Eureka O’Hara may have clashed with several of her co-stars on this season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” but the audience had nothing but love for this Johnson City, TN native. As the season progressed, this seasoned and hilarious queen started to look like one of the ones to beat for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. Sadly, an injury incurred during the second week challenge caused her to ultimately have to “sashay away” much earlier. I sat down to chat with Eureka on her early elimination, her clashes with fellow contestants, and what it was like to get to have a truly personal moment with Mother Monster herself.
(SFGN) The audience was shocked and disappointed to see you leave both so unexpectedly and so early. How does it feel leave this way for you?
(EO) I have loved getting to watch myself and I feel the exact same way, because I am my own biggest fan (laughs). I really hate it for the viewers, because they’re all going to miss me!
You were looked at as one of the girls who could take the crown this year. Did you start to feel pressure like that as the competition progressed?
I mean, the pressure is consistent. As soon as you walk in the workroom, the pressure is there. First off, the reality that you are actually on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, and then on top of it, meeting Lady Gaga, that was the moment when I said “holy shit, I am here, I am doing something, I have to get my shit together” and I realized i needed to be as strong as I could be. That is exactly what I did too. Obviously, I felt the pressure so much that when I was injured I continued to try to fight through. I didn’t want it to affect my experience on “Drag Race” at all, and I was going to continue through, even if I had to compete on crutches for the rest of the season. That’s who I am, I am a fighter.
You were the girl that spoke directly to Lady Gaga, looked her in the eye, and said exactly what to many people feel about her and her impact on the community and society as a whole. How overwhelming was that?
I think that is why I cried so quickly when I got to say those things to her. I felt it in my heart. It was one of those moments that I felt so deeply and I am blessed to be able to be that voice for other people if that is the way they feel also.
This season, the campaign for “Drag Race” states this year was “we need America’s Next Drag Superstar now more than ever”. Do you feel that with the political climate being so polarizing, you have more of a responsibility as a performer now?
Absolutely; Especially with this platform, I think as an entertainer to begin with, when you are at a venue or hosting an event, when you decide to be this type of an entertainer within the LGBT community, your responsibility is to entertain and make people happy. With our current political climate, my season of girls now have a responsibility to be a distraction. A distraction for our energy so people are not living in fear, or politics moving into an even more negative territory, and hopefully continuing towards progression. I hope that with the show moving to a channel like VH1 is giving people the small amount of progression that we all need right now. Plus, they are getting their fierce fantasy and either get to read the bitches, love the bitches, and in some way, get to release their emotions. It’s almost like therapy! (laughs).
Now that your season is in the rearview mirror officially for you, what are you taking away from the “Drag Race” experience?
What I am taking away is that God has given me a path to walk down/crutch down/waddle down (laughs). It is a path that only I can take, but it is the path that I know I belong on. I finally feel like I am living my life to the fullest and I have a platform. I am allowed to go in the direction that I want and I am allowed to represent all that I want to represent. All eyes are on me and I feel like professionally, personally and in terms of responsibility, where my life is, I feel like it is exactly where it is supposed to be. I have always felt like this giant whale in a little town in Tennessee and I became very successful very quickly. I loved being a hard worker and enthusiastic about everything. All of that, that I was doing, was prepping me for an even bigger pond, the ocean I feel like. I am finally able to stretch my legs and I am able to swim around. I am finally able to enjoy the personality and the gifts that God gave me.
You mention being from a little town in Tennessee. What is drag like in a small town in a red state?
You know, honestly, you would think that us being in a small town, we would not have a strong aesthetic or a lot of support for drag, but we actually do. We have a beautiful bar in Johnson City with owners that travel all over the world. It’s very European, its big, and it’s bigger than any bar in New York City. We also are the only gay bar in a sixty-mile radius from where we live. We cover the entire LGBT community of that whole area. Our bar is very family oriented and it’s very community oriented. It is still East Tennessee where it is still a little medieval in their views at times. We have to have each other’s backs and be supportive, so we have a very supportive drag community as well. The bar is called New Beginnings nightclub in Johnson City, TN.
Do you think your portrayal on the show was accurate? You had a run in with Trinity Taylor on the runway that spilled into “Untucked” that will probably go down in history.
I think I was honestly who I was and I think that is who I am, really. Trinity got a little defensive and quickly very negative to me. I stood my ground. I was asked a question and I was honest and my opinion was accurate as to how I perceived the situation. I think a lot of people were watching the show and would probably agree, and some may not. I am big, I am loud, I am annoying, but one thing I am not is a liar. When Mama Ru asks you a question, you answer. If you can’t handle the truth, then I don’t know what to tell you. Like they say, if you can’t play with the dog, stay off of the porch.
That being said, who do you think could take the crown this year?
I am voting for several girls this year. Farrah Moan is my bestie, Nina Bonina Brown is incredibly talented, and I think Sasha Velour brings a level of diversity to the show that is very refreshing for the world to have a queen like her. Awkwardly to, since she did snip at me a few times about being politically correct, but it’s hard to be mad at her for that when we are living in a climate where that is necessary, so she taught me a few things about that. I think we need that, someone who is going to stand up for ultimately what is right, regardless of the situation that they are in.
What do you want everyone to know about Eureka?
I think what I want people to take away is not to give up. That is the biggest thing about Eureka. I am a hard worker and I always believe in myself regardless of people not believing in me sometimes. Know your self-worth. Be happy with who and what you are. If you have a dream, continue to fight for it. Do your absolute best, that is all we can do. Authentic self always!