Warning! This post contains major spoilers regarding the most recent installment of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Read ahead at your own risk!
Unfortunately for Blair St. Clair, RuPaul did declare the 22-year-old Indiana native the latest Drag Race eliminee after an emotionally taxing judging ceremony during Thursday night’s episode. Though this week’s mock DragCon panel challenge ultimately did her in, St. Clair went out on an empowering note as she bravely spoke her truth, revealing that she had been raped prior to entering the competition. Now, on the morning after her Drag Race swan song, St. Clair had a chat with EW about overcoming the darkness in her past — a process she channeled into the lyrics for her new single “Now or Never,” the music video for which EW can exclusively reveal above. Read on for the full interview.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hi Blair! How are you? Are you holding up ok?
BLAIR ST. CLAIR: Yeah, I’m great!
Well, here we are, the day after your elimination episode, and of course it wouldn’t be a Drag Race elimination without a single release and a music video. Can you tell me a bit about the song and what inspired it?
The song is about life events and struggles, about living life in a black-and-white cage and finally making the choice to live life itself and looking at it in color to make the most out of it. It’s about finding [what] your true dreams [are] from what life handed you.
The video’s aesthetic is so cool and I think it reflects your style of drag so well, and I think maybe that didn’t come across quite as strong on the show. Do you think the judges maybe didn’t understand you or know what to do with you?
[The show] is risqué, fun, and inspired by pop culture, and I have definitely included that in my drag. But [my drag] is also… old school meshed with a young, fresh aesthetic of my life, being a young 22-year-old. The judges on Drag Race really looked at that as something that was fresh and fun and they enjoyed it, but didn’t fully understand it. I was happy to bring that to the show and maybe introduce something slightly new.
I think at least in this episode, the reasoning for why you gravitate toward the lighter, prettier side of drag did come to light. Before you revealed your very personal story on the runway, was it hurtful or frustrating to see people criticizing your approach without fully understanding the reasoning behind it?
That was kind of hurtful or hard to understand, because on my Drag Race journey, I was never was really criticized [before by the judges]. The harshest criticism I got was that I was a little too sweet or too quiet, and I think of those as positives, not negatives… my entire life, I’ve never really been [given] negative critiques… and hearing those things [on the show], I took it negatively for the first time. I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, am I a failure? Am I a problem?” Those things were hard to hear, especially when it had to do with [the style] I’ve built around myself that has made me feel comfortable and secure.
It was brave to open up about your experience with rape. Had you planned to open up on the show? Or was it one of those things that you weren’t expecting to say, but it came out in the heat of the moment?
This was something that I never brought up to a producer. I kept it down and hidden, and even through the exhaustion and stress of Drag Race and filming, I never thought it was something I’d bring up. That day, I don’t really remember talking because it came from the heart and not from anywhere else.
It can be difficult for rape survivors to come forward, especially in the LGBT community.
I think my platform is to share my story and hopefully change one life at a time by reaching someone who can relate to me… drag is art and we have a platform where we can talk [about these things]. Today, where we are in history and culture — not only gay culture and with drag culture becoming mainstream — it’s a big platform we can use to talk on so many things… It’s my job now to be able to change one life at a time. We’re becoming a society and culture that’s more open and accepting and loving, and now it’s my job to be more open and invite more people a little bit into my life to possible change a life if I can.
It was also empowering to see Vixen stand there with you on the runway and say she wanted to get the person who did this to you. That’s important for people to see too, right? The protective sisterhood Drag Race forms?
Completely. When it comes to life experience and things that I have gone through or challenges that I’ve overcome, that [support] has not only happened between one race, one gender, or one sexual orientation. Everyone today in life goes through such metamorphosis and change and life experience, and Drag Race is something that’s been able to bring so many people together. Ru says so many times that we’re able to choose our family, and I’ve chosen such an amazing family, especially my season 10 sister that have supported me, and now it’s my job to support them.
I know it’s only been a few hours, but the fan reaction to that moment has been so strong on social media. Have you been seeing an increase in people reaching out and talking about their stories with you?
I stay off social media quite often, especially after big events, and I don’t read comments. But, I have tried to [change that], because now it is my job to be that voice and that person to offer love back to individuals who are reaching out to me that share the same story. I’ve had a few people that have emailed me or sent me things and comments of how they relate to me. It’s eye-opening and very special and selfless of them. [Before, it was a lot about] me, me, me, and I finally realized it’s not just about me, it’s about inviting other people into my life as well because maybe I can share something about me to help them, and it’s really beautiful to see the reaction.
I don’t mean to jerk the wheel too far left, but I’m wondering if you’d care to address reports that a judge ordered a travel ban for you, which you defied to film Drag Race?
That was something that came out a long time ago, and it was frustrating to see a leak [about me] from before my season of Drag Race aired. That was someone who knew me personally [leaking] information that wasn’t factual, and it was very hard for me since I wasn’t legally able to talk about it at the time. All I can comment [now] is that my personal life — especially my legalities — are something that I’ve worked out and I’ve made it possible for myself to explore future endeavors in my career. It’s something that I’ve gone through personally. [But that story] wasn’t factually [correct].