“As Queen of the Mother-Pucking World, I will continue being the baddest in the game,” declares Ra’Jah O’Hara. The subject of Prince’s classic 1984 anthem Purple Rain Reign is speaking with GAY TIMES from DragCon UK, less than two weeks after defeating fellow Drag Race legends such as Victoria Scone, Rita Baga and Silky Nutmeg Ganache on the first season of Canada vs the World.
Ra’Jah memorably made her franchise debut on season 11, before returning for a more successful run on the sixth season of All Stars. Although she didn’t snag either title, she joined the prestigious ‘fan-favourite’ ranks thanks to her effortless lip-sync smackdowns (Living in America and Miss You Much are top tier), scathing confessionals (“I’m not gagging, I mean, I’m gagging from the smell” cemented her status as TV gold) and ability to concoct a dress in under a minute (“Thank you, 30 seconds!”). After she kept ‘pushing forward’, Ra’Jah added $100,000 to her bank account and made herstory as the first Drag Race alum to win a season on their third attempt.
“Now that I am the Queen of the Mother-Pucking World, it feels right. It feels correct. It feels like this is the place where I should’ve been back when I started my journey,” Ra’Jah says. “I’ve gone through being hated, being sent death threats to internalising all of that and having to say, ‘You know what? That’s noise, I’m cancelling that out and re-energising myself because nobody else can hype me up other than myself.’”
Read ahead for our chat with Ra’Jah, where the self-described “bad bitch” (correct!) reflects on her iconic Drag Race journey.
In celebration of your win, Ra’Jah, I’ve paid tribute to you today with my purple vape.
A purple vape! You better be out here smoking your purple haze, henny.
Massive condragulations on conquering Canada vs the World. I’ve been team Ra’Jah since you cussed out Yvie Oddly in your confessional, because that was poetry.
It was poetry. “A bitch like you could never come for a queen like me!”
For me, you won season 11 there and then. C’mon two-time winner!
Three seasons if you wanna talk about it, because All Stars 6? She was the star of the show. Hello?! Give me my accolade!
Ra’Jah, we need to talk about your lip-sync to River Deep Mountain High…
That was powerful.
How did it feel to share that moment with your sister Silky Nutmeg Ganache?
It felt great. It felt like what we were supposed to do because we hadn’t talked about being on Drag Race together for Canada vs the World, so we came in, saw each other and were like, ‘Bitch, we’re gonna make it hard for everybody else to come up in here and get a chance.’ So, top two! We called it in the first 30 minutes of being in the werkroom. Top two, that’s exactly what we did, so it felt like a full circle moment to be there with my sister and for us to be celebrating in that moment and have it be that song because I love her river deep and mountain high.
Canada vs the World was full of positivity and gorgeous energy, focusing on the cast’s talent and camaraderie with one another, as opposed to drama. How did it feel to be part of a season of Drag Race like this?
It felt good to be in a season where we could focus on our talent as opposed to focusing on the petty arguments and the negativity that sometimes gets highlighted on Drag Race. Of course, as people competing in a competition, it’s going to be cutthroat. But because we’re All Stars and we’ve already been in that room and we know the hard work that it takes to even step foot in that room, that’s where it came from. We all walked into that room with respect for each other and that respect turned into love and then turned into sisterhood.
After the finale, you posted a photo of your family holding their own crowning ceremony for you. How did they respond when Brooke Lynn Hytes called your name?
I did not really expect my family to have that response to me winning. But to know that when I got home and they absolutely showed their love and they were all in tears shouting, ‘Ra’Jah! Ra’Jah! Ra’Jah!’ was amazing – especially to know the family that I come from and our history and how turbulent it has been. So, to know that they all came together to support me, it makes me emotional now to think about it. You’re not gonna get me up in here ruining my makeup!
Best Christmas ever, right?
It was the best Christmas ever. As grown people, we don’t really get to celebrate or get to feel the love of Christmas, but I absolutely felt it this year. I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life.
You made herstory as the first queen to win Drag Race on their third attempt. What do you think this means for queens who didn’t make it as far as they hoped on their original season?
What I hope queens take away from my win is that they should never limit themselves, because that’s what I did. A lot of times, we get into situations where I was like, ‘I didn’t do well the first time, I didn’t do well the second time, they don’t want me back,’ so we start getting in our heads and doubting ourselves. I feel like me winning shows that we should never limit ourselves and continue to push towards our dreams, regardless of how many times it takes you to get there. Your dream is your dream and you can make your dream a reality by putting in that hard work.
Your journey across all three seasons has been incredible to watch. How would you describe your growth as an entertainer from season 11 to now?
I walked into season 11 knowing that I was a bad bitch, but I didn’t quite have the tools that it took to really harness that particular room. I was doubting myself, so that’s where I needed to grow. I needed to do the work on myself and tell myself, ‘Girl, you still bad! It doesn’t matter when you went home, how you went home, you made great TV so if they call you back, you do it another time,’ and you know what they did? They called me back. And you know what I did? I went all the way to the top and did what I was supposed to do. That’s what I did, I kept growing, kept moving forward and kept pushing. I really felt like All Stars 6 was my time, but it wasn’t because it was given to somebody else. I had to wait for it to be my time, and now that I am the Queen of the Mother-Pucking World, it feels right. It feels correct. It feels like this is the place where I should’ve been back when I started my journey. But, do you know what? I wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I appreciate it now. I wouldn’t have been able to reign and really speak to queens about what it takes to be a queen. I’ve gone through being hated, being sent death threats to internalising all of that and having to say, ‘You know what? That’s noise, I’m cancelling that out and re-energising myself because nobody else can hype me up other than myself.’ Self-esteem comes through yourself, other people can’t give you self-esteem. So, it had to be through work that I did. Drag Race and winning Drag Race was a dream of mine, and now it’s a reality that I live in. Okay?! There may be queens of Drag Race but I’m the Queen of the Mother-Pucking World!
What is your favourite moment from each of your seasons?
From season 11, it would have to be the lip-sync with Mercedes Iman Diamond because I enjoyed that song so much and I did not know that I was going to embody James Brown like I did. I transformed into James Brown! And then from All Stars, I would have to say episode one, the talent show, when I came out, turnedt it out and made a dress in under a minute. That was a highlight for me, but also making it all the way to the end was perfect. Of course, from Canada vs the World, it’s got to be winning.
It’s got to be!
It’s got to be! I really enjoyed all of my runways. I felt like that was where I got my life and where I gave life.
As Queen of the Mother-Pucking World, what do you aim to do with your (purple) reign?
As Queen of the Mother-Pucking World, I will continue being the baddest in the game and being a queen that is respected. I really want queens to know that they can also be Queen of the World, because although I’m the queen, we can all be queens. There is enough room for all of us and all it takes is hard work and determination.
RUPAUL’S DRAGCON UK took place at ExCeL London in January 2023. Tickets are on sale for RUPAUL’S DRAGCON LA now at rupaulsdragcon.com.
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