At last, we had Pedro Almodovar on Drag Race España. On the latest episode, the queens paid homage to the internationally known Spanish-filmmaker through the category ‘Almodovar leading ladies’. From his 80s classics until his more recent short film with Tilda Swinton, Almodovar’s universe was brought to the main stage through a lot of red, suspense and a bit of drama.
This week, the queens faced the improv challenge. Split into three groups, they took part in the Diary of Putricia, “a TV show with gag-worthy stories”. This challenge was an opportunity for the comedy queens of the season to shine through.
Samantha Ballentines had to face the lip-sync for a third time, and unfortunately this time she did not slay. The 35-year-old queen from Jerez de la Frontera who became known during the lockdown thanks to her Instagram Lives, had started the competition as a fan-favourite. With her sharp tongue and a great sense of humour, Samantha conquered a place in the hearts of Drag Race fans.
After her dramatic exit, we talked to Samantha. In this exclusive interview for GAY TIMES, she revealed who she was planning to impersonate on the Snatch Game and which of the queens is her favourite to take the crown home. Let’s see what she has to say about her time on Drag Race España.
Samantha, what happened?
What happened, cariño? Well, look, I’ve already been eliminated. Fuck it, it’s done. Nothing else can be done.
I’m really surprised. I thought you would end up in the top three…
As a viewer you have a different perception, but from inside I saw the level was very high. Especially in terms of the runway. The girls are going for it this season. And you’ll see, there is so much fabric, so many kilos of glitter, it was spectacular. I have tried to do what I do best: humour. Watching the episodes – modesty aside – I never stopped giving it all. So honey, I let them have it. From the Meet the Queens, I was already giving memes.
I don’t know if it was that song or the feeling that you were leaving, but the chapter ended in a very emotional way…
I think it’s both. The song itself is sad. But also we are friends, and having to lip-sync against a very good friend as Jota, is not good at all. I have received messages from people saying they were really crying. I left the competition very sad. Not angry, but sad, because when you do something that you like so much… I love drag, leaving a competition that equals the Gay Olympics, you don’t want to leave. I was having a great time, laughing a lot, enjoying the experience. A mixture of feelings. And yet there are some people who are glad that I’m gone, they also have sent me very ugly messages.
How was the atmosphere with the other contestants?
I have laughed with all of them, we have talked a lot and have shared beautiful moments. Obviously you end up being closer to some queens, but in general the atmosphere was good. I love Estrella, my Sharonne, Sethlas, Onyx, Jota, we have spent hours chatting and laughing. I also spoke a lot with Marisa who has already left and also with Ariel, we talked a lot about music.
On social media, you are considered one of the favourites. I have seen people very sad with your elimination. Did you expect this reaction?
I’m not new at all… A lot of people followed me already before entering the show, they knew me from Instagram. Also, I have been working for a long time, people know me in person or through social media. I always try to respond to everyone’s messages, even if it’s with a like. I interact a lot with them. In a way, I sensed that reaction.
You have won two lip-syncs. At the moment, you are the lip-sync assassin of the season…
That was kind of a joke. But in the second program Ariel left, and I know who Ariel is, she is an icon, I have seen some of her videos. That moment was like two great performers facing each other, both with a lot of fans. On top of that, I love her drag. So after that day I said, ‘If Ariel is gone, let everyone come by.’ I felt I could beat any of them. I’ll put in my bio “lip-sync azzassin” with a “z”!
Are you a fan of Almodóvar or have you had to watch the movies to create your look?
Yes, I have all his movies. Let me tell you a story: a few years ago, the Almodovar collection came out with the newspaper El País, one DVD every Sunday. I was in high school and I had all his movies up to that time. I’m so happy that I managed to get to the Almodóvar runway, I was eager to show the looks I had prepared.
