With 11 (!) challenge wins across three seasons, Trinity the Tuck has made herstory as the most-awarded performer in the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise. In her words, “You can probably put together a whole season with the different types of challenges that I’ve won!” Earlier this year, the Mary Koont star made a triumphant ruturn on the prophesied first-ever winners’ season with seven of the fiercest champions of all time: Jaida Essence Hall, Jinkx Monsoon, Monét X Change, Raja, Shea Couleé, The Vivienne and Yvie Oddly. Winning the second highest-amount of challenges behind the internationally tolerated Jinkx (who ultimately became the Queen of All Queens), Trinity continued to prove her status as one of the most formidable players the show has ever seen (and will ever see).
“I don’t foresee myself competing under the same circumstances as before. I’ve done everything I could possibly do. There’s nothing else I can accomplish,” Trinity says of her future with Drag Race. “I’m open to the idea of returning for a competition season in the future, but I would just need a lot of money. […] I would need something more than the possibility of winning a large cheque. I need the cheque!”
In the midst of All Stars 7, Trinity unleashed her sophomore studio album, Ego, an eight-track collection of infectious, queer club bangers with assistance from drag icons such as her twinner, Monét, as well as Rhea Litre and Shontelle Sparkles, her drag daughter. You can also expect a deluxe edition with season 12 alum Jan and the “queerdo” herself, Yvie, who laid all rumours to rest about who “fucked” Monét with her “disgusting” and “raunchy” verse. (Can’t wait!)
Here, the star of the upcoming Leslie Jordan biopic (it’s confirmed, in our mind) speaks with GAY TIMES about her Drag Race All Stars 7 experience, including her “requirements” for the producers, why it’s time to “switch up” the lip-sync for the crown and what she’s learned from competing on three seasons. Trinity also reflects on her journey with her gender identity, the ‘gay, queer and femme’ stylings of Ego and why she has “nothing left to prove”.
Trinity, huge condragulatations on All Stars 7. Truly, it was one of the best seasons in Drag Race herstory and you absolutely demolished the competition. Looking back, how was the experience for you?
It was incredible. These girls are the best of the best and super supportive of each other. Even though we were in a competition, it was almost like we weren’t competing with each other, more-so just trying to do our best. It was a blast. I’ve done this three times now, and this was by far my favourite experience because of the girls.
You won four more challenges this season, becoming the most-awarded queen in the franchise in the process. Do you feel like… that bitch?
With the outcome of All Stars 7, I could not have done better than what I did. I presented myself the best I’ve ever presented myself, even better than All Stars 4, and I feel like I did better in the challenges than any other season I competed in. My runways were even better than All Stars 4. Eleven wins over three seasons… Even with competing in two seasons, I have tied with the most wins. I’m very proud of myself. I definitely am that bitch! You can probably put together a whole season with the different types of challenges that I’ve won…
Every single win has been deserved. I think Sister Mary Koont is one of my all-time favourites. Wait, wait, wait, did you even win that challenge?!
I didn’t win! There’s a couple of challenges that I feel like I could’ve won, that being one of them. I think they judged us as a group for that challenge, specifically, and that’s why I didn’t win. I loved Sister Mary Koont. One time at DragCon I had a whole group of fans come to my booth dressed as Sister Mary Koont, it was hilarious.
That is iconic. So, All Winners was speculated about for years. How did you initially react when you received the call to go back?
I was hesitant. Everyone was, because you won, so going back there was only ever gonna be one winner – unless they did another tie! I had a couple of requirements to be able to go on. I was upfront, ‘I would love to be part of this, because who knows if you’re gonna have another one? But I don’t want to go on a season where there’s eliminations because we’re your winners, and I don’t want to go in as a winner and get sent home first.’ That would destroy your legacy. Getting on the show is a double-edged sword. For some people, it’s amazing and for others, some people literally quit drag afterwards. It’s very bizarre what it can do for your career, both ways. Also, because we are winners, it was going to be crucial for us to have the best of the best runways, so I was like, ‘We need stipend for our runway looks.’ They helped a little bit, enough to get one look made! But, at least it was something.
Was that a requirement for the rest of the cast too? Stipend and no eliminations?
