Darienne Lake was not only the Facebook fan favorite voted onto Season 6 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" but she became one of the lead competitors in the race, making it just short of the finish line this year. She chatted with SFGN bout how she feels about breaking the glass ceiling for the "big girls,” if she thinks she was made to look more “villainous" that she was, and which one of the girls she thinks could have gone much further!
Darienne, we really thought we may see you in the illustrious Top 3! We saw some twists in past seasons, like no one being asked to "sashay away" or even a double elimination.
Were you sad to go so close to the end or were you ready to leave?
There's definitely the disappointment that you didn't make it to the end and to the Top 3. Not only did I want to do it for "the big girls" and show that a big girl could make it to the Top 3 but I wanted to get to the end because I was the Facebook fan favorite chosen by the fans. I did go further than any other Facebook fan fave of the past though, so that's good. I'm proud of the whole experience though, no matter how far I went. Even getting cast on the show was a big dream of mine.
You mentioned some of the big girls that have come onto the show have been accused of being "messy.” Did you help change that mindset?
I definitely think so. Not only that, but I think that it changed me also. I'm never the one to say "I'm a polished queen" because I know that there's still polish for all of us. If you're not ever going to change or evolve, what's the point? I'm lucky enough that I can be myself, yet work on that at the same time.
You appeared to take the role of villain after Gia Gunn left. Was your portrayal accurate?
I don't think it was a completely accurate portrayal. I mean, of course there are things that are enhanced a little for the drama of it all. I think the last few episodes were a little bit more true as to who I was as a character. We're constantly ribbing each other and having a good time with each other, we were always kind of laughing. I think those last episodes you really saw who I was. Were there times that some of us got on each other's nerves? Absolutely. Think about it though, do you get along with every person that you work with every single day?
Favorite and least favorite parts of "Drag Race"?
My favorite is definitely connecting with my peers and learning new things. That human connection with these people who I now call my friends. As for the worst, seeing things about yourself that can possibly be embarrassing is tough. I definitely noticed that with some of the tones that I speak to people in, it's almost like a "text tone" I call it. If someone sends you a text, you can't read into it, and while you may think what they're texting you is a good idea, how you say it in the text may sound like "oh that’s a good idea!” I don't realize that the tone that sometimes comes out of my mouth is not as hilarious as I think it is. You really learn things about yourself.
What’s next for you?
Definitely acting, comedy, and working on my craft as a performer. For this next year, I am going to get to travel the world and see new places and I get to do that and see and meet people from all over the world! I get to do that on the "Al & Chuck" cruises. We get to connect with people and fans all over the world, and I can't wait to do that.
Adore Delano was one of the most lovable drag queens to sashay through the "RuPaul's Drag Race" workroom. Here she talks about her new album "Til Death Do Us Party," and what it was like hitting the Vegas stage with Britney Spears.
How does it feel now that “Drag Race" is over?
I'm so tired! I’m so excited that I made it to Top Three though, like what the fuck is that about?
You came on the show no sewing skills, and you made it to the finals. How does that feel?
I don't think you really have to sew to win, look at Jinkx Monsoon (Season Five winner) you know? Also, Sharon Needles (Season Four winner) wasn't a seamstress either, she really only knew how to do patterns. I walked in thinking I'd go home soon, and I ended up being in the Top Three.
Do you think you were portrayed fairly?
Everything I did is exactly what I did and I can't complain. The thing is, you can only blame editing for so much. It may have been taken out of context in some areas, but you said it, darling.
It was obvious your family is very important to and your mother even came to the reunion show. How are they reacting to your newfound fame?
She is really excited and proud. My whole family is. They all have their "Team Adore" shirts. It's great. My brother even dressed up my baby nephew in a "Team Adore" shirt. It was hilarious!
When fans come up to you, which of your famous tag lines do they say the most?
Literally, almost every single person that comes up to me goes "Party" every time. It's so hilarious! Drag to me is a celebration and I wanted to go into this whole experience making it a party. I mean, the minute is stops being fun is when you have a problem.
Are there any misconceptions about you that you want to clear up?
I think everything came off pretty accurate. The thing is, the producers all see our personalities and are really brilliant with how they help portray us. I'm not ditzy all the time, maybe only eighty percent of my life actually.
You recently got to perform with Britney Spears during her Vegas show. Give us the scoop.
It was really awesome! She was really chill and I thought she would be really nervous, but totally the opposite. She could not have been more sweet.
You recently dropped both the single and video for "DTF,” your debut single. Tell me about that.
It's definitely a grimy kind of edgy pop sound. My album drops June 3rd, titled "Til Death Do Us Party." I'm very excited. I wrote the album in a few months and recorded it in like, three days. I worked so hard on it, and it's exactly what I want to do. I want to tour the world and get signed to a major label.
Finish this sentence for me. Adore Delano is..
