Chopping Block: Alyssa Edwards On Rivalries, Twitter Fights And Being True To Yourself
Warning: If you’re not caught up on the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season two, this is your formal spoiler alert. And if you’re not watching, you should start! *wink*
Talk about a fun and shocking episode of All Stars last night! First, the queens competed in teams to recreate classic movie “shequels” (hilarious!), then Alaska Thunderfuck won the lipsync and eliminated Alyssa Edwards (OMG!), and finally all four eliminated queens mysteriously appeared in the workroom mirror (gag!). Talk about one of the most memorable episodes in the shows herstory!
Our elimination interview this week is bittersweet. Alyssa is such a talented and fun queen, and a genuinely amazing person. Queerty’s Tim Winfred caught up with her to discuss how she feels about being eliminated, the All Stars 2 Twitter feud, and how RuPaul’s Drag Race helped her become the best version of herself.
Queerty: Good morning Alyssa, and congrats on being a lovely fifth alternate again.
Alyssa: Lovely! I said, you know what, I’m just the gorgeous alternate. [Laughs] I think that was my legacy! [Laughs]
How have you been since watching last night’s episode?
You know what, I’m very proud of everything that I have presented. I think it’s a solid package of not only who I am as a character, but as a person beyond being the queen and all that. A queen, I should say, because when you create a character and you somewhat think you have it down, and then you experience Drag Race for the first time, that character will develop if you allow it and I can now say that I’m 100% proud of that person that I watched on TV. I went into this head first with so much excitement. I went in with a whole new mindset: laugh more, worry less. And I’m watching it and I’m seeing that I’m definitely having a ball on this, so I’m pleased!
You’re truly a star and we know that RuPaul loves you. Why do you think he chose you to be on All Stars 2?
I think RuPaul chose me because in season 5 he recognized that, I thank you Whitney Houston, I didn’t even recognize my own strength. He kind of help guide a lot of that to the surface. He’s also seen me grow from my season to now: with the birth of Alyssa’s Secret and all these things, he’s watched. And you know, Ru keeps his eye on all of us. He’s kind of like Santa Clause; he knows when you’re naughty or nice. I think that he recognized how much I have really devoted to developing the character of Alyssa Edwards. And I would like to think he thinks I’m a fierce queen, so! [Laughs]
There were a lot of queens who weren’t selected for All Stars 2. If you could have added any queen to the season, who would you have picked?
I’ve been asked this question a lot. There are several girls that I thought could be great. Actually, all of them could be great because you do grow from your season. I personally would have loved to see Laganja [Estranja] on the show. His growth, not only as an entertainer but as a human, it’s quite beautiful. I’m such a happier person because I’ve been a part of his journey. He would have been fierce.
Alaska Thunderfuck was visibly devastated when she eliminated you on last night’s episode, and it was clear that the judges were shocked as well. Did Alaska’s decision affect your relationship in any way?
Not at all. The thing is, that whole mantra of me saying, “It’s not personal. It’s drag.” I really live by that. It’s also natural to get in a competition and want to do well and want to excel and sometimes feuds happen, and rivalry and all that. I have such admiration for him. I think, when you truly respect someone, you can’t let that competition ruin a relationship. It’s not really worth that in the end. I didn’t look at him any differently. You noticed I walked over and hugged him and told him not to be sorry. Don’t be sorry. It’s not gonna be that way.
Even though I was very upset, not at Alaska or the show or with myself, I was just sad because I thought my destiny was gonna be first place, the best, cross the finish line and do it, do it fast! You go into a competition and you have to have that want and that drive and you have to see yourself winning. And that’s it. I wasn’t disappointed with him or with anything because I thought from episode one, the talent show, to two, Snatch Game, to three, Annie Oakley, I had delivered.
One of your catchphrases this season was “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to is.” Of the five remaining queens this season, who do you think has the most drive and passion to win, even if they don’t.
