Warning! This post contains spoilers regarding Friday’s premiere of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular. Read at your own risk!
RuPaul’s Drag Race graduate Sonique admittedly doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but when Mama Ru asked her back for a one-off competitive episode with a festive twist, the season 2 alum wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to slice and dice her competition like the holiday hams they are. For the out-and-proud transgender queen, that meant serving a diverse range of Christmas-inspired fashions inspired by the Ice Princess from Batman Returns and a gingerbread woman decked with inspiration from Madonna, Elvis, and Jeremy Scott.
“I was trying to do what I thought [the judges] wanted to see,” Sonique muses on her first Drag Race go-round, which ultimately saw her exiting the competition in ninth place. Now, standing next to titanic personalities like Trixie Mattel, Latrice Royale, Shangela, and Kim Chi, the returning performer played the Holi-Slay game like a seasoned pro — even if she (nor any of the other queens) took the Christmas Queen crown. “This time I followed my heart and my own ideas, and that gave me a lot of confidence…. When I came out as being transgender, I was scared. There was nobody doing that on TV, and it was a scary time…. We’re here now and we have to make every moment count, and that’s what pushed me and has driven me to excel in this, even if it’s just a special. It’s, to me, my way of reintroducing myself to people.”
Now that the special’s wintry mix of queens has come and gone, read on for EW’s full post-show breakdown with Sonique, in which she dishes about her decade-long absence from Drag Race, her “naughty” new Christmas single, and how she really feels about that twist ending.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: No one does the holidays like the Drag Race family, right?
SONIQUE: Oh, the Drag Race girls do everything better…. This is a whole new take on Drag Race! But it’s something that is still close to everybody, the holiday season, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.
Were there any queens there who didn’t celebrate Christmas?
Honestly, I’m one of the queens who doesn’t celebrate Christmas! When I was a kid I did, but when I grew up I moved away from my family and didn’t really celebrate Christmas. It wasn’t as convenient to go home, so it wasn’t the same as it was when I was a kid. But with all of this happening, it rekindled something in me and I like Christmas again! I’m looking forward to it now. I’m actually putting out my very first single, a Christmas-inspired song…. It’ll be available the same day the Christmas special comes out.
That’s quite an evolution: Not celebrating Christmas to Christmas diva!
The song is called “Santa, Please Come Home.” It’s basically Mrs. Claus going through it; Santa’s leaving to give all the toys to the kids and he’s gone all night long. She misses her man and she’s a freak, honey. The song builds up. It starts slow and gets really naughty by the end.
How did it feel serving and slaying these hoe hoe hoes on the Holi-Slay special?
When I got called to do the show, I had a little anxiety because I went home a lot earlier on my season…. I was nervous to come back, but I also came back as a queen who is trans, so there was a lot of pressure…. [but] it re-inspired that drive that I had when I got on Drag Race. I had a lot going on then, too, dealing with transitioning. It was an awkward time, but now I’m fully aware of who I am. I was inspired by drag again. This couldn’t have come at a better time.
I recently spoke with Gia Gunn about a similar topic: Doing it over as a more empowered person who’s comfortable in your skin this time around.
When I came out as being transgender, I was scared. There was nobody doing that on TV, and it was a scary time…. Luckily over the past few years we as a community [are] more visible. With this administration, it’s kind of shaky, but we can’t forget who we are. We’re here now and we have to make every moment count, and that’s what pushed me and has driven me to excel in this, even if it’s just a special. It’s, to me, my way of reintroducing myself to people.
As a trans queen, do you feel accepted and appreciated for your craft inside the Drag Race community?
Absolutely. All the girls I worked with are used to trans women being in the drag shows. We’re one and the same. We all get ready in the same dressing room, we all put in a lot of work to get ready, we all look completely different out of drag, and I had so much support from everyone there…. everyone has their idea of what drag is to them, and a lot of people question it, like, “Oh, you have breasts. How is that an illusion?” We pick and choose what we want to do to our bodies to feel comfortable…. I quit trying to let other people dictate what the definition of drag is and just do it…. We all have to rig things up and squeeze things in and tuck things back and put on wigs and makeup that probably doesn’t even match our skin color, but we make it work and we call it drag. [Drag] is not only for guys…. It’s time for people to recognize that trans performers have always been right there with the other queens.
And you were certainly serving it right next to the queens in this episode. That gingerbread outfit, girl! That’s the first time I think I’ve heard the words “Moschino Jeremy Scott Gingerbread Woman” in the same sentence. A total fashion mood!
I adore Jeremy Scott; he’s one of my favorite designers…. I wanted to go that route because…. when I think of Christmas, I think of Elvis. I remember a lot of Elvis’ Christmas music playing when I was a kid. And one of the biggest stars I looked up to at the time I was a kid was Madonna. [Those two] were my inspiration for the silhouette, but for the design, I was thinking “What would Jeremy Scott do?”
And what about your entrance look?
That was actually inspired by the Ice Princess from Batman Returns… that was another thing I had a problem with on my season: I was trying to do what I thought [the judges] wanted to see. This time I followed my heart and my own ideas, and that gave me a lot of confidence.
Were you a bit disappointed there wasn’t an individual winner?
I didn’t even care! I knew I was going to bring my A-game…. I still wanted to look like the winner. I don’t know, they may call me back for an All-Stars season, they may not, but this was my moment and I had to go full-force and really step it up.
Who honestly do you think deserved the title?
If it were a crowned competition with actual money…. I can confidently say that if I were not the winner, I would definitely be a close runner-up. [It was] between me and Mayhem Miller, who’s so great. Mayhem is one of my good friends and we were in the same boat: She knew she had more to show and she went home early [on her season] and we don’t know if we’re ever going to get a second chance. [So] if we get on All-Stars, this was our audition!
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