Kahmora Hall might be the first contestant on "RuPaul's Drag Race” Season 13 to be eliminated, but this is simply the start of a brand new era of this fashion maven's career.
As she enters her post-"Drag Race" career, Hall has plans for fashion, collaboration, and...a doll? I sat down with Hall to talk about her passion for Bob Mackie and why she hopes that her own personal stories are inspiring others.
Michael Cook: You come from such a strong legacy of drag within your Chicago community and drag house; is it surreal to go home first on season 13 of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
Kahmora Hall: Of course it did suck, because everyone has done really well from the House of Hall. Dida (Ritz) was Top 6, Naysha (Lopez) did go home first, but she did come back, and Jaida (Essence Hall) won last season. I did feel some pressure from it, I knew that there were going to be eyes on me from the judges and the other contestants. At the same time, I had to remind myself that this was Kahmora's time, it was my time to shine; it was time for me to start my own legacy and to uphold the Hall name.
MC: So it goes without saying that Jaida was probably just as proud of you this year as you were when she won last season right?
KH: Oh yes. It was so amazing to share this unique experience with her, and with Dida and Naysha as well. Even though it has been thirteen seasons, there have still been a small about of girls chosen. I feel grateful to have this opportunity. Jada has given me so much great advice, but one piece of advice that I wish I had taken was to paint faster (laughs)!
MC: Speaking of, we have seen countless girls paint in the workroom now as they prepare for the main stage. Does it truly take you that many hours to paint?
KH: Okay, let me tell you this. Even though I was late for the fashion show, I have never been late for a gig. I know how long it takes me to get ready so I always allow a certain amount of time for me to get ready and to get to the show early like a professional. Don't let that fool you, I'm a professional and I am always at the gig on time. It has gotten better, but it still takes me a good four hours to do my makeup. For me, makeup really is a spiritual transformation. It's not just putting on make-up and a wig. I really get into it and I really turn into a new character.
MC: How do you look back at your "Drag Race” experience? You filmed during a truly once win a lifetime in our country and it must feel quite surreal.
KH: I still can't believe we filmed during a pandemic. I thought the show was going to get delayed or pushed back until 2022 or something. I am really grateful to World of Wonder for keeping us all safe and COVID-free. It was really cool and unique to see all of the safety protocols come into play. It was crazy that we were able to film during a pandemic and get all of these outfits ready when a lot of places weren't open and money was really tight. But drag queens, we are resourceful and we are thrifty; we use the connections we need to use. I am proud of not just myself, but all of the other girls as well, for putting on a great package.
MC: You are a massive Bob Mackie fan. Your fashion truly was almost like something we have never seen before.
KH: I love any opportunity to talk about Bob Mackie (laughs). I love that I came on the show, I proclaimed myself as 'The Mackie Doll,' and I have turned a lot of Mackie-inspired looks as well. I am just proud that I got to get that brand out there.
MC: So now that you are The Mackie Doll, we need a Kahmora/Bob Mackie doll, a collaboration...
KH: YES we need a doll, a collaboration, and I really would love to borrow something from Bob Mackie's archives. I am a sample size, so I can fit into anything. So anything we would like to let me borrow, I'll take it!
MC: It also goes without saying that you would love a surprise message from him come reunion time right?
KH: Yes, how did you know?! You just don't know what that would mean; I am praying!
MC: So many of the girls love certain designers, Detox for example is a massive Thierry Mugler fan. What is it about Bob Mackie's designs and aesthetic that makes you gravitate to what he does?
KH: I think it just has to do with a lot of my dreams growing up as a kid. I've always wanted to be this glamorous and fabulous person and seeing Bob Mackie's designs emulate that holds a very special place in my heart. Obviously. I know that he has inspired drag queens for decades, but I just love him so much; he is my religion. I think owning these Mackie pieces is truly like a piece of fashion history. Getting ready to walk down the runway in that original Mackie dress, they are the reason Carson (Kressley's) jaw dropped. He understands that Mackie is not just fashion and costume history, but he has contributed a lot to queer and drag history as well. I hope that with a lot of the younger viewers watching the show they also learn the history of Bob Mackie and why he is so important.
MC: On the show, you spoke about your boyfriend and how you separate your drag life and your romantic life. Has that changed since the show filmed?
KH: Of course, I do get a lot of messages about that. What I will say is that my boyfriend has always been very supportive of me. Knowing that I was going to participate in this competition also just showed how passionate I was about drag and how much it means to me. Not just to him, but to my family as well. Things are great; for the people that message me and might be going through the same thing, I hope that they are able to learn from my experience and my story on the show. Your dreams and passions do matter, and they are valid; don't ever feel that you have to hide them from anyone. Even though that is something that I had to learn a lot later in life, I hope it is something that a lot of young queer people watching this can learn too.
MC: So what's next for Kahmora Hall? More fashion being unveiled on Instagram we hope?
KH: Yes! Catch my Instagram every week, I am going to be sharing what I would have worn on the runway. If you thought that the dragon dress was the best that I had to show, just wait. I am The Mackie Doll, but I also have other looks up my sleeve as well. I really brought the versatility and I am really excited to share with everyone. My ideal goal is to dip my toes into fashion and makeup so stay tuned for that.
The thing that people don't know about me is that underneath all of this glamour, I am a big nerd, I am a big gamer. I really want to share that with all of my fans and the viewers. Stay tuned for my Twitch channel and my YouTube channel.
MC: It has been a surreal and crazy year for so many of us. How have you stayed inspired and creatively fueled during the pandemic?
KH: It has definitely been challenging. Normally we would be doing viewing parties and performing, traveling the world, being in different states and meeting the fans. We're drag queens, we adapt. We are creative and we do what we need to do; we adapt and we are hustlers. One thing that I admire about our cast and the Season 12 cast, is that we are doing whatever we can to make the most of it. This is still a huge milestone in our lives and we are going to make the best of it, pandemic or not. Whether that's going to be selling our merch or doing Cameos, I feel like it is going to be a lot more intimate between the contestants and the fans now. That is what I am really loving about it and really being able to connect with the people that DM me. I let them know how grateful I am for their support. I just love drag so much, it is more than a hobby, it is my passion. I have no problem feeling that energy to be creative and putting content out. I have so much content to share with everyone, collaborations with other girls from the cast, things are going to keep rolling. I meant it when I said that The Mackie Doll is not going back in her box.
Check out Kahmora on Instagram.
Check out other interviews on RuPaul's Season 13 Homepage.