'RuPaul's Drag Race': Season 12 Queens Spill the Tea on Getting Cast

Season 12 Cast Photo
Courtesy of VH1

Season 12 Cast Photo

The time has come! On Friday (Feb. 28), RuPaul's Drag Race will be sashaying back to television with the premiere of season 12. We'll get to see the queens for the first time in the work room, watch their first challenge and witness them gagging over special guest judge Nicki Minaj.

But who are each of the queens competing on this season of Drag RaceBillboard caught up with the cast before the premiere to get to know each of the 13 new contestants a little bit better, learning their favorite moments from the show, their preferred songs to lip sync and how they found out that they were cast.

Aiden Zhane

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "When I got my call, I was out to eat with friends. They had me step outside from dinner real quick, and I just remember screaming and doing laps around the parking lot. When they say, 'You have two weeks,' I was like, 'Oh s--t, what did I get myself into?'"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "One of my favorite numbers to do is 'A Place in the Dirt' by Marilyn Manson. It's such a slow, moody song, but it has great points, there's all of these beat drops in it where you can do all kinds of things, like pull off a reveal, so it's really good."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "I would have to say ... girl, give me that —I don't know who she was lip syncing against — but give me that Valentina lip sync in All Stars ("Into You" vs. Monét X Change) where she is twirling around the stage. Her ass is just out."


How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was in rehearsals for a WorldPride number that I was doing at the Barclays Center with Alaska and Shangela. Steven (Corfe, Drag Race producer) called me, and he was like, 'Are you in a quiet space?' And I was like, 'Absolutely f---ing not I'm not.' So, I had to go into another rehearsal room, and he was like 'You're on Drag Race.' I was like 'Oh my god!' And then he told me I had two weeks and I was like, 'Oh, f--k!' But it was so cool to be with all those other Drag Race queens, and not being able to tell them!"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "I would have to choose the live version of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' by Patti LaBelle. It goes places, honey, it's a ballad, so she's out of breath in the beginning, she's not doing too much cardio, but you have the option at the end to get wild. You can add a reveal in it, so yeah, Patti LaBelle."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "When Shangela comes for Mimi Imfurst in that one episode of Untucked. Girl, that monologue is the monologue of all monologues."

Crystal Methyd

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was at my day job at the time doing graphic design for a corporate bowling alley, and I left and called my boyfriend crying, and then I went back inside and I quit!"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "Only one? Oh ... one I've been doing recently has been 'F--k the Pain Away' by Peaches, so I guess I'd do that one!"

Favorite Drag Race moment: "I think my favorite Drag Race moment is Madame LaQueer screaming 'Ewww!'"

Dahlia Sin

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was leaving L Train Vintage in Brooklyn, at Dunkin' Donuts with two of my sisters, and they called. She was like, 'Hi, this is Drag Race' and I just hung up. I thought it was a joke. And then she called right back and was like, 'Hey, did you lose service?' I was like 'Uh ... yeah!' And then they told me and I was just squealing on the street. I was just trying to keep calm because I was in public, so I was not trying to look like a nutso in New York."

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "I don't know, I guess I would do one that I do a lot recently, which is 'Slow It Down' by Kim Petras. That is my favorite song right now, and it's the only thing I can think of because it's my go-to number. And I won't get tired!"

Favorite Drag Race moment: "I would say the Untucked with Raven being like 'Out of all the girls, they choose Mimi Imfurst?' That's one of my favorites. Oh, and Tammie Brown sitting there saying 'Teleport us to Mars!' That whole Untucked moment is incredible."

Gigi Goode

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was at Jack in the Box in L.A., eating chicken tenders with my roommate who I had just moved in with. They called me, and I started crying while I was still eating my chicken tenders, and ... I mean, what are you supposed to do? I hadn't even started eating my meal, and I lost my appetite!"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "This is the worst answer, but I don't know if I can pick one, because all of the numbers I do go with the outfit I'm wearing. So I really don't have one outfit that I'd just wear for a random song — all of my outfits are really obscure references. Although, 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' is an absolute go-to for me. Yeah, actually, I'll pick that, 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.'"

