The Trinity K. Bonet revolution is upon us — and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6
After a seven-year hiatus from the franchise (which included, among other things, a headline-making appearance in Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down" music video), the season 6 alum made a roaring return to the main stage on Thursday's episode of the competition series, coming full-circle from her acting debut in a 2014 Drag Race sketch to win her first-ever maxi challenge for a hilarious performance in a new commercial sketch. She followed it up with a jaw-dropping lip-sync against fellow season 6 queen — and returning lip-sync assassin — Laganja Estranja, proving once and for all that All Stars is, definitively, a place for legends, ok?
But, the road here wasn't always easy, and EW caught up with Bonet to discuss her herstory-making victory and the work she had to do to go from the shy girl we saw on season 6 to the revolutionary queen that slays before us on All Stars. Read on for the full conversation.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on your first challenge victory, ever! You seemed genuinely moved by the victory on the main stage. Why did it hit you so emotionally in that moment?
TRINITY K. BONET: I didn't go in with an expectation, because I knew I was competing against the best of the best. I went in with the idea of just enjoying myself and doing a little better than I did before. You don't wrap your mind around hearing that you're the winner. You get used to being safe or coasting on through. For them to see something in me and that I've grown as an artist, and that I was enjoying myself, it meant a lot to me to hear that I won.
There's a remarkable shift in confidence from the Trinity we saw on season 6. What do you think changed about yourself as a person and an entertainer between then and now, that made you approach the season a little bit more confidently maybe than you did on season 6?
I think age and wisdom. Experience with being on television and being able to recognize what you were before and how you want to improve yourself and come across to people. Who I am now is authentically who I am. When I speak, I speak from a caring place. I'm not saying stuff to these girls to blow smoke up their ass…. No matter what situation I'm in, I'm always going to be The T.K.B. Once you learn and have grown as an artist, you have a sense of confidence that nobody can really shake. Of course we're there to be judged, but do I really care if they don't like me? I mean, I brought it! [Laughs]
This win is notable because it's a full-circle moment; you struggled in the season 6 acting challenge, but here you are as the winner on this acting challenge. Did you do anything specific to prepare — like you take acting classes?
No! I'm just comfortable with the idea of being silly! I've always been a jokester and a comedian. I was genuinely, authentically just being myself. That's how I normally am. I started putting myself into characters, and what I've learned from actors like Jenifer Lewis, these people are authentically who they play on TV. I've been around them. When you apply who you are to a character, you can't mess up being you. That made it so much easier to go out there and do it, because I was playing myself.
A great acting credit you had between season 6 and now: Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down" music video. What's the most memorable moment you had with Taylor or the other queens from the set that day?
It was a great day. The best part about it was just her wanting to be around us. It wasn't like, she was the artist using us for the video. She wanted to hang out, we were drinking champagne at 10 in the morning. When we did the VMAs, it was the same type of energy. She was available, she came and spoke, hung out, it was a comfortable environment. It didn't feel like I was with this megastar, I was just with another artist. She put us up lovely. I have nothing but positive things to ever say about her. She was really sweet…. She's just one of those girls who gets the gays! [Laughs]
Let's go back to this week: The image of you in those cliffhanger shoes is so good, we don't see too much of it, but the concept and the story, how much input did you have in creating that scene for yourself?
We all had our own situations as to what to do, so I said I'd do shoes that don't fit, and we'll create the whole concept around it. Everybody had their hands in what it was they wanted to be fixed. A lot of this s--- was just improv! The dance part and little things, we worked well together.
What is Yara Sofia like as an acting partner? Is it even describable what that experience is like?
Yara is Yara! She's just loud! It works because she is so crazy and kooky! It allowed her to be herself, and you can't mess up a character if you're being yourself. It made it funny, so, working with her was easy in my eyes.
Before the deliberation, you had a moving speech for the queens in the bottom, stressing to not let it break them — what inspired that speech?
When you're competing for something, you tend to forget your power. I'd already wrapped my mind around anything that's said to me is a matter of opinion and not necessarily affecting me. If I brought, I believed in it. If I did it in the challenge, I gave it my best in the time that was given. Why am I beating myself up or allowing these people to make me feel like my drag is less than or that I'm less than or who I've created is less than, because I've given them the authority to judge me? These girls need to be reminded that they're dope. They called you to be here, you didn't have to audition this time around. That should tell you something, so I wanted to keep encouraging that…. You take the critiques and you learn from it, but it's just their opinion. You gave your best, and that's all you have to give.
If someone had told you that back on season 6 before you ended up in the bottom, do you think that would've made a difference in your morale at the time?
Oh God, it would! But, I'm an Aquarius, I'm stubborn and stuck in my head. When I'm ready to transition into that mindset, then I'm ready. Can't nobody make me! Even those kinds of conversations with Bianca [Del Rio], I didn't have those until towards the end, and it was too late. But people have been telling me for years that I'm good and that nobody can break me. I brushed it off, but now I'm really seeing it and believing it and manifesting it.
One thing people anticipated seeing from you was a lip-sync, you're regarded as one of the best lip-syncers in this franchise. And the season 6 matchup between you and Laganja was heaven, because we never got to see you lip-sync against each other on season 6. You both approached the song so differently, why did you take the more dramatic and emotive approach to that song? Had you pre-planned that or was that just something you did to play off of Laganja in the moment?
I just went for what I knew! I listened to it and that's what the body gave. When I perform, it's weird. Trinity just takes over. Sometimes things are choreographed if I've learned something, but in a lot of cases she just does her own thing. Now, I knew for a fact when she came out that I was losing, because I'm not a stunt queen! I don't do the splits and the death drops. I knew she'd twirl all around me. I gave it my best shot! I hadn't performed in front of an audience in months because of the pandemic, so it was about enjoying the situation. I gave my own type of power and so did she. It would've been nice to be a double win, you know, a little $15,000, but beggars can't be choosers! [Laughs]
Well, Laganja might've won the lip-sync, but at least you didn't hit Silky in the face with your jacket and corset.
Man, look, she tore Silky's ass up!
Poor Silky! Let's end on: Without spoiling too much, what can people expect from Trinity going forward? Are we in the midst of the Trinity Revolution?
I think so! I don't remember everything in between, but those are the things that can make or break you. I think I'll be fine in the challenges…. It's good, it's great, it's okay, it's a journey for me. But, I think people are going to enjoy it. This is going to be the best season of Drag Race that anybody has ever seen, and it's just getting started.
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including our new season diving into all five All Stars seasons, featuring exclusive interviews with Jujubee, Alexis Mateo, Shea Couleé, Alaska, Detox, BenDeLaCreme, Kennedy Davenport, and more. And be sure to catch up on our BINGE recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race seasons 1-13 with Symone, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more!
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