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All good things come to an end. And that’s just the way the (Miz) Cracker crumbled Thursday night on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Yes, Kitty Girls: the Harlem native got the boot (okay, okay, the sequined stiletto) after going wig-to-wig with perennial bottom-two finisher Kameron Michaels in perhaps the most shocking elimination of season 10 thus far, given the occasion marked Kameron’s third consecutive time lip-syncing for her life on the main stage. The queens’ respective scorecards didn’t suggest a cracked Cracker was imminent (prior to the episode, she’d yet to appear in the bottom two and received far better critiques than Kameron for her Marie Antoinette eleganza on the runway), so the comedy queen is understandably a bit salty about her time on the show.
EW caught up with her immediately after the jaw-dropping episode aired, and she got candid about her thoughts on her Aquaria rivalry, her real legacy on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and figuring out what the hell an “inner saboteur” actually is. Read on for the full interview.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m so sad because the cracker crumbled!
MIZ CRACKER: That’s real! She crumbled.
I know the episode just aired, so I’m probably catching you at a strange time. But how are you holding up?
I saw the episode [Wednesday] and I came back to my hotel room and scream-cried for an hour. I allow myself to cry once a year. And now that’s done, and it’s time to move forward.
I bet your neighbors in the hotel weren’t happy about that.
I was wondering if they were going to send someone to be like, “Hello. No used-up hookers in this hotel, please!”
But have you been online recently? People are already pretty upset about this elimination.
I don’t read the internet. My handler-friend, Katelyn, of “Okay Katelyn, time for dinner!” fame, looks at all of that for me. And if there’s something I need to know, she’ll let me know. But I live here in the real world, which is where my drag lives.
So if I were to tell you that people are mad that you’ve gone home, would you say that’s sort of the next best thing, having people say that you were robbed? Because that’s what Monét X Change told me when she was eliminated.
The real thing is, any time I feel like people love me, that’s a win for me. Having the longest lines at DragCon besides Sasha Velour and Bianca Del Rio, that’s a win for me. Having sold out meet-and-greets in every city, that’s a win for me. If there’s something online talking about how they wish I had stayed, that’s a win. Because, listen, that love equals money, honey! [Laughs]
Yes, spoken like a true drag queen!
Absolutely. RuPaul told me not to pay attention to anybody who wasn’t paying my bills. Listen, I love the judges and I respect them so much. They don’t pay my bills. America does. And America is paying them generously.
Yes, I certainly hope so. But who would have thought really that it would be this weird psychological experiment/therapy session of a challenge that would send you home, of all people? It just doesn’t seem like the Drag Race runway is the best place for a soul-searching therapy session or that Michelle Visage is the best choice as a stand-in therapist for your inner-saboteur issues.
It was a look runway. That’s all. I know they presented it as a psychological whatever, but it wasn’t. It was based on the looks. The psychological part was to enrich it. And I don’t know if there was ever going to be the right runway to send me home. Like, there wasn’t going to be one where I was like, “Oh this is the one where you should send me home!”
But it seems like if it was truly a look thing, they seemed to love your Marie-Antoinette outfit.
That was made by Yuhua Hamasaki! That’s New York sisterhood.
That’s so cute.
Listen, we New York girls are very hard-working and we support each other in so many ways whether we get to do gigs together or not.
That’s very sweet, I’m glad to hear that. But the critiques you guys received just seemed very strange to me, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But I guess it’s kind of appropriate because you did receive so many critiques about getting out of your own head this season, so do you think your inner saboteur was an inevitable thing to take you out? Did you see that coming?
I don’t know what an inner saboteur is. It’s not something I necessarily believe in. Maybe one of the reasons I didn’t win this challenge is, it’s not part of my philosophy. But, what I do know is it was an incredibly tight competition. They had to be very strenuous on who they picked and that I was battling a devastating loss, one that would cripple me for weeks after it happened. Those are the things I can tell you. Anything else I clearly don’t understand what I did wrong, otherwise I would have done it different. Does that make sense?