Favorite Drag Race moment: "Visually, Violet Chachki's dress when she passed down the crown to Bob was iconic. I'm just gonna say right here right now, I don't know that there will ever be a queen who has a better look than that exact moment. Completely changed the trajectory of drag with that. When I watched it with my mom, I fell on the floor."

Heidi N. Closet

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was home alone, like the movie, and I got the call. They said, 'Heidi N. Closet, you're on the next season of RuPaul's Drag Race,' and I literally threw my phone into the corner of the room, ran in the opposite direction, and then jumped on my bed for like 5 minutes. Then I was like, 'I might wanna go hear what they gotta say!' So I moseyed my way on back to the phone and finished the conversation."

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "Oh, I would do my 'Work' mix. It went viral, I would do that for the rest of my life. I love that, it's one that I actually visualized and came up with myself, I didn't say 'Make me something!' It's my baby, I found all the songs, I popped them in the order I wanted and put them all together. So yeah, I would definitely do that one."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "'Is there something on my face?' That is the most dramatic moment of all time, though my favorite moment of all time is when Kennedy's in Untucked, and they were talking about either Pearl or Miss Fame, and she just goes, 'But she's BEAUTIFUL.' That's so good."

Jackie Cox

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "Prior to leaving for Drag Race, I had a totally separate career. I still did drag in the city, but I had a career working in an office building in Midtown. I was on the 16th floor, and I kept getting these calls from this L.A. number, and I was like 'I think my college wants money.' I kept ignoring, and then finally I picked up, and they were like 'Hey, this is Steven from RuPaul's Drag Race!' Like, my boss was looking at me funny, and I was just like 'I need to go to a conference room!' I got the gig, and then I had to go to a training right afterwards for the most boring tech application. But I was like 'This is so cool! We can double click this?'"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "At my first big solo cabaret show, I played a genie, and spoiler alert, I do 'Genie in a Bottle' by Christina Aguilera, and it was just this fun fantasy where I played with the lyrics. I have my ponytail and whip that around, and as a Middle Eastern queen, it's really fun to play up the extravagance of that in my drag. So I don't know if I would lip sync to that version, but I would do my own take on it!"

Favorite Drag Race moment: "I'm going all the way back to season one, when Chanel has that giant Medusa head! She's lip syncing, the boobies are bouncing, and then the thing comes off, and she's like, 'I did that on purpose!' It's like, 'Werk Chanel, yas. Legend.'"

Jaida Essence Hall

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was at the mall shopping, which I shouldn't have been doing because I was gonna need that money later. My phone is ringing, and I was doing makeup for Silky for the finale, and she had contacted me earlier, so I thought she had moved to L.A. Something in my heart told me that somebody was calling me for a purpose. So I picked up and they said 'Hi this is Drag Race, do you have a moment?' I ran to the end of the mall, like 'I can make a moment, give me one second!'"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "I would say 'Die Young' by Kesha, because it is my favorite song to perform every time. The energy is so raw and real, and you feel like a rocker, and it's just great."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "I definitely miss the Interior Illusions Lounge. That was the tea, when it was separate rooms, with the Gold Bar, and you just bust into another room like 'What did you just say about me?'"


How she found out she was cast on season 12: "It was April Fools' Day when I found out, so I was like, 'Somebody's playing a prank on me.' But I also was outside of a McDonald's on 34th and 8th, and I was like, 'Wow, how serendipitous is this moment? Let me go get a Big Mac and celebrate!'"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "I have a 'Thank U, Next' mix, but it's inspired by the Next bus from MTV, so I just put all of my favorite quotes from that show into my number. I just do that."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "There's one episode I always put on if I'm having a bad day that makes me smile. It's season 5, it's called 'Draggle Rock', and it's where Coco is the ventriloquist's doll. And for some reason, every time, when she says her name is Jessica, it makes me crack up every single time. I think it's hysterical, and she then turns that lip sync, too."

Nicky Doll

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was hosting a show with nine other drag queens in Long Island City, and I was backstage painting. This girl was looking at my phone and told me it was ringing, and it said 'Scam Likely,' you know how the iPhone tells you that? So I'm like, 'No no, I'm not picking up.' And she says, 'Well this is the third time they're calling!' So I answer while I'm painting, and she says 'Is this Nicky Doll?' This is the first time someone has called for Nicky not Karl. She tells me 'This is the call, are you alone?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm with nine other queens!' She tells me, 'No, go to the bathroom.' So she told me. And then I had to internalize the whole thing, go backstage, keep painting, and do my whole gig as if nothing happened. So I got fucked up that night, woke up with a crazy hangover, and didn't know if it was a dream or not."

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "I think I would choose 'Braveheart' by Neon Jungle! It's a British band that doesn't really exist anymore, and every time I go to any club and I don't the crowd and they don't know me, this is always the track I go with, because I know that I'm gonna grab them."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "This is not like a big moment, but when Jujubee accuses Raven of stealing her ring (on Drag U), and Raven's like 'No that's mine!' and then she goes 'Is it?' and removes the ring, and then Juju takes it like 'Now it is!' And she just looks at the camera and goes 'Oh, Raven, you will never learn.' I love that moment so much."

Rock M. Sakura

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "Do you have a shower shot? It's a douching hose. I was getting ready for a gig, and they called me while I was doing that, and I literally s--t myself, right there. And then I went 'Woo!' Look, this is the reality of things, okay?! People think it's glamorous, but we're not all driving cars or hosting shows, okay! Some of us just can't afford fiber!"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "The answer is Vanessa Carlton, 'A Thousand Miles.' I do a number as Vanessa Carlton, and I rear-project myself at her piano driving around like the video. I get stuck in traffic, and then I go through a car wash and have people slap me with mops and super soakers. I hit a whole bunch of marathoners. And then there's a police chase and I get shot in the side and I spit out blood! But then I pull out a bazooka and I shoot down a helicopter!"

Favorite Drag Race moment: "You know what, this is weird — from the press tour for All Stars 3, where Kennedy Davenport is talking about reaching as many people as possible, and she's like 'You just have to hit the children with it.' And Milk goes, 'Hit the children?!' And she's like, 'You know what I meant, the message has to touch the children!' And Milk just screams 'Touch the children?!?' That was one of my favorite moments of all time."

Sherry Pie

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "Oh, I was going on stage at my Monday show, which is a very big, long show. I was about to go on, and had to walk out, talking to them on the phone, and the venue sent people out to find me and tell me we needed to start. I was like 'Hold on!!' I hung up, and had to go right on, and be like 'Hello everybody, everything is normal here!'"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "'Privilege to Pee' from Urinetown, Nancy Opel only. If I were a woman, Nancy Opel would be my voice. Nancy Opel is a goddess and a queen, and she is not given the respect she's entitled to. I expect Nancy Opel to see this in print!"

Favorite Drag Race moment: "It would have to be ... I think it's Alaska and Jinkx, when one of them yells 'Tell us the tea, stupid!' in that voice! It's so good and so funny, I say it to people all of the time."

Widow Von'Du

How she found out she was cast on season 12: "I was on my way to Walmart to go pick some things up, and my phone kept ringing. Throughout the day, it had been these bill collectors who are using random numbers and s--t. So I was like, 'I swear to god, if this f--king number doesn't stop calling me!' So I answered and I was like 'You cannot solicit me for stuff!' And they were like, 'Is this Widow Von'Du?' And I was like '...I am so sorry that I yelled at you on the phone!' I almost crashed my car when they told me!"

One number she would lip-sync for the rest of her life: "Probably ''Round We Go' by Big Sister. It's very ... it's what I do in pageants when I dance solo, it's very high-energy."

Favorite Drag Race moment: "On Season 1, when Ongina talked about her HIV status on TV. It was so inspiring and so incredible, and I think with her coming out about it, it helped a lot of people who were struggling to tell their family, or to even the people they were sleeping with. Even today, the stigma is so real. No one is 'dirty' because of their status. I loved that moment."

The season 12 premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race airs Friday, Feb. 28 on VH1 at 8 p.m. ET.


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