“What is it going to take? Is it going to take a queen to kill herself?”
Silky Nutmeg Ganache has had a hell of a time since her stint on the 11th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The LA-based performer – who came in joint third/fourth place after winning two maxi-challenges – has been subjected to online abuse and death threats from ‘fans’ of the show, with some even threatening the lives of her family.
This would continue at events such as DragCon, where fans would ‘look down their nose and roll their eyes’ at the star. “The response is like, ‘You knew what you signed up for’. No I did not, I did not sign up for someone to threaten my life,” she tells us.
“I feel like until the producers put their foot down and offer more assistance that this going to continue to happen. People do not deserve to be treated this way. What is it going to take? Is it going to take a queen to kill herself?”
Do fans completely skip the part of the show that promotes love and inclusivity? We spoke with the star about how she’s coping post-Drag Race, the lack of aftercare given to contestants after the show and what we can expect next from the Reverend.
How has life been for you since Drag Race?
Life has been fabulous. I am getting the opportunity to see the world, in addition to showing my family the world, which was one of my main goals on Drag Race, to show my family a great life. And I am excited to show them my career.
You won two challenges, one of which was Snatch Game – the big one! How did you feel watching it back?
I don’t really watch it back, at all [laughs]. It’s hard to watch, you know? I don’t want to look at the past, I just want to look forward. Looking back at the show makes you feel some type of way, and I don’t want to feel that way. I want to feel the way I feel now.I feel like I did wonderful with the show and I feel like I get the opportunity now to show people what wasn’t shown. I was one of the nicest contestants, one of the most thoughtful on the show, and unfortunately that wasn’t shown. We only get an hour. I do the showcases now and people get to come to the shows and come to the meet and greet and I get to talk to them, I think that’s what is most important at this moment for me, so I don’t re-watch it.
Was there anything in particular you wish audiences could have seen?
I think drag culture should be shown. Because of Drag Race, you don’t really have to necessarily be a performer. To get on Drag Race, you don’t have to actually have to do a show and you don’t even have to be a drag queen to know the culture of drag. I just went on the show to show myself, be myself. Unfortunately a lot of the moments that made it seem that like I was shady, I was just acting like we do in the dressing room. Unfortunately, a lot of that came across as me being hateful. I was never hateful, I never had alternative motives, I never had the intention of going out and hurting people. Before the show, I had never dated a guy out of the closet and I talked about that experience you know the importance of not dating people when they’re in the closet. RuPaul called me Reverend Silky Nutmeg Ganache and nobody else knew where she got that from, because I talked about being raised in the church and someone that feels humiliated as a Christian. I wanted to let gay people know if you chose to still be Christian, and if some people have ridiculed you for it, then there is still a place for you in Christianity. Now, you get to see the real Silky.
Why do you think they didn’t include those moments?
Probably because it didn’t make good TV. You saw snippets of those human moments, but I never got a real opportunity to tell my story and what it’s like to be plus size and what it would have meant for me to be the first plus size winner. But I’m not mad about it, you’ve got to think about all the opportunities I’ve got since doing Drag Race, I’ve been on Germany’s Next Top Model, I was in a Lizzo video, I got to perform with Iggy Azalea, so I’m not mad about it at all.
Are you disappointed that a big girl hasn’t won Drag Race yet?
No, I think when it’s the right time it will happen. There are many battles, for example I used to say I wanted to see more black girls, and then this season we had seven black girls, which is a record number. I think especially with this political climate, you have to celebrate everyone, and even though I didn’t win and I wasn’t the first plus size winner, whenever that winner comes I am going to celebrate them.
What I liked about you on your season is that you were authentically yourself, you didn’t put on a persona for the cameras. Do you think others on the show did that?
Oh absolutely, I think a good majority of the girls censored themselves. Unfortunately what you didn’t see in episode one, I went to every girl and introduced myself and asked the how they felt about the box that I gave them, and every girl was excited, they were like, ‘Thank you for not trying to sabotage me’, and that was the conversation we had. So they kinda censored themselves in a way, where on camera in the work room they were all really nice, but when they got into interviews, they really showed their true colours. I think a good majority of the girls censored themselves for the camera. I’m glad that I didn’t, and after the finale a lot of girls reached out to me and said, ‘I wish I’d done what you did and just been my authentic self and I would have probably stayed on a lot longer’. I think it was a true learning experience for all of us.
You were a big character this season which meant you were subject to a lot of criticism from fans. How did that affect you?
It affected me for the first few weeks, and then I had to realise this is just what it’s going to be. Even on tour, all the girls thought I was going to be the fan favourite, I was going to be loved, and I was definitely going to be the first plus-size winner, that’s what everyone said even when we were filming. But it was just the way that I was characterised, and that ended up not being the case at all. I don’t know, it just all played out differently than I recall. Let’s just put it that way.
Well you were without a doubt one of the most entertaining queens on your season, and isn’t that what a reality show is all about?
You know what? I think there was a moment Bianca Del Rio wrote on Twitter, ‘You all complain about Silky but if she had not been on there then the season would have been boring’. Bianca Del Rio wrote that herself! I was never boring. Every week it was like, ‘I’m on another episode, you have to put up with me again’. And it got to the point where, in my mind, if you weren’t talking about me then I wasn’t doing something right. I have no regrets. I did what I did, I said what I said, I felt how I felt, and I have no regrets. I was one of the 15 ladies to be invited out of hundreds of people, and that was an honour. Not everyone’s invited to that party.
