What does Trinity K. Bonet do successfully? Quickly: Everything on Drag Race All Stars 6
But, as the drag superstar tells EW in an emotional exit interview following her ousting from the show, it took years for her to accept it. Still, she capped her legendary run on the long-running competition series with a monologue about strength and resilience, performing a spoken-word maxi challenge set in which she credited Mama Ru — and the show — with saving her life.
"When I started doing drag, it was for me wanting to be on stage. Drag Race made it no longer about me, but about the causes it brings to other people in their lives and the impact my story has on them," Trinity tells EW. "It became bigger than myself. I thought it would be very selfish of me to take my own life, for probably nothing, for no good reason, when there are other people who I could be helping with my story or my own depressions and HIV, all of those things."
"It's about helping people, and that's a fuel for me," she continues. "Every message I get, every inbox, yeah, I still go back and forth with people online, talking s---, because I'm human. But, the positivity will always overshadow that. If I didn't have that in my life, I probably would not be here. I probably would've been one of those people like, I'm done, I give up because there were so many different things I was struggling with…. When I got the opportunity to get on the show, it wasn't about the money, it's been the connections."
Ahead, Trinity elaborates on just how much AS6 meant to her, the relationships (including a particularly moving one with Eureka) she took away from the set, and what's next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I don't want to start off on a sad note, I just want to give you all the praise you deserve after such a great run this season.
TRINITY K. BONET: It's not a sad situation, it's a victory! At the end of the day, you have to make it as far as you can, and I exceeded my own expectations, so I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity. And it allows me the opportunity to come back and try again. Everybody else has come back three times, so, s---, let me do it!
How long did it take you to make peace with it?
The first 10 minutes sucked! The whole day kind of sucked because I knew what was going to happen. You go into this not knowing where you're going to fall, and then you exceed your own expectations and start thinking, "I could possibly win this." I was genuine and personable this season, but still human, emotional, and transparent. These are things that real-life people go through. There are people who put up walls and try to act like things don't bother them, but that's not how life works. It made me feel like I had the chance because I was real, but I knew that what would transpire would push me out, and there was nothing I could do about it. That made it hurt. After I dried my tears and gathered my thoughts, it was nothing but smiles. Like, girl, you did it! You don't have to always have a crown to win.
The fans latched onto the arc you had. I think someone did a social graphic that showed side-by-side how much you improved on every challenge you didn't do well on back on season 6. How does the feeling of leaving now compare now to leaving season 6?
The first time, I was happy to go home. I had enough, honey! It was too much for me, I didn't know what I signed myself up for. I remember it was July 2 and the [holiday] was two days later. I was tired of eating catered food, I knew I was going home to some barbecue. [Laughs] This time, there was no separation, mentally. I've grown up. I'm 30 now; I was 22 when I did season 6. You just see things in a different light. You're afforded opportunities and you get to do things you've never done before. Now, I understand being on set, call times, lighting, cameras, cold studios, all that stuff made sense, and I had a better experience. It was about enjoying it and being my authentic self. I don't think I changed much. I'm just older and wiser.
I've always sensed a quiet confidence about you. It doesn't necessarily need to be flashed in our faces for us to understand. It's a very specific and nuanced kind of confidence that not a lot of people pick up on immediately, and they might interpret it as something else. I felt you leaning into that on this season. But there were times when you clearly weren't happy. I believe it was
Our day started at 6 a.m., we were there all day, did the runway, I was in a catsuit, my genitals were tucked away, my face was itching from the hair and makeup, it was a long day! I tried to have a positive attitude as much as possible, and I made top four, so I was excited. But it wasn't until I got off stage and I realized I didn't hear Ru say, "congratulations to my top four!" that I realized it wasn't over…. From there it was [watching the smackdown]. I was frustrated, as a human being. I'm not happy that someone is coming back! I've been a cheerleader for my sisters the whole season, even if they thought it was fake and phony. I was genuinely there for every girl still in the game. Now, I'm supposed to smile and be happy for somebody who's going to come back and take my spot? We played fair, we went by track record, and I knew if I didn't win the next challenge, I go home [because I had two bottoms]. Why should I be happy? What normal person would be? I'm not going to put it on for TV. I'm an Aquarius, I wear my emotions on my face. That's who I am. So many times, I've tried to change who I am, but I'm not going to do that because it doesn't allow me to be happy in my life. When I feel something, I say it. I don't hold how I feel anymore, because then only I carry that. If the other party doesn't know, nothing will ever be resolved. I wasn't happy! All the people who said I was bitter and mad, I sure was! [Laughs]
It's natural. I feel like people are uncomfortable with realness on a reality show, if that makes sense?
