Scroll To Top
Interviews

Tia Kofi is ready to rule the world & long may she reign!

Tia Kofi is ready to rule the world & long may she reign!

Tia kofi wins
Courtesy of World of Wonder

The Queen of the Mother Tucking World opens up about the moment she won, finally feeling fully herself, and how her new partner is helping to keep her feeling grounded.

rachiepants

Did you feel a shift in the universe? Yeah, this week has been an epic one: the solar eclipse, the earthquakes in New York, and, biggest of all, we have a new Queen of the Mother Tucking World taking her place on her global throne.

After a truly stellar season of drag excellence, Tia Kofi was named the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race vs. The World season two by Mama Ru, beating out not only several of her UK sisters but Hannah Conda from Drag Race Down Under, Le Grand Dame from Drag Race France, and Marina Summers of Drag Race Philippines. The competition was stiff, but Tia’s brand of gentle-yet-whip-smart humor, her joyful embrace of camp, and her unquestionably elevated looks led her to just edge out her equally incredible sisters.

PRIDE sat down with new global monarch to talk about what it meant to go from baroness basic to the snatching the crown, why she was ready this time around emotionally (as well as sartorially), and why she felt it was so important to make Cherry Valentine a part of this season, too.

She also dished on meeting her new “mystery” partner’s family, the tribute to another queen that almost happened, and her vision for the (somewhat dystopian) future of Drag Race.

Long live Queen Tia, ruler of the mother tucking world!

Tia Kofi wins

Courtesy of World of Wonder

PRIDE: Congratulations! You are officially Queen of the Mother Tucking world and I could not be happier for you! It's been a few days now, how long did it take to sink in?

TIA KOFI: It's still sinking in. I could not, at that moment, believe that it happened. I'm not saying I'm a pessimist, I think I have quite an optimistic outlook on everything other than myself, I just didn't believe that it was gonna happen like that. If you've seen the video [of my crowning], my face, every part of my being, was just shocked. I'm so grateful for it. But I've just taken a little bit of time away to process things properly and come to terms with the fact that RuPaul chose me to win Drag Race, which is hilarious. Is that not so funny?

It feels correct to me! So, let's talk about your crowning video. Tell me about what you were thinking and feeling at that moment when Ru said your name.

The honest answer to that is, that I'd spent the whole day going, 'It's going to be Hannah.' And in that moment, I was thinking, 'Gosh, there's a possibility that it could be a tie. Let's hope that that happens so that I can say that I won, that I achieve that aim that I've had.' Then when Ru said it was me, I couldn't believe it. I think my first instinct was to check that Hannah was okay. I think I was just more worried if Hannah was ‘okay this has happened,’ and she looked happy. We had some words together in that moment and it was nice to be stood there in the top two with someone that I became really close with, and who I know either way would have been happy with the result because I would have felt the same. I think we just both uplift each other and care about each other so much. So it felt like a safe person to be there with.

You two did have a sweet moment, do you remember what she said to you?

I have no recollection but I know it was lovely. I wish I could remember. But I was just like, 'What's just happened?' I keep looking back at the screen because ... there's a sketch where someone's announcing the winner of an Oscar or something and the wrong person gets up because they truly believed that they were going to win it. And I was like, 'Am I doing that thing where I've just misheard? I kept checking it [to make sure it was me] and that did just that — it just happened. So, I can't remember what Hannah said, but I can lip-read myself going 'What the fuck?' Because I was just like, 'What had happened?' But yeah, I won Drag Race and that's very cool.

That’s so interesting. Do you feel like you operate that way, sort of self-protection? Have you had to kind of recalibrate that thinking since you’ve won?

Preparing for the first season of Drag Race, I knew I was getting to the final. I got everything ready, all of my looks. I was like, Baga [Chipz] got to the top three wearing her grandmother's hand-me-downs. I knew I was going to be in the final. Yeah. Then I got there and I no longer knew that to be the case. Almost immediately I was like, 'I'm overwhelmed. Some of these people are not being very nice to me and I don't like that. They've just told me that I'm the most basic one in the class. And I didn't see that for myself.' So that knocked the wind out of my sails. It wasn't until I got to watch it back that I could see the judges deliberating and I could see Ru saying, 'This person has everything that it takes.' There was just a barrier, something mentally — and also sartorially because my runways were not great — there was just something that was holding me back.

It's interesting, because in the 'UK Hun?' episode I was like, 'I was the best one in my group. I was 100% that.' But Ru said that just something in your eyes that's not 100% here. And I see it now, I can look back at that performance and go, 'Yeah, I wasn't 100% there.' And even this new season, I can see it in my talent show where I'm holding back so much. And my lip sync with Scarlet [Envy] it's not there. The lip sync I did with Hannah at the end, and the one with Le Grande Dame, I'm 100% present. I'm just going to be silly because this is what I want to do with this song. I'm just gonna be myself. That's a big lesson learned from the second time around: You are fully present when you are fully yourself. It sounds so obvious to say but it's taken me a long time and two competition reality television appearances to learn that. Please, everyone, take this for free.

I think that's absolutely true. When you are yourself you radiate joy, like in the roast challenge you didn't try to be like, fierce mean girl, ‘let's get this roast a cookin’,’ You did it your way and that's when you were the most successful.

I was this close to starting my roast speech with let's get this roast a cookin'. The only reason I didn't say that is because Scarlet's intro was so bad I had to be like, 'Thank you for that great introduction,' and then go into it. But if she hadn't, if she'd given me an amazing intro, I would have quoted Farrah Moan. That was my plan.

[Laughs] Well that is an iconic line! So winning Drag Race is a dream you've probably thought about for a long time. How has winning the show changed your life so far?

No, I very intentionally have tried to have the most normal time possible. I think the win was on Friday. On Saturday. We were in bed? [Looks off screen] That was a question. Did we just sleep on Saturday? Yeah. And then on Sunday, we had a Sunday roast and everything was very nice and normal. I was sort of experiencing everyday [things]. I was nervous that I was meeting my partner's family members — it was nice to go back into the things that are just regular rather than like, 'I just watched myself win my favorite TV show.' I've just been as normal as possible and I don't think that's ever going to change.

What's scarier: going on Drag Race or meeting your new partner's family for the first time?

The honest answer is that, in my mind, the scarier thing is meeting my partner's family. Thankfully, in this particular situation almost immediately, it became not terrifying at all, because they're totally lovely. Drag Race is definitely a much scarier experience.

I love that you did both of those scary things in the same week! So, shifting gears a bit, you've had some incredible moments this season. You got to Rudeem a look, win Snatch Game, win the Roast and, of course, I wept when you did your Cherry Valentine tribute. What is the moment in the season when you look back that you're most proud of?

There are different versions of ‘proud’, I guess. So I've got a few. I think the moment that I'm proud of in the sense of feeling like it was significant was representing Cherry's legacy on the runway. We filmed this season in exactly the same place as we filmed series two. So all the rooms backstage were familiar, where we would walk to get to the main stage was familiar, and knowing that I'd done that with that original cast of 11 other fabulous people, it seemed really correct to be able to represent the one who isn't here anymore. No matter what happens from this point onwards, UK season two was an iconic series, but we'll only ever be able to have 11 of us in a room together again. So I think it was important that happened. But then I've got, like, very fun, joyful, proud moments like watching back the roast episode. It was probably one of the first times I was confident enough to say no one can criticize me, I genuinely think I did the best at that. That doesn't happen very often in my life. Usually, I'm like, 'Oh, I could have done better at this. So let me analyze and pick this apart a little bit too much.' But that roast episode, I was extremely confident in that. I think if they ever do a UK roast tour, I would want to be on it because that would be very, very fun.

I would love that! All right, you’re a winner now so I’m contractually obligated to ask you this question. Would you...

…Yes, I would do an All Winners season.

[Laughs]

I love that the cycle never ends, because originally you just aimed to get on to Drag Race and then they started the All Stars seasons. So then even if you get on to Drag Race, you're like, ‘oh, I hope I get onto an All Stars if I didn't win,' but the winners were the ones who are safe because they were always winners. And now they've done a winners season and it's like, is there going to be another winners season? Are you safe if you're a winner, or are you gonna go back? Then eventually there will have been so many All Winners seasons that like Jinkx — and whoever wins all the winners ones — will be on the winner of winners season, the cycle will just continue and I think that's fabulous. I just think at all times no one is safe! I bet Jinkx must be sat there thinking one day when I'm 60 years old, they're gonna ask me and whoever wins the next one — Bob, Alaska, Lawrence Chaney — they'll all come back as geriatric queens ready to fight for the Queen of the Mother Tucking Care Home. We'll all watch it and will love it and it'll be nostalgic and Jinkx will perform 'Can I Get an Amen' for the talent show and Bob will turn up in an Amazon robot costume on rollerskates but with a Zimmer frame [walker]. Lawrence will walk in with tartan and bagpipes wearing purple. It'll be gorgeous!

Oh my god, get Tia a producing credit immediately!

Well, Michelle's got one now so I'll be calling for a production credit. That's when we'll really see who's pushed by production.

The shade! All right. I've been asking this stupid question all season long, and this is my last chance to ask it before I retire it forever: You and the cast have been stranded on a desert island. Who do you marry? Who do you eat first?

Who do I marry? People probably want me to say Le Grande Dame.

Literally everyone else has said her so feel free to say whomever you want!

Everyone else said Le Grande Dame? [Pauses] I thought some of these people were my friends.

Well, I can tell you Choriza said she would not eat you.

Thank you. I might eat her though; she's literally the only one who's named after food. The clue is in the title. I'm gonna marry Hannah for sure because we'll just have a giggle. We made it to the top two of the season so we will just eat each person in elimination order. So we're starting with Mayhem and then Marina and Le Grande Dame will be our last meal together. 'Cuz we ate them up!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.