In the words of Trixie Mattel’s impression of RuPaul: “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”
On Thursday night, after an episode’s worth of stunts and gags, Trixie Mattel lip synced against Kennedy Davenport, and was crowned the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. The queen’s win came after a roller-coaster season for Trixie, where she started off shaky, saw an almost-ruinous Snatch Game performance, but ultimately pulled herself to new heights.
The newly inducted member of the Drag Race Hall of Fame talked to Billboard about her stunning victory, her new album One Stone (“Now available on iTunes”), and coming back to win from behind.
Congratulations girl, you did it! You won!
I knew I was going to have to do all of these phone calls today anyway, so it’s fun to do them with all of them starting with “Congratulations,” instead of starting with “I’m sorry.”
Yeah, I can imagine that that’s better. How are you feeling after last night?
Oh, I am feeling totally gagged! Gagged, snatched bald, I haven’t seen my wig in hours. It’s crazy. I think that there’s … people hypothesize that we know ahead of time, but I totally didn’t. It was absolutely crazy. I was at a bar with, like, 700 people crammed in it in Chicago watching. Nobody knew and we all found out together, and confetti fell from the ceiling. Now I have to wonder — what was gonna happen to the confetti if I didn’t win? Were they gonna drop it anyway? You know what I mean? What if I lost and they were like, “Yay, confetti!” You know when a kid falls down and gets hurt, you’re supposed to laugh, and that’s supposed to stop them from crying? If I lost, do you think they would’ve handed me flowers anyway and been like “Yay, Trixie?” [laughs]
This was your first lip sync win on Drag Race — how did you feel going into the top two with your lip sync track record?
What track record are you thinking of? I recall winning them all. [laughs] No, I’m just kidding. Look, I don’t make a living lip syncing — I’m not a great lip syncer and I never have been. But, I thought about how winners win lip syncs. I thought of Sasha Velour doing the reveal with her hair, and I thought about Violet revealing a costume, and I thought about BeBe, when she did “The Boss” and just stood there and delivered that song. I was like, “I’m not a lip syncer, so I need to pretend that I am a winner lip syncing.” Plus it’s just such a great song, I love that song. And I knew Kennedy would be dancing, so I had to think how I could stand out. I take this very seriously, and I was already crying. I couldn’t even look at the eliminated queens without crying because I couldn’t believe that they picked me. That was so moving to have people you respect pick you.
There was some serious backlash to your win and especially to Shangela’s not making the top two. How did you decide to deal with that today.
Oh, I haven’t even seen it, and ultimately that’s more of a question for the queens who didn’t pick Shangela. I haven’t been on the Internet much because I’m really not interested. I mean, in the confessional when they asked who I thought should be in the top two, I said Shangela. So, I did my piece. I am not the reason she didn’t make it, I don’t know what the reason is, but you can tell on my face that I was as surprised as anybody. It’s not that I don’t believe in myself, but I have lost Drag Race a few times, so maybe that was the moment.
We have to talk about One Stone. It reached No. 1 on the iTunes album charts yesterday, and is currently sitting at No. 2. How does that feel to have your music so validated?
I mean, it is so stupid awesome. I think The Greatest Showman is at No. 1, which I think makes me The Greatest Show-woman at No. 2. I couldn’t believe it. Again, I know that when good things happen to you, you’re supposed to be like, “I knew it, of course, I’m amazing.” Nope! I just wrote the songs for my own fulfillment spiritually, and then recorded them all on my own money, and then did the photo shoots with my own costumes and my own wigs. It was a grassroots effort from my own hands, and so to see it in that way where people are giving it a chance is amazing.
Whether or not I was in drag, it’s important for my comedy and my music that I do something that’s quality and that the costume is just sort of the cherry on top. And One Stone … I love it. I don’t know if it’s okay to love your own music, but I really love it. Two Birds was more of a breakup album, it was much more of a radio-country, ’50s inspired thing. And this one’s more of a ’60s folk revival record. It’s a little more reflective, like “Maybe you’re the problem.” Like “Moving Parts,” that song is about how when something good happens to you, something bad will move into that place. So it’s like, with winning Drag Race, knowing Shangela has such a great fan base, and Kennedy has her own fan base, it’s like the song — I knew that this was gonna be a day of ups and downs. It’s all about learning to expect the good with the bad.
Speaking of taking the good with the bad, you had a rough go at the start of the season, especially with Snatch Game.
I’m sure I don’t know what you mean! [laughs] I think that if you are a human being who has ever disappointed yourself … I mean everyone has been me on that day. On one hand I hated watching it, but on the other, it was like the culmination of me knowing that people were expecting me to knock every challenge out of the park. So when I’d only been high once and hadn’t snatched a win, and then I bombed everyone’s favorite challenge dressed as the host of the show, it wasn’t the best. I don’t think TV did it justice, I think I did worse. But you know, you have to cry to win Drag Race, so at least I cried.
It all worked out! Now The Trixie & Katya Show is going strong with Bob the Drag Queen co-hosting. What’s the difference like working with Bob versus working with Katya?
Bob is only slightly more sane. It’s sort of like both shows are the song “I Will Always Love You,” but one is the Dolly Parton version, and one is the Whitney Houston version. They are equal parts funny, but Bob brings a completely different point of view than Katya. I mean he is so so funny, and funny in a completely different way than Katya — Katya is so random and out there and wild. My favorite drag queens are Tammie Brown and Katya, so I like my drag queens a little left of sanity. But Bob is amazing. If you watch any of the episodes, it’s a very yin-and-yang situation; similar humor, but from completely different backgrounds.
Do you have a favorite local queen from Milwaukee or Chicago, or really anywhere?
Oh, girl, it’s Aunty Chan from Chicago, she is my new favorite thing. Ok, you have to look for this video, there’s a video of her doing Adam Joseph’s mix of Vanessa Hudgens’ line when she said “I’m so into voguing right now.” You have to find this, it’s Aunty Chan performing it as a white girl with some Starbucks and avocado toast, it is so fucking funny. I watch that shit all of the time, like I have some personal business staked in it. It is my favorite. But I am originally a Midwest queen, so Trannika Rex is also amazing. She was there last night, we were hugging each other and crying, we couldn’t believe it.