Yes. It depends on the person. I know a lot of these girls, and I've seen them put their authentic selves on television and people take to it, but then people are offended by [others].
I'm sensing it wasn't all a bummer for you, though. Weren't you a little excited to see that it was your "lover" Eureka coming back?
Once Silky came out, when her and Jiggly started performing, I was going up! I was tired and frustrated, but I enjoyed the show. I wasn't the whole episode where I was [down]. I'm not throwing editing under the bus. My emotions were authentic. Let's be clear. But, I wasn't sad and poker-faced the whole time. And the fact that Eureka came back, I was happy about it. They deserved it. They went through the challenges, they did the runways, they took the critiques. Nothing against Silky, because she did something that was so historic in her own right that she didn't even have to come back, because she just won based on that.
Eureka told me last week that they don't kiss and tell, but, do you? Is there more to the Eure-K. Bonet romance we saw in the Werk Room?
It's not just for the cameras. Eureka is my babe. A very sweet person, a person you can call on and chat to. You can be in a relationship with somebody but not be in a relationship with somebody, if that makes sense. It's like having a best friend. They're cuddly. I love them for being authentically themself. We weren't trying to pursue a relationship, that's not the narrative, that's just my babe!
Given your connection, was it extra emotional to learn that both the group and Eureka voted for you to leave?
Was it a tie [lip-sync]? It sure the f--- was! [Laughs] No, [I didn't hold it against Eureka] at all. What I always wanted from the beginning, and we all went with, was to play fair. We're all great entertainers, we're all powerhouses…. We counted all bottoms. They had to do what they had to do.
Let's talk about this week's challenge. I thought you did well. You told a story, it had meaning and weight, but it was told in a super engaging way. It's a perfect example of how your presence and voice have impacted people over the years. But, I was interested in the moment that you called RuPaul a "guardian angel," and said that the show saved your life. Can you elaborate?
Having your own depressions and insecurities, [it's hard] when you don't have a lot of people in your ear talking you up and encouraging you and embracing you for who you are authentically…. in those times when you feel bummed out about yourself or you don't want to be bothered with the world anymore, every now and then I'll get that message from somebody from Peru, Jesus, I've gotten messages from people all over the world! They see me on TV and my story inspired them. That's when I started realizing, when I started doing drag, it was for me wanting to be on stage. Drag Race made it no longer about me, but about the causes it brings to other people in their lives and the impact my story has on them. It became bigger than myself. I thought it would be very selfish of me to take my own life, for probably nothing, for no good reason, when there are other people who I could be helping with my story or my own depressions and HIV, all of those things. It's about helping people, and that's a fuel for me. Every message I get, every inbox, yeah, I still go back and forth with people online, talking s---, because I'm human. But, the positivity will always overshadow that. If I didn't have that in my life, I probably would not be here. I probably would've been one of those people like, I'm done, I give up because there were so many different things I was struggling with…. When I got the opportunity to get on the show, it wasn't about the money, it's been the connections.
I'm glad you made that decision. The world is a better place with you in it. You brought so much to so many people since you've had this platform. Thank you for saying that. I imagine another life-changing moment was when you got to meet Tina Knowles. I loved that you asked her to say your name. Do you think she talked to Beyoncé about you?
I don't know! This Beyoncé thing has been wearing me out for years. [Laughs] I've done everything in my power for Bey to notice me! Everybody has gotten the chance to be noticed by her in some major platform. Drag Race was my opportunity. When I did the Super Bowl challenge, I was like, this is my moment. She has yet to say anything, and nor has Mother Tina, but I don't care at this point. I don't know what I could possibly do for her to see me! Maybe she has. I know people that work with Beyoncé, so maybe in passing they've shown her a clip. But it would be nice for her to like a post! Bitch, I don't know! Something, just so I know that she saw. I put a lot of effort into learning her mannerisms and becoming her, so, maybe they'll give me a job one day. Or she could just send me one of them Ivy Park boxes. They only send them to special people, but, honey I'm special. Give me a box, please.
Did you try to exchange numbers with Tina?
Oh God, no, honey! She had like, special security that looked like they worked with Secret Service.
After all of this, what do you want fans to remember about Trinity K. Bonet on All Stars 6?
I want people to know that I'm authentic. I'm real. I'm an emotional creature of season 6 and All Stars 6. And that's okay. It's okay for you to be emotional, to laugh, to cry, to be angry. These things come with us. Allow people to be who they are. And the things you don't understand, ask questions, don't assume. I'll be competing for Miss Continental next week. I didn't get one crown, but, hopefully God will give me another.
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RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.