Drag Race star Aura Mayari has shared a bit of insight into the lip-sync smackdown that sent her packin’.
While the Nashville-based entertainer tells GAY TIMES that she was “ready” to lip-sync that week, she said the musical stylings of Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa’s Sweetest Pie, lack of sleep and the construction of her runway ‘limited’ her performance.
“The song was so hard to learn and I stayed up so late trying to memorize the rap. Which I did, then I decided to go to bed because call time was very early in the morning,” she says.
“I woke up that morning, put in my headphones, and totally lost all the words. Also, my outfit was very limiting so I definitely couldn’t perform the way I usually do.”
Aura fell into the bottom for the first time after underwhelming the judges with her acting abilities in a sitcom reboot of last year’s critically-reviewed
and Emmy Award-winning acting challenge The Daytona Wind.
Although she received positive critiques for her puffer runway, Aura lip-synced for her place in the competition alongside Jax, who won another week after deploying her signature set of flips and kicks and splits.
“I surely did have an idea that it was going to be me that was going to lip sync based off of the challenge,” she explains.
“I did struggle with directions but I’m glad the final product was great. But knowing that the runway was fuffer, I thought, ‘Hmm, maybe I have a chance to be safe.'”
As a result of Spice receiving harsh comments for her performance and runway, Aura thought that the TikTok queen would be lip-syncing for her life instead.
Aura says that “if” – more like when – she inevitably returns for a future season of All Stars, “I’ll make sure to still have sickening runway looks, but at the same time, looks that are performable. Is that a word?”
In the challenge, Aura wrestled with the lines – which included a callback to Aquaria’s iconic performance of Melania Trump in the season 10 Snatch Game and the viral quote, “Any hole is a goal.”
She clarifies that she was “aware” of the line’s delivery but her nerves got the better of her, “and just performed it the way I thought to do so at that time.”
“Everything on Drag Race is fast-paced and that day was truly a challenge as a whole,” she says. “I’ve had acting experiences before and was very excited for this, and I had a different perspective on the character and when I got notes from RuPaul, it took a whole energy from me to switch things around.”
As the winner of the previous maxi-challenge, Aura was bestowed the power to assign the roles in The Daytona Wind. She originally chose the leading part for herself, Fancy, but later swapped roles with Mistress Isabelle Brooks.
When we ask Aura if she has any doubts about the switcheroo, she tells us: “I mean, Fancy is such a fun character and Mistress definitely played the role well. But If I had the part, I would have been so ridiculous with it and had so much more fun.
“When I did that switch, I honestly wasn’t thinking right and was trying to be a team player. I wanted everything to go well and everyone to do well. I definitely forgot about what was the best for me.”
After RuPaul told her to sashay away, Aura admits she was “very sad” but “relieved” at the same time because, without the pressures of the competition, “I stripped myself of all the stress”.
However, she adds: “But when I got back to Nashville, TN, that’s when I really felt all the emotions – sadness, anger, shame. I had lots of regrets. I had a lot of sleepless nights and it took me a while to really come back to almost normal.
“I learned to remind myself that I shouldn’t have any regrets because my performance on the show was the best I could do at that time, with all the circumstances.”
With her charismatic confessionals and innovative runaways – as well as her status as the “trade” of the season” – Aura has received rave reviews from the fandom. During filming, she tells GAY TIMES that she reminded herself through journals to: “Be your authentic self. Do not be nervous and just be yourself.”
“I felt in a way that I had to perform in front of the cameras, say things that would probably be good for TV,” she explains. “At the end of the day, we were filming a reality TV show so in my head, I was thinking, ‘You have to stand out.’
“I forgot that my true self was already enough and should have just showcased the Aura Mayari I know.”
As is the case with each season, however, Aura – and the entire season 15 cast, as a matter of fact – has received backlash from so-called ‘fans’ who don’t seem to have the emotional intelligence to understand that Drag Race’s entire ethos is love and compassion. (“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” is literally quoted in every single episode.)
“At first, it was very difficult to not read comments. That’s all I did the first week or two. I scrolled through all my content and read all the comments – good and bad,” she admits.
“I also lost the motivation to travel and see fans because I focused a lot on the negative comments online but hey, I am glad I was slapped by that bitch inside me telling me to wake the fuck up and ignore those trolls online. I forgot that there’s so many people out there that live for me, my drag, and found inspiration in me.
“I pulled myself together and reminded myself why I do drag and what drag has done for me in life. Those trolls and going to keep trolling, and Aura Mayari will continue to be that sickening queen that will inspire many.”
Besides “travelling the world,” Aura reveals that she is focusing on launching her music career, “both out of drag and in drag”.
“I used to play around with my guitar and write songs and I haven’t done that in a while. I want to be able to express myself through music and hopefully touch more hearts,” she says. “I also love makeup so I am definitely planning to have my own makeup products! So many plans in the future but will take it one step at a time.”
New episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15, along with Untucked, air weekly and exclusively on the streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus, in the UK and internationally on Saturdays at 2:00am.