I’m not sure. As a collective, we never had a group meeting or conversation about that. I’m not sure what the other girls requested or what their thought process was or what they said when they signed up for it. That was just what I was willing to do, I wanted to be part of it but also, I wanted to make sure that I safeguarded the hard work I already put in.
Totally. As we’ve witnessed over the years, some viewers will base your worth as a drag entertainer on your Drag Race placement. If you’re eliminated in the first few episodes, they will immediately assume that your drag isn’t as worthy as someone who reached a higher position. Why do you think some fans have this perspective?
Because a lot of the fans of Drag Race are fans of Drag Race, and not fans of drag. They have no experience outside of a television show. They put so much emphasis on a very highly edited TV show. It’s a TV show! It’s for entertainment. To me, it’s not a crazy and legitimate competition. It’s not. There’s no scorecards, you don’t get written critiques. In a pageant, you get a scorecard and see a master score sheet with everyone’s scores. It’s not the same. That’s what fans think, that a panel of judges are the end-all and be-all of opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I completely respect RuPaul, Carson Kressley, Ross Matthews, Michelle Visage and their opinions. They’ve been around drag long enough to know what they’re talking about, but it is a TV show so there’s got to be storyline involved and a flow to it that makes sense for a TV show. I think that’s what it is. They don’t know any better.
From the Legendary Legend Stars, negative critiques being edited out and Ru’s decision to not send any queens home, this season was chock-full of twists and turns. Some twists were praised, while others polarised fans. How did you perceive them at the time?
I went into this season knowing – I don’t want to say “knowing” – feeling that I was not going to win. In my personal opinion – and I’ve never said this out loud – I don’t think the show really wanted me to win to begin with. The fanbase had me winning by a crazy majority in the polls for All Stars 4, and so they had to figure something out. I definitely deserved my win, so did Monét of course, but I don’t think the show wanted me to at first. Going into this season, I think they knew I would be good TV. They knew I would be competitive. They knew I would have strong looks. They knew that I would do a great job and let me get to the finale, which is exactly what they did. What I thought was gonna happen is exactly what happened. Was anybody surprised that they set up the lip-sync between me and Monét at the end? No. That was probably one of the most equal lip-syncs that night. As a spectator, things were definitely questionable. But again, it is what it is and it’s a TV show. Back to the original question, I expected there to be twists and turns so no surprise there. Watching the whole season, it was super entertaining and I loved every bit of it. I can’t be mad because it did what it was supposed to do. It kept you on your toes as a viewer. That’s what a good TV show does, right?
Let’s talk about those final performances and the lip-sync for the crown. As a season nine finalist, you were one of the first queens to be impacted by the wheel. Are you still on board with this format?
I get it. It’s the formulation of the show. To me, it is so monotonous now. It was exciting for the first two seasons but I feel like, as they do every couple of years, it’s probably time to switch it up again. It’s the same thing. How many splits can we see? How many front rolls can we see? How many hair reveals can we see? How many costume changes can we see? Everything’s been done. I’ve literally lip-synced the most. I am bored of watching myself lip-sync! I mean, I have three moves. How many ways can I do a front roll, shake my ass or do a hair flip? I’m bored of myself! I think it’s time to change things up. As far as the outcomes of the lip-syncs, would I have chosen some of the winners of the lip-syncs the way they did? Probably not. But again, this is television and they had a narrative that they were flowing with. They got the results that they wanted for that narrative. At the end of the day, good job on production. They achieved a great season and wrapped it all up at the end with a storyline. I used to look at it like a legit competition, like I did with pageants, but going through it three times you just get to see that it’s Hollywood. It’s TV. It’s entertainment.
There’s been a lot of talk about Monét’s lip-sync against Jinkx and how a lot of her stunts were edited out. What did she do, exactly?
I don’t remember verbatim what happened on the stage. If they wouldn’t have shown Monét’s lipsticks, then I wouldn’t have remembered that aspect of it. I can remember how I felt watching the lip-sync thinking, ‘Monét won that.’ We were all there. We all thought the same thing. Jinkx is incredible and I think that she was incredible the entire season, so it doesn’t surprise me that she won. But, if we’re just talking about that specific lip-sync, I definitely thought Monét won.
