'RuPaul's Drag Race:' Blair St. Clair on Speaking Up About Her Sexual Assault: 'It's My Job Now'
On Thursday night, RuPaul’s Drag Race showed their queens the reality of life after Drag Race: RuPaul’s DragCon. After performing in a very special “Sitting on a Secret” mini challenge, the queens were split into three groups, and given topics (body, makeup and hair) for which they would have to host a convention-style panel discussion in front of a live audience.
Some queens delivered helpful wisdom; the body team performed exceptionally well, earning Eureka O’Hara her second challenge win in a row. Others missed the mark -- the hair panel fell flat, and found co-panelists and friends The Vixen and Blair St. Clair in the bottom. In what might have been one of the most sad lip syncs to watch (performed to Diana Ross’ quintessential gay anthem “I’m Coming Out”), The Vixen was able to impress the judges enough, meaning that she was sending home her good friend Blair St. Clair.
St. Clair talked to Billboard the day after her elimination about why she spoke out about her sexual assault, her love of Broadway, her mostly-unaired friendship with The Vixen and more.
How are you feeling after everything that went down on the episode last night?
You know, I'm doing okay today. I filmed this about six months ago, and I've taken a lot of time to process and to kind of allow myself to feel all of the emotions that I was feeling. And last night was, weirdly enough, a beautiful little bit of closure that I didn't know I needed.
Before we get into the meat of what happened last night, what was your experience like doing that panel with Miz Cracker and The Vixen? I know the judges read you guys for not being informative. Did you think that was fair?
There are a couple of little things that go into that. With our team specifically, I feel like we kind of had a sinking ship. We weren't really sure what a strong drag panel was to begin with. We weren't really sure if we wanted to be purely informative and address what we wanted to talk about with wigs, and we weren't sure if we wanted to just be really conversational and have a good time discussing the topic of wigs. I think that's where we really miscommunicated between the three of us.
So when the judges were talking and saying that I was a little bit quieter and that I was being trampled on, I think the answer is yes and no, like yes, we had written a couple cute quick quips and some things to interject throughout filming the panel challenge. But I am sort of quiet by nature, and I think the show depicts me as a little bit more quiet of a person, and I don't think that's necessarily all of the case. I think that I am maybe a little bit more quiet in the large group of Type A girls that were on season 10 [laughs]. But I'm not necessarily quiet, and I think that I've learned from that challenge just to speak up more and more often.
Let's talk about what happened on the runway. You opened up about your experience with rape and sexual assault. How did you come to the decision to speak out about that not only in front of the people in that room, but in front of those cameras?
When you're on Drag Race, you forget so often that they are going to broadcast what you say over the world. Because you are just in a room and multiple rooms, because there are just cameras and there are people, it just feels like you're living your everyday life with an abnormal amount of people around you, and you forget that those moments will be captured and then broadcast months later and be screen-captured for the rest of your life. You forget that that's a thing.
So there was no moment of me questioning or wondering, "Is this the time, is this appropriate, is this something that I should or should not do?" It was just something from my heart that I was really opening up about. It was almost an out of body experience, because I wasn't totally sure of what I was saying. I was waiting for this episode to come out for months, because I wasn't exactly sure what I did say. I was truly speaking from the heart, with a truest sense of the term, because it was just the time. There's no better way to describe it than my heart was ready to talk before my brain knew that I was. And now I know that it is my job now, especially with the platform I have been given.
How do you feel about the response your audience has had to your testimonial?
You know, to begin with, I wasn't too focused on what the audience would think. I was more focused on what kind of closure I would have. I tried to keep a nice balance of what I think validates me and how I feel, versus what the comments say online. So I really try and stay offline throughout the whole Drag Race journey. But, I have just been forwarded so many positive and loving comments and messages and emails since the episode aired, and it has just been an overwhelming amount of love that I have been experiencing. I was crying and telling my boyfriend, like, there were so many people, especially in this room — I was at a viewing party — that are just expressing and sharing so much love and joy and kindness, especially over a situation that was so negative and so hard for me. And it's just amazing and so empowering that I am able to turn those negative experiences in my life into love today. And that, itself, has just been an incredible journey for me.
Let it be known @BlairStClair is my sister for life. And no TV show can change that.— The Vixen (@TheVixensworld) April 27, 2018
One of those people who was sending out love was The Vixen, who you ended up lip-syncing against. Her tweet said, "Let it be known that Blair St. Clair is my sister for life, and no TV show can change that." We didn't get to see a lot of the development of your guys' friendship on the show, so how did that come about?
Oh, I hadn’t heard that yet, that’s so sweet! I think the one thing that I maybe wish the show had shown of me is that I have a very close relationship with Miz Cracker and The Vixen. On day one, The Vixen and I walked into the Werk Room, and we were working on the Drag on a Dime challenge. She definitely came across as a little hard, and I don't think she made friends as easily as the other girls, because she was little more in that mentality of "I came to fight." But I think she saw me as...maybe someone who was a little bit more relatable or down to earth, and just easygoing.
So we clicked really quickly, because I didn't have problems with anyone. She never had problems with me, and when she had her moments where she was popping off or having her own insecurity or frustration, I was kind of there to console or talk through some of the things she was feeling. I was just very, very blessed that she was able to do the same for me this episode.
Yeah, absolutely. Now, you're also this season's Broadway queen — how did that love for theater start for you?
My love for theater almost came from a dark place as well. I was just very insecure and unhappy in my young adolescence, and I found theater as a way to kind of escape life. And I can always find myself on stage for hours and dive into a character. Each character I've played -- theater really just gave me a safe space, it gave me a place where I don't have to feel pressure from the world. I can be this weird, quirky, fun kid and not be judged for it.
Every time I've played a character I've learned something, or at the very least, just took time away from life and had fun and enjoyed it. That was actually the first time I learned to enjoy life, and it's just a good time. So I started performing in late middle school and early high school, and that's what inspired me to start doing drag, because today, I feel like drag is my own mini musical every time I go on to a stage.
Do you have a favorite show?
[Laughs] The two hardest questions I get asked are favorite musical, and if you could play any role what would it be? One of my favorite musicals of all time is something that's underrated. It was first originally a film called Big Fish. It is such a beautiful show. And actually right before getting cast on Drag Race this past summer, I took a couple months off, because I was prepping for the show, and I did Big Fish the musical. It was coming through, and I got cast as Will Bloom, who is one of the few leads in the show. And I was like, "This could be the last time for the foreseeable future that I get to do a musical, and this is one of my favorites, and I'm gonna do it." So during my prep for Drag Race, I kind of took some time away from drag a little bit to do that, and to really reconnect with my first love of why I do drag, which is theater. I was so lucky to do that.
You've mentioned Ann Margaret as one of your inspirations, and there's a tweet going viral about how you should star as her in a biopic. What inspires you about Ann and figures like her?
I would say her demeanor, and the beauty she exudes is something that was really inspiring to me. In general, old Hollywood actresses of that era have inspired me to find that kind of wholesome vibe and edge, and beauty and glam that the time period offered. Because what I've experienced and talked about a lot is that old Hollywood was a very unglamorous time, especially for female actresses, but it depicted such glamour on screen. And I think it's very insincere at times, but it's about putting on a show, and that is very inspiring to me.
We're asking all the queens this season — who is your favorite local queen in Indianapolis, and why?
Well, I'm a little bit biased, because my drag sister is one of my closest friends. Her name is Ida Kay, and she has been such a loving friend of mine throughout my drag career, and I only hope for the absolute best for her in the future.