As far as an inner saboteur, I don’t think I had an inner saboteur. I think I struggled in this competition and as the critiques began to weigh down on me, I lost more and more confidence. You have to remember in the very first week of the show I was accused of being a copycat, so from day one I was dogpiled by negativity. I don’t think any of those words came from within. Those were all things I was being told by the judges, by my peers, attacked constantly and worn down. And the judges were doing their jobs. I appreciate it because those were critiques. But my fellow cast members, I don’t know. So was it an inner saboteur? I don’t know. I think I’m a great queen capable of amazing things. I didn’t sabotage myself. But I did fail. But not all failure is self-sabotage.
I don’t think the fans take the time to think about things like that. One of the things that I’m constantly seeing is people saying any time a queen is eliminated, they assume she’s then not a good drag queen because she was eliminated from Drag Race.
Is that something somebody was saying?
No, I feel like in general with a lot of the Drag Race fandom…
I don’t think that applies to me because I don’t think anyone will say that about me.
I don’t think so, either. I think it creates an issue—
Well, you know what, listen. America elected Trump. I do not listen to the opinions of Americans. If people think something is true because they saw it on television, that’s their business, not mine. However, if people are delusional and think I’m the greatest drag queen in America, damn it, I appreciate that delusion. [Laughs] Negative delusions don’t do anything for me, so I feel comfortable ignoring them. But if people think that for some reason I’m a star, then damn it, I will enable them in that delusion.
A better way for me to phrase the question is, are you walking away from the show feeling like fans got to see the full breadth of your talents as a drag queen or do you feel like you didn’t get a chance to showcase all of what you can do within the constraints of the Drag Race challenges?
Listen, bitch, on one side I’ll say this: I am a live entertainer in the real world. That’s why I’m one of the No. 1 touring queens right now. I didn’t get to do a live experience because I was on TV, right? But I signed up to do TV, damn it. So of course I didn’t get to showcase myself in the way that I wanted because I wasn’t doing it live. But I knew what I was getting into. I didn’t figure out quickly enough how to translate it, and I was given the boot! Does that make sense?
Yes, it makes sense! It’s making me think of Ru’s critique of you being too interested in trying to control how the judges saw you — and that especially doesn’t make sense to me, because Drag Race’s vision of what drag is, is such a controlled and calculated thing. Like, you’re men in wigs preparing to present over-the-top costumes for a runway.
It was like, try to be more like not like you’re trying to be. I was like, am I trying or not trying? What’s going on? Does that make sense?
I was like, damn it, how hard to I have to frighten you in order to stop being frightened? How much do I have to scream to make you feel like you’re not being screamed at? How many times do I have to tell you to focus on not focusing on being something? Those are valid critiques but my brain was too slow to handle it. I was like [robot powering down voice]Ivy Winterrrrrssss… out. Gone.
Kameron was in the bottom for the third time in a row and was statistically doing way worse than you. I don’t know any other queen who has survived that many consecutive times in the bottom in the show’s history.
There are times when the anger and grief in my room is so thick I throw open the windows because I feel like I’m going to suffocate in it. That’s how I feel about him staying after three lip syncs. But there’s nowhere to put that grief. That doesn’t help me. I have to put it away, otherwise I’ll drown in it. If I try to apply logic to what happened to me, I’ll forever be trapped back there in something I believe wasn’t fair. So I have to close it in a Pandora’s Box and never open it again. Never in history, except for me. Also, remember, for four episodes out of the five first episodes I was in second place in the top, but not selected. I also could make myself an Alice in Wonderland hot tub of tears out of that. There are so many things that could make me feel that I wasn’t allowed space to be a person there. But, I can’t live there. I can’t live in that grief—not because I’m an optimistic person, but because it would kill me to live there. Does that make sense?