The aim of this format is to reward the best lip-syncers, but it didn’t necessarily feel like that was the case…
In a regular season when they’re doing a lip-sync for your life, it allows the show to eliminate a contestant. Whether you agree with the outcome, it allows them to further the narrative of what the show is trying to do. And this is not fact, this is just my opinion of what I’ve gathered watching as a fan. You can see what it is. None of this is a knock on Drag Race: I love Drag Race and I’m a huge fan, still. That’s just the reality. It’s a way for them to eliminate someone or, in an All Stars season, for one person to win to further the narrative of someone’s success. I would love to see something else. Maybe like another quick challenge, right then and there. Like improv or acting or even a quick sewing challenge. Make those bitches make something in 10 minutes or less, right there on stage!
The decision to not show any negative critiques was confusing to some viewers, while others commended the celebratory nature of the season. You confirmed in a tweet and at a recent show that the judges did offer constructive criticism, with Michelle Visage and Raja coming to a disagreement on the main stage. Why do you think the critiques were edited out?
They decided to make All Stars 7 a celebratory season. By editing out negative critiques and keeping in the positive, it does exactly that. It’s a celebration of the winners and why they won. They definitely had critiques, for sure! They chose to go with the positive, which I love. They made everyone look their absolute best. That is the power of editing. I know RuPaul has that song, Blame It on the Edit, but it’s true. The edit can really do wonders. It can make someone look amazing, like they did for all of us during All Stars 7, or they can make someone look like the villain with a little rattlesnake sound and a cut of the camera. That’s Hollywood!
Is All Stars 7 the concluding chapter in a trilogy for you? Would you ever return to the competition?
I think that, under the circumstances to what I’ve agreed to in the contracts before, yes. Would I come back and compete in the future? I would be open to it, but there would need to be a cheque with a very large amount presented upfront. Or, if we’re competing for charity or something like that. I don’t foresee myself competing under the same circumstances as before. I’ve done everything I could possibly do. There’s nothing else I can accomplish. I’ve already won and won the most challenges. I excelled in almost every challenge there is. If there was a Drag Race season with drag mothers and daughters… I loved being a mentor on Celebrity Drag Race season one, so stuff like that I would love to be part of. I’m open to the idea of returning for a competition season in the future, but I would just need a lot of money. It’s a lot of stress! It’s a lot of financial stress, a lot of emotional stress, mental stress and the fact that there’s nothing else for me to prove, I would need something more than the possibility of winning a large cheque. I need the cheque!
You have achieved an insane amount since season nine. What have you learned over these past few years about you and your drag?
Being put out there on such a global platform subjects you to the extremes. You’re exposed to so much love and support, but so much criticism and hate. Whether it’s criticising you in the most extreme ways or making shit up about you… All this craziness that comes with that platform, it’s made me more patient and value my close-knit group of friends and family. It’s also made me question trusting others. You definitely have to put yourself first and be aware. I also learned to love and accept myself more. There’s a lot I’ve suffered with, just like everybody has, and I’ve accepted my flaws and tried to change some of them. I think that all we can do is try and be a better person going forward than we have in the past. I’m human, I’ve made mistakes, we all do. The best thing we can do is try and learn from those mistakes.
How has performing on a huge platform such as Drag Race impacted your career?
I definitely couldn’t have been in the position I’m in now without being on a television show like Drag Race. I have to thank RuPaul and the producers who cast me for allowing me to have that platform because it really did change my life. I’ve been able to buy a house, make money on a scale that I was not making previously and would never have made. I’ve travelled the world to many countries and met so many fantastic people that I might not have been able to do without the show. It’s a significant shift when you’re given such a platform and an opportunity. You really have to take that opportunity and run with it and milk it for all you possibly can!
Earlier this year, you opened up about your gender identity with fans and said there’s “no guidance” on how to be trans. Why was it important for you to go public about your journey with gender?
