"I felt like Adore in All Stars," the secret contestant tells EW, later adding: "It was hard for me to be up there with a pop star, a Broadway star, big stars, and have to be as good as them."
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RuPaul is sitting on a secret — several of them, in fact, as RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race season 2 prepares to welcome a slew of new stars into the mix. The contending queens will have their identities concealed (under lots of makeup) for the entire season, while they lip-sync for a crown and charity money across a remixed version of the competition show.

Before the season kicks off Friday, Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on VH1, EW exclusively caught up with one of the mystery contestants for a preview of the season ahead, including drastic season 2 deviations from the season 1 format, working with Queen Supreme mentors Monét X Change, Jujubee, and Brooke Lynn Hytes, which judge was their harshest critic, and harnessing their inner queen in ways their career has never allowed them to before. Read on for the full Q&A.

RuPaul's Drag Race Secret Guest
'RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race' mystery queen previews season 2.
| Credit: Richard Phibbs/Paramount+ (2); Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you're a huge fan of this franchise and drag in general, so this must be so exciting for you.

SECRET CELEBRITY: It's like a total fever dream. I just can't believe it. After the finale, I was like, did that just happen? I would do it all over again in a minute. It was so difficult, but so fun.

Can you give us a clue as to who you are?

I have done drag-ish things before, but I've never gone full-out.

Will you continue to do drag after this?

If the paychecks are high enough and the heels are low enough, I'll be there.

There's obviously a format shift from season 1 to season 2. How different is season 2, and what changes do you think will gag the children the most?

We all fight it out for a crown. It's a whole, entire season. We're not just there for the day, visiting a day camp. We're there and we're in it. The thing that was most revelatory to me was the sleep deprivation. I don't think I was prepared for that. There is no off time. All night you're running choreography or thinking about the lip-sync song, even trying to plan what's next week.

Is it just lip-syncs, or are there other challenges?

We have some little things here and there, but we're doing full-out lip-sync production numbers. We plan what we want to wear for the makeup and what our outfit is going to look like. I even said to Ru one time, it's like an evil Goosebumps episode where you think of something, and it appears [on set] the next day.

The obvious comparison is The Masked Singer.

Other than Masked Singer, it's harder than Lip Sync Battle because in Lip Sync Battle, you're not there for an entire season.

RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race
RuPaul on the panel for 'RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race' season 2
| Credit: World of Wonder/VH1

I imagine it's harder to disguise your identity in drag alone, not having a huge character mask on your head. Are the looks you're doing more like disguises than typical drag?

That's the case with a lot of the competitors. I never felt what it was like to be in drag. Duct tape does a lot to change the shape of your body…. some of my sisters in the season did a lot of [concealing] but for me, just one coat of Sherman Williams did a lot.

The Queen Supreme mentors are Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jujubee, and Monét X Change. Who is the toughest mother of the group?

We all were assigned to a house, so we all had one mother. I did get some tips from everybody; they were all gracious…. They assign it on episode 1. I was House of X Change.

What is Monét like as a house mother?

I felt like I had a lot to live up to, she's one of the fiercest queens in the franchise and it was a lot of pressure. I was nervous. Most queens, you'll watch the show and just get to know us as our queen persona and not outside of that, so it's interesting because most queens that come onto the franchise have a persona already and present it to Mama Ru, but we're the children of the House of RuPaul, because RuPaul gave us her best queens, her best hair people, her best makeup, her best wardrobe people, and choreographers — all the people she uses. She helped name us and create us. So, we're all the daughters of RuPaul.

What can you tell me about your drag transformation? What's your aesthetic and performance style like?

They gave us categories and we had to come up with songs from categories…. I feel good-looking as who I am in life. But I don't think I've ever felt gorgeous or beautiful before. Radiant? I don't know if I'd feel that way [in life]. It's weird being a big [person] and everyone now helping me out of a moving car by my pinky. The way people flirted with me or treated me different; I understand the superhero aspect of it. It's like an armor on me. If they were touching my but, it's like they were touching a Jennifer convertible.

What's your favorite thing you wore this season?

I really loved the transformation of the face with makeup. I'd have my eyes closed getting my makeup done — [All Stars 5 alum] Mayhem Miller did my makeup — and I'd look in the mirror like, oh my God, I'm beautiful. It's weird to talk to people that you know and have them look at you and not recognize you, or treat you like a different person…. Some of my friends, the Ru queens, out of drag I know them as one person, and in drag I treat them completely different. It's a royalty thing. I've known [judges] Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, Ross Mathews, and Ru for years, but to be on a stage and have them not recognize me, I'm like, we're friends! You know me! It's weird.

RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race
Brooke Lynn Hytes and Jujubee on 'RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race' season 2.
| Credit: World of Wonder/VH1

Do you gravitate more toward beauty or edgy style?

I'm curious to go out in drag for fun, because [on the show] I chose things for strategy. I chose things that lent to the song I was singing. In the beginning, I didn't feel fully realized with my vision, and every week I got to add something that I think stepped it up even more.

What was the best critique you received from the judges, and what was the shadiest read you got?

Michelle was not easy on me. I was really taken aback by it. I felt like Adore [Delano] in All Stars. Like, you know me! You love me! Why are you saying this to me? She didn't hold back, but I felt like I was winning over the others. Michelle was my toughest critic. [Laughs]

She's always the toughest.

Yes, but like, she really laid into me. [Laughs] It's funny because when it was all over and I went home. I had one night's sleep, and everything became clear. I was up against major professionals that do this type of thing — maybe not in drag, but they do this all the time. It's not something that, as the celebrity that I am, I don't get asked to do it this often. I was stretching myself and pushing myself to limits I've not previously gotten a chance to do. Some of these people do it every day. It was hard for me to be up there with a pop star, a Broadway star, big stars, and have to be as good as them.

What's the best piece of advice you got from a queen this season?

I'd never lip-synced before. Monét and Jujubee told me to listen to the lyrics of the song and the ad-libs that the artists make, and try to nail those instead of landing on lead vocals. There are little things in the background you wouldn't think to use, and it added so much more to my performances.

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including weekly All Stars 7 recaps and reactions with the cast, special guests, and more.

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