On Thursday (May 30) night, RuPaul’s Drag Race brought season 11 to it’s stunning conclusion, pitting the final four queens against one another in a lip sync death match for the crown. But only one queen emerged as America’s Next Drag Superstar, and that queen was none other than the oddball herself, Yvie Oddly.
But in the first lip sync of the night, one queen was seeking redemption. Silky Nutmeg Ganache had a rough go in her first lip sync on the show, and she spent the entirety of her lip sync against Brooke Lynn Hytes proving that she wasn’t just talking a big game all season long. Even though she didn’t emerge victorious from the battle, even RuPaul remarked, “Damn, that was close.”
Silky spoke to Billboard just before the airing of the finale about her friendship with A’Keria and Vanjie, her big personality, and how extreme online hatred from fans sent her into a depression.
First of all, congratulations on making it to the top four of the competition! Is it validating for you to see your success after all this time?
I’m not necessarily sure if it’s validation, to be honest. Really, because I never did this competition or went in thinking that I was going to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. I went into the competition to create a better life for my family and for myself, and … my whole mindset was that winning would be the bonus.
I think that’s the right mindset for this competition. You obviously developed a reputation for being the big, loud queen of the season, and I noticed that started to soften toward episode 12. What was your journey with that while filming?
Honestly, I think that the unfortunate part of seeing all that is … what you saw in episode 12 is how I was throughout the entire competition. If you noticed when you watched the reunion, when RuPaul asked the eliminated queens to say something nice about the top four girls, and it came to me, she said “Oh my, look at the amount of hands up.”
That’s true, almost all of the girls put their hands up to pay you a compliment.
Exactly, all of the girls promoted sisterhood. Even in competition arena, when I did fight with Yvie, I thought it was best for my mindset and for my sanity just to not converse with her after all that happened. So I wasn’t always the loud queen. But that’s the side that people don’t get to see — you’ve got 48 hours of film, and it’s being cut into an hour. And that’s fine! Because so many of the queens loved me because I was loud. That’s my thing, is they all saw my character and saw my realness throughout the entire competition, not just episode 12.
Yeah, definitely. That was the sad thing about this season — it seemed that of all the girls on the season, you received the overwhelming majority of hate and negativity from fans. What was that like for you to experience while the show was going on, especially as yet another black queen to get this kind of backlash?
I think after this experience, I hope that World of Wonder and VH1 will get more involved and offer us some more protection. I remember I fell into a depression after episode 8, which was weird because that was the episode where I won the Snatch Game. I received so much hate after that, you know, because so many people felt that I should not have won. After that, I didn’t do social media for a while, and I felt pretty bad for a while. I think it’s unfortunate that we see so much hate from the fandom, and … I don’t know, I just hope that someone will step in to help us a little bit more. I think we need to make sure the girls’ mental health is okay. Because the reality of it is … as the bullying keeps going on and it gets stronger, it’s going to take a queen to take her own life for someone to step in. And that’s a problem. It’s just a reality TV show.
But something very good that came out of the show was the friendship you developed with A’Keria and Vanjie as the Dreamgirls, who I saw you performed with the other night. How did that relationship come about, and what are your future plans with them?
That relationship really came about because we bonded from day one. We just worked together. And I think the beauty of that is three queens of color, working together and helping one another, and making it pretty much all the way to the end of the competition. We have not seen that on reality TV, or specifically on Drag Race. We’ve seen sisterhoods between girls, even on our season — like Nina, Brooke Lynn and Plastique were a low-key sisterhood that wasn’t really talked about. I think in the future … well, we’re working on a couple of things. I won’t go into detail, but I think that we are proof that queens of color support one another. A lot of times, we get pitted against each other, especially in relationships and this whole “her vs. her” mentality. That’s the beauty that we’re actually … not afraid to be ourselves, and I think it actually shows that just the little family we have within drag.
And not needing such a competitive spirit, because had A’Keria won over me, I would have been just as excited as if I had won. Vanjie had that same mentality when she was eliminated — she had nothing to be sad about, because her girls made it to the top. That’s the goal, and that’s the beauty of true competition, when you can be happy for other people even when you’ve been eliminated.
You’ve also earned your Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, and you’ve spoken about wanting to pursue a PhD in Philosophy. Why is it important for you to continue your education and to spread awareness about achieving that level of education?
I think it’s so important, because … we always try to make drag queens the butt of all jokes, and the reality of it is that drag queens are more than just entertainers. I have drag performer friends who are also professionals, like scientists, teachers, educators, politicians, so many more. If you think about it, Stonewall happened 50 years ago because of drag queens and trans women of color. So we are so much more than just entertainers. I’m now at a point in my life where this career is headed in a good direction, I don’t need the PhD, I don’t need the debt. However, it’s more important to me to be an example than thinking about my own selfishness. It’s more than just me, and I get to see that now.
Even though I do get a lot of hate on social media, I get just as much love. The most beautiful thing happened at DragCon last week, where I had a lady that came to my booth and she said “I haven’t been to school in 15 years. Because of you, I went back to school this semester. To trade school to become a mechanic. I can only stay at DragCon for a little bit because I have exams tomorrow, but I had to come.” That’s just one person, and the reality is I did absolutely nothing but tell my story. But I think that’s important, especially in the LGBTQ community, because sometimes we are cast into a shadow, we don’t have the education reform we need within the community. So I think it’s very important right now that I become the example.