Trixie Mattel interview: “Drag Race” and making bold choices

Trixie Mattel
Trixie Mattel "Now With Moving Parts" tour
A Trixie Mattel interview is fun!

Since Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Trixie Mattel has been a fan favorite. Maybe it’s her razor sharp wit or her even sharper makeup counter, but everyone loves her. It was no surprise when she was announced as a cast member of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars that she was looked at as one of the ladies to beat. She proved that theory correct, by not just snatching the crown, but dropping her fantastically folksy new album One Stone. Here she talks about her very personal music, her thoughts on her All Stars experience, and the sometimes very vocal fans of Drag Race.

Michael Cook: Congratulations on snagging the crown on RuPaul’s All Stars Season Three

Trixie Mattel: Oh thank you! I am a very famous person who wins awards! (laughs). I really could not believe it. It’s not a pageant answer; I truly believed it could go any way because I truly believed in the gifts of the other people.

We saw something click in you halfway through the competition. What was the perception for you from inside, as a part of the competition? 

Trixie Mattel and Katya's High School Reunion
Trixie Mattel and Katya’s High School Reunion

TM: You know, I think the perception was that I was almost bombing every week when that was actually not the case. I was safe, safe, and top, then on the bottom once. I had a bad day where the pressure of knowing that people wanted me to do well outside the show, coupled with the pressure that I was putting on myself was really getting in the way of doing the good work. Once Shangela psychologically and emotionally put a gun to my head. She yelled at me, which shook me. It made me realize that if I were to lose, I am not a bad drag queen. So what am I so afraid of? I looked around, and thought, that if I lost to these other queens, I should not feel bad about that.

Now that you have snagged the crown, were you surprised when Ben DeLaCreme voluntarily left? 

TM: No because I paid her to. I got really close to her ear, and I said “listen bitch; I will give you fifteen gummy bears and a Swatch watch if you run now.” She took it. If you can’t beat em, persuade them to leave. (Laughs).

To so many viewers, the right person won the crown. Is it hard though, to read comments from viewers saying other contestants should have won and the sometimes, the… — colorful way they choose to say it? 

Trixie Mattel performing in Helsinkii in April 2017
Trixie Mattel performing in Helsinkii in April 2017

TM: We have not had a bald white queen. This turned against since Sasha Velour won. So, it’s almost like a flashback.. really. If you watch in the episode, I fully believed in the gifts of Kennedy (Davenport), Bebe (Zahara Benet) and Shangela. Shit ain’t new. I also “team everyone else.” It’s so weird.

I think this happens every time someone else wins. I mean, Bob (The Drag Queen) is one of my best friends and during his season I was team Kim Chi. It’s not that serious. You can have an opinion on who you like. Not only that, but of all of the people in the room, Kennedy, Bebe, and myself had the least to do with who makes it to the top. Honestly, in a weird way as it happened, I thought, who better to make an informed decision about who should win than people that have already lost. They have nothing to lose. And who were in all of the challenges with us, in the workroom, at lunch with us. These people know us. They know who struggled, everything like that. Whatever they decided, it was a truly different perspective.

So its fair to say that the twist of having the eliminated contestants judge the final elimination was an interesting twists? 

The "Trixie & Katya Show"
The “Trixie & Katya Show”

TM: I don’t necessarily think it was wrong, it was a version of judging. By the way, what we do on Drag Race is vie for the attention of six people sitting behind a table. Those six people turned out not to be the judges. As it turned out to be the queens. At the end of the day though, all we do is go off of the opinions of others. Even Carson Kressley, and every other judge, is a human with an opinion. Those other queens that were eliminated are simply humans with opinions. Every time, no matter who wins, people are upset. I have been preparing for this.

Trixie Mattel has new music on iTunes

Your new album One Stone is a huge hit and is all over the iTunes charts!  From a personal standpoint, “I’ll Wear Your Ring” is probably one of the most heartfelt songs I have heard in quite some time.

TM: Thank you so much. It is a really sentimental love song. It’s more like a break up song, but you don’t want the relationship to be over just yet. Almost like you are willingly not getting over it yet.

For those that have not heard your music, how would you describe it? 

TM: My music is something I write on my own time for my own human journey. It never occurred to me that out of drag, people may be willing to not just tell jokes, but hear my songs as well. When I started performing my music, I totally underestimated the audience’s ability to go there with me on that. They totally did, and they still do.

Both of my albums are on the iTunes charts currently. It goes to show that if you build it, they will come. I really work hard at putting together music that I love. It is just a bonus that people want to hear it. I would honestly be writing music anyway. With a lot of music when it’s made, it is made with the intention of making money. I would be writing this music anyway. Selling is just a little extra on top. Whether or not people buy it, I try to record it in a budget that if no one buys it, it’s ok. I self produce all of my albums. And if I can make the money back, then great!

Catch Trixie Mattel in Provincetown next year

What’s next for Trixie Mattel interview

TM: I am doing Provincetown next year — definitely. You know, Shangela and I have a similar view, we have never let having or not having a crown stop us from doing anything we wanted to do. I am really happy that I won. It’s a great gold star. I had a lot planned either way. My album is out and I have my music video for “Break Your Heart” out. I am touring forty plus cities with my show Moving Parts. The Trixie and Katya Show is still going strong on Viceland as well.

The show is hilarious, and you guys are breaking barriers every episode! Katya took a bit of a break, but how was having Bob the Drag Queen join you? 

TM: Bob