Ariel Versace Talks Falling Onstage, Instagram Queens & More After 'Drag Race' Exit

Courtesy of VH1
Ariel Versace

On Thursday night, RuPaul’s Drag Race served up some ooky-spooky vibes long before Halloween, by tasking the queens with creating three horrifying looks for the show’s first ever “Monster Ball.”

A few queens treated us with tricky costumes -- Brooke Lynn Hytes walked away with her second win after serving up three excellent looks on the runway. But a few others got spooked; thanks to their less-than-scary monster looks, Ariel Versace and Shuga Cain faced off in a lip sync battle to the classic Whitney Houston jam “I’m Your Baby Tonight.” After an unplanned spill on the runway, Ariel Versace sashayed away, while Shuga Cain kept her spot.

Ariel chatted with Billboard the day after her elimination about her epic fall, being underestimated as an “Instagram queen,” and teased some new music coming soon.

How are you feeling after watching your elimination?

I'm honestly feeling very oddly at peace. We all know, obviously, that there were 15 of us, and only one can walk away the winner, but... like I said, I stand behind the looks I wore last night. I did the damn thing in my lip sync. Yeah I fell, but who hasn't fallen, honestly? [Laughs.] I feel like I enjoyed my time there, and people keep asking, "If you could change anything, what would you change?" Drag Race is something where you have to live so in the moment, that I don't know if there's anything you really can change while you're there and do what you can do in the time allotted. I was super proud of the package I brought last night. It just wasn't my time.

I don't know if you've been on Twitter much in the last 24 hours, but the phrase "Versace on the Floor" has really been given new meaning.

Oh, you better believe I saw that. I'm literally performing that Bruno song tonight at Roscoe's in Chicago, OK? [Laughs.]

What was going through your mind when you fell on stage?

I mean, honestly, when I was walking the runway in that outfit, all I was thinking about was, "Oh my god, this train is so long and it keeps flowing under my feet. Just don't fall." So I had the idea of me falling in that in my mind the whole time. I was going to hold those pieces up for my lip sync, but you know, I didn't sew them on the outfit for them to be wrapped up. I was like, "Let the train flow," and then when I slipped, I was like, "Goddamnit." Like I said, I have fallen before, and drag queens fall all of the time. But mine happened to be on national television. It's not like I didn't recover! I kept going.

I was picking up on the fact that it felt like your confidence was waning in these last two episodes — is that true? Were you struggling with your self-assuredness?

Just the fact that the judges and the other girls were telling me that, "All of Ariel's looks are the same," it was really getting to me. What I wasn't understanding was that I have this established brand of this over-the-top hair, very colorful, and it's a brand I want to stick to. I feel like I was in this mindset, where it's like, "You're telling me that my brand isn't good enough."

I've said it before, I feel like a lot of people pick and choose who is allowed to have a brand -- look at Bianca. Everyone always says, "Bianca wore the same thing on the runway every time." Well, bitch, she won! I just feel like I was really in my head, because I had these things that I enjoy, and for them to tell me that I needed to change it up, I was like "Why are you telling me to change what I like wearing? I know what I like to wear, so I'm going to wear it."

I really loved when A'Keria told you "You are not just a picture" in Untucked, because you were criticized, both on the show and outside of the show, for being an Instagram queen. Why do you think there is this conception that being popular on Instagram somehow makes a queen less talented?

Because that's not really coming from the wrong place -- I do totally see it. There are a lot of girls, a lot of younger queens, that literally do not perform. They just go on Instagram and take these pictures, and they edit them, and they get all of these likes, but they don't perform at all. There's a whole new generation of drag queens that I feel are only doing drag just to get on Drag Race, and I feel like people are just throwing me into that category.

But it's so not the case -- I have been performing for six years, traveling the country. I just happen to have been building my following at the same time, because I know that it's smart to have a really good social media presence. At the same time as I'm building my looks and my performance ability, of course I'm going to build my social media. I've gotten so many bookings through my social media. It's marketing, you have to do it to make it out there in this scene.

A'Keria and I... you don't see it much on the show, but we would have our little conversations and be walking buddies when we had to take a break. But she was super sweet, I really enjoyed A'Keria on the show. She is somebody to watch for -- she's a little soft-spoken, but A'Keria is very, very drag. She's got the costumes and the looks, and so it meant something for me when she said that. We weren't extremely close, but those words meant something to me, because it came from a truthful place.

You've described Ariel as a life-size Bratz doll. If you were to pick one of the Bratz dolls who best represents Ariel, who would it be?

Ooh. Well, it flips, because Chloe is the blonde, and then Yasmin is the brunette. I flip between those two -- when I'm in my blonde or light wig, she's Chloe, and when I'm spray-tanned to death, feeling my Ariana Grande fantasy, that's when she's Yasmin. I don't know, I've always loved the aesthetic of the Bratz dolls, because they've got that bitchy, snatched-back face and that street-style fashion. I just totally love that. It's very me.

Also, in your introduction video for Drag Race, you described Ariel as a pop star. Does that mean we can expect music coming from you soon?

I don't know, stick around for DragCon. [Laughs.] She might have something coming. Actually, if you dig through my Twitter... nobody really caught it, but there is a video of me in my kitchen, and I'm thanking Dolls Kill for sending me some clothes, and I'm actually playing a snippet of one of my songs in the background. She's got a little hidden Easter Egg. But yes, I'm so excited to release music.


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