'Drag Race' Finalist BeBe Zahara Benet Talks Returning for 'All Stars': 'Season 1 Was More Intense'

Bebe Zahara Benet
Courtesy of VH1

Bebe Zahara Benet

On Thursday night, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 came to a close, ending a season with more twists and tangles than a Thorgy Thor wig. One of the season’s biggest gags was that a crowned queen, season 1’s BeBe Zahara Benet, returned to compete for a chance at a second title. While the OG drag superstar didn’t take the crown, she landed among the top four finalists.

To celebrate, the Cameroonian drag artist talked to Billboard about her infamous "Ornacia" moment, social media culture, and how All Stars compared to the first season of Drag Race: “Season 1 was more intense than All Stars, in my opinion.”

So Miss BeBe, have you really not been keeping up with Drag Race?

I have been watching and I think there’s a misconception. That’s my family, so I need to know my sisters, right? It’s a responsibility to know everybody that is on the show, but it doesn’t mean I know every single detail. I’m more concerned about my sisters, you know?

When they said “Ornacia” in that moment, I thought she was comparing me to another person. I had a blonde moment there. But it’s okay!

Drag Race has evolved so much since you won season 1. Did it even feel like you were filming the same show?

It did. What people don’t understand is that season 1 was even more intense. We went into the competition without a blueprint. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. So you really had to be on your guard. Now, with the newer season, you know to expect The Snatch Game and sewing challenges. Even if it doesn’t happen, you are aware of what’s possible. So season 1 was more intense than All Stars, in my opinion.

That finale “Kitty Girl” performance looked exhausting. What was it like filming that?

Oh honey. What people don’t know is that when we were rehearsing, I was under the weather. I wasn’t feeling good at all. It was really, really exhausting. But I pushed on right on through. We have a job to do, so I pushed through.

Some fans pointed out that it was funny that you were put in front of a sewing machine during that performance. Did you see the humor in it?

I did. It hinted at the whole sewing situation with Aja. I laughed when they put me in front of a sewing machine. I put two and two together, especially with the situation being not very comfortable. I didn’t think that whole thing [with Aja] was necessary. But I definitely saw the humor in it. [laughs]

I might not the best seamstress, I might not know how to sew, but I know how to make a garment look like a million dollars. I did that in season 1: I won a design challenge.

What is it like navigating a season of Drag Race in this intense social media culture?

You have to the good and you have to take the bad. I don’t take the bad. I only take the good. Listen, our community -- there are many people trying to take away our rights. It’s very important that when we have platforms like Drag Race, we use them to really unite forces. So that is what I focus on. I’m campaigning for President, honey.

I'm sure you've heard about this theory that you were a mole. What did you think of that?

I think it was very interesting and I can see why some people believed it. A lot of fans didn’t want to believe I actually coming on to compete. They didn’t want to believe that a queen who had already won the show was coming back into the competition. I think that fans felt threatened for the other competitors that they were rooting for. I was very interesting, you know?

You have a Kickstarter to help fund a documentary called Being BeBe. What can you tell me about this documentary?

What I will say is that you see me on a reality show and you feel like you know who I am. And you really don’t know who I am. With this film you’ll see twelve years of my work. Twelve years of of me discovering who I am of a person. And it’s a story that is not only going to resonate with our community, but it has a lot of universal messages. It’s time for this story to be heard. So that’s why we’re asking to pledge and help us to bring this story to life.

Last question: girl, who were you going to send home the night BenDeLaCreme eliminated herself?

That will always be a secret, honey. I always keep my word. [laughs]

It doesn’t matter now. The show is over and we have an All Stars Winner. We should celebrate Trixie for winning. I think people should focus on celebrating the new reigning All Stars queen.