Courtney Act has come a long way to get to the top three of season six. From traveling all the way from Down Under to having her own Off-roadway show "Boys Like Me", she is one of the most established queens to enter the race. While she may not have taken the crown, she sat down to chat about the Australia to United States learning curve, her friendship with Chaz Bono, and her burgeoning music career!
How was finale night for you?
It was amazing! I'm very proud to say in Australia, "no one gets out of drag ever!” There's an award called "Last Drag Standing" and I said to myself that no matter what, I was going to be the last one! There was a photo posted around 4 a.m. on finale night, in my hotel bed. I woke up next to a fully clothed Jinkx Monsoon, with my friends in the other bed! Waking up is technically a disqualification for "Last Drag Standing" but it counts; so I definitely won something that night!
How did it feel to make top three?
The whole experience really was fantastic. I mean at the end of the journey, I was so happy to be there. I mean, Darienne (Lake) and Bed (DeLaCreme) are so fantastic. Vivacious and her walk, just seeing her commitment? Amazing! So many people along the way inspired me. To be in the top three with Bianca (Del Rio) and Adore (Delano), we have a friendship and a bond, and we really appreciate that bond that we have. It was so much fun to share it with them.
How did the reaction to you in the U.S. differ from your native Australia?
Generally, I find American audiences love what I do and are fascinated by it. Reaction to "RuPaul's Drag Race" has been a little different though, as it [only shows] highlights and low lights from a twelve week journey. I do have a blunt Australian honesty at times. I'm a fun loving Australian, but I also find value in honesty; certainly not mean honesty, but well natured honesty. When you say something on camera with a side eye or sorts, it can definitely come across a certain way.
There was a side of Courtney Act that came across on the show as somewhat conceited, a little bit boring, and had that honesty that almost could be interpreted as mean. Those were definitely not the only things that I said on the show though.
You have a one woman show that recently ran in New York City, tell me about it.
It's called "Boys Like Me.” It’s a 90 minute show with a band. There's still definitely a hustle, but the hustle has changed. Trying to get buns on seats for a eighty person venue has become significantly easier. Trying to show my art, music, and performances to people is honestly my passion. Doing a show like this in front of an audience is my favorite thing in the world.
You had a built in fan base coming into "Drag Race" and you were a finalist on "Australian Idol.” You released two singles while "Drag Race" was airing, "From Russia With Love" and "Mean Gays.” When will we see a full album?
I love having a body of work that you can absolutely immerse yourself in. For example, that Beyonce album? If it had been a CD, I would have burned a groove in it I was playing it so much. They say that people don't buy albums anymore, but I love putting an album and putting on repeat and listening to it over and over again. The goal I am working towards is refining my show "Girls Like Me" and writing more new music for it. I'm taking the cabaret genre and writing more songs and turning it into a "concert moment" kind of thing.
Lady Gaga made it clear she was a big Courtney fan. How does it feel to be recognized by such an icon of the community?
It feels amazing. I've had the privilege of meeting and working with her a number of times. Every time I work with her, I walk away with the feeling of being really filled up. She looks at you, and talks to you, and you could be in a room of screaming people, but it's really like no one else is in the room. She takes an interest in what I do and my work, and has been nothing but so generous and kind. It's amazing to have support like that from her.
You’re friends with Chaz Bono, who was part of one of the challenges. Have you reached the top of the "gay mountain" and met Cher?
Yes I have. You know, she is just so "Cher" there is really no other way to put it. She came up to me and one of the first things she said to me was "whatever happened to that one that threw up"? (in her best Cher). I had no idea what she was talking about at first, and realized she was talking about Willam (from Season Four). She's pretty cool, and it's so lovely to see she and Chaz together. Their relationship has taken on different meanings and roles, and it's so lovely to see them now as mother and son and how they react to each other. Chaz and my friendship with him has been a blessing. He's a fascinating guy with a great story. I love how he says that he is a "heterosexual guy who just got there differently.” It's great to hear about that journey and learning so many different things about Trans, the community and things like that.
As soon as you weren't crowned, many thought that you would take the same path as Chad Michaels and go on to win the next season of “All Stars.” Any interest in taking another crack?
I know this sounds strange, but right now I could not imagine doing it. It was an amazing experience really a heavy experience. It was really difficult to describe. I've always been passionate about who I am, and I never buy into the bitchy queen thing, and always try to be nice to other people. Seeing myself on screen come across like I was being a "mean girl" to Joslyn was really hard to watch. I love Joslyn, and of course some of it is sensationalized for television, but it was still tough to watch. I realized that I was holding strong to the fact that I wasn't holding strong to anything really. When I saw that I was being represented in a way that wasn't exactly me, it was tough. I think I have to just take some time before I can even think about going back into it again.
Finish this sentence; Courtney Act is...