RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 runner-up Peppermint has broken new ground wherever she’s gone. Initially becoming the first-ever competitor to enter Drag Race as an out trans woman, Peppermint continued her revolutionary career by starring as the non-binary Pythia in Head Over Heels — making her the first-ever trans person to originate a starring role on Broadway.
Adorned in a spangled-up dress and a crown, naturally, she spoke to GQ in a searing feature that covered the historical lack of trans representation on Broadway, the ground she’s breaking for other trans women, and that one review of Head Over Heels.
Peppermint addressed the dearth of inclusive roles on Broadway stages for trans people, a small rejection of the longstanding notion of Broadway as a haven for members of the LGBT community. “Broadway’s the tippy tippy point of theater. It’s a very small percentage of what’s being performed on stages and what’s being produced professionally. I must believe that there are good representations of people like myself in some percentage of that work. But I haven’t seen it,” she told the magazine.
She also spoke to her obligation to spotlight “other ways and more opportunities” available to trans women, speaking to the discrimination she experienced working traditional day jobs, including as a bank teller in Delaware. “It was just two years ago that someone like me, who is on Broadway, who was on RuPaul’s Drag Race, was considering survival sex work, because I didn’t know how I was going to continue to pay for the things I needed to pay for.”
Peppermint also read the contentious New York Times review of Head over Heels for the first time in her GQ feature. Ben Brantley, the Times’ longtime chief theater critic, drew plenty of ire from fellow theater critics and LGBT activists for misgendering Peppermint’s Pythia. (Soon after he issued an apology, Brantley’s review was revised to remove the offending language.)
“I didn’t take it as personally as some other people may have taken it, because obviously I’ve seen the show, and there was a particular context that would be helpful in this situation,” she said. “However, it was a misgendering. Whether it was unintentional or a joke or whatever you want to call it, I think he learned very quickly.”
Read Peppermint’s full GQ interview here.