RuPaul's DragCon: 5 Things We Learned From Brian McCook's 'DEB Talks' Panel

Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race stormed the Los Angeles Convention Center for the city’s fourth annual DragCon from May 11-13. With over 90 queens from the show scheduled to make appearances, the event was designed to dazzle -- but one performer caused a commotion without getting into drag.

Brian McCook, the man behind Drag Race fan favorite Katya, hosted his own panel titled DEB Talks With Brian McCook. Throughout the free-wheeling 45-minute discussion, the now-bearded star talked about everything from his recent trip to rehab to his experience with gonorrhea. Here are five highlights from McCook’s panel.

1. Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott helped him after rehab

McCook revealed that while he was in rehab, he was only allowed to listen to the radio -- he couldn’t use his iPod or phone to listen to music. But after he got out, the songs he had on rotation were “I’m Better” by Missy Elliott and “Feedback” by Janet Jackson.

2. He’s seen a ghost

While in the basement of his parents’ house, McCook saw what he believed to be an apparition. Later that night, he went upstairs to sleep in his old bedroom when he heard the basement door slam shut and out of nowhere, the words “burn the debt” fell out of his mouth uncontrollably. He then remembered that “Bernadette” was the name of the stillborn child of his grandmother. Spooky!

3. He would be president

After a fan suggested that McCook run for president, the star responded saying he would do so tomorrow: “I'm not joking. I would be president tomorrow, if anybody said, “You don't have to do all the stupid polling and fundraising bullshit.” I would love to do that. I am an Irish Catholic person. I've been a man and a woman. I speak Russian, sort of. And then I'm very diplomatic.” Trixie Mattel for VP?

4. He recommends taking a break from screens

McCook offered the audience advice on how to desensitize in this overwhelming digital age: “Recently I stopped watching porn. I also stopped watching television and stopped being lost in my screen.” He added, “I would suggest going out into the woods for a day or locking yourself in a closet and putting a blindfold on and earphones in and see what happens.”

5. He doesn’t like how drag has evolved

When a fan asked McCook how fans could support drag queens if they’re broke, the star expressed his disdain for what drag has become. “Drag, in my view these days, has become the thing it used to make fun of -- which is Jennifer Lopez. Now we all want to be her. We have stylists, we have special photographers. I think there’s a danger to believ[ing] the hype.”


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.