview with Princess Poppy — and make sure to follow them at @poppyprincesspoppy on Instagram!

PRIDE: A lot of us referred to your Emmy look as a 'goblin,' but others referred to it as a 'troll.' Is there a right answer here? What do you consider that character to be?

Princess Poppy: Well, I wanted to quite literally troll the Emmys, so I would say the troll. But if people want to say it's a goblin, that's okay with me too.

You were still inside the building, attending the Emmys, when your look went viral. When did you realize that your look had gone completely viral?

I was sitting in my seat and a writer from the Los Angeles Times came up to me and was like, 'Hi. I just wanted to talk to you about your look. It's making quite a splash online.' And I was like, 'It is? That's news to me.' And then Joey Nolfi from Entertainment Weekly reached out to me as well and was talking to me. But he's also the Drag Race correspondent, so I thought maybe he was just interested because it was related to Drag Race. I didn't know that it would be so far-reaching.

Yeah, it went viral everywhere! Joey Nolfi and I were DM-ing about you that night, and every time we saw another straight publication covering your look, we were like, 'Oh my god!' We were living for it. Were you keeping up with this stuff coming up while you were at the Emmys? Or were you trying to pay attention to the actual ceremony?

It was a bit of both. A lot of my family members and my friends were sending me stuff, so they were kind of keeping me updated on that. I was trying to keep off social media unless people were sending me memes and stuff. But I was also trying to watch the Emmys… it was my only time ever attending and I wanted to pay as much attention as I could.

The cast of RuPaul\u2019s Drag Race season 15 attending the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards

Getty Images

The shot of RuPaul and all the World of Wonder executives and all the queens dressed up in glamour and then you on stage while accepting the award… TV gold!

Yeah! I said I was hoping that all of my sisters from the season were going to be very beautiful and very painted and soft, and I was really happy that everybody came and looked gorgeous because it juxtaposed it perfectly with me.

I'm telling you, that imagery will go down in history. It's just the most bizarre group of people ever, between the queens and producers and Ru and the goblin. How long before the 75th Emmy Awards ceremony did you start preparing this look, and where did this idea come from?

The day that they invited me, I knew that I wanted to do something that was insane and crazy. I was like, 'This is probably my only time to do something this insane,' and my first thought was a troll. I was like, 'I want to literally troll the Emmys.' So I got a bunch of references online and looked at different things like The Spiderwick Chronicles and there were these Norwegian trolls.

So I talked to my friend, Jonah Andre (@doll_set), who is an amazing illustrator. I told him my ideas, gave him a mood board, and was like, 'I would love for you to come up with something that you would view to be a troll.' Originally, I was going to be butt-naked. I was going to have full-body prosthetics and be just naked. But then I was like, 'That's a little too much.' And I thought a gown would be much better.

I also watched a video from the person who created the purse that you were carrying.

That's my friend Lish (@unlish3d), she bedazzles stuff and makes things. So, funny enough, we all had a 'white elephant party' and I won from her a 'you could bedazzle anything that you want.' So I was like, 'Oh, I'm going to the Emmys in a few weeks and I would love for you to bedazzle a bag.' And then it just kind of snowballed into her making this bag.

We would just call each other and I had all these ideas. I said, 'I'd love to have moss and eyeballs and doll heads.' Originally, we were going to have fingers and all kinds of crazy stuff. It became a big project, but she did it in a week, which is pretty insane.

That's incredible. But just to get the timeline right: did you get the invite for the original date of the 75th Emmy Awards, which was going to be in Sep. 2023 but didn't happen because of the SAG and WGA strike? Or did you only get invited to attend the re-scheduled ceremony in Jan. 2024?

They invited me to the January one. I'd say that they invited me two weeks into December, so I had some time to prepare.

I saw that some big celebrities wanted to take pictures with you during the Emmys. Did any celebrity interaction surprise you?

Yeah! Daniel Radcliffe and his partner [Erin Darke] were living for it. Of course, most of the celebrities that saw me were taken aback by how I looked… which, understandably so! But [Radcliffe] was obsessed. He was like, 'Oh my god, I love it so much. This is just so cool, so amazing.' And also the main guy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel, he was bowing to me. He was like, 'Oh my god, this is just amazing.'

