Sonique hasn’t stepped foot in the Werk Room since season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but that doesn’t mean anyone should sleep on the bombshell beauty. As a returning contestant for the upcoming RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular, Sonique is ready to sleigh the competition and become America’s first ever Christmas Queen.
Since her days on season two, the superstar drag artist has come into her own as a transgender woman, and she’s excited to share her story with America. From her personal experience during the holiday special filming, to who she’s rooting for to take the crown in All Stars 4, Sonique spills all the tea.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular is set to air this Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 pm on VH1. Check out our Q&A with Sonique below.
It’s been a couple of years since you’ve been in the Werk Room and the main stage. What was that like?
When I got the call to be a part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Christmas episode, I was really stoked. And I think it just came at a perfect time, not only for me, but for the community too. It was just fun and I had all of these creative ideas that came to me immediately when they told me the different challenges to prepare for.
I was really excited because going home so soon on my season really made me doubt myself as a performer after Drag Race. It’s so hard to be able to reintroduce yourself when a huge platform like Drag Race basically gave their interpretation of who you are based on how you did. I learned so much from all the years of watching Drag Race. I was so new as a performer on season two, but in my mind I felt like I was just really confident in myself.
This time I’m really sure of who I am, and I feel like I’m a more well-rounded entertainer. I know who I am as an entertainer, instead of being inspired by so many different things. Now I just kind of collected everything that I truly love and I packaged it all into one. That’s basically who you’re going to get on this Christmas episode. I’m super excited about it.
What can we expect from this special?
We filmed a few months ago. I’m not a big Christmas person, by any means. I’m always working and I live on the other side of my coast from my family, so I hardly get to spend any holidays with them. Holidays are just another set of days for me. So to film a Christmas episode in the summer, you can’t really go scramble around shopping for Christmas things — you have to make them up out of nothing.
As soon as I got the letter with everything in it, I had all of these ideas in my head that came to my instantly. I designed everything that I’m wear during this special, with the exception of one outfit. The gingerbread outfit was completely my design. I’m inspired by Jeremy Scott, and I love him. I was definitely thinking about him when I was creating the look.
My entrance look was the Ice Princess from Batman Returns. A lot of people will recognize that look from that movie. I was born in ’83, so I am drawn to anything that came out in the ’90s. But preparing for this was very easy because I got to pull out a lot of references that maybe a lot of people might not have fresh in their memory. I can bring that back, that nostalgic aesthetic.
What was your most memorable experience on set during filming? Who were you surprised to have made a connection with?
Coming in and filming, I wasn’t sure who I was going to be working with. It was a small, but nice group. There was Trixie and Kim Chi, who I hadn’t got to work with a whole lot before. Latrice is someone I’ve known since her season of Drag Race and we worked a lot of gigs together. Shangela and I have been girlfriends since season two. Jasmine is one of my best friends. And Eureka, I didn’t really know her. I met her once and I thought she was great on the show. I actually learned a lot from her when I was there. She has so much energy to her, and she’s ready to work and she’s always on it.
I know she’s annoying to a lot people, but she wants to be a star, and she wants to be in front of the camera. I think that was something I was lacking on my season. I really didn’t know how to act in front of a camera, or play toward it. I just learned a lot from her being there. And I got along well with everyone on the set. I think I made some new friends from it too.
Mayhem and I have known each other since 2010, and I was just so happy to see her on the show. Although we were close before, I just feel like we became even closer friends. We were both on the same boat. We both went home early, and we know we had a lot to give. So coming back to this Christmas episode with Mayhem, we both had the same feeling, that this might be our only chance to come in the Werk Room again. You never know who you’re gonna give All Stars to every year. Mayhem and I would definitely love to be a part of that, so I feel like we both brought it. It was so exciting to get ready with her.
Since season two, you’ve opened up a lot about being trans. Did that have any influence on how you wanted to present yourself on the show when you returned?
The last time people saw me on Drag Race, I had identified as being transgender. I always felt like that, even before I walked in the Werk Room on day one. The casting and everyone else knew that I identified as trans, but I wasn’t physically living that way. I talked about it throughout the season, but it didn’t get aired. They did let me talk about it at the reunion which was really great and I’m glad it happened.
At that time, there weren’t as many resources, and I didn’t fully understand how I felt. I was from Georgia, and there’s such a different mentality there, so i think once I moved to California I learned a lot more about being a trans person. But coming out as a trans on Drag Race was very controversial at the time, but I never stopped seeing myself as a drag performer. Once I started physically living my life as a woman, my drag suffered a little bit because I was still trying to come in to my womanhood. Drag definitely helped me be more comfortable with who I am outside of drag, which was really good.
I don’t talk too much about being trans now, only because there are enough people that want to be recognized for being trans. I’m very proud to be a trans woman, but I don’t think it’s the most interesting thing about me. I like to just show up and be fierce and let that speak for itself. So coming back as a trans competitor, it really felt no different from me doing the work that I do all week long and travel around doing. I work with all different kinds of drag performers. Drag kings, comedy queens, bio queens, and queens from ballroom dance scene. There’s so many different kinds of drag and I think it’s just great because there’s something for everybody when it comes to drag.
Having someone like me represent a very important part of the drag scene really means a lot to me, and it will mean a lot to viewers who are already fans of the show. Even for people who are just now just coming into it and learning about this stuff. I just really feel like seeing a little bit of everybody is going to open up peoples hearts and minds a little more.
I just can’t wait until this is not a topic of discussion all the time, about what you’re doing with your body and how you want to express yourself. I want to normalize being trans. I want my drag to speak for itself. That was my goal coming into this. So many people make being trans a major defining characteristic, which is great — and some people are really good at that. I don’t think that I’m really good at that, I’m just good at being me, and I just so happen to be a trans person.
Who are you rooting for this upcoming All Stars season?
I’m so excited about All Stars 4! Based on promos and my knowledge of these queens, I would have to say I’m really rooting for Trinity Taylor. Her and I are part of the same drag family. Her drag mother is my drag sister, so we came from the same type of schooling. We started drag around the same time. She was in Birmingham and I was in Atlanta. But my drag mother would drive me over there where we’d do shows together with Trinity. She already proved that she’s fierce and funny, and just seeing so many different sides of Trinity is going to be fun to watch. I think people are going to fall in love with her even more. and see how fierce she to truly is.
Another queen I’m also rooting for is Monét X Change. I love her. Just who she is, in and out of drag. I still feel good when I see her on TV. I think she’s funny, and I’m excited to see her. I’m excited to see Gia. She’s come into her womanhood as a trans woman and I love seeing a trans person compete on Drag Race to see how they do it. Jasmine is a really good friend of mine and I’d love to see her do well.
Honestly a lot of these girls are great. I’m really close with so many of these girls, so it’s hard to pick who would win. But if I had to pick one, I’m going to put my money on Trinity Taylor.