Did you go into the lip sync thinking that you were safe by default or did you go into it feeling like Ru wanted you gone?
No, no. I went into the lip sync the way that any real performer does. I love performing and I just wanted a chance to be myself. I knew there was a chance from the way Ru had been talking that he wanted me gone. I knew there was a chance that Kameron, on his third lip sync, might necessarily have to go. But that wasn’t important. What was important was finally performing, being myself, and showing who I was totally and they could decide based on that whether I should stay or go. But I wasn’t going to try to figure out what they wanted and be that. I was going to try to figure out who I was and let them decide if they loved it or not. And they didn’t. [Long pause] Does that make sense?
[Laughs] Yeah! Are you just asking me as a joke now? I think everything you’re saying makes sense, I understand.
I have a very crazy mind. I have to try to put my thoughts together in ways that people understand. I’m often told that I’m too candid in what I say or what I say sounds overly produced or rehearsed. It’s not me trying to clean it up, I’m just trying to put it in a way that makes sense… so I’m careful that people should understand me.
I totally do. It’s fascinating listening to you string together other thoughts. You definitely don’t speak like the other queens I’ve interviewed, but it makes sense.
Yep! Michelle Visage said all season that I was a weirdo. It was strange to come to a place where everyone was supposed to be a freak, and in that context to be called weird. It’s almost an honor. [Laughs]
It should be, yes! I think that’s why people love you so much. Everybody’s weird, they just want another weirdo with them and you were that this season. But thankfully one thing they didn’t play up too much throughout the season was the Aquaria/Cracker thing. I really thought we were going to see the obvious Aquaria/Cracker lip sync in the end for dramatic effect. Are you happy that at least didn’t happen in the edit?
Yes, samesies! I came to the season promising that I would gain the crown and do this to make the world a better place for queer people and queer allies. I lost. I let the crown go to those other girls. And they don’t have my mission. So to not be there to defend my mission and give it a chance to live is devastating for me. I’m devastated to not be lip-syncing against Aquaria. If someone came to you as a writer and said that everything you ever did was a copy and a fake and where you are in life is just a copy and fake, even if you ended up sorting it out later, wouldn’t you want to beat them for a journalism award?
You may work things out with them and work with them. Aquaria — I know I can’t tell you what to say but it’s true that Aquaria and I have been having a great time lately. But, I would love the chance to fight for the crown. I lost it. And my fans lost the chance to see me gain it.
But, like you said before, it’s kind of like when you get eliminated from the show, no one really loses. The audience pays your bills after.
Right, but you do lose the show. But you don’t lose life. I want to separate the two. Yes, I lost the show. It‘s a reality show, it’s a game show. It’s a contest and I lost the contest. Now, in life, where am I? Near the top. I’m one of the top two queens of the season in every respect except for YouTube where I crush [them] with my foot like roaches. But it’s like, in the show let’s be clear: I lost. And in life I’m winning. I’m very glad I live in life and not on the show.
What did you think about Aquaria at the end being like, “Oh Ru, thank you so much. I learned so much about myself from this challenge” or whatever she said? Was that bulls—t?
Well, thou hath said it…
Is that supposed to make sense?
[Laughs] You seem to be raising the question. I can’t help the way you think. If it’s a question to you and seems to be a question to America, who am I to tell them not to ask that question?
In the tradition of Monique Heart: facts are facts.
Facts are facts, girl. I don’t always know what goes on in Aquaria’s mind. Some people say she’s lying, some say she’s telling the truth. Aquaria once said she has so many faces that she’s a sphere. To try to figure out what’s going on inside of her is an exercise in folly. I’d rather be working on my makeup skills.
I am going to say that forever: “An exercise in folly.” Anything else you want to add?
I always want people to know there’s so much to do in this terrible world where Trump is president. It’s fun to have friends and fun to have lovers, and it’s fun to do pageants and contests, but minimize all of that and get out there and do what has to be done to make the world a better place. That’s all!