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Legendary Cast Talks Ballroom, Legacy, & What to Expect This Season

'Legendary' Cast Talks Ballroom, Legacy, & What to Expect This Season

'Legendary' Cast Talks Ballroom, Legacy, & What to Expect This Season

PRIDE chats with Leiomy Maldonado and Dashaun Wesley about the hit HBO Max competition's newest season! 


Get ready folks! Season 2 of HBO Max's ballroom-themed reality series Legendary is officially here — and the competition is fiercer than ever before! 

PRIDE got the chance to chat with judge Leiomy Maldonado (who is returning to the panel alongside Jameela Jamil, Law Roach, and Grammy-winner Megan Thee Stallion) and host/emcee Dashaun Wesley to talk about the groundbreaking show's legacy, what's it like to see ballroom culture keep getting celebrated in the mainstream, what their excited for audiences to see this season, and more! 

PRIDE: How excited you are both to be back for a second season of Legendary. What's it like to get to be back with the rest of the cast and crew?

Leiomy Maldonado: I've been super excited. I feel like the time went by really, really slow from season one to season two. I was anticipating, 'When are we going to start?' Then with the whole COVID and the pandemic, that really, really made things go a little slower. But being back on set, it was amazing. I was so excited to just be on a whole different coast because I'm from New York and the first season was in Connecticut, so they moved it to LA. So being out in LA for me was super exciting. I was able to at least be away from home and enjoy that beautiful weather. Being on the set with the cast, of course, was so much fun. It was something that I definitely missed. Dashaun is one of my siblings, so I see him not as often as I should, but we do keep in contact more often. So it's always a blast to see my brother. Then to see the rest of the judges for me, was so, so, so, so much fun. It was like a breath of fresh air, just being able to catch up on things and to see how much they actually did their own research by educating themselves more for the show and things like that. That made it so much exciting for me. Unfortunately, we didn't have an audience, so that was a little bit different than the first season, but honestly, the way the contestants came out, the production that they put together, and the choreography and just the energy that they brought overall to the stage, it took away from the fact that there wasn't an audience. Overall, I feel like the time went by so slow, but once we started filming, everything just happened so fast. I feel like every week, for me I was looking forward to seeing what was going to be brought next to the floor. It was just so exciting. I can't wait for the world to see.

Dashaun Wesley: Same. Leiomy nailed it right on the spot. I guess when it happened, it just happened so quick. The time waiting for people to get a piece of season two and we know they're going to be excited about what they're going to see. It just puts people back inside the place again of being a different realm of what we do when we come to our community. So they got a chance to see eight houses, but now they get to see 10. These houses' drive, it's a little bit different than season one because of what they saw. Now they're going a little bit harder to make sure they do what they have to do. It's such a good show. With the houses, and the participants and things that go on for this season, oh my gosh, I can't wait for everyone to see.

The first season premiered last year and was a hit. Were you both expecting a show about ballroom culture to ever be as big as Legendary is now? Because I feel like, even with me, growing up in the '90s, you hardly ever saw any queer media anywhere be spotlighted. But to be on HBO Max and have this huge audience, what is that like? It must be mind-boggling.

Dashaun Wesley: I can honestly say that you have an idea that something is great within a community if you know people from the outside are praising it in a different way than what you're receiving on the inside. 

We would never know it would get there, but knowing the responsibility that you have, and knowing that you can be as authentic and real to a world, and know that you can have some influence, it's up to you to take full responsibility to represent not only yourself, but the community. So I think you have people like myself and Leiomy, and others who are representing their community so we can get our shows, we can get our red carpet or performance events, and go to performing shows and award shows and be our authentic selves.

Leiomy Maldonado: Personally, for me, it's still surreal in a sense. I would have never thought that ballroom would be celebrated and appreciated in the way that it is now, especially being broadcasted on such a major streaming app and just being a part of HBO Max overall. I'm so thankful for Scout Productions too, to have even picked up the ballroom scene and this culture and allowed us to be seen in such a positive light. For me, when I came into the ballroom scene and I learned a lot about voguing, the style that was portrayed, and the style that was known in the scene, I wasn't familiar with. So when I came into the ballroom scene, I basically changed a lot of what the voguing looks like. For me, it was a tough time to be accepted even within the ballroom community. It took a long time for me to fight and be respected for my craft.

