Bob the Drag Queen, Naomi Smalls say even more kimonos nearly plagued Drag Race season 8 Kimonogate
Remember Kimonogate from RuPaul's Drag Race season 8? It was an iconic fashion moment, but for all the wrong reasons. Now, alums Bob the Drag Queen and Naomi Smalls have joined EW's BINGE podcast to spill secrets on the hilarious affair — like the fact that there were almost an additional two kimonos sashaying down the runway.
"What they didn't show you was that two girls who'd been eliminated also brought kimonos," says Bob, who ultimately won the week's Snatch Game maxi challenge and Madonna-inspired runway, which caused a stir among the judging panel after most queens opted to recreate the pop icon's Japanese-inspired look from the "Nothing Really Matters" music video. "I think Naysha [Lopez] and Cynthia [Lee Fontaine brought them as well]. We all knew about Kimonogate before Kimonogate, because, once you get in the Werk Room, you're like, 'What did you bring for Madonna.... there were six girls holding up kimonos and I was like, yikes!"
Bob also claims Chi Chi DeVayne hadn't prepared a Madonna look in advance of the episode because, as the season 8 winner tells BINGE hosts Joey Nolfi and Jillian Sederholm, she didn't think she'd last through episode five of the competition. "Chi Chi made her outfit there that day, or she didn't make one at all. I think we asked what she brought for Madonna snd she was like 'Girl, I ain't bring notting.... I didn't know I was gonna make it this far!' So she made that cone bra in the Werk Room that day!"
Another garment that turned heads on the season 8 runway was Fontaine's mesh running shorts, which she wore atop a pair of roller skates (and under a cowgirl hat) for one of the worst-received ensembles in the show's history.
"My brain just gets transported back to red basketball shorts," Smalls says of recalling her time on season 8. "What they didn't show on TV were those shorts, she covered up the Nike checkmark with rhinestones!"
"When she put the shorts on, I remember specifically Naomi looking at me across the room, me of all people, like, I was like girl, I don't know, girl!" Bob says with a laugh, adding that the eventual Miss Congeniality winner could've saved herself from critiques of doom if she'd simply worn the rest of the outfit she had with her. "Cynthia is interesting, she had this top, like a chiffon or taffeta top, if I recall correctly, and she had these taffeta pants or some kind of outfit to go on the bottom, but she just didn't put it on, and I don't know why!"
But, as Bob says, Fontaine wasn't the only queen who opted for athleisure on the main stage.
"It is a known fact that RuPaul's dresses are in two chunks. Sometimes she'll work the runway and take off all of her padding and put on some sweatpants and Ugg slippers and walk around the studio. Everyone knows this. RuPaul gets out of drag from the waist down to sit behind the table, which I would, too!" Bob fondly recalls of the long hours RuPaul puts in while wearing multiple hats (and gowns) on set. "We cut for break.... one day RuPaul just got up and said 'I just want you motherf---ers to know I'm still in full drag!' so she gets up and starts runwaying across, back and forth, in front of the stage.... we started cheering and clapping because it was really funny!"
Finally, Smalls wraps the season 8 recap with another warm memory of RuPaul from the finale.
"I always think about when we had to do our finale walk situation with Ru down the runway, and we had to hold her hand and stand next to her," explains Smalls. "I remember my first thought was, it was my first time standing next to her in full drag, and I was like, 'Oh, we're like the same height! Perfect, you don't have that on me!'"
EW's BINGE podcast on RuPaul's Drag Race — available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your favorite shows — returns next Thursday with Peppermint and Sasha Velour for a full season 9 recap on Lady Gaga's guest appearance and that time a PA accidentally forgot Pep at the holding hotel. Check out our ongoing collection of Snatch Game Fantasy podcast segments as well to hear eliminated queens perform characters they never got the chance to play on their original season.
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