That's awesome. We need Daniel Radcliffe as a judge on Drag Race. I feel like he appreciates drag and he gets it.

One hundred percent, and I'm sure that him being raised around a bunch of goblins and trolls and ogres and Griffins and all these other magical creatures also helped. He probably had a deep appreciation for it.

I remember that Ru and Michelle [Visage] used to joke that whenever they brought the queens to these Hollywood events or award ceremonies, it would always draw the attention of everybody in the room. It would be like this crazy thing. And it's interesting to me how that perspective had a shift this year. Nobody was phased by the drag queens who were in full glamour. They were only taken aback by the goblin. In a weird way, it felt like drag suddenly just looked normal in that environment. The other queens… they were just like all the other celebrities in the room, which is so cool to me. Do you see what I'm saying?

I didn't even really think about that until you brought it up, but that's a good point. I was kind of nervous being by myself because people didn't know what the context was. When I was walking by myself, people were very confused. When I was walking with other queens, people were like, 'Oh, okay.' They put the pieces together.

But I think you're right. When they saw all of us together as a group, they were living for the other queens, but not in a spectacle kind of way. It was more of just a respectful, 'Oh, all of you look so amazing, you look so gorgeous,' which you would say to any celebrity. But then with me, I was this spectacle. It sort of brought the attention off of them, but in a positive way, not in a 'look at me, look at me' way.

Exactly, they just looked like all the other celebrities. Not these 'creatures,' which used to be what Ru and Michelle experienced in the past when they went to these Hollywood things.

Yeah, exactly. And they are celebrities. All of them are superstars, truly. And if you saw their looks… they looked incredible!

A lot of fans find it sort of ironic that the queen who went viral at the Emmys is the one queen who quit drag after the show. So, I have to ask: did this moment at the Emmys change your mind in any way? Are you thinking differently at all?

Right [laughs]. Okay, so, I didn't intend for it to go viral. Truly. I think if you talk to anybody in my life, they can attest to that. Actually, everybody was worried that I wasn't even going to be able to walk the red carpet. We were pretty concerned that I was going to show up and they were going to send me back to the hotel. But I really wanted to do it because this was my last moment in drag. I thought, 'I want to go big or go home.'

I always wanted to do something like this. I've always been obsessed with magical creatures and fantasy. I wanted to do something that was so out there and so crazy. I personally feel like it's a great end to my book of drag, and going viral is just like the cherry on top. It was not intended, but it was just a nice addition.

I agree. And the cultural moment you created not only benefits you, but it also benefits the show, and drag artists in general. It shows that drag is fun. I even thought of all these people who have been fear-mongering like, 'Oh, these are men trying to look like women.' But your look was a clear reminder that the art of drag is so much bigger than what they think it is, and not as dangerous as they want to claim that it is. I feel like this silly goblin moment going viral might've even helped with that discourse, in a way.

But okay, now that your drag career is officially over, what are you interested in doing next?

Are you familiar with OnlyFans?

You're joining OnlyFans?!

No, I'm totally kidding. But it's not off the table. [laughs] No, I really want to get into writing. That's my passion, my dream, and that's sort of what I did before drag, and during drag, and after. I kind of put it aside when I started doing drag full-time, but one of my passions and one of my dreams is to be a writer. I think that's what I'm going to focus on right now.

Are you interested in writing books, for the media, for TV shows…?

I mean… the dream, and this is just a pipe dream, I would love to be a screenwriter, or be in a team of comedy writers for a show. Like a variety show [Poppy smiles]. I don't know, something like that. But again, that's so farfetched and so out there. I would love to just write anything — Hallmark cards, post-it notes, a tweet.

Working with a team of comedy writers for a variety show, you say? Well, I'll make sure to tag Bowen Yang and Julio Torres from Saturday Night Live when we publish this interview.

Bowen just followed me on Instagram! I was so shocked. Me and my friends were dying.

Poppy on SNL. I'm starting that hashtag. #PoppyOnSNL

I think that is going to be the last thing that ever happens [laughs], but we'll see!

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Bernardo Sim

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Bernardo Sim is experiencing the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is experiencing the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.