As one of the three queens who travels the country on "We’re Here," Eureka O’Hara continues to walk in their own truth, recently coming out as a trans woman in People, saying that two subjects on "We’re Here" helped them re-examine their own identity.
With "We’re Here" Season 3 currently airing and their latest single "Big Mawma" dropping recently, everything is coming up Eureka in 2023. I sat down with Eureka to discuss their own career evolution, "We’re Here"’s rooted in love purpose and the current state of drag in America.
Michael Cook: We’re Here had rocketed you to absolute stardom and if possible, you’re even more beloved than before! Does it get exhausting going from town to town and city to city at any time?
Eureka: No girl, I was born for this!
MC: On "We’re Here," you, Bob the Drag Queen and Shangela each bring a different flavor and perspective to the show. You seem to be the one though, that truly seems to be able to relate to your queens the same way that so many of the viewers might and give them exactly what some viewers would.
E: Yeah a hug, a warm hug. That is my goal. I think I am disarming, because of my size, my nature and my vulnerability. That helps me be relatable.
MC: Even in times that you seemed to be getting slightly heated with people in the street when their views were based on the opposite of love, you chose kindness. Does that ever get exhausting?
E: It’s ingrained in me. I was raised in the South, it’s all a “bless your heart” mentality. But it’s also like, I know that for me to create change, I can never allow myself to become the monster that they want me to be. The idea of the monster that they have, I can never be that to them because then it proves them correct. So I have to be as kind and as patient as humanly possible. I can’t give them any reason to validate their opinions against me, because they will use it, trust me.
MC: "We’re Here" offers a wide variety of perspectives and showcases a great deal of the gender spectrum. Do you feel that every time you work with a queen, you have helped create change?
E: I feel like I’ve made a difference in every person’s life that I’ve worked with, in some way or another. If nothing else, they’ve never had this good of a hug! Trust and believe honey, from Big Mawma, this hug is right; and it’s love, honey. And that comfort, when I connect with people on that playing field of their humanity which is really what I try to reach, it allows me to connect with them. I do think that I am able to leave them with something, a part of me, a little hope, and a little love. And to know that you’re not alone.
MC: You’re very disarming on We’re Here, and even with the subject of Gaby and her mother in St. George, Utah. Her mother revealed that she was also bisexual when speaking with you, you simply were the shoulder she needed at that time.
E: I think for me, I just kinda go with the flow. When people are opening themselves up to me, I just allow it to happen naturally because it is not anything I have not witnessed before. Being openly myself and authentically myself in the community, I’ve had a lot of people come out to me in the community and feel comfortable talking to me. I know how to delicately handle these situations and just hear people out. Most of the time people just want to be heard.
MC: That is so very true; in so many people's situations, people want to be heard. Not just listened to but truly heard.
E: I think so too. It’s not really about what advice I can give them, it’s just knowing that they have someone listening.
MC: You’ve been open about your own gender and sobriety journey, recently coming out as trans in People. As a result, this creates a very disarming presence in who Eureka is, is that fair to say?
E: Well I think that I’m real. I try to be honest with people and I think that when you are open, honest and willing to be vulnerable with them, then they are willing to be vulnerable with you; that’s been my experience with people. If I don’t open up to them, then they’re not going to open up to me.
MC: Could you have ever imagined a world where you walked into "RuPaul’s Drag Race" workroom and now have a global platform like "We’re Here" to spread your brand of kindness and honesty? It truly is a mind-blowing journey.
E: It is for me, because honestly this is what drag is for me; drag saved my life. Drag has always meant something more for me than the “fun” and #WorkHardPlayHard meant more for me than working hard and then you get to party and play. It meant for me to work hard so you can survive and thrive. Especially coming from a small town, coming from a low-income first-generation family. My mother moved here when she was 19 from Germany and got her citizenship when she was in her thirties; I am a first-generation American from my mom’s side of the family. To also be queer and trans and all of these other factors involved too, I had to learn how to have some pretty thick skin and be willing to fight for what I want in this life. I think that has probably helped me a little bit along the way. It doesn’t hurt that I am a 6-foot-four flamboyantly gorgeous elephant queen princess!
MC: Do you think being a first-generation American gives you a different and sharper perspective on the queer experience in America today?
E: I think I was taught through my mother’s eyes being from a different country, a different level of understanding. She had a lot of trauma throughout her life, she was an orphan a lot of the time, and her mother suffered from a lot of mental illness. She and her siblings were in and out of foster care and she found her solace in moving to America. That was her way of finding freedom and joy. That taught me that I needed to take initiative with my own life, no matter what I was dealt. She came here not speaking English, but she learned how to speak English, drive a car, and she taught herself to be able to get her citizenship, to take the test. Being raised by someone with that much drive was a surefire way for me to be that type of person; I am a mirror image of my beautiful German mother. And her name was Ulrike, and that is where I get my name Eureka, when I started to do drag, I spawned my name from my mother.
MC: To be able to do what you do and to release music like "Big Mawma," you are still firmly in touch with the girl that can turn the party, is that fair to say?
E: Well you know me, I do try to turn the party. I like to have fun, I like to celebrate life. I think that is what life is, every day is a gift. They say that every day is a gift and it really is true. Appreciate every opportunity that you get, your life is designed by you. At the end of the day, you are holding all the cards for yourself, if you are in this country at least. And if you’re not, you need to find a situation where you are.
MC: "We’re Here" is a perfect vehicle for you, one you may have never seen coming. What else is out there that you want to do?
E: Well I want to act more, I love acting. I love tv, movies and theater. I am a performer, so I feel like I may be a part of the performance industry a lot; a place that I escaped from when I was growing up, from trauma, was to tv. I want to get back to that culture and get back to who I am; that is how I learned to be a person, getting lost in the art of it all.
MC: We’re Here shows drag in glorious light, bringing the art form to areas of the country that may not be exposed to it otherwise. What do you think about the latest culture war where drag queens around the country are being put on defense?
E: My response is always “have you watched the show? Do you go to queer events? Have you physically seen this? Where is this coming from?” My response is also, to take a step back and understand that we are all human, have rights, and have families that we love and are trying to take care of. I have a nephew and niece and a twin sister that I still take care of very much financially. If I am not able to do my job, and perform and do drag and do the things that I know to survive, then they don’t survive. I have a family to take care of too.
MC: You probably look at "Drag Race" as the place where you came to national prominence and look at the girls from Season 15 and think “you are all in for quite a ride” right?
E: It is a little crazy sometimes, now that you are a more seasoned person. I competed three times and I would never regret a single moment that I spent there, just like I wouldn’t my college education. It is very that, it is an experience that I learned. That is the thing about this industry, as drag queens are being taken seriously as artists. Trans people, and non-binary people are starting to be highlighted a lot more. It is time for us to thrive, but it is still going to be tough, there is always pushback when things are too shiny and too fabulous.
Follow Eureka on Instagram @eurekaohara.
"Big Mawma" is now streaming at ffm.to/bigmawma.