'It was always my dream,' Alaska says in EW's exclusive preview of the upcoming Netflix documentary from producer Ryan Murphy.

By Joey Nolfi
April 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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Well, now we know why Lil' Pound Cake enjoyed being a "straight-up mother f---in' d--- pig" so much.

Before she was hanging in the hall of fame, RuPaul's Drag Race all-star Alaska was an employee at one of America's premier gay porn stores, and EW's exclusive clip from Netflix's upcoming Ryan Murphy-produced documentary Circus of Books — which chronicles the landmark establishment's rise — sees the drag superstar vividly recalling her days as a shopgirl.

"It was always my dream to work in a porn store. I'm a weirdo and a bit of a pervert, I guess," Alaska says in the clip, her trademark blonde wigs surrounding her. "They were very no bulls---, no-nonsense, [like] 'If you steal from us, you'll be fired, and that's that,'" she continues, referencing the heterosexual couple, Karen and Barry Mason, who runs the store and serves as the central focus of the film. "They're not offended. They're not scandalized. It's their job. It's like they're selling apples at an apple cart."

Directed by the pair's daughter, Rachel, Circus of Books serves as both a portrait of how the titular store ballooned beyond its humble West Hollywood origins to become the "center of the gay universe" across the last 35 years as well as an examination of how the Masons kept their professional life a secret from their family and tight-knit religious circle.

"The heyday of this place was really, really jammin'. People spent money on books, magazines... whatever they wanted to," another employee, Ben Liefke, says in the clip. Barry adds that "in the month we opened, the first day the store did over $1,000" in sales on the road to becoming a thriving beacon of vitality for the Los Angeles LGBTQIA+ community, as well as one of the biggest distributors of hardcore gay porn in the country — especially during the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the ongoing homophobia that swept the nation as a result.

Circus of Books premieres Wednesday on Netflix. Watch EW's exclusive clip from the film above, and be sure to follow along with all of Netflix's LGBTQIA+ content on its new channel The Most.

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