RuPaul’s Drag Race has always prided itself on a good old-fashioned twist — but even the most prepared of queens couldn’t have predicted the latest surprise on the show,
On last week’s episode (aired Friday, Jan. 20), the 14 remaining queens got the shock of their lives when RuPaul announced that they would be performing in the Snatch Game — a challenge usually reserved for when there are many fewer queens left. Splitting the faux game show in two, the show tested all of the girls on their comedy and impersonation chops with the iconic challenge a mere four episodes into the season.
Some girls managed to thrive — Loosey LaDuca (who had grown hungrier than ever for her first win) pulled out all of the stops for her spot-on Joan Rivers, cracking Ru and the judges up at every opportunity and winning the challenge. Mistress Isabelle Brooks and Marcia Marcia Marcia similarly slayed their gut-busting impressions of Rosie O’Donnell and Tim Gunn, respectively.
Sugar and Spice, however, had some difficulties. Both of the twins struggled in their Snatch Game performances; Sugar couldn’t nail down any jokes or even mild cracks as professional internet troll Trisha Paytas, while Spice made her Miley Cyrus a cartoonish country bumpkin hitting herself on the head with a sledgehammer.
Facing off against one another in the Lip Sync for Your Life, Sugar and Spice instead decided to make it a “twin-sync” as they called it, working together to make on cohesive number to Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run.” Yet, with Sugar tripping around both the words and her own feet throughout the performance, Ru announced that the sweeter of the twins would be leaving the competition.
Billboard caught up with Sugar following her elimination, where she talked about finding her voice on reality television, her time playing Paytas in the Snatch Game, and why she loves that she had a “Farrah Moan moment” on national television.
Sugar, how are you feeling after watching these first few episodes?
I’m feeling — I hate to be Miss America, but I am feeling so much gratitude. You sit on this for so long, and it’s not that I’m surprised, but I think when me and Spice got back from filming and were all done … we were on TikTok, we had our fans, but the Drag Race fandom had their preconceived notions about me and Spice, typically. I don’t think they knew how to perceive us. So to get the response we got, which was so much love, and for people to understand me as a drag artist and as myself, was such a blessing.
As you mentioned, you and Spice have a huge TikTok presence — what was the biggest adjustment you found yourself having to make going from TikTok to reality TV?
I felt like a doll stepping out of the box — this was my Life Size, honestly. I felt like I was stepping into the real world.
In this scenario, you’re Tyra Banks, yes?
Of course. I know people say what they want about her, but she has inspired me so much. My biggest takeaway from her has been that she redefined what it meant to be a model, and people were like, “Oh, you’re just this, stand still, look pretty.” And she built a whole empire.
But going to the competition, I was used to standing still and looking pretty on TikTok. I didn’t have to glue down wigs, I could just be my little creative artist self from the comfort of my own home. It was definitely an adjustment, but one I was very ready for.
In the episode before this, you and Jax had your little tiff, which has since been squashed. But you resolved at the top of this episode to stop caring what the other competitors thought of you — how present was that struggle with perception for you?
Yeah, I’m really grateful for that moment, because I think it’s such … a relatable human experience where you enter a situation — maybe you’re around friends, or co-workers, or wherever — and you feel like you have to step back. That thought entered my mind, “If I dim my light, people will like me better.” And that should never be the case! We should never dim our light for anyone! I definitely felt like I had to do that. I kept thinking, “Let me hold back.” There’s power in restraining yourself, but then there’s also power in letting your light shine. You gotta own who you are, that will get you way further in life. I’m still working on it, it’s a journey!
That brings us to the Snatch Game — you said in your confessional that there is an understanding that playing internet celebrities is not the best idea for this challenge. What made you decide to do Trisha Paytas anyways?
Looking back, I am like, “Why was I so convicted to do Trisha?” But she means a lot to mean — she was my comfort in high school, and she’s inspired a lot in my drag character. I just felt like … it was in the cards for me to do it. Now, maybe that was my demise, but I wasn’t doing anything to be liked in that moment, you know what I mean? I was doing what was going to make me the most happy. So, yeah, I was taking a risk with Ru not knowing who Trisha was and not understanding the crazy, troll personality. But at the end of the day, we’re all living for ourselves, so I’m happy I went out having the most fun I could.
Was there a backup character you were considering outside of Trisha?
Actually, yes, I did. It was Christina Aguilera — it would’ve been a full thing of me just going [*does an Xtina-esque vocal run*]. Just singing the whole time, but I guess we’ll just have to save that for a later date.
The thing I hope audiences understand is how hard Snatch Game really is — it’s improv and comedy and impersonation for a long time. In the moment, did it feel difficult when you were performing Snatch Game? Could you tell things were not going your way?
You know what it was? I haven’t seen the episode yet, so I don’t know how they edited the Snatch Game — but the irony is I felt the most comfortable I’ve ever felt. I was having the time of my life! I put on that breastplate and you could not tell me that I wasn’t Trisha Paytas. Something came over me, I swear I thought I was her in that moment — I was trolling, I was coming for Ru and asking what his body count was, and just having the time of my life. I feel like I’m the wrong person to ask about it being hard, and honestly, maybe that’s why I went home, because I was just living my fantasy.
Well, before you got sent home, you had the “twin-sync” as you two called it.
“Twin-sync,” yes, they kept it in! I’m happy, good.
This is maybe the first time we’ve seen two queens … work together in a lip sync for your life? What was going on here, what was your plan with Spice going into this?
[Laughs.] Girl, I blacked out after that performance. All I remember is I fell, a shoe came off, like it was wild.
We were too busy crying our eyes out in Untucked, and then we had like 10 minutes left before the main stage. So we were like, “Oh, we gotta come up with something.” I didn’t listen to the lip sync song, I didn’t know the words, because my delusional ass was like “I was giving in Snatch Game.” At that point, I basically knew I was going home from the critiques, so I was like, “Well, let’s go out with a bang.” I guess the success of that is to be decided by everyone else.
As you mentioned, there were a few stumbles that happened for you — walk me through what was going through your mind when you tripped.
I fully manifested that moment when we were doing the group numbers with the girls. First of all, I’m all about the height — I’m always needing more inches with my heels. So in that first challenge, the girls were like, “Babe, you’re gonna fall on the stage in those, you do not want your Farrah Moan moment.” And I was like, “Oh no, baby — I want the Farrah Moan moment.” Like, I’m the viral TikTok person; I want to fall on my face, because the meme possibilities will be endless. And sure enough, it happened.
I feel like, with the twins lip syncing, we had to make that as iconic as humanly possible. What makes a good lip sync? Someone falling; messiness; not knowing the words — we have all of the elements right there.