Elliott with 2 Ts has one big RuPaul's Drag Race clarification to make
The dancing diva tells EW about bombing Snatch Game, the status of her relationship with Kandy Muse, and clarifies past comments that led to intense viewer reaction.
Elliott with 2 Ts is many things to many people. To some, she's the twangy, dancing diva who brought an infectious laugh and hardcore moves to the RuPaul's Drag Race stage; to others, she's become a controversial presence in the wake of her comments about front-running contender Symone.
But, on the evening of her elimination from the Emmy-winning competition series after a so-so performance as Rue McClanahan during the Snatch Game, the Las Vegas-based queen is simply tired — physically exhausted from reliving the grueling competition, and emotionally drained from backlash she's received in recent weeks.
"It's been really difficult. The fandom is hot and cold. They love you one minute and want to completely destroy you the next," Elliott tells EW, further clarifying her comments about Symone's drag not being "aggressive" in an effort to nix the vitriol she's endured: "What I meant by that was, in comparison to someone like Eureka O'Hara, Eureka's drag is larger than life with big shoulders and headpieces, really pageant, and over-the-top. Symone's drag is very fashion model and off-the-runway. I meant that her drag isn't the same loud, over-the-top drag as someone like Eureka."
Either way, Elliott's time on Drag Race hasn't come — or gone — quietly, and she still has plenty to say even though her competitive flame in the mainstream spotlight has been extinguished. Before RuPaul's Drag Race season 13 continues Friday at 8 p.m. on VH1. Read on for EW's full elimination interview with Elliott with 2 Ts, including discussion on her Snatch Game performance, the negative effects fan bullying has had on her depression, being the queen with the most eliminations in a single season, the status of her relationship with Kandy Muse, and her explanation for the controversial comments she made about Symone's drag.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I think you've made history as the queen who has been eliminated the most times in one season; First on episode 1, again on episode 2, and now after Snatch Game. So, you won a title after all!
ELLIOTT WITH 2 TS: I've been eliminated more than Vanjie has in her entire career in one season, so I hold that title near and dear to my heart!
Now would also be the time to come clean: Have you really been Elliott the Spy this whole time?
Oh my God, can you imagine someone sending a spy to a competition with eight cameras in the room, where everyone has microphones taped to their chest?
We've seen crazier things on this show! You're in good company, though, because everyone thought that BeBe was a mole on All-Stars.
To this day, I still can't believe that they thought that. It's hilarious.
You had some good moments this season! I related when you talked about depression and how that hindered you connecting with the cast. Has that gotten better or has the experience changed how you've approached dealing with depression?
It's been really difficult. The fandom is hot and cold. They love you one minute and want to completely destroy you the next. I'm at peace with everything on the show, and we filmed everything forever ago, so having to relive it and communicate with people who are reacting to it when we've already buried everything has been really difficult.
You had a lot of fun moments this season, though, I loved your memory of your grandfather coming to the bar on his walker to watch you, as you said, "be a hoe." What kind of hoe antics were you doing in front of your grandfather?
[Laughs]. I was in a high-waisted panty and a crop top! I was doing "I Need a Hero," cooter-slamming, high-kicking, crawling up on people, and my 80-year-old grandfather was in the front row, taking it all in with my grandmother, my mom, and my aunt. It was so special for me that my southern grandfather would come to my show.
You proved yourself as a performer on the stage, but when it came to Snatch Game, that was your downfall, but, leading up to it, you seemed a little low-energy this episode, like your mind was elsewhere. What was going on?
Once we got to this point in the competition, I was depleted. People want to say I didn't try hard enough, but when your body makes up its mind, it's made up its mind. We'd already been there for so long and filmed four episodes before a single person went home. When you walk into the Werk Room again and it's the same number of girls from the week before, I had a moment like, "We're never going home! This is never going to end!" Already having depression, it took a toll on me emotionally, and I got inside my own head. It's a dream come true, but it's also the most difficult thing I've done in my life.
