Pride

Utica Queen Wiggles Down to Her 'Drag Race' Playlist with Carly Rae Jepsen, Olivia Rodrigo & More

Utica Queen
Courtesy of RuPaul's Drag Race

Utica Queen

Going into her time on the show, Utica Queen knew that RuPaul's Drag Race was going to be a challenging experience. But she didn't anticipate just how challenging it would actually be.

"I mean, it's a show where they throw you for this loop on purpose," she says with a slight giggle. "I was like, 'I gotta stick with who I am, because I know that it's part experience -- they're meant to trip you up.'"

Sticking with who she was is exactly what Utica did up until her departure in episode 12 (dated March 26) -- when the queens were tasked with performing in a vicious "Nice Girls Roast" of former Miss Congeniality winners, Utica's comedy hit a flatline. She wound up in the bottom with fellow competitor Symoné, and in an epic lip sync to Ariana Grande's "No Tears Left to Cry," Utica finally found herself exiting the competition. She may not have "wiggled to the top" as she said she would, but she certainly wormed her way into viewers' hearts.

Much like the song she was sent home to, Utica tells Billboard that she has no tears for her time on the show -- only smiles. "Drag Race is definitely a challenge, but I really just had a blast," she says. "I feel like a lot of the girls were stressing out most of the time, but I was just living my best life!"

Among many of the qualities fans admired in Utica, one was her out-of-this-world fashion sense. Whether she was dressed in window curtains, a picnic blanket, or even a series of sleeping bags, the Minnesota queen managed to make all of her looks stand out as fashion-forward, runway-ready garments. "When it comes down to it, I want to put on my body things that I believe are beautiful, and that comes down to like taste," she says of her style. "I am connected to my clothing and I'm using the clothing as a method of storytelling to share with others."

The Drag Race star also became a frequent lip syncer, going home on her third time in the bottom, after previously sending home Elliott with 2 Ts and Tina Burner. She says she wouldn't necessarily call herself a lip sync assassin, but she certainly does love the opportunity to turn out a good performance. "It's an experience that I live for every single time I've performed," she says. "We get to share this little piece of ourselves and take people out of this world for a little bit and share our love for this art form."

But more than anything else, Utica says that she's glad to have gone on the show if only for the close sisterhood that formed among the season 13 contestants — especially with filming in the middle of a pandemic. "Being in a room with individuals that are just as passionate as you are for the work, especially with everything going on outside, it was so magical," she says. "I definitely believe that I have found my sisters and friends. I feel like I've been wandering, trying to find it for a while."

Below, Utica shares an exclusive playlist with Billboard, featuring the songs that gas her up on a day-to-day basis. Ranging from underrated bangers from Carly Rae Jepsen to arthouse tracks from Novo Amor, check out which songs Utica picked, with her own explanations below:


Novo Amor, "Utican"

This song is so beautiful. It always sparks my imagination and not only does it have the mantra that I live by, UTICAN, but it also inspires me. I often play the song when I'm creating.

Elle King, "America’s Sweetheart"

This song reminds me of my hometown and to stay true to me, it reminds me I'm perfect just the way I am.

Carly Rae Jepsen, "I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance"

This song hits all my groove centers and all I wanna do is dance! The bop vibes are so real with this song!

Hedda Mae, "Madness" 

A little bit of crazy, a little bit of a groove, and a lot of bit of butt shaking! I often dance around my apartment to this song!

Olivia Rodrigo, "Drivers License"

This jam gives me such feels and the rise and fall with this piece always gives me the chills.

Kelsy Karter, "Stick to Your Guns"

Stick to your guns, this is a mantra I live by. After I listen to this song it makes me feel like I can take on the world and use my art to express what's inside.

The Strike, "Devils in the Canyon" 

This song makes me want to roll the windows down and breathe in the world!

Bonnie McKee & Eden XO, "Bad Girls Go to Heaven" 

I love this jam -- even boss ass bitches can go to heaven!

Chlöe Howl, "In the Middle (Sad Banger)" 

I find myself dancing to my heart's content to this. It has such a powerful emotional drive with a sick beat and I never want to stop dancing to this!

MUNA, "I Know A Place"

I adore this band and this song. It's such an inspirational work and the message is incredible.

Check out Utica Queen's full elimination playlist below: