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With three maxi-challenge wins on Drag Race Holland, Keta Minaj was one of the most formidable players heading into the second season of UK vs the World. A frontrunner, if you will.

While she left no crumbs with her psychedelic original song and gymnastics hybrid in the talent show and conquered the ‘Happy Ending Ball’, Keta failed to maintain momentum as she bottomed in ‘Drag Race World’ – one of the most perplexing challenges in herstory – and the Snatch Game. The latter, in which she impersonated US comedian Fran Drescher, ultimately ended her time on the series when lip-sync champion Tia Kofi opted to save her UK sister Gothy Kendoll.

“For her it was a win-win. She had the chance to save her friend, to save Britain, the alliance, and kick out a strong competitor,” Keta says of Tia’s strategy, before admitting that she “wasn’t in a good headspace” during the series. “When I did Drag Race Holland, I was really standing in my power. Here, I didn’t feel secure. I wasn’t sure, and I think that shined a bit through.”

Here, Keta Minaj speaks with GAY TIMES about her “bitter” final episode, why she was “toned down” on UK vs the World and her desire to “redeem” her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent with a third stint on Drag Race. 

Keta, how are you?

I’m depressed! No, I’m fine. It was a bitter episode, but things go how they go. I’m still here, I’m still fabulous, so…

Well I’m depressed. I have some feelings over your elimination. Have you watched the episode yet?

No, not yet. I’m gonna see it tomorrow. I’m very curious, excited – everything.

The reason I’m feeling a type of way is because you were hungry to stay and Gothy… checked out. I love Gothy, but she openly admitted to Tia that she doesn’t think she can get out of her head for the following challenge.

Really? I didn’t know that. Oh my god. To be honest, I was really happy to stay another week, because I expected last week that they would kick me out. I was like, ‘Okay, this is my time to go.’ Of course, I wasn’t ready to go but Scarlet [Envy] saved me, so I was happy. For the second time in the bottom I was like, ‘I can’t have that much luck.’ I expected it. You have, of course, the UK alliance and Gothy and Tia are also friends. I’m bummed, but I understand.

Previous eliminations have, so far, been on track record. Yours is stronger than Gothy’s because you have a win, so I think Tia chopped you because you’re strong competition, and that way she also gets to save a UK queen too.

Yes, for her it was a win-win. She had the chance to save her friend, to save Britain, the alliance, and kick out a strong competitor. I’m not sure what’s coming next week, but if it’s going to be dancing or something, that’s really my forté, and not really for Gothy, I think. ‘Let’s kick Keta out because she will kill it in the dance challenge, and more chance for me to win.’

@gaytimes @Keta Minaj discusses theories on her controversial elimination from #DragRaceUKvsTheWorld#ketaminaj #rupaulsdragrace #dragrace #rupaulsdragraceuk #dragraceuk #dragracecontent #dragqueen #dragqueens #dragqueensoftiktok ♬ original sound – GAY TIMES

This week’s challenge was the Snatch Game. You memorably won yours on Drag Race Holland as the iconic Sophie AndersonRIP. Did it come as a surprise to you that you struggled this time around?

What can I say? I wasn’t in a good headspace, to be honest. Also, with the preparation for the show, I was very focused on the looks, not really on the Snatch Game. Of course I was like, ‘I’m gonna win this, I’m gonna kill this,’ but you have to do a little bit of research. And I did, but in the heat of the moment, it didn’t work out for me.

You still made me laugh. Honestly, anytime anyone does a Fran Drescher cackle, I’m sold. You were not the weakest.

For me, when I did Drag Race Holland, I was really standing in my power. Here, I didn’t feel secure. I wasn’t sure, and I think that shined a bit through.

Was that because you were on UK turf? Or was it being judged by RuPaul? Why didn’t you feel as confident this time around?

I think preparation is key, and the preparation was not that good as Drag Race Holland, if it concerns the Snatch Game.

For a lot of queens, the second time competing on Drag Race is not necessarily the end. Would you come back for a third time?

Yes, for sure. I need to redeem myself! Everybody saw a Keta that was there, but was not really there. I know I can kill it, and I didn’t do it. So, of course, I can be bitter like ‘oh my god, I ruined everything!’ but I’m so thankful for being on the show, for showcasing my looks. It was an amazing experience. Horrible, but amazing.

You deservedly won the ball. What was it like to showcase your talent like that to an international audience, particularly to RuPaul?

Winning the ball was amazing. I have to say, I did not expect it. Everybody was really on it and, along the way, you see everyone constructing their garments. When you create something, it gets created in the flow. Towards the end I was like, ‘Oh, I actually made something really cool.’ Also, it really fit in with my story with the Lady Prince Charming and the evil queen. I was very happy that I could showcase my looks and then complete it with a self-made look.

Four wins now!

Yes. Do you see it like that?

Abso-bloody-lutely. That’s why you were eliminated, in my eyes. Four wins, more than any other queen at that point – overall, that is.

I haven’t looked at it like that. But yes. Actually, yes. Goddammit!

Your Drag Race Holland elimination continues to be a very sore point for fans – including myself, because I truly think it was one of the worst decisions in herstory. How do you feel about that elimination now, looking back?

Of course, if I think about it and the whole run, it doesn’t make much sense. Also, with this elimination for me, I experienced this one year ago. It’s shit. You can be sad and everything, and of course I felt sad, but you have to continue and see what you can make of this. It’s a bloody big stage I was on this time, and a lot of people saw me. I have to use this stage and this platform for my benefit.

You are so beloved by the fans. What is it like to see all of this support for you online?

It’s so nice. There’s so much support and love and compliments. People really love my style. Maybe, for me, when I see myself on television, I see a toned down version because I was a bit quiet here and there. I was a bit in my head, but still, there are people that really love that. It’s completely fine, I really had fun on the show and I’m glad that I got to know the girls. On the show, you get to know them a bit, but afterwards, even better. Overall, it was such an impressive time and experience.

Well, I can’t wait for round three – whenever that is!

Yes, same!

What’s next for Keta Minaj?

We’re doing the UK tour and I’m really looking forward to that because it was already a dream for me to do something with Werq the World. I’m gonna play in a Dutch show called The Amsterdam Drag Show. It’s really high level with Envy Peru, Vanessa Van Cartier, Janey Jacké, they’re all in there. It’s so cool. My Little Puny, my bestie, is also in there. I want to make more music because music is one of my passions. I made an extended version of my talent show with a clip. I want to pursue it even more, because I’m also a DJ, so I just want to do more with music.

Your talent show… The way you spun around on that thingy-majiggy! Wow. Also, this Dutch show sounds like Holland All Stars with all of these incredible queens?!

It is. Vanessa, Envy, Janey, Sederginne, My Little Puny, me… Yeah! There are a lot. It’s going to be fun.

I will be tuning in.

​If you’re in Amsterdam, you should come and visit. I will put you on the list!

Drag Race UK vs the World is streaming in the UK on BBC iPlayer.

You can watch our interview with Keta Minaj here or below.