'RuPaul's Drag Race': Q&A with America's Next Drag Superstar Tyra Sanchez
Image Credit: Mathu Andersen/LogoLast night, you watched RuPaul crown the controversial 21-year-old Orlando native Tyra Sanchez (né James Ross) as America’s Next Drag Superstar on the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now, we here at PopWatch are happy to present a quick chat with the queen who ruffled everyone’s feathers this season. Below, she talks about whether she’s heard from idol Beyoncé yet, how much she paid for that new grill of hers (not as much as you might expect!), and who’s she’s hoping to work with in the future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congrats on the big win last night! How’d you manage to keep it secret for so long?
TYRA SANCHEZ: I would just tell myself in the mirror to just talk to myself and not anyone else. No one would know.
Everyone is wondering: Have you heard from your idol Beyoncé yet?
No, not yet! Hopefully one day. Maybe I could lipsync at one of her concerts or be in a movie or video with her—that would be hot. She would be the most ultimate person I would love to hear from.
I know you were confident about winning—did you ever have doubt about it though?
Of course I had doubts. I was worried at times, but it wasn’t like I didn’t have doubts that I wouldn’t win. But more just like, because of what you did, you could end up in the bottom two, like on the wedding challenge. If I was in the bottom two then, I might have automatically been sent home.
Last night you were apologetic about how you acted on the show. Did you think your attitude might bring you down on the show?
No, I was never worried about my attitude on the show because what they show, of course, were the bad times, but there were lots of good times. They didn’t show much of my personality that was on the runway, but behind the cameras and hanging out with the girls, I had so much personality just laughing and having fun with them. And Ru saw that, so I didn’t think that held me back at all.
When Ru was talking about you during the reunion special last night, she said “that’s magic s— right there.” How did it feel to have her say that about you?
It makes me feel really good for Ru to say it. She’s like the ultimate drag queen, so for her to say that to me was a blessing.
Where was your son last night? Was he watching?
My son is only four. He has not watched the show at all. I won’t allow him to watch the show yet. I’m just taking my time with it. No time soon—not until he’s old enough. I don’t think that’s near right now. It probably won’t be until he’s like his teens. We can look back and watch them on DVD.
Between Raven and Jujubee, who did you think was your biggest competition?
Actually, this competition was with myself. Of course, Raven was good competition, but the final day, they gave us all a call together—it was a conference call—and they said, “We need you all to outdo what you did this entire season.” And it was like, Well, how do you top what you’ve already done? I’m sitting there thinking, How do I do all of that with one outfit? It was kind of crazy for me. What I actually did was put on my simplest outfit.
Your outfit was actually rather understated.
I didn’t want them to focus too much on my clothing. At that point it was all about my personality and what I was giving them.
I think, too, you won partly because you delivered week after week, in addition to looking great last night.
I think it was partly that. I was never in the bottom. Many times on was top, and many times I was right under the person who was winning. I think I was very consistent. I gave them different looks. I did different things, but I stayed true to who I was and you always saw Tyra in whatever—even the country or wedding challenge. I would do what they asked of me, but I would do it as Tyra.
The judges seemed focused on your deep voice. Is that something you’ve encountered before?
No, that’s only happened on the show. I’m a guy in a women’s dress, but my voice doesn’t change—just my look. It doesn’t bother me—my voice hasn’t changed, it’s my voice! I can’t really go any higher than this. Because, of course, straight women would say something about it, but in the drag community, they all know that this is a guy, so it doesn’t bother anyone.
How much does a new set of teeth cost these days?
Um, a lot.
Was it painful?
No, it was pretty easy—not very painful at all. It was much cheaper than if I would have had it done in the United States. In they United States, they told me it was like $28,000.
Whoa! Where did you get it done?
I went to Tijuana, Mexico, and got it done. They’re veneers, and I only spent about $3,000.
Wow, what a difference. Tyra, do you have a favorite moment from the season?
My favorite challenge was the rocker challenge. My voice was horrible, but I had so much fun. I actually felt like I was in a concert and that was how I was living and they were so loud and energetic and I felt that energy. I had an amazing time.
When you perform in the future, will you only lipsync?
It will always be lipsyncing! I don’t want to record any music. You know how some people can talk their way through songs? I find that disrespectful to the real singers who can actually sing and it’s taking away from them. That bothers me.
What was the most challenging thing about the season?
The most challenging thing was keeping your cool. It’s so stressful. You don’t have communication with the outside world, so you have to make frineds with the people who are there, and of course, friends argue all the time. That was the biggest thing—keeping my cool and remaining calm.
What’s in your future?
My main focus is to become an actor and an actress—it would be hot to be in a movie as James and Tyra. I would love to do movies, and I would love to work with Tyler Perry. I would be in the next Harry Potter or Avatar! That would be hot.
You want to be yourself, James, and Tyra Sanchez in the same movie?
It doesn’t matter—if it’s the same movie, or other movies, I would love it both.
Are you going to stick in Orlando or move somewhere else?
My goal is going to go out to Los Angeles because that’s where all the movies and auditions are. And then also in Atlanta they have new studios and they’re recording a lot of TV shows there, too, so I’m torn between the two. My main focus in Los Angeles.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky
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