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Tonight's 'Drag Race' Eliminee Won't Let You Call Her Basic

And she insisted in our post-elimination interview that she's hilarious, too.

It seems like every season of RuPaul's Drag Race brings at least one queen who hangs onto the competition a little longer than you'd think humanly possible, squeezing past eliminations week after unbelievable week. On this season, that queen has been Alexis Michelle, the New York "Broadway queen" who's faced constant critique from the judges for her uninspired looks, but somehow managed to hang on until week 11. But tonight, her time to go has finally come.


It was tonight's annual "ball" challenge, where contestants have to come up with looks in three different creative categories, that felled her. This year's categories called for looks inspired by the rainbow flag, sexy unicorns, and the Village People. Alexis once again proved a bore with her derivative fashion ideas, and was subsequently slaughtered in the elimination lip sync by Peppermint. But don't let Alexis Michelle hear you say that she's basic or not funny. She does not stand for that.

VICE: How are you feeling now that the world has seen your elimination episode?
Alexis Michelle: Oh, I am just so excited. It's an epic episode and it was an epic season and I'm so humbled and honored to have made it as far as I did in a fierce group of girls. What do you think it is that got you so far?
My talent, my determination, my look. Even though there were times I felt I might have dropped the ball on some of the looks, I think that I have a lot of different strengths, and being well rounded and intelligent is really helpful in the competition.

What were you feeling when Ru told you to sashay away?
It's heartbreaking. After eight years of applying to get on the show, it's really hard to make it that far and get so close to the end. I can't say it's not painful at all, but at the same time, I remember thinking in my head, "Take in this moment. Looking into Ru's eyes and Michelle's eyes and take in what is happening, that you really achieved this dream that you had all these years."


You struggled with the puppet challenge this episode and you also struggled with the roast challenge a few episodes back. Why aren't you funny?
I am funny. It's just hard to be funny under pressure. There are so many elements that go into this competition and go into making TV, but I assure you I am hilarious. You should come see me live.

Your looks were criticized as basic by the judges, too—why are you basic?
I'm not basic at all. When it came to the looks [judge Michelle Visage] called basic, she was right. There were elements of them that were simple. When it came to the makeover challenge, I went for this concept of a "Barbarella girl," and the translation of that with what I had and what was available just wasn't the most elevated sci-fi girl possible. This show is all about turning up the volume. I'm usually known as a polished queen, but Drag Race was hard. I'm not anywhere near basic.

Aren't things basic because they're good?
I think that the connotation of the word is obvious, and I don't think it's a connotation that I associate myself with. You could say things that are good and basic are classic. I appreciate classic glamor and classic drag, so you can call me classic.

Several times over the course of the season, you said that the other queens should have told you that your outfits are too basic. Isn't it your job to know that?
When it came to the fur challenge when I had my big tantrum, I was so disappointed in myself and looking for an answer. It's not their responsibility to say, "Girl, you need to check that." Even if that's the way I would behave, it's important to remember that you can't hold people to expectations of what I would do. It's not up to them.


If you had to do the show all over again, what would you do differently?
It definitely reminded me of my strength as an actor and an entertainer and as a beautiful and polished queen. The biggest thing I learned is that there is always room to grow. It takes a lot to get on the show and there is still room to grow. It's not like it stops. It's an ever-evolving thing.

There was a lot of talk this season about body image and eating disorders. Have your ideas about either of those issues changed after having those conversations with the girls?
What I tried to express on the show is that it's been a lifelong struggle for me personally to feel good about my body, and I've struggled with some eating issues of my own. So I can't say that it's changed, it's still a work in progress. Loving myself and my body as it is is something I'm working on, and I'm still getting better at making the healthiest choices for myself. I try to listen and take it to heart when people tell me that I'm great as I am, even if it's something I can't fully inhabit. I try to absorb it a bit at a time. But that has to come from within.

Why do you think so many drag queens seem to suffer from body image issues?
I think it's rampant in gay culture. There's a lot of focus on the pressure placed on women by the way they're portrayed in the media, and I think that's equally true for the queer community. There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way, so I think it's great that we got to voice that for so many people on this season.

So who's remaining that you think doesn't deserve to be there?
Honestly, this episode's final five was so strong that everyone deserved to be there. The bottom two tonight came down to me and Peppermint, and I think that was appropriate. She's an incredible performer and she out lip synced me, but if it hadn't had been me, the next to go is Peppermint.

Who do you think is going to win?
It's so hard to say, but I'll say that I'm rooting for Trinity and Sasha.

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