INTRO:

Laila McQueen may have already left “RuPaul’s Drag Race” but this creative force is nowhere near finished with her turn in the spotlight. While some of the queens may have overpowered her in terms of volume, the talent in this queen’s overly creative mind is going to take her far. She sat down to chat with us about her time on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, why she really thinks she may have been sent home early, and why she thinks the girls of New York City may just have the edge this year. 

Q: Laila, when you were eliminated, you mentioned getting backlash being one of the girls sent home early. Have you received any backlash thus far? 

A: I was actually in Chicago doing a hosting party at Roscoes’ when I was sent home. I have not gotten any negative backlash yet; I think in my entire run on “Drag Race”, I got maybe three tweets from people that thought I deserved to be sent home. That was really it. It’s almost shocking, I almost expected the fans to rip me apart, but everyone is being so supportive. 


Q: Now that you have gotten to see the show from this side of the television screen, why do you think you ended up going home so early? 

A: My personality is not as loud as many of the other girls on this season. I found it very intimidating and very hard to compete personality wise with these other girls, and I really got in my head, which is familiar territory for me. I wasn’t as crazy a personality for television as some of the other girls, and I think that was definitely my saboteur. 


Q: Do you think you are as shy and unassuming in real life as you may have come across on the show 

A: No. I think I am definitely more fun in person. I think when people have been coming to my shows, and especially at the premiere parties we had, friends of mine told me that many of the people did not expect me to be as crazy a performer, but I was. When I perform, I definitely like to have a good time. People don’t realize that when you are getting little sleep, filming a challenge every day, all the cameras on you, and different people asking you to speak about all of these things every day, it is a little different from doing a gig at a club and meeting people after your number. Many people don’t get how extreme the circumstances are that we are actually in. I really love when people understand that I am not necessarily a bad drag queen; I just had a bad run in what was a crazy situation. 


Q: Looking back on the entire “Drag Race” experience, what do you think your favorite part of the crazy ride actually was? 


A: I really loved meeting all the girls. Besides actually getting cast on the show in general, meeting all the girls was definitely my favorite part. I mean, I tried out for the show three times and finally getting cast is a compliment in itself. The girls and I are a family now though. We went through this experience all together and I could not be more thrilled with who it has been with. 

During my run, I almost felt like the people filming us were going to get pissed off because we were all getting along so well!


Q: You mention that you tried out for the show three different times. Does your inspiration come from other queens that you saw on “Drag Race” itself or from girls that you idolized and watched coming up in the scene? 


A: I definitely take inspiration from “Drag Race”, how could I not? There have been so many amazing people on the show. I started getting into drag more with other queens like Divine and Candy Darling. It seemed so cool to me, because I have always been so into makeup and transformation. I always have watched the behind the scenes specials on movies and things like that to see the special effects. When doing drag was actually a possibility, it made complete sense; I loved dressing up and actually becoming a character. It totally appealed to me. 


Q: It’s so refreshing to hear you talk about queens that were both part of “Drag Race” and also other non “Drag Race” girls that are true legends in the drag scene. 


A: Oh absolutely! I am an artist, I went to art school. I paint and print everything. When I started thinking about makeup, it was natural. I think I am really good at it, not to toot my own horn. I think it’s because it’s almost like painting a picture and it’s an extension of that media. 


Q: Speaking of makeup, Kim Chi is an absolute legend when it comes to beating her face; some of the girls even knew who she was when she walked through the workroom doors on the first episode. Who do you think could really take the crown this season? 


A: I am really rooting for one of the New York City girls. I know everyone thinks Acid Betty is a bitch, but she is so talented and her drag is so out of this world! Bob the Drag Queen is so hysterical, he is one of the funniest people I have ever met. Thorgy (Thor) has so much energy and is so sweet, and is one of the sweetest people. I think the most well rounded girls this season are the girls out of New York City. 

Q: What was your “Snatch Game” going to be? 

Well, I brought three options. I auditioned with Courtney Love, so I had that. I brought Teresa Caputo with me because I love the “Long Island Medium”. However, I know two girls from season seven, that said they wanted to do that. In case that would have been sketchy territory, I also brought Betsey Johnson just in case! 


Q: Now that you have this national exposure, where do you want to take it from here? 


I definitely want to keep performing, I love meeting people and doing shows. I am going to the United Kingdom, and I can’t wait to go, I’m so excited! It’s “small town boy” going to the U.K. I mean getting to go to the United Kingdom to dress like a woman, you can’t beat it. I’m going to do more art; more paintings, and I definitely want to do special effects makeup. I don’t think I’m going to drop an album, so don’t expect that. I’m not limiting my possibilities, I am taking my art to the next level in all areas; makeup, painting, media, everything. I am not going to limit myself.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs Monday night on LOGO at 8:00 p.m. (EST)

Check local listings