Warning! The following article contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. Read at your own risk.
The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick. The difference between Jesus and BenDeLaCreme? A shoddily-smeared slick of Wite-Out… on a container of lipstick. That’s right, RuPaul’s Drag Race fans: the second coming of BenDeLaChrist (okay, okay, Creme) came to an unholy end Thursday night, as perhaps the most beloved All Star in the game — unable to send one of her cherished sisters home after winning her fifth of the show’s six challenges thus far — sacrificed herself to save her fellow competitors.
After a season spent showcasing her performative talents (and some of the most sickeningly gorgeous eleganza in All Stars herstory), BenDeLaCreme had a chat with EW about what went wrong, what went right, who supplied that now-infamous bottle of Wite-Out, what Michelle Visage said to her after the shocking self-elimination, and closing out her sophomore Drag Race go-round on her own terms. As BenDeLaCreme-as-Julie-Andrews would say, “Microphone drop.“
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 airs Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. ET on VH1. Read on for EW’s full cant with BenDeLaCreme.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now that the second coming of BenDeLaChrist has come and gone and you’ve sacrificed yourself, should we prepare for the Rapture?
BENDELACREME: Quite possibly. But like, with the Rapture, people are gone but piles of clothes are left behind. This can be like the reverse!
Are you okay with it if the name BenDeLaChrist sticks?
Yeah, absolutely! People are trying to make sense of the decision that I made in their own way. How ever people want to talk about it is fine. I think there’s definitely the critique of people saying: “Oh, martyrdom!” Sometimes you just make decisions because they feel good to you, and it’s fascinating to watch people scramble to make sense of somebody just acting from their heart…. it was like a whole season of having a great time, doing challenges, and being in constant turmoil because of the drama, and in the moment, it felt crystal clear, like I can have my cake and eat it, too.
Had this decision been festering for a while?
No, it literally came to me as we filmed that episode. The show takes two days to film, so it was on the second day that the decision came to me. It reminded me of that [M. Night Shyamalan movie about an alien invasion], Signs, you know, where there’s the water glasses all over the place and the baseball bat?
Yes! That movie scared the crap out of me as a kid.
It kind of was like that, where all of these things had been laid out all along, and suddenly they crystallized and I could see [what I was supposed to do]…. all of the pieces had to be in place. I had to already have done as well as I had done in the competition, it had to be that moment where all the girls were back…. And the final thing, here’s the gag: the only way I could have done it is if I had something to scrawl on this lipstick. Back on episode 2, Thorgy painted her fingernails with Wite-Out. So I went up to Thorgy and I was like ‘Thorgy, do you still have that Wite-Out on you?’ And she gave it to me. The stars aligned!
Okay, but now I fear for the camera person who filmed you doing the Wite-Out before the lip sync, because we did see the footage of you writing your name, which of course they showed after your elimination.
Oh, my God. I don’t know what happens behind closed doors, but Ru seemed 100 percent genuinely gagged about the whole thing.
I couldn’t tell if Ru was pissed or upset.
I don’t know. I think she was shocked…. My memory of being present in the moment, I was trying to speak to Ru directly, not as the judge of the show, but as the performer who I genuinely have been inspired by since I was a teenager. I wanted to genuinely thank her for giving me the inspiration to be the kind of person who realizes that I can do whatever I want. If that means becoming an internationally famous drag queen, great! If that means stepping away from a competition because the rules don’t feel like they’re for me? That’s in the spirit of what I’ve learned from Ru. I felt, in that moment, like she was hearing me.
Have you spoken to him or Michelle since?
From what I understand, most of the girls don’t have regular contact with Ru. I think she keeps a very private profile, which is absolutely her prerogative. Michelle and I are close and we talk, and she was definitely shocked by it. She told me, “I don’t totally understand your decision, but I respect your decision and I love you and I’m proud of you.” That’s all you need from a friend.
There are people who feel like you took a spot away from another queen, though. You took Morgan out in the beginning because you said you were trying to protect the other competitors from her elimination strategy, but then you bowed out. So why did you go on the show in the first place if there was the potential for you to bow out?
You go on the show to go on the ride. I certainly didn’t have any intention of things going the direction they did. I also had no idea that I was going to go on and do so well. To anybody who’s like, “Oh, she took the place of somebody else!” Tell me what girl I took the place of who’s going to go on and win five challenges! I got to showcase my talent and my skills and not just that, but my life view. I got to showcase that internationally and I said it before, I’ll say it again: that’s the way to win. People can define that kind of success however they want to, but for me that’s absolutely not a waste of a slot on Drag Race…. it’s an opportunity that I got because I’ve been working very hard as a professional drag queen for 15 years, before it was cool, and if that’s what I want to do with the work that I’ve done, then I’m proud to do it.
You said that some of the girls valued the title a bit more than you did, though. So your perspective on the show itself — not just the drama — changed as well?
I felt the [other competitors’] emotions around how badly they wanted the crown, and I realized I wasn’t having the same emotional experience. I’m recognizing that there’s a passion toward this specific end that I’m not feeling in this moment…. I’ve never been a fan of the drama of reality television. For better or for worse, that’s never the type of programming that I’ve tuned in to. But I love watching people make stuff, I love watching people show off skills, and to me the appeal of Drag Race has always been that: I love it as a showcase for drag because I f—ing love drag, and that’s not shifted. There’s one winner every season, but there’s always more than one girl who makes a huge impression on me each season, showing me what it is that she’s good at.
I went back and watched the first episode and you did sort of seem to tell Morgan on the couch that you were going to go based on judges’ critiques — or at least that’s how she interpreted it. Did you bring her back because you felt like you needed to atone for going back on what you told her?
The wonderful thing about this show is that it’s a showcase for artists, and she was the one who got the least opportunity to showcase her skills…. Based on our interaction, I had this perception that Morgan was ruthless and she’d send people home because she wants to knock them out of the way, but then we interacted further, I was like, no, this is a multi-faceted person who speaks brasher than I do. She’s a good human and deserves more opportunity to show her stuff.
Well, Ben, I’m happy you’ve made a decision that’s good for you. And now you can request that Wite-Out cuts you a check every month because you’ve undoubtedly boosted their stock.