Crashing the "cis-tem" is what Gottmik came into RuPaul's Drag Race to do, and this multi-talented performer has done that and more.
From discovering a previously unrealized affinity for stand-up comedy to slaying the Snatch Game as our favorite heiress Paris Hilton, it was no surprise to see Gottmik earn a spot in the top four this season. I sat down with Gottmik following the finale to chat about the Drag Race experience, the changes she hopes to see going forward, and her own expansive plans for the future.
Michael Cook: This is going to be a very important question for you: your male name is taken from an adult film star. Is Cade Maddox the porn performer that has inspired your name?
Gottmik: Oh My God (laughs)! Honestly, yes. I literally am so gagged that people have clocked it in in point five seconds. I thought that it was kind of a porn star name; I didn't know that people would go for it right away, but apparently he is the one!
MC: You made it to the top four on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13. How did it feel?
G: It felt truly amazing; I literally felt like I had already won, I am so proud of everything I have done. My supporters are the most gender-bending, cis-tem crashing, angels that I have ever met in my life. I feel like I am going to crash the system truly.
MC: As the first trans male to compete on Drag Race, how does it feel to have broken that barrier and risen all the way to the top four?
G: It just feels unreal; it truly is just so unreal. I am so happy. Like I said in the first episode, I was told that I could not do drag from the moment I discovered drag, let alone be on the show. It is just too much; I feel like I have already won and it is just so amazing.
MC: As a trans male, what do you think you were the most apprehensive about and what surprised you the most?
G: I think going into the competition at first, I was really in my head and overthinking choreography, saying the perfect thing and coming off the right way. When I wrote these lyrics and it came out differently, I saw that I was not in control of what was happening in that space. I was worried about choreography and was not doing the best either. I think that is around the time the 'Ru-sical' challenge happened and I just let go and have fun; it is the first time it clicked beyond in my opinion, with the judges. The week after that was 'Snatch Game' and it happened again. I realized that I just had to be myself and have fun, and stop worrying about everything from start to finish. The way I talk about my transition, the way that I perform on this stage, everything. I told myself "You are here because and no one else and you just have to keep doing that.”
MC: Both your aesthetic and your performance style are extremely unique, and both the fans and your fellow competitors were very receptive to that. Did the warm reception that you received surprise you?
G: For my sisters especially, we talked about it and they supported me and wanted me to kill it. They didn't treat me special in any way, if anything it was harder. I loved that; they respected me on that level and we're so down for everything that I had to say and were so supportive. It was more than I ever could have asked for, their support meant the world to me. Seeing the fans' reaction is just double-time crazy to me. For every hate comment that's crazy, it comes from a place of ignorance, fear and not understanding my story. There are then one hundred people who are so supportive, saying that they relate to me and it's the first time that they related to someone I the media like me, and that is magical to me. That is all that I ever wanted growing up and now I am doing it for other people.
MC: You are on the cover of Magnus Hastings' Rainbow Revolution and your work with him this season as well as prior, was truly amazing. What is it about Magnus' work that makes you a muse of sorts for him?
G: Magnus and I have known each other for a long time. When I moved to LA, we met in the club scene and we have lots of mutual friends. I don't remember the first time we shot together, it might have been the Box Project. I was so honored to work with him since I was such a fan of his work. Then we started connecting more and more, I think I did two box projects for him for Rainbow Revolution. Then when I got Drag Race, I thought it would be so cool if I had one photographer to do it all. I thought obviously Magnus would be so sickening, I am just such a huge fan of his style. His Why Drag book, every single picture I want hanging in my house. We worked every week since the show to get those photos done and he has been the best ever.
MC: You have done a significant amount of drag makeup and painted your own share of queens. What do you think the biggest mistake queens make when doing their makeup?
G: I think it is so easy, it's when drag queens do really amazing snatched eye makeup and glue their lash downward at the end. It is so specific and weird; it's like you were so close. Then you just had one mess up at the end…
MC: You have "crashed the cis-tem" and you have changed Drag Race in such a real and tangible way. Ten years from now, how do you want to look back and see how Drag Race has changed?
G: Ten years from now, I truly want, no matter where you are on the gender or sexuality spectrum, if you can get on RuPaul's Drag Race won't be anything any more gorg', sorry. Now we are all going to work our asses off and fight so hard just so it is normal; just like another random gay man putting on a wig on the show. Every gender spectrum needs to get on there and tell their stories.
MC: What do you want to do with the platform that you have now been given?
G: I never want to sleep again, I want to work so much. I want to work so hard and try it all. If anyone wants me to try the craziest job ever, I am going to try it. In the immediate future I have some very cute projects coming out, some music moments, some makeup moments, and some tours. We are hard at work over here on the Gottmik team, I am just so excited.
MC: When do you feel the most honestly and authentically yourself?
G: I feel like I now, after Drag Race, really have discovered what RuPaul always preaches; the power you have in drag is totally reachable out of drag. I feel like I totally have discovered that. I felt the most powerful when I was in clown white face paint before, now I feel I am the most myself when I am out in the public being me. Spreading my art, my message and my journey; I am just proud to be me. I feel like every time I open my mouth now I am just so excited I get to talk about my journey and my fight about getting to where I am today.
Follow Gottmik on Instagram @gottmik.
Check out the other interviews on the "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 13 homepage.