So for me and Dashaun to be a part of Vogue Evolution on America's Best Dance Crew back in 2009, that itself for me, I didn't think that it would open up to these doors now. Even though it took 11 years, but I would have never thought of that. We went on the show just to show people where voguing came from. It wasn't because we had a motive, or we wanted to win, or we wanted to be famous. We literally just wanted to be like, 'Listen, we've been watching voguing on videos.' We're watching voguing here and there and seeing things from ballroom saying, 'Let's show them what it really looks like.' Even back then, we were accepted but we weren't respected. That was something that it took a long time for us to fight for. We've been traveling, we've been working hard, we've been working from gig to gig doing different things, finding different ways to incorporate voguing with different types of artistry.

So to be on set now and Dashaun being the host, me being a judge, it's surreal. I feel like it's been time. I feel like it's been overdue honestly, for ballroom to be in the light of mainstream. But I also feel like everything happens for a reason and it happens in its own time. I honestly feel like the way social media is nowadays and how educated people can be just through a click of a button or a video, or just coming across a blog or something, you can touch people. That's something that the ballroom scene is known for. We're known for touching people and inspiring. The fact that we're able to do it now and through our own people and through our own voices, it's just so surreal and it's so powerful.

There's a good bevy of guest judges this season that was previously announced. Who are you excited for the audience to see most? Me, I'm a Miss Normani stan, so I can't wait to see her. What was it like working with a bunch of these big A-listers?

Leiomy Maldonado: I am most excited for the people to see Taraji on there. I love her energy, it was just so beautiful. What she brought to the show was beautiful, as well as Nico (Annan). He was the first guest of the season, so for me, that was something that I'm proud of having him on there.  Also, receiving love from the guests, because the majority of the guests that came this season were really, really excited. They were really excited to be a part of this. They watched Legendary and for them being on the show, it was more than just, 'Oh, hey. I'm just a guest here.' For them, it meant something for them, and that's beautiful. I feel like every single guest judge brought something different every single week and everyone will enjoy every single one.

Dashaun Wesley: It's always so great to hear how people love the show and love the community as well. Then now give the guest judges the opportunity to get in our world. Not fully to its extent, but they'll have a chance to sit there and like Leiomy said, bring their platform and bring the people who may not know about this and have them have the opportunity to sit there because they may be interested in it. Again, these moments how we are able to connect to an industry of celebrity where we feel they're not even looking at us, we've created a place to where they can click a button and watch us and they're interested. So it's always great to see when guest judges come out and they walk the runway real quick. It's always so exciting.

So I'm with Leiomy on Taraji P. Henson. I just can't wait for everyone to see these judges. They are so unique and so amazing and so great, which brings this season to even a greater level or a bigger level because of these judges. I'm so thankful to have these opportunities to work with them. Who would have thought that me and Leiomy would have this chance to judge and explain to them what's going on in our world, and to know that they're interested, or they have been a part somehow, or they have friends who've been or family members who've been a part of ballroom? So the influence again, it's so big that even the guest judges are so excited to come.

Do you both have a favorite look that you've worn this season or last season? I know on Instagram, Dashaun, you just posted that all-pink look and it's a serve. It's a shoot. So did you have a favorite look you either brought or?

Dashaun Wesley: I'll tell you this. Legendary, when you come here, getting dressed is just so fun, getting dressed up. There's not one look I can say I like the best because they're all so good. I don't even know because I love what's happened this season. I love my white outfit and then also the white fencing outfit. The pink look, I have an opportunity now to get dressed up and play, and feel comfortable and confident in some good clothes. So I can not choose one, but you're going to like them all. You're going to like them all.

Leiomy Maldonado: I don't have a favorite look! They're all my favorite and when you guys watch the season, you're going to see why. I literally gave you a different look, different hair, different makeup, different everything every week. I definitely conformed to the theme of every ball, so I don't have a favorite. I honestly don't have a favorite, but I love how I start the show looking and I love even more how I end.