I really loved your Almodóvar runway…
Me too. Before entering the program, they send you the runways, so you can think about it. There are many Pedro movies that I love, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, it’s the first one I’ve seen in my life. I loved that band of crazy women, the gazpacho with sleeping pills, Rossy de Palma sleeping, the whole film was quite surreal. So I thought, ‘I’ll play the two antagonists.’ What Ana said was that I was wearing something that you can buy in a store, but the look was really like that, anyway. Also, I remember that when I did the reveal, they went crazy, screaming. The judges liked it. But I say, and I’ll repeat: the level was very high, and they were looking for the smallest detail.
Your look for the “Day of the Beast” was one of the most incredible things that has stepped on that stage, it was very professional, Hollywood-ish. How did you come to that idea?
I always loved the world of surgery, celebrities who do very extreme plastic surgery. There was a TV show called Nip/Tuck, created by Ryan Murphy, in which you could see the super exaggerated operations. I loved it. But I had to take it to Halloween, so I came up with the idea of removing my face off. ‘How do I do that? I will need a face.’ I made the prosthesis, I put on makeup, and with all that blood and the disgusting mucus, it all stuck to my face.
The moment you showed up on the runway and took it off, it was very impressive…
Yes, when I saw the episode, I thought, ‘It’s actually fucking cool.’
What is your favourite moment on the show?
The first day, when we all entered. I do not know how to explain it to you. You see just a small part, but we were there for hours. We laughed so much, we had such a good time that day. I’ll have this day saved in my heart forever.
Do you think that being popular on social media is an advantage or disadvantage?
People who already knew me expected me to make them laugh, and I think I have done that. At the same time, it’s a pressure. You have expectations and if you don’t meet them… It’s what los Javis told me, they followed me on Instagram, so they know what I’m capable of. Advantages on one side and disadvantages on the other.
What do you usually do at your shows?
I do lip-sync and I do them very well – shitty haters. Now, people think that what I do is take off my wig. In fifteen years, I have only taken off my wig once to put on a leather cap. I lip-sync everything, Madonna in the 80s, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, in fact I do more things in English than in Spanish. Between song and song, I pick up the microphone and if they let me, I can talk for about an hour easily.
Why didn’t you do a monologue at the talent show?
Because later on there is usually a monologue challenge [the roast]. So I thought, ‘Should I do it now or leave it for later?’ It was a decision I’ve made. Was it the right one? I don’t know. But now it’s done. Watching it afterwards, I realised that they did not show everything. I made an entry, the number was a little longer, they laughed. Even though they told me it was a silent number, I did a humorous silent number, I also tried to offer different notes. I could have done a song, a choreography, but it was a comedy number at the end. It was not spoken, but it was visual.
Who were you planning to play in the Snatch Game?
Raphael, Iker Jiménez, Maciel, Sara Montiel. I had all these options. I really would love to do Raphael or Iker Jiménez.
If you had another chance, would you do anything different?
Yes. In the looks, I would go further, crazier. Break the barrier. For example, on the Almodóvar runway, I would have gone a bit more draggy. I liked what I wore, I designed it with a friend, and I was happy with it, and felt comfortable with it. But if I had another chance, I would go a bit further, because this was my weak point.
Who are you rooting for?
I would love Estrella Xtravaganza to win. She is not the typical ultra-thin, feminine, basic drag. There are thousands, she breaks with all that, she is underground, camp, very funny, she is very talented, and I think she is showing it. She is from Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Andalusian like me, and for all that, I call her my girl.
What is next for Samantha?
First the tour [Gran Hotel de las Reinas], obviously, but I want to record a video clip for the song I released just before entering Drag Race. I have been working a lot and I haven’t even had time to scratch my scrotum. After the tour, I’d love to put on a stand-up show called something like “Samantha in Person,” where I would bring together all the stand-ups I’ve done in my life, so people can see me in person, with music, humour, something like a comedy club.
Drag Race España S2 continues every Sunday on Atres Premium in Spain and exclusively on WOW Presents Plus everywhere else. Subscribe via: https://uk.wowpresentsplus.com