'RuPaul's Drag Race': Season 5 finalist Alaska talks long road to the show and the one challenge that almost sent her home
Alaska's road to "Drag Race," famously, was a long one and bumpy one, that included auditioning every season. "It's been really crazy because, yeah, I have auditioned every season and it eventually just became a horrible vendetta to get on the show," she jokes. "I also don't know what to do with myself, either. I'm usually making an audition tape this time of year, so, I'm like, 'What do I do?' Maybe I'll just make one."
Not only did Alaska audition for each and every season, she also had to watch as her boyfriend and fellow drag queen Sharon Needles auditioned only once, for Season 4, and then go on to win the whole thing. "I'm not surprised she made it on her first try because she's extremely captivating and extremely beautiful and really talented," she says. "It was really hard for me, my ego really took a hit, but once I got over it, it was really easy to support her because she's such a huge supporter for me."
Though her road to the final three seemed almost certain (she never found herself in the bottom two on a challenge), it never felt that certain to her, though she chalks that up to the stresses of constant competition. "There was never a moment where I felt like, 'Oh, I got this.' It was literally every day, I felt like I was gonna go home," she reveals. "And I think that is just a feeling that you have being in that experience because you're just f---ing constantly scared you're going home. At least I was. I was never over-confident at any point because, really, any one misstep or one misunderstanding ... and then you're gone."
Speaking of one misunderstanding, Alaska faced one that, had her runway look not redeemed her, would surely have sent her to the bottom. You'll remember in the season's third episode, the queens were divided into two teams and tasked to create a kid's television show. As team captain, Alaska decided to come out as a Southern-fried Pee-Wee Herman and was harshly criticized for playing a boy.
When asked about the criticism she faced, Alaska says she was surprised. "I'm glad you brought that up because I just felt like, I felt bamboozled because, you know, RuPaul's catchphrase is 'You're born naked and the rest is drag' and so I didn't give it a second thought," she explains. "I wasn't trying to be controversial or weird, I simply thought every children's TV show has to have a boy character so that little boys and little girls can identify with it, so I didn't give it a second thought.
"So it opened the floodgates of, like, 'What is drag?' I think we've seen a lot of that this season, like with Monica Beverly Hillz. She's transgendered, does that mean she can still do drag? Yeah, you can because drag is bringing a character. The saying 'You're born naked and the rest is drag' is really true because a guy in a three-piece suit has to put on that drag to go to his office on Wall St. We're all in our own different form of drag, so I didn't expect to push so many buttons and create so much controversy, but I'm glad I did."
Win or lose, Alaska tells us that she's planning to use the platform "Drag Race" has provided her to do plenty, with hopes to act, write, direct, and make music. "Some more goddamned 'Drag Race' tranny tracks," she jokes. "Like we need more."
Perhaps her most exciting bit of news is that she'll be appearing in a production of "The Rocky Horror Show" in San Antonio, TX this summer with some other familiar faces. "Get your tickets and fly your a-- to Texas because I'm also in that with Michelle Visage ('Drag Race' judge) and Willam (a Season 4 contestant), so it's gone be a really insane production. I'm playing Frank N. Furter, which has been a lifelong dream. Michelle is playing Magenta and Willam is playing Riff Raff. It's gonna be exciting."
Perhaps most important to her, though, is her relationship with Sharon. When asked how it would feel to win and become part of the reigning couple of "Drag Race," Alaska says, "Wouldn't that be crazy? I don't know, I already feel like we are the reigning couple because, you know ... we're really supportive of each other, so I already feel like a queen, whether I win or not."
The season finale of "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 5 airs Monday on 9 p.m. ET.