Warning! This post contains major spoilers about Thursday’s premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10. Read at your own risk.
Yeah, yeah, you know the saying: One is the loneliest number. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, the first queen eliminated from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 (and, judging by the premiere, the beloved life of the party). Though she only lasted a single episode, Mateo captivated fans by flinging a shoe across the stage during an epic lip sync against Kalorie Karbdashian Williams, bombarding guest judge Christina Aguilera with questions about her next album’s release date, and an all-around luminous personality that didn’t get its proper time to shine under the mainstage lights. So, come get some of Miss Vanessa’s cookies, henny. She exhausted her time on Drag Race, but there’s still plenty to go around.
RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on VH1. Read on for EW’s full exit interview with Mateo.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hello Miss Vanessa, how are you?
VANESSA VANJIE MATEO: I’m great! Did you watch the episode last night?
Yes! I watched it last night and multiple times on a screener, so I’ve watched it more than I’d like to admit.
So then you know that I’m doing good, but I’m not doing the best!
I wish we were speaking under better circumstances! But, I am thankful for the opportunity to ask you about the phrase “these cookies,” because I’ve been using it ever since I saw the episode for the first time. Where did this come from and what exactly are we describing when we’re talking about the cookies, I need to know!
So get “these cookies” is kind of like when you’re feeling your fantasy. Almost like the same thing when you tell somebody to eat it. You know you’re the tea. So, b—, get these cookies! You know you’re that girl, so you have the cookies ready.
Would you say that it’s your version of cucu?
Cucu is like the booty. Get these cookies can be like, your ass, your p—y, your private parts. It can be anything!
So it’s a dynamic word, you can use it however you want!
It’s multi-purpose, like me! So when you see your friend and they’re looking good, you say, “Yes girl, get these cookies!”
Hah! Yes! I knew I liked you right from the beginning, but I have to say my love for you skyrocketed during Untucked when you bombarded Christina Aguilera with questions about when her new album was coming. Girl, she barely settled into her chair when you sprung on her like a true fan.
B—! When they brought Christina, I already knew. I said, well this is my episode [to shine] whether or not I go home because I am a true Christina fan, all the way from “Genie In A Bottle” to “Dirrty.”
That’s exactly what every other crazy Xtina Stan would have done in that moment. Including myself. Like, f— savoring the moment of meeting her, I’m pouncing and asking her when that new album is coming. And she just said what she always says: “Soon!”
Yeah, that’s almost like saying “no comment.”
And here we are and it’s still not out!
Right, but I did hear that she’s trying to come out with something right now. But you know how that s— goes. It’s almost like the same thing I said about [RuPaul being] the Loch Ness Monster: You hear a lot about it, but you never see it. So, we’ll see. Once I see this album, then I’ll react all crazy again.
Now I do want to talk about your elimination. It’s unfortunate because I can’t remember the last time a first-eliminated queen had built up such a following. Do you feel like you were robbed and the judges got it wrong?
People fell in love with me because of the way I am and the way I talk. When you first meet me, I’m not your typical first girl out the door. I’m so loud and crazy! I was being myself, so I wouldn’t necessarily say the judges got it wrong. I personally didn’t think my look was the worst. I thought there were a few others… but that’s just a personal opinion. Obviously, if I thought I looked a mess, I wouldn’t have come out on the runway.
So you’re proud?
Hell yes! I thought I looked fierce. I mean, I don’t work with 99-cent material. All my drag is expensive, and everything I wear is expensive. … I like to look the part and spend money on how I look. So when they said it’s a 99-cent challenge, I was like, s—, great, that’s not going to look cute. But my end result, I loved it. I was giving them Met Gala Rihanna.
I thought it was a good look. I hate to name names, but when Monét came out…
Right! She put sponges on the dress and didn’t even finish the dress. This is true tea! You’re going to get an exclusive right here with Vanessa. The b— didn’t finish her dress! She didn’t finish putting the sponges on the dress, so she ran out of time and she glued them sporadically. … She came into the Werk Room cleaning and sweeping the floor with the broom, and then she came out to the runway cleaning [with the bottom of her dress]. This b— has a thing for cleaning places! Instead of trying to get the Drag Race crown, somebody needs to get her a job as a janitor because I get the feeling that’s her gig.
When it came down to your critiques, Michelle was a bit harsh and said you had no shape, even though the other judges didn’t have that many bad things to say. What would you say to her about her opinion if you could?
She said I had no shape, and I was covering up my body. But, I felt like telling her, “Listen, I understand I don’t show much of a shape with the flowers because they’re busting out of the corset. But, I have more shape than the girls who don’t wear pads!” Even with me having flowers on my chest and my p—y, I have more shape than the girls that don’t wear corsets, and I’ve got more shape than the big girls. … I wasn’t trying to accentuate my shape. If that was the case, I would have put two flowers on my nipples and a flower on my p—y and came out and just stood butt ass naked. That way you can’t hate it! [Laughs].
You might have given me one of my favorite lip sync moments when you kicked your shoe off across the stage. Was that planned?
No! I had on dance shoes with a bunch of little straps. I was so into it that the strap broke off! So, when I went to do that dip and I felt the shoe come loose, I kicked that b— all the way up. When you’re in the heat of the moment, you don’t care. You’ll do all kind of shenanigans. You feel like you have to lip sync for your life so you have to do whatever the hell you can do. So I kicked that shoe to the back, and it should have hit Monét in the head with her sponge dress.
She probably wouldn’t have felt it through all the sponges. But I do want to quickly ask you: You were saying you were worried about letting your drag mother, Alexis Mateo, down. What was the first thing she said to you after you told her you were eliminated?
She said that she was really proud of me and not to feel like I let her down because I’ve only been doing drag for two years. For me to get on the show so quickly, she was proud. I wanted to go further, and I knew how much I had to offer, and I’d rather her see me go further than the first episode.
You have a lot to be proud of, though! So many people love you, and I know there’s potential for a comeback. Are we in store for some twists?
Y’all need to stay tuned because you never know with Miss Vanjie! You never know what I’ve got up my panty sleeve. I love stunts, and they know where to reach me. You never know what the hell can happen. You know RuPaul loves to gag the girls!