The ever alluring Alaska was top three on Drag Race Season 5 and she won All Stars 2, but now it’s time for her to bestow an honor on another queen. At RuPaul’s DragCon on May 26 in L.A., the deadpan drag star will present Drag Queen of the Year: A Pageant For Everyone, an inclusive competition that involves eight diverse contestants. I just talked to Alaska (AKA Justin Andrew Honard) about just what it will take for someone to grab that prize.
Hi, Alaska. Congrats on the pageant.
I’m really excited about it. We wanted to make it diverse and all-inclusive. I just had a FaceTime call with each of the girls and they’re all going to bring it. They’re like, “How many backup dancers can I bring? Can I have a live band?” I’m like, “Oh, my god, this show’s gonna be unbelievable.”
You’re including both trans and cis contestants?
Oh, yes. It was important to make it open to all types of drag queens because I’ve always been around all types since I started. We used to call them faux queens and then bio queens or hyper queens, as in hyper feminine, or abfab queens. I’ve always been working with trans women who did drag. It’s important to make it open and represent the actuality of the world of drag right now.
Which one are you?
I’m not sure what the fuck I am.
Many people have co-opted drag and perhaps made it too niche. Are you seizing it back?
That’s what excites me about drag is it doesn’t have any rules and it is for everybody. I find it strange for it to be, “Well, you can compete in this venue, but you have to be this, this, and this, or you have to be this type of performer or have this type of background or this type of genitals.” It was really wacky to me. It was a no brainer that I’d want to make it open to everyone who participates in drag.
The winner gets $10,000 and a bouquet. Where will the dough come from? Did you turn tricks?
I’ve been turning tricks for years and saving up. [Laughs]
Will the winner travel the country?
I don’t know. What excites me is that this prize money will go into cultivating their drag and their being a drag artist. However they use it, I’ll be happy.
Will you MC the pageant?
I am the chairperson, founder, and pageant director, but I don’t want to be busy hosting because I want to watch the show. I think it’s going to be like the Oscars, where you don’t really need a host.
But this time, Glenn Close will WIN! I hear you will perform new music at the pageant, right?
Do you prefer live singing to lip sync?
I do, because I feel more in control if I have a microphone and I can make noises come out of my mouth. When it’s lip sync, you’ve just got a track. I have so much respect for people who can go out and turn a number lip syncing. It looks easy, but ask anyone who’s done it—it’s really not.
Did you drop the Thunderfuck from your name?
Oh, no, I like Thunderfuck. It’s my last name.
Looking back at your Drag Race season, would you have done anything differently?
On All Stars, I would have tried to have more fun and relax.
But you won!
I know, I won. But honestly, I didn’t really enjoy it the second time around, and it breaks my heart. I thought I had to be something and do something in order to win. The pressure I put on myself to win made it not fun. But whatever, I won. It’s fun.
Most importantly: Who was your best boyfriend ever, Sharon Needles or [writer] Alexander Kacala?
Neither of them is in that category. They’re both great, but they’re not the best ones.
Okay, well, here’s to future boyfriends and pageants. See you at DragCon.
You can catch Alaska with her SHELARIOUS sisters later this year for the Comedy Queens Tour 2019