In Snatch Game, Ru set you up for Rue McClanahan/RuPaul jokes with the similarities of their names, but you didn't seem to hit them back. What was going through your mind in the moment that you didn't take the bait?
I remember having a gay old time with RuPaul! When I interacted with the girls after the fact, they said I did great….
What did you think of Utica's squirrel hair and her eating paint? Was that real paint?
It wasn't real! People freaked out. They had to sit her down and go, "Are you ok?" I watched her squeeze food coloring right when she did it, but it was so funny how people freaked out like she lost her mind! It was all perfectly Utica.
I also loved you spelling "lanai" as "lanié." Was that a joke or was that really not knowing how to spell the word?
I literally have no idea how to spell it! [Laughs]. I was doing my best! I didn't know it was also a vocabulary quiz! I asked people beforehand, like, how do I spell it? And nobody knew!
I don't even think you were close, so that makes it even better! You also made headlines earlier this season in the fight between Kandy Muse and Tamisha Iman, which started when Kandy said some things about you in Untucked. Can you take me back to that moment and how that unfolded? You looked really surprised.
We're completely isolated and secluded while filming, so it came as a shock that people found time to gossip about me. I think Kandy had a chip on her shoulder about me from the moment I walked in after being voted out of the Pork Chop Loading Dock. It was pent-up feelings that escalated. That's also why the argument with Tamisha was so bad, because she had pent-up anger and wanted to fight. Drag Race is very stressful and difficult, and everybody's emotions are high at all times. Sometimes it's difficult to control them, so I completely understand wanting to just scream and go crazy. If I had any more energy in this episode, I probably would've done the same!
That frustration seems to have carried over after the show, though, as Kandy has said she had issues with you behind the scenes. I noticed she's not following you on Instagram. What's your relationship like with her now, and what was she referencing when she said she had behind-the-scenes problems?
People like to decide they know who you are before getting to know you. My conversation with Tina about my depression, I explained I was trying too hard to make friends. I had the realization at Drag Race that I would try to mimic the way that others interacted to try to get them to like me, because maybe this is the kind of person they like. Things I might've said might've come off inappropriately or uncomfortably. We're all adults, and if that was the case, come talk to me instead of yelling at me and attacking me. I wanted so desperately to be friends with everyone. Tina got to know me and understood why I was coming from that place, Kandy decided who I was based on whispers. It's a game of telephone, never coming from the source. That's where rumors and toxic activity come from. I don't have any ill will toward Kandy. People think we have to be best friends because we're on a season together [but] we're grown folks…. She can do whatever she wants! I didn't know she wasn't following me, so I guess I have to unfollow her!
It's essential to go to the source, so I have to ask you: That moment with Kandy in Untucked came at the same time people were talking about the comments you made about Symone's drag not being "aggressive." What did you mean by that?
The audience had the free will to decide what I was saying. That's where issues come from, and that's where cancel culture comes from: People decide who you are. What I meant by that was, in comparison to someone like Eureka O'Hara, Eureka's drag is larger than life with big shoulders and headpieces, really pageant, and over-the-top. Symone's drag is very fashion model and off-the-runway. I meant that her drag isn't the same loud, over-the-top drag as someone like Eureka.
You meant it's a subtler display of fashion?
Yes, but that word, specifically, because I was referring to a beautiful Black queen, people ran with it. Instead of hearing from me, everybody wants to run wild through the town, screaming from the rooftops that I'm this problematic, hateful person. People don't realize I've been losing weight, I can't sleep, I've been having trouble getting out of bed each day because of the negativity, hate, death threats, and nasty messages I get every day because of a misunderstanding. I don't think people consider that when they message me telling me to cause harm to myself. It's something that the fandom and we as people need to think about and consider. We're human beings. I have severe depression, and it doesn't help when I have to read these messages. It also doesn't help when another queen from my season — who's also gotten a lot of hate and been bullied online — is pouring gasoline on the situation…. We're all different and we all handle things differently, but we have to move on!
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