If there’s one queen that got everyone talking on this season of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" Season 13, it’s Elliott With Two T’s.
This Vegas vixen became the first queen in Drag Race herstory to be the first queen eliminated three times during one season and definitely made her presence known during the season, both on and off the main stage. While Elliott has left the completion, her evolution as a queen and as a person is going to continue to post Drag Race. I sat down to chat with Elliott about her Drag Race experience, conversations that have arisen regarding race and the fandom, and why flamingos have been a constant during her entire journey.
Michael Cook: You are the first queen eliminated from "RuPaul's Drag Race" three times in one season. You have made herstory!
Elliott With Two T's: I know; I guess I'm here to make some change, right (laughs)?
MC: First off, so many reading this are absolutely massive "Golden Girls" fans. What is your favorite episode?
ETT: I have two favorite episodes; I think my favorite episode is the second episode of the Sick & Tired from Season 5 with Blanche's delusional monologue when she is trying to write her book. I also love the one with the murder mystery getaway weekend, I scream every time.
MC: This season was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a multitude of reasons. What is it like now to look back on the experience as a whole?
ETT: Truly, I feel so accomplished. I am one of those people that people did not expect to get this big opportunity. I wasn't well-known and everybody has this idea that you have to have to be a well-known queen with this big following to get on the show. I am really proud of the fact that I completely got rid of that stigma and that idea. I just did the same audition process as everyone else has done that has ever been on the show. I truly did that myself and I am so proud of that. Not only that, but everyone truly believed that I was just a "throwaway queen" or a "filler" and to have lasted as long as I did, I could not be more proud. It is such an accomplishment; thinking how much work it was and how much time and energy it took, I am so proud.
MC: Due to your first two eliminations this season, and then subsequently staying in the competition, viewers relate to you as the underdog that so many of us feel sometimes. How did it feel like while you were there?
ETT: When I was there, it felt like another day at the office for me; I have always kind of felt that way. Everybody is so competition-focused and so many other people are so naturally capable of making friends and connections with people. I didn't realize until I was there that I don't have as big a personality as I thought I did and I am not always the loudest voice in the room. I didn't realize it about myself, I always thought that I was this big outgoing person. I had the realization that I am really good at one-on-one with people, and I am not a big booming voice in a crowd. And I am fine with that.
MC: You mentioned your depression on the show, which was important for several reasons. While mental health in America continues to have a stigma attached to it, having this discussion during a pandemic was relatable to so many people. Do you think during the pandemic, your depression was worse for you with the extended solitude that you faced?
ETT: I just remember specifically, I had submitted my casting video and I was waiting to hear back from producers. I just kept hearing a voice in my head saying “of course the world is going to shut down the second you decide to make this venture, why wouldn't the world shut down the moment you were up for Drag Race? It is impossible to shake that feeling that the world is against you and that things out of spite towards you; it is so difficult to shake that feeling. Something that really got me through it though, was flamingos.
When I was auditioning and had submitted my tape, I was out and saw a flamingo keychain that someone had dropped at the mall in Las Vegas. It was around the same time that the "RuPaul's Drag Race LIVE!" show opened at The Flamingo in Las Vegas. I put two and two together and two hours later I got my first phone call from producers. Every single day after that, I would see flamingos, whether I was out driving around or on television. Even whenever I was at the lowest that I could be and the most down on myself, I would see flamingos; it was a reminder that this is happening, don't worry, keep your head up and stay positive. As silly as it might sound, that really helped me.
MC: There have been conversations surrounding race and cultural appropriation regarding you and issues with your castmates, such as some comments Kandy Muse has made. What is your perspective on the situation as a whole?
ETT: For one thing, I don't know when Kandy Muse became a reliable source of information; I don't think the Wall Street Journal would sign off on her. For me, I was trying too hard to be friends with everyone. I was mimicking the way that other girls were talking to each other. Tina talks about it as well when I talk to her about my depression. It was kind of a mechanism that I was trying to do to come off in a similar way as a way that the other girls would like me. It is something that I realized I had always done and that is why I have never gotten really that close to other queens; I always act the way that I think they want me to act.
Also, I am from Texas; regional language is a very real thing. It is something people don't really understand. Some adjectives in some parts of the country are not adjectives in another part of the country. I think because we are all from different places and backgrounds things can be taken and understood differently. I think people in general, especially with the way that our country is now, need to take into consideration intention and integrity. Trying to understand where someone is coming from instead of just attacking everybody. Every other girl except maybe two has borrowed things from me this season. If I was a hateful mean person with spite, you would not have seen the rest of the drag that I didn't wear on the show on the runway on everyone else.
MC: The Drag Race fandom is very vocal in many ways. What did you learn from being on the receiving end of compliments and criticism from the Drag Race fandom?
ETT: What I've learned through the whole experience is how powerful negativity is. I can get one hundred loving, beautiful comments and the one negative one ruins my day. It is something that I shouldn't give power but you can't really control how you react to things or how things are going to affect you. To be honest, I have lost a lot of weight throughout the whole experience. I have had trouble sleeping it has been a severe experience for me, because of all of the negativity. I just hope the fans have really learned to take us for what we are and realize that we are human beings and we are not perfect. I would never tell someone that they are wrong for doing something when I know that I have made some mistakes. I wish more people would come from a place of considering others instead of attacking others.
MC: What is it like heading back to the stage in Las Vegas; what is next for Elliot With Two T's?
ETT: I am so fortunate that I have gotten to a partnership with a venue called Area 15. it is a massive 300,00 square foot venue across the highway from the strip. I am able to host my viewing parties in a venue that is half the size of a stadium with floor-to-ceiling projections on all the walls. I do performances every week and bring in a local queen to give her an opportunity to perform, and I have brought in queens from Los Angeles to perform also. I was the first drag queen to both host an event and do drag there and I am really proud that I was able to create my own show on the Vegas strip with this opportunity. So many others are not performing right now, I am just so lucky and fortunate to have the opportunity to perform and share the experience with everyone. I hope to travel in the near future; I want to go to Brazil, South America, and all of the other places all of the girls from other seasons have gotten to go.
MC: How have you stayed inspired and creative during the past year?
ETT: It is really difficult. I find the most fun that I have in my week is when I am rehearsing with my dancers or the viewing parties. It is a time we get to create, and be artistic and laugh with each other. That is the highlight of my week, spending time with my dancers. It has been so difficult to strive for new things. With Drag Race, I get to wear what I have from each episode, so I have not had to plan and create new things. That is a blessing because I can save money, but a curse also; I want that fire and drive to create again. Once I feel there is more of a green light to travel and do new things, I feel like that is going to really be inspiring.
Follow Elliott With Two T’s on Instagram @thereallelliotqueen.
Check out the other interviews on the "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 13 homepage.