Kandy Muse did exactly what she said she would the moment she walked into the RuPaul's Drag Race workroom: she has gone all the way "from the Hood To Hollywood"!
This outspoken and dynamic performer was sickeningly talented, quick to react, and determined to make it to the top. Her eye on the prize took her all the way to the finale of Drag Race Season 13 grand finale, and her determination during the competition has positioned her to take her to even greater heights. I sat down with Kandy to chat about her Drag Race run, how having two very strong mothers of her own has set up her for success, and how her relationship with fellow competitor Joey Jay has panned out.
Michael Cook: You have made New York City and your fans monumentally proud as the first runner-up on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13. The question has to be asked though; have you made yourself proud?
Kandy Muse: Absolutely. I leave the show with no regrets.
MC: How do you look back on your RuPaul's Drag Race experience now that it is over?
KM: I look at my experience the way that Drag Race should be done. You should have those moments, you should have your highs, your lows, no one likes someone that is too perfect. I fall one hundred times, and I get up one hundred and one times. It is about showing the human side of you and showing how hard you are working; it is about enjoying it. I am so happy with everything that I have done.
MC: You come in with a very high drag pedigree. From being part of the Haus of Aja (which included former contestants Aja and Dahlia Sin) to being an established New York City queen, you came in with high expectations from fans. Was that difficult?
KM: Oh yeah. I think when people hear "New York City queen" they expect so much from you, especially if you are from a drag family that was already on Drag Race. I found that there was a lot of pressure for Kandy Muse going into the completion, but I did not let it affect me. At the end of the day, I was just myself, and in Drag Race that is all that you really have: yourself.
MC: You are the first girl in Drag Race herstory to be eliminated and then be called back by RuPaul on the main stage to rejoin the competition. How did that feel in the moment?
KM: It feels insane. Honestly, you never expect it. One, you never want to get eliminated so when I got eliminated it was like "Well I guess this is the end of the road for me." You never expect RuPaul to pull something like that though; "just kidding, I don't want you to go home." It's like, "oh..ok".It's something that is in the Drag Race history books though, which I love.
MC: So are you and Joey Jay planning a fall wedding, or maybe a winter wonderland type of event? You two certainly got close during the competition...
KM: (laughs). You know, since we stopped filming me and Joey tried here and there, we flew back and forth. We are just too busy and we live in two different states, so it's a little bit difficult. But, it doesn't mean that any time we are together and get drunk we won't have a good time (laughs)!
MC: One thing that many people were not aware of you before the Drag Race finale is that you had two mothers. Has having two mothers helped teach you to stand up for yourself and not back down that often?
KM: Being from New York City and having two very tough moms, you grow thick skin and you learn how to roll with the punches. When life throws you a curveball you learn how to adapt, and that is the mentality that I took with me into Drag Race. You never know what is gonna happen on that day. Obviously, you are going to walk in and have fun with the queens, but you never know who you are going to click with and who you are not going to click with. One thing I will tell you though; I don't handle bullshit and I don't take bullshit very lightly. Definitely New York has definitely taught me how to have more tough skin. Two mothers, two very strong women with two very strong opinions!
MC: You are a very reactionary person, especially when someone attaches your name to a negative connotation. Watching the show back do you think you have learned anything about how you react to things?
KM: You know, watching it back on certain things like my Untucked episode with Tamisha, I did learn and grow from that. I think that people will say things like "you should just laugh when the other girls say your name." I feel like that is not how I felt at the moment though, so I am going to let you know how I feel. I guess people expect to act a certain way or feel a certain way when your name is called with something negative after it. I definitely have those moments and I don't regret it; they made for some iconic television moments.
MC: You made it to the Top Four on Drag Race and battled it out with Symone in the final lip sync. What do you want to do next?
KM: I just savored the moment and took it all in. You never know, you might never be on Drag Race again. Now, I just want to focus on my career and flourish and do more television. I just want to enjoy the platform that Drag Race has given me.
MC: There are so many New York City girls who could be fantastic Drag Race competitors; who do you think would slay the runway in your opinion?
KM: Jasmine Rice LaBeija would be amazing. There are girls like my drag daughters Janelle No. 5 and Xunami Muse who would all be amazing. There are so many girls in New York who would be amazing. I mean, in Brooklyn alone, let's get all of them on Drag Race!
MC: How does Kandy Muse define her otherness, the one thing that sets you apart and makes you different from everyone else?
KM: You know, some people are born with star quality and some people aren't. If you don't have star quality, get the fuck outta here (laughs)!
Follow Kandy Muse on Instagram @thekandymuse.
Check out the other interviews on the "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 13 homepage.