So what's the scoop on the 10 new houses this season? I don't want you guys to spoil anything, but are there any houses that you are particularly excited about? Or any houses that you think will be an immediate fan-favorite?

Leiomy Maldonado: Honestly, what I would say, to not spill too much, what I would say, that every single house brings competition at least to a level eight out of 10. I say that for all of the houses. At least all the houses, they're at least bringing the energy of eight in that type of competition. So that alone lets you know that this competition itself, the level of competition this season is going to be extreme.

Dashaun Wesley: These houses are just ready. I think what's going to happen and people will see for this season, is once they see that there's a new realm of people, how do they go and approach this? You're going to find a new way to love a house or a new way to see what a house does to prepare. So these 10 new houses and parents, they're ready. They're ready.

You both are very involved with Pose, but that's ending this year and that's super sad. So how glad are you though that Legendary is still here and that ballroom culture still can thrive on mainstream media, especially knowing that a bunch of other LGBTQ+ shows are ending?

Dashaun Wesley: I'll tell you this. One thing that I'm very excited about is that ballroom has a moment for a whole month. Pose is happening right now, then Legendary is coming out and it's playing in tandem, which is leading up for Pride Month. We now have an opportunity and space to speak. That's just amazing to know that it's like ballroom month. May is ballroom month right now. So I'm sad to see that the show Pose is coming to an end, but I'm glad to see that we still have a spotlight, a space to be seen and heard and Legendary is doing just that. This is going to go on for so many more years to where it may open up an opportunity for something else. So my thing is that right now, although the show Pose is coming to an end, we still have more shows to look forward to definitely like this one Legendary, which may open opportunities for more queer and LGBTQ+ shows to be present to this day.

Leiomy Maldonado: Ballroom has been underground for so long. We have finally been given the proper platforms to speak our voices, but it's just the beginning. There's so much more to ballroom. I feel like although there's so many opportunities coming, it's just about making sure that the opportunities are coming from the right places. That's all that matters to me honestly. When it comes to the LGBTQ+ community overall, we're not boring. We're going to find a way. There's going to be a way. There's always going to be a way where we stay afloat, and we stay being seen, and the girls will stay being booked then and be able to share their talents. I don't feel like it's the end to anything.

Without spoiling anything, what's one thing you're excited for audiences to see this season?

Leiomy Maldonado: I'm excited to see how the world is going to take this new season in, because honestly, the way the performances are put together, the production, has been elevated to a hundred times more and a hundred times better. So I can only imagine how people at home are going to feel. I feel like a lot of people are going to be overwhelmed by talent and so much, that they're going to be watching Legendary back, to back, to back for the whole next year.

Dashaun Wesley: I'm just excited to see the reactions. I'm ready to see how people are going to react to what's going to happen for this season. What they're going to react to when they see someone that they fell in love with, they learn more things about what is occurring. I'm with Leiomy on that as well.

I would love to see what I look like in these clothes. I want to know how I was on that mic and how were my little moments. You can see from the trailer how much fun we were having. I'm waiting for everyone to enjoy the fun that we just had for the time that we did. So you can see and enjoy every house.

Do you have any messages for maybe a non-queer audience member who doesn't really know anything about ballroom, who was maybe scrolling through HBO Max wondering what to watch and they stumble upon Legendary? Do you have anything for those people who don't necessarily have the same background as us, but are interested in joining and seeing this world?

Leiomy Maldonado: I would only tell them to enjoy themselves. Make sure they get some popcorn or their favorite snacks. Invite over their girlfriends who also are non-educated on ballroom and to welcome to Wonderland basically.

Dashaun Wesley: I agree. Again, just be ready to see some competition, to see some houses battle, to see the people go off.

Leiomy Maldonado: To see real passion.

Dashaun Wesley: Yeah. You're about to see a rollercoaster. It may be fun for some and it may be bad for many, but you're going to enjoy this rollercoaster.

Leiomy Maldonado: You'll be moved.

Legendary Season 2 is now streaming on HBO Max!

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director,

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel