This post contains spoilers for the March 15 episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars.
On the final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, the eliminated queens had the unique ability to vote for which of the final four queens would get to engage in a lip sync battle for the ultimate $100,000 prize. (And, let us not forget, a year’s supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics.) When Morgan McMichaels announced that it would be Kennedy Davenport and Trixie Mattel squaring off, the look on Trixie’s face was one of shock, awe, and something like when you know you have to poop but can’t find a public rest room.
Trixie was the one who ultimately came out on top. We spoke to the winner (and VICELAND star) about that twist, how this season was emotional for her, and just how the hell Katya is doing after taking a sabbatical.
VICE: Hi Trixie Mattel!
Trixie Mattel: My name is Brian too, so for this interview how about you just call me Winner?
Hello, Winner, how are you today?
Winner: I’m really good. I’m ironing—real winner behavior—my shitty little yellow 60s dress for a meet and greet tonight. I’m staying humble, operating irons in a moderately price hotel room.
You all seemed shocked when Morgan announced the final two were you and Kennedy. What were you thinking in that moment?
I think [Shangela] exemplifies greatness. Shangela and I are like yin and yang, we’re like Buffy and Faith in that we took our 15 minutes of fame on Drag Race and made it into a career. I guess I thought with the best score, she would be in the top two. When they said Kennedy’s name I thought it would be Kennedy and then Shangela. I believe in my gifts, I think that I’m a great drag queen, but I expect the worst thing to happen to me at all times. When I heard Kennedy’s name I thought, “This is really good for her.” I genuinely thought this was so good for her. Then I couldn’t believe it was me and I was so happy. I fully expected both lipsticks to say, “Trixie get the fuck out.”
How do you feel about that twist of voting on who was in the final two?
Maybe I’m biased but I think it was good. When it comes to fairness, don’t you think the people who were behind the scenes, in the workroom, watching ever moment, being in the challenges, seeing people struggle, and seeing people triumph... Don’t you think that inside Big Brother point of view is valuable and, in a way, even more fair? I think it brought a unique perspective. I didn’t know how it was going to work out either way.
I was pretty gagged, I was gagged by the outcome. It was a number of things. BeBe and Shangela both had a better score than me. I didn’t know who in the deliberation was mad at me or rooting for me. I just went in there and tried to be honest and answer the difficult questions I was being asked. I think even people at home, everybody sitting in a bar or a living room had a different idea of who should have been in the top two.
How did it feel when RuPaul announced you were the winner?
I was fucking gagged. I was at our viewing party and everyone thinks that we know ahead of time, but they don’t tell us. I didn’t know. I couldn’t believe it. It’s not that I don’t think I did a great job. It’s reality TV and it’s partially a game show, which means it’s partially luck. There are so many variables. I’ve lost Drag Race twice, so I know how things can go wrong for you on that TV show. I’ve been a loser for years, and it was fun to feel that.
With BenDeLaCreme bowing out, how do you think that impacted the rest of the season?
With Ben winning every week we all envisioned her in the top. I just had horse blinders on and I was trying to survive day to day and, when she left, I think we all felt our odds skyrocket a bit. I think we all thought, “Okay she’s a really good competitor and there are only a couple of spots for us.” When she decided to leave we all saw one spot become a bit more open.
The production number in the final episode was amazing. How hard was that to pull off?
I had never seen it, until I watched it last night at the club. I was crying. It was amazing. It was horrible. We had to rehearse all day and then came in on a Saturday and it was just all day again. It’s not a lie, we really did it once. We did one practice run and then they were like, “Okay, this is for real.” You saw one take.
It was amazing. From the second the door snapped open and you saw Kennedy sitting there, I was fully crying. She started doing those kicks and the flips and Shangela jumping over the box and BeBe with the fabric and then I saw myself do the split leg on the back of that fabric cart. I was like, “That is why Drag Race is the best show on television.” One minute you’re getting the most human stories and then you’re seeing the best drag in the world. I mean, come on.
I’m looking for an answer to the greatest mystery of our time.
I don’t know. BeBe’s lipstick. I don’t know. We still don’t know. That’s not a joke. She won’t tell anyone. Isn’t that nuts?
You’ve got a great career going on with the show on VICELAND and such. How do you think this win will change what you have going on?
What’s funny is I have a great career from my Drag Race exposure but I don’t have a great career because I was on Drag Race being exposed as a distinctly talented person. I had fucked up on Drag Race a lot and it’s not the show’s fault, it’s my fault. I had to go through all the broken pieces and collage it together into something where I can show my audiences that I can do a lot, that I can play guitar and sing, that I can tap dance, I can tell jokes. I had to figure that out for myself.
For me, doing Drag Race was to confirm something for myself. I feel like the audience I created wouldn’t have crucified me if I went home. I felt that pressure, but also me and Shangela are living proof that you can lose Drag Race and go on to do whatever you want to anyway.
I think this time around, unless you’re like a hardcore Kennedy fan, you don’t hate me right now. I think this time around people will think, “She really fucking did it.” There were parts where I was so exposed. When I was watching it, I was so embarrassed. I think Drag Race is great because it shows us as great artists, but also great human beings. Like on Snatch Game, everyone has had a day where they let themselves down or there are a lot of people who are introverts who don’t know how to walk into a room and not be perceived as over it. It’s a human normal thing and I’m happy that stuff is shown.
What’s going on with The Trixie and Katya Show?
We are currently in the second half of our first season, because VICELAND loved it so much, they renewed us. Bob The Drag Queen is jumping in for Katya. He is amazing. Katya brings fifty percent of the flavor to the show and Bob brings fifty percent of an equally funny but totally different flavor. It’s so funny to watch. I really love Katya and I love her energy and I thought it would be missing something, but I’m watching it and I think it’s equally funny. It’s just a slightly different backbeat. Just like I love the Whitney version of “I Will Always Love You” and I love the Dolly version of “I Will Always Love You.”
Have you talked to Katya? How’s she doing?
She’s good, she’s focusing on her mental health and she has a very exclusive message for this interview? You wanna hear it? “The Trixie and Katya Show is on every Wednesday on VICELAND at 10:30 PM.”
She’s working on her health. She doesn’t have to do drag so she has facial hair and looks like Tom Hanks in Castaway. But she looks like that in drag all the time anyway.
Can’t she just have a beard in drag now anyway? Haven’t we moved past that?
We’re all born naked and the rest is patchy facial hair.
You’re a Drag Race superfan. If you’re casting All Stars 4, who do you invite?
Twelve Tammie Browns. Tammie Brown is also hosting, she’s the guest choreographer, she’s the guest judge, and she’s RuPaul. It’s just Tammie Brown.
Are you going to have Tammie Brown on the Trixie and Katya Show?
Oh my god, my dream. When I get sick of a drag queen I lock them away somewhere and tell people that they need time off drag. So when I get sick of Bob I’ll move on to Tammy.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.