While Alyssa Edwards may call herself a “lovely fifth alternative,” she is by far, one of the most popular queens to ever hit the main stage on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. It was no surprise that fans were thrilled to see her name on the list of queens returning for redemption when “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” was announced, and during her time on the show, she did not disappoint. Sadly, Edwards was eliminated on last week’s show...or was she? The final scene showed all eliminated queens (including Edwards) returning for another possible shot at the crown. I sat down for a chat with Alyssa to talk about her “All Stars 2” experience, her dance company Beyond Belief and what she thinks “Drag Race” has done for the community.
Right off the bat Alyssa, you must know that there were three gay men in this house before this interview literally trying to tongue pop exactly like Alyssa Edwards.
(Laughs) Well it’s good that you boys have something to be tongue poppin’ about!
We were very sad to see you eliminated this week on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2”
I know. I was thankful for the moment and the opportunity, but I’ll be honest there was a big part of me that was devastated. But you know what? I could look in the mirror and say “you did that” and that I was happy with.
What made you want to go back for another crack at the crown after such a strong season on Season Five?
I had so many reasons why I wanted to revisit Season Five. Season Five I left with regrets, and I’m not a person that has ever regretted anything. I got back and then I watched and re-evaluated, and then I thought to myself that I totally could have done new things. I was reserved and my biggest critic and my biggest competition. I had to say to myself “Justin you are your biggest fan and you have been your whole life”. If you get that opportunity, baby, pack them bags, and that’s what I did. I felt like I delivered from the talent show, to the Joan Crawford, to the Annie Oakley, I felt like I was doin’ my gig!
Many people thought you were going to be the queen to take the entire competition!
Well, you never know, if you saw the end of the last episode, it’s not over just yet!
Speaking of, were you surprised at the twist that brought all of you back to the workroom for your revenge?
Very much so. For me, I thought Ashton Kutcher was going to be around the corner or something. I mean, there were so many twists and turns coming at is, I thought I was about to be pranked, what’s going on?!
Were you surprised at the girls that joined you on the “All Stars 2” cast or were there some girls that you really expected to see that weren’t there?
I think both really. I didn’t know Tatiana since she was from Season 2 and there were a couple of girls that I was surprised not to see, but overall the cast was very strong, there were just ten of us. The biggest surprise to me was that there were five season five girls.
You took the platform that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” gave you and have truly made something of it and developed it into your own brand. Is it still mind boggling that you are reaching that many people on your web series “Alyssa’s Secret”?
Most definitely. When World of Wonder called me and told me to come in and be camera ready, I was like “ok”. When I got there and RuPaul himself was there it was like “ok you’re in the principal’s office”. I sat on this chair in front of a green screen and I felt like I was being interrogated. Ru asked me about my first date and I told him it was this Cajun guy that I had been dating and he tried to take me to Red Lobster and I was real confused. I started rambling and they all started giggling. The next thing I know, it’s on the internet. Now I look and I love that this many people get into this Monday gig, it’s a laugh, it’s a good little laugh.
You recently had a piece in the Dallas Observer on Beyond Belief, your dance company and it was a great way to see the other side of your career. Is it sometimes odd to you that people are becoming as interested in your life as a teacher as much as your life as Alyssa Edwards?
No it’s not, I am so glad the world is seeing that. The pride and joy of my life is Beyond Belief. It’s my greatest accomplishment and my greatest reward. I am happy that I am getting to share some of that.
I have heard you speak about the parents at the studio and they are so supportive of you and your career as Alyssa Edwards correct?
Yes, 100%. If they’re not, they just don’t comment at all. I am so blessed over here. I was scared, I didn’t know how people would take all that. It’s in Mesquite, I mean, I went to West Mesquite High School, Home of the Fighting Wranglers. I didn’t know how those people would feel. I didn’t want my work as a choreographer to be judged by my “alternative lifestyle’ That’s one other thing that I am so thankful to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for. It’s like that taboo of what a drag queen is, it’s really being wiped away. This movement that RuPaul, and World of Wonder and Logo have allowed is just giving people a whole new outlook on the art that we are doing.
I think that many don’t take it as seriously as the true form of art that female impersonation is.
Absolutely. The whole thing about art also is that it’s subjective.
What more do you want to do as Alyssa Edwards?
I think my book of life is written, it’s just now being read out loud. I am enjoying this chapter right now. I know it’s going to get really good, you know you can just feel it building up? I am enjoying this ride; I’m just going with it. I’m excited!
I cannot finish an Alyssa Edwards interview without you showing me how to do the patented Alyssa Edwards tongue pop!
I made this “Alyssa’s Secret” video to show people how to do it, but you gotta practice it, because it is hard. Ok, you gotta put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and, like in the video, pull it down, but you’re sucking in air. “POP”! Once you perfect that you can add in the lips or the hands to give it some character!
Remember it’s not personal it’s just drag. And thank you to all of you for your support!