I’ve been exploring my feelings on my identity. I’m going on 38 this year and I have been doing drag for nearly 20 years. I’ve always felt different. I’ve always felt like my gender wasn’t the norm. I’ve always considered myself, even before I knew what non-binary was, an in-between. I definitely identify and feel inside to be trans. I don’t say “trans woman” because I don’t live as a trans woman and it would be disrespectful for me to claim those words when I know so many trans women and the hardships they’ve gone through. I still look on the outside, as society would say, a “cis man”, and I still enjoy those privileges for now. I don’t know what my future of full transition looks like. It scares me because I am a very vain person. As people know, I like plastic surgery! For myself, I do want to look a certain way if I were to transition and if I can’t look a certain way, I’d rather stay how I am. I’ve spoken to many of my friends who are trans about their experience and I’ve tried to come up with my own conclusion, but what I’ve decided is that life is a journey and there is no right or wrong way for you to be a trans person. There’s no right or wrong way to be non-binary. There’s no right or wrong way to be cisgender. Things are gonna change, and you learn more about yourself as you go so I’ve stopped putting that pressure on myself to figure that out. Going forward, I’m going to live my best life and live it for myself. I made that public because I know there are people who feel how I feel and are in the same situation. Hopefully, that will resolve or give them some comfort in knowing they’re not alone and the path they’re on is okay.
It’s time to talk about Ego! Following All Stars 7, you released a new album full of queer club bangers. As soon as I listened to it, I needed to get onto a dancefloor. What inspired the direction of this album?
Thank you! Like I said before, I don’t claim to be a vocalist. I don’t claim to have the best voice for music, whatever. People love to criticise people who make music. ‘Oh, you’re not a vocalist? Your vocals suck!’ I don’t do this for them. I do this for me, and if somebody else enjoys it, great. Although, I would like to say that my album debuted at number three on the dance charts, so… they can suck it. Ego has been an ongoing process the past several years. It’s exactly me and how I feel. It’s gay. It’s queer. It’s femme. It’s drag. It’s all of those things that I love about queer music and queering out on the dancefloor. All of the songs have different meanings behind them. FEMBOYS is a love letter to all my femmes out there – they don’t get enough love, especially in our community. I hate that hyper-masculinity overpowers femininity to some people, and I wanted this to be a power song for my femmes out there. Then there’s Twirl, which is basically about getting hate but remembering who you are and twirling around the world. Twirl around the hate! I did an amazing collaboration with Shontelle Sparkles and Rhea Litré called Run It, and it’s about our kind of girl power: queer, femme girl power. I loved my collaboration with my twinner, Monét. We’re actually releasing a deluxe version of this album that’s coming out later this year with a couple of remixes that I’m absolutely in love with. I also have two collaborations of songs that are already on the album with the Jantasy, Jan Sport, and the queerdo herself, Yvie Oddly.
Please tell me which songs you’ve recruited Jan and Yvie for… please.
FEMBOYS, we’re adding a verse from Jan. She wrote her own lyrics for it and it’s exactly Jan. The song also perfectly encapsulates who Jan is, an unapologetic femme. Then I have another song on the album called She Nasty. It’s a sexy, dominatrix-y song and we approached Yvie to do it and, let me tell you, her verse is… disgusting. It’s so raunchy! Definitely rated XXX because what she talks about, oh my god, even I couldn’t have said that. She made me uncomfortable but in a great way.
I need a video for She Nasty. I’m a bit biased because it’s my favourite. What is so disgusting about Yvie’s verse? I’m so curious!
If anybody is wondering who fucked Monét… Yvie doesn’t say that in her lyrics, but she describes everything she would have done to Monét – or somebody else – in great detail. If you want to know what goes on in Yvie’s bedroom at night with her man… I was like, ‘Yvie?! The dirtiness.’
I will wait with bated breath. To round off the interview, what else can we expect from Trinity the Tuck over the next year?
She’s still travelling the world, girl! Tours and tours and tours. I’m in a Halloween-ish tour coming up in the UK in the fall with Holy T called Heels of Heel. I’m in talks with more TV stuff, let’s see what happens! The biggest thing is trying to be happy and live my life, bitch.
“I LIVE!” Nah I’m sorry that was shit, I can’t do it.
Trinity the Tuck’s second studio album, Ego, is now available on iTunes and streaming services.