I think that they all have drive. The thing is, I think Roxxxy’s there to work on herself rather than necessarily win the competition. I think that’s evident. I would say Katya and Alaska. I think they’re very driven and it’s in their blood. I could see Detox. She’s competitive and she’s there at this point. I think that Phi Phi is letting the competition get to her a little bit.
This next question is a bit tough for me to ask, but there’s been a bit of online drama recently between several of the All Stars 2 girls regarding some things that were said online and during a recent trip to Chicago. Can you explain, from your point, why Phi Phi O’Hara and Roxxxy Andrews seem to be so upset?
I can’t really explain because I haven’t spoken to them personally about this. And, you know, the thing with social media is, it’s kind of like how I tell the dance moms: If you really have an issue with anything you would like to bring to the surface or bring to the light and get off your chest, you need to do that verbally and face-to-face because sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
When you type something, it can be misconstrued because it can be taken a lot of different ways. We all have each other’s phone numbers, so if there really was a feud I would hope that they would be using the phone number rather than the Twitter.
I’ve learned though, at my age, to stay out of all that. If it doesn’t involve you, girl, get a grip, get a life, and move on. [Laughs]
To lighten things up again, was there anything we didn’t get to see from your time on the show that you wish they aired?
I think that all the things I said I couldn’t do, or that I was too afraid to do, I think I did them. It’s like you were making a cake and you were able to build it and decorate it and make it any way you want. I think I really embellished my character this time really nicely. I’m proud of that. I don’t think I left any stones un-turned. And I had such a good time!
You’ve been working on a lot of new projects since the show aired, and one of them that I’m really excited about is your new YouTube channel. Can you tell us about that and the web series you are releasing there?
Yeah, yeah! Well I really wanted to do something. I love that Alyssa’s Secret has, not necessarily done for me and my career, but done for me like therapeutic-wise [Laughs] because it’s very funny to watch myself on those Monday gigs just tell stories about myself. It’s like a journal. [Laughs] But I giggle and I giggle, and I never thought that in a million years this would have been you. I never did. Never.
I wanted my new series to be more about me than just drag. I wanted to showcase my dance company. Beyond Belief has been my pride and joy. I mean, my gosh, this is our fifteenth year in business! And I want to show people that. I want people to see the layers of me as a performer and as a person. I want people to see me outside of drag and I want them to see what I do. I want to share that piece of my world with them. It’s gonna be exciting!
Alyssa’s After Party is taking me on this All Stars journey, kind of fun. It’s people giving their opinions and kiki-ing. The next piece of that is featuring Beyond Belief, and it’s amazing. It introduces some of the kids and their interaction with me and seeing me in drag for the first time. It’s great stuff!
If you are watching, listening or reading, however you’re getting this interview, subscribe to my YouTube channel: All Things Alyssa. And get into the gig and just have a good time.
Aside from the typical answer of “just be yourself,” and now that you’ve been through the process twice, what advice do you have for queens who want to be on a future season of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
That answer, “just be yourself,” is the only answer because, the thing is, this is a reality program that – and all though it may be produced, they’re still looking for the person that you really are. So, I think if you’re auditioning, push record on your camera and forget that it’s on. And take these casting people on a journey. It’s about being yourself. To me, honestly, it’s about being true to who you are.
Now that you’ve been given this second chance to showcase yourself to the world, what’s next?
I think my book of life is written, it’s now just being read out loud. And I’m going with it, because never in my wildest dreams did I think that at 37 I would be cross-dressing for a living and traveling the world. I thought I would be a director at this dance school, and I don’t even know if I’d see drag in that picture. So I’ve learned just to go with it because whatever it’s meant to be will be. I believe in the future. My future. And I believe in faith, so destiny will play and take its toll and I’m going with it and I’m living and I’m thankful that I have another day – I’m thankful that I have each day and each opportunity. And that’s genuine.
Well thank you, Alyssa, and I look forward to seeing you soon!
Yes! Thank you. Take care.
Check back every Friday for more #AllStars2 elimination interviews, and don’t forget to tune in to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season two, Thursdays at 8/7c on Logo.