After a week where no queens received the chop, RuPaul’s Drag Race officially got back to business in its last episode, sending a fan-favorite star packing.
In season 14’s latest episode, which aired on Friday, Feb. 25, the queens were tasked with performing in three ’60s-era girl groups, selling their vocals, choreography and looks as though they were Diana Ross herself. After their swinging sets and stunning runway presentations, the queens received their critiques from the judges; Daya Betty finally earned her long-sought-after challenge win, while queens Kerri Colby and Jasmine Kennedie wound up in the bottom for their sloppily executed dresses.
Performing in a lip sync to the Hex Hector remix of Toni Braxton‘s “Un-Break My Heart,” the queens offered up their soulful performances to win the judges’ attention. In the head-to-head contest, Jasmine’s added dance moves and high energy earned her another week in the competition, leaving Kerri to be cut from the competition. Below, Billboard chats with Kerri Colby about her time on the show, becoming this season’s “narrator,” and how she hopes representation of trans people on television will help those in need of support in the real world.
How are you feeling about your time on Drag Race?
I honestly feel so proud of myself, in the fact that I was able to let loose a bit, sometimes against my own insecurities and judgements. I acted a fool! In the process of doing it, I was literally like, “Oh my god, I’m gonna get made fun of again, this is going to be a mess.” And then watching it back, I’m like, “I’m so glad I acted like a clown.” Because not only did we get so much more out of this season than beautiful looks and funny little jokes here and there, but I think we really got to showcase not just who I am, but what I represent as an entirety, and I am forever blown away by it.
Since it started airing, Season 14 has already become the season with the most transgender queens competing — now we have a total of four transgender cast members, including you!
That’s right, we have the Trans-tastic Four, honey!
On last week’s episode, we saw Jasmine come out to all of you, and literally tell you that she felt inspired to do that because of the example you had set for her. What did that feel like in the moment?
It was flabbergasting, to be sure. I just do me, and I always try to make sure that I’m leaving a good footprint when I’m interacting with people. But you never really know what your day-to-day interactions with people do for them on the inside, unless they tell you. So, just to have that full-circle moment where I got to take a bird’s eye view into someone’s mind and hear that appreciation, it was shocking and very emotional. Even watching it back in real time, it made me emotional all over again! I reached out to her and told her, “I’m so proud of you.”
Obviously, I keep in touch with the girls, and seeing Jasmine go from what she said she was going to do, to actually making that a reality and seeing her do it, and watching her become the beautiful woman that she is, it’s really been such a treat that I even get to kind of witness it, to be able to play a part in it. Hopefully I planted a few seeds that helped her grow her own beautiful garden of her own transness!
I did want to ask, I know that you’re originally from Dallas — how are you feeling about all of the news coming out of the state right now, especially with Greg Abbott’s comments about transgender kids and their parents?
It has been just about as shocking as Mr. Putin’s crazy self, doing all of these horrible things out of ego. I’m devastated, to be honest — part of my whole reason of why I wanted to make sure I represented so hard on the show was because my upbringing was not supported, it was not easy, and everything I had become was because I had to fight tooth-and-nail to get it. I didn’t have the support, and I’ve always told people that I hope nobody else has to go through what I went through, because while I was blessed and came out of it alright, that’s not usually the case for people who have to deal with [being kicked out of their home at 15]. To see that we have a governor that not only doesn’t support us, but is also using such hateful verbage to take things back, even calling parents who support their children pursuing their truth “child abusers,” it is just so insane to me.
It honestly breaks my heart, because those types of words … I don’t know, Gov. Abbott is clearly not trans, and he may not even personally know a trans person — I don’t really know anything about him beyond the fact that he needs prayer. But the way he is approaching these things is going to have such a negative impact even just on kids who see that in the news and feel that much more uncomfortable to live their life. This is, more than ever, the time that we need to have representation of trans people shown in a public way to gather support and let people know they’re not alone.
You and your fans have dubbed you the narrator of the season. How do you think you ended up taking on that role — did you recognize it in the moment?
You know, I’m a very talkative person. [Laughs.] When it comes to me talking, it’s really just how I was raised — if you don’t something interesting to talk about, don’t talk at all. So, I’ve always been very conscious of my words, of observing situations. When we’re asked to give a play-by-play runback of the days and weeks we go through, I make sure to have fun with it! I’m naturally a clown, too, so I had a feeling that they might’ve been using a couple of my weirder clips, and then when I watched it back, it was like, “Oh, I’m just talking this whole damn season!” I think the confessionals are my favorite thing I’ve done, besides my little come-to-Jesus moments here and there, too.
This was a hard challenge you all were given – singing, choreography, putting together distinct looks, being funny, giving a full performance, and then walking the runway. What’s it like having to balance all of these different aspects in the moment.
Oh, it’s chaos! It goes from summer camp to bootcamp real quick, because it’s like, not only are you asked to do performance art, but you’re also directing, choreographing, and competing with everyone around you. So to hold space for all of that, and then also do it well, you are stuck knowing that if you don’t do the best, there’s a good chance that you’re going home. It’s a lot of pressure, for sure.
Before you head out, I wanted to ask — what music have you been listening to as of late that’s been giving you inspiration for your drag?
Oh goodness… I’m so eclectic, I truly take little pieces from all over the place. I would say the divas are really always going to do it for me. I am forever inspired by divas, both past, present, and now future divas that we have coming up. Kim Petras immediately comes to mind there, she’s phenomenal. I just love hearing women who embrace their attitude, their bodies, their energy, and then they put it all together in a beautiful tune and they give it to you!