Alaska Thunderfuck 5000—drag queen extraordinaire and, until last night, best known as a finalist on season five of RuPaul's Drag Race—gives us many things: life, looks that slay, and more shade than a Redwood forest. But there's one thing that Alaska does not give: any fucks. From the first moment that Alaska uttered her signature "Hieeee" catchphrase on this year's second season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, it was clear that she intended to push her transgressive drag to the limit and annihilate the competition.
And last night, she did just that, having been crowned the queen supreme of RuPaul's drag ball—winning a cash prize of $100,000, a year's supply of cosmetics and eternal drag glory.
But Alaska's path to Drag Race victory this season was not without drama—most notably, her bratty temper tantrum at landing in the bottom three on the show's penultimate episode. One of the biggest twists of this edition of All Stars was the show's handing over of elimination duties from judges to one of the top two queens of each episode, who lip synced for their legacy to determine who would make the cut. Alaska narrowly avoided the chopping block when fellow contestant Detox made the controversial decision to send home fan favorite Alyssa Edwards instead (while keeping her underperforming BFF and Ro-Laska-Tox weak-link Roxxy Andrews on the show). Alyssa-gate sent the internet into fury, with fans labeling Alaska a "snake," an epithet she was eager to embrace in a recent video that belongs on an episode of MasterShade Theater.
Regardless of your feelings on the controversy, it's almost impossible to deny that Alaska was the most consistently brilliant performer this season and wholly deserving of the crown. Speaking with Alaska is like being showered in a bukkake of subversive wit—and that's exactly what she did when she spoke with VICE about her triumphant win, her now notorious meltdown, and the behind-the-scenes tea from this season.
VICE: Congrats on winning All Stars, girl! How do you feel?
Alaska Thunderfuck 5000: Right now, I feel sort of gassy. But I also feel extremely entitled, very demanding, and I want someone to bring me a coffee immediately. [Laughs]
This season, you were obviously working hard for that crown. What was your strategy? Were you out for blood from the start?
Yas. I went into it wanting to Bianca Del Rio the fuck out of it. I wanted to win everything: every challenge, every mini-challenge, every lip-sync. That was my goal. And so, of course, when I finally realized that wasn't happening [when I wound up in the bottom three last week], I freaked out and got really upset. It was like in Black Swan,she wanted to have the perfect experience of playing this role. So I'm glad I had a Laganja Estranja-style meltdown, because it adds to the complete story. So I got to be both Bianca Del Rio and Laganja Estranja. I got the full experience!
Tell us about that meltdown. It was really the only moment in the whole show where you lost your cool. You were coming so close to something you worked so hard for—how did it feel to have that almost ripped away from you?
I was having a really bad day. I think most people have felt like that at one point in their life. Fortunately, they don't have a camera crew on them when that happens. But I was in a high pressure situation. I really cared about the competition, and I still care about it. It means a great deal to me. And because of that, people are saying I'm a "snake." But if caring about something deeply makes me a snake, then girl, I'll be the queen of the snakes!
I actually thought that overall you didn't come across as very snake-y. Phi Phi O'Hara, however, did... especially when she refused to hug Alyssa Edwards after being eliminated. Is Phi Phi actually a villain in real life?
I know Phi Phi in person, and I've never had a problem or any altercation with her outside of the show. But I think the competition brings something out in her that she probably doesn't like. I see her as a person, and I know that we all deal with high stress situations differently. I don't hold anything against her, and I wish her all the best. I think it's too bad what happened. But hopefully we can all move on from it.
You said you "know Phi Phi as a person." Do you feel that the depictions of most of the queens on the show are fair? Or do reality producers shape your "characters" and blow things out of proportion?
Well, everything I said, I actually said. And everything I did, I did. So that's real. But, of course, it sometimes comes down to what music is played behind the scenes. Because if producers play goofy clown music behind it, then you look really stupid—whatever you're doing. Or you could be having a conversation with your friend and if they play "O Fortuna" or really dramatic Lord of the Rings music behind it, it looks like you're having a huge fight. But we've all seen the show, we all know that's what we're there to do. We're there to make exciting, dynamic television. And I think All Stars definitely delivered on that.
While Drag Race is about drag, do you feel there's also an awareness of the show's reality television format while you're filming? And that you're able to embrace that in a campy way?
Totally. Because drag is so much about the artificial. So there's a hyper-awareness about reality TV, and we can also indulge in it and make fun of it in ways that other shows simply can't do. I've said it before, I'll say it again: It's the best show on television.
This season shook up Drag Race's typical rules, and forced contestants to cut each other, rather than the judges. How did it feel to be in the room when you were deciding who to cut?
Oh, it was horrible. It was never easy, it was never clear or obvious. They were making a good TV show, so it was by design that we were put into really difficult Sophie's Choice-style situations. I never made any decisions out of malice or wanting to hurt anybody, and I don't think anybody did. We were all there, trying to just make sense out of a really high-stress, difficult situation. But it made for a really interesting season, so I'm not mad.
Why do you do drag, and how has your drag evolved over the course of two different Drag Race shows?
I started doing drag because I thought it was fun, and there aren't any rules to it, really. It's an art form where I can do visual art and videos and music and fashion. I get to be Leonardo da Vinci about it and do everything—that's what attracts me to drag. But the more I've done it, the more I've realized there's a deeper meaning to it: We need to decrease this binary of gender. The hard and fast rules of "men do this, women do that"—we need to blur those lines in order to create a world that's going to be able to sustain itself and not blow itself up and not be at war. I think that drag, and especially RuPaul's Drag Race, is helping us move toward that. That's why I keep doing it.
What are you gonna do tonight? Are you gonna celebrate?
I'm going to a viewing party downtown. I'm going to go in full drag and watch the episode. I just want the whole experience! I want security guards! [Laughs]