You didn’t take home the crown but you did become of the most meme-able contestants. Sometimes becoming a meme is better than taking home the crown.
Oh I love a meme. You know I always say, ‘I’m the winner, I just didn’t take the crown!’ And I really am. People can talk all the smack they want to online – and I am the comeback queen when it comes to Twitter – but the reality of it is when you go to my shows my shows are sold out, my meet and greets are sold out, people really do love me, and I am so grateful for that.
Do you think we can expect Silky to comeback for All Stars in the future?
I won’t say never, but I am going to have to wait a few years. Again, I wanted Drag Race to be the butt of my career not the highlight, and I feel like there are loads of highlights out there for me. So I won’t say never, but at the same time I want to explore other opportunities where I am not in a competitive nature. In competitions you have to have a different mindset, they make us have outbursts, they take away our phones we have no communication, we are indoors, we are literally zoned out. I don’t think I want to put myself back into that position anytime soon.
After the show you attended your first DragCon as a Ru Girl – how was that experience for you?
It was a bittersweet experience. It was sweet because I got to meet so many people, the people that truly love and laugh with Silky. The one thing that I hated about DragCon is that I had so many people walk past my booth who looked down their nose at me and rolled their eyes. I don’t like that nastiness, and I think it shows the nastiness of our community, how willing people are to tear others down just out of their perception. A lot of people don’t really know who I am or what I do, and to have that many people walk past me and say this, that or other, and get on social media and say I am a bitch, or I’m a cunt, without even stopping by my booth and saying hello and shaking my hand, that is the nastiness of our community. That’s just the one thing I did not appreciate about DragCon, that so many people were so willing to be nasty. I also feel like, as a queen of colour especially, I’m expected to go above and beyond where others do not. For example, about an hour out of every day I went to my other sisters’ booths and people wanted to take photos with me while I was at the other booths, and I was like, ‘No, we are not doing that. I spent a lot money on my booths and all pictures are going to be at my booth’, and I get called this, that and the other. I specifically remember this lady walked up to me saying, ‘It would mean so much if I got a picture with you for my daughter, she has been waiting at Trixie’s booth for five fours’, and I was like, ‘Your daughter could just come over to my booth’. And that’s what I don’t like. I don’t even want to call it racism at this point, which we all know it is, because a lot of people have long lines, but it’s just the nastiness that I don’t really care for it. The reality of it is that I got yelled at by my staff because I ended up giving away a lot of free stuff at DragCon, especially to the kids, children always touch my heart, so I gave a lot of free stuff to them. And especially parents that have brought their kids to DragCon because that is something that is very rare in the gay community.
Why do you think the fans can be so hateful when the show promotes love and acceptance?
I think they behave that way because the network allows it. And I say that because we’re not offered a lot of support when it comes to the show, the only support we have is to not read the comments. In episode eight, which was Snatch Game, I won the main challenge and the mini challenge, and I got so much hate that I went into a depression. I got so many death threats saying that I was robbing Nina of her glory. That is what I received, and I speak out on it, and then the response is like, ‘You knew what you signed up for’. No I did not, I did not sign up for someone to threaten my life, I didn’t sign up for any of that. And I feel like until the producers put their foot down and offer more assistance that this going to continue to happen. Yes we are winning Emmys and we’re doing great things for the LGBTQ community, but at the same time they need to put out a statement saying, ‘This is not acceptable, and if you keep acting in this manner we’re going to cancel the show’, because people do not deserve to be treated this way. What is it going to take? Is it going to take a queen to kill herself?
It’s one of those situations where all the negative comments will get you down, and then because of the negative comments you will forget about all the positivity coming your way.
Absolutely, and I always have to acknowledge those who ride with me and have helped me and are always so gracious. So I try to focus my energy more so on the love that I get and not the hate – even though clapping back on Twitter is a lot of fun, it does make you feel good sometimes.
I just want you to know that those hateful Drag Race fans are not representative of the entire fanbase. You are loved.
So fuck those fans. I hope you use the block button regularly on Twitter.
Oh absolutely. I use it on the regular, not only on Twitter but on Instagram and on Facebook too. My block list is long. At the end of the day, I don’t have the following that Plastique has, and I don’t have the following that Nina has, but the people that follow me truly love me, and that’s all I care about. I was talking to Ra’Jah O’hara about this the other day, she was like, ‘I’ve got 70,000 followers and those are my people, they ride with me if I need it and they fully support and love me’, and I think that is important at this moment in time. The 190,000 followers that I have, that’s important to me. They’re the ones that love and support me, cheer me on, and that’s what’s important. At the beginning of the show, I used to be like, ‘Why don’t I have the following that the other girls have?’ But then you realise you’re a black girl, and every black girls gotta divide the following between us, and we all get what we got, you know?
Finally, what can we expect from Silky? Do you have any projects lined up?
I’ve been trying to get into more television, I’ve been auditioning. I actually wrote a book months ago, and I am in the process of trying to get it independently published. Hopefully it will be out before Thanksgiving, it’s a cookbook of chocolate recipes. I am working on that. There’s a couple of other drag projects that I am working on too. Be on the look out, there is a lot of Silky on the way. I’m still being hopeful about that cooking show, it’s something that has taken a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth every ounce of energy I’m putting into it.