If RuPaul’s Drag Race has taught us anything over the past hundred seasons, it’s to never count out the underdog. Although Elektra Shock wasn’t as well established (or as polished in the looks department) as some of her Drag Race Down Under competitors, she proved her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent in spades thanks to her indubitable skills as a dancer – which cemented her status as the Australasian spin-off’s first ever lip-sync assassin. Of course, she also proved that you can’t have all the pigeons, but when you do, they’re probably Italian. (That last part is incredibly important.)
On this week’s semi-final, Elektra flexed her aforementioned skills in Down Under’s talent show with a breathtaking modern dance routine. Despite serving one of the best performances of the episode (slash season), the Kiwi-based entertainer was read for filth for her ensemble, resulting in a lip-sync smackdown against her former House of Drag mentor, Kita Mean, to the beat of The Veronicas’ iconic dance-pop hit Untouched. Ultimately, Elektra lost out on a place in the final four and sashayed away.
“It sucks. But, it’s the way the cookie crumbles. It’s all part of the game. It’s part of the show,” Elektra tells GAY TIMES over Zoom. “It felt right at the time, to be honest, when I was there and I danced my little heart out. Everyone was very tense because it was the last episode before that finale, and everyone wants to get to the finale. Final four and then it’s basically up to the universe. It was a fight, most definitely. I’m proud, do you know what I mean? I couldn’t have done any more.”
Read ahead for our full interview with Elektra, where she spills the T on her time on the first season of Drag Race Down Under; including the uncomfortable werkroom drama with some of her fellow contestants, defying expectations to make it to the semi-final and how she plans to showcase her C.U.N.T. as she tours the world.
Elektra, how does it feel to have won RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under?
[Laughs] How does it feel? I do feel like I won! I mean, I had a pretty great run and experience. Watching the show back, I couldn’t have asked for a better story. I feel truly blessed.
I cannot believe you were in the bottom two this week? That was a winning performance!
I know! It sucks. But, it’s the way the cookie crumbles. It’s all part of the game. It’s part of the show. It felt right at the time, to be honest, when I was there and I danced my little heart out. Everyone was very tense because it was the last episode before that finale, and everyone wants to get to the finale. Final four and then it’s basically up to the universe. It was a fight, most definitely. I’m proud, do you know what I mean? I couldn’t have done any more.
The thing is, if I’m coming to an Elektra Shock show, I’m paying no mind to the hair and outfit. I wanna see you kick, flip and split…
Yeah. And to be honest, in a club, you don’t notice a lot of the things that I got called out for on Drag Race. That’s probably why a lot of the things were such a surprise to me. My career has been in clubs on stage doing live performances. You’re always a good 10 metres away from me, so you don’t notice those little things. But if I want to transition into this world of really intense, high commercial drag and be doing television work and more film stuff, making music and whatever I want to do next, I need to improve. I need to get better. Those kicks and high splits are definitely what makes my shows special.
You said the critiques from the judges were surprising, but how did you feel when all of your sisters nominated you to go home?
Honestly, I expected a bit of shade and I expected a bit of banter back and forth, but it was really intense, and I called them out on it on the show. I said, ‘Alright girls, we’re all adults and I think some of you are starting to take the piss. Focus on yourselves for a day and I’ll focus on myself.’ I had to start defending myself to be honest, because I was just letting everyone let out their anxieties on me and it was unhealthy. It’s unhealthy to let people constantly tell you what’s wrong with you. That’s their opinion and their opinion is totally valid, but it’s not necessarily important to me and it’s not necessarily what’s going to make me succeed or fail in this competition. So, it took me a little while to let go of what other people thought.
This was a common thread throughout the competition, you being targeted by the other girls…
100% and it may have been because the live performance element I bring is cool. I can jump, turn and do the splits. When it’s live, I kill it. I get it because everyone’s stressed and everyone’s trying to be funny and clever, but I did mention to the girls a few times, ‘Are you sure this is coming across how you want it to come across? I understand that you think you’re being funny… but you’re not.’ I think sometimes when we’re trying to be shady, funny and live up to this expectation that RuPaul’s Drag Race brings and has, we can sometimes go a bit too far. That’s just what happened. I don’t blame any of the girls, I forgive them all and love them all – all that lovey dovey crap. I wasn’t gonna speak on it, even, I wasn’t gonna speak about how harsh the girls were but I think it needs called out a bit. The proof’s in the pudding, I lasted as long as I lasted because I had something, because I deserved to be there and because I kept pushing and fighting each week. It wasn’t enough to get me to the finale, but it certainly was enough to prove that I deserve to be there.
So, do you think the girls were playing up the cameras when they kept coming for you?
Oh no. I just mean they didn’t quite understand how they sounded like. I don’t think they quite understood that it wouldn’t look good for them, rather than look bad on me. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at all. I really struggled with those first three weeks in the competition. I really considered whether I was meant to be there.
How did it feel when you defied all of their expectations and won a maxi-challenge?
Wonderful! It was good because I truly felt like it was deserved as well. That was a challenge that I want to be good at because that’s what I want to do. I’d love to be on TV, take my drag and make money. I want to make this a career, so to win a challenge that was about selling a product, that was very rewarding and really showed me that I’m on the right path with what I’m doing.
You left with your head held high. Looking back, how do you feel about your overall time on Drag Race Down Under?
Great. There were bad moments, there were tough moments, but I got something out of every single one of them. I got in my head, as they say every single time. But what I think getting inside your head does on a show like that is, it makes you think internally about what you’re there to do; what your drag is and what you’re there to say. I think we’re at the point now with Drag Race where if you don’t have anything to say with what you’re doing in your drag, what’s the point in even doing it or being there? I’m glad that I got to tell a story that people were able to connect to and I got to show that there’s more than just one layer to me. I am this very complicated, very unpolished human being who is constantly working and constantly growing, and I think that’s part of why I’ve received so much love. People were able to connect with me.
Those elements are also why you’re perfect for reality television.
It’s addictive! Reality TV is addictive. Getting to talk about your feelings at the end of every single day, it’s like a weird therapy where everyone is talking about you. It’s really quite fabulous.
What have you learned from your time on the show?
Cheesy as it is: just believe in yourself and be confident. Everything got to me, every little critique put me in a really dark place. I had to get that ‘fuck you’ attitude back. It’s something I used to have in my early 20s and then I sort of lost it as I got older. You lose that ‘fuck you, I’m the boss’ attitude. I was forced to get it back because it was sink or swim. You either wallow in pity and RuPaul sees you on the runway and may as well send you home, or you start saying, ‘Fuck you bitches. This is my shit.’ Now I feel great and I’ve taken that into my everyday life. If you’re confident and you back yourself, other people start backing you too. People are attracted to that confidence, see that you’re going somewhere and they’ll support you.
I feel like I need to adopt this mentality too…
When I was 18 or 19, I was overseas at the time dancing. I had bills and no money – I’ve always been rubbish with money – but I remember going, ‘Dad, when does paying bills make sense? When do you get used to it?’ and he said, ‘You never do, we’re all just figuring it out as we go along.’ I think, when you’re in positions when you’re meeting people like RuPaul and these fantastic drag queens you’ve looked up to your whole life, you remember that they’re all just figuring it out. People figure it out a bit quicker and better than others, but as soon as you understand that everyone is slowly fucking up time after time until they get it right, it gives you a lot of comfort and takes a lot of the pressure off.
What’s next for Elektra Shock?
The world is very much my oyster after this. I’ve got so many new fans and adoring supporters. Anything! I’m gonna continue performing. I’m gonna be releasing a beer, of all things! It’s just allowed me to do a bit of everything that I want now. Obviously, a lot more live performance and I’ll be touring. I wanna travel and I wanna come to the UK! I wanna meet all of my beautiful UK fans, jump off the bars and do the splits.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under airs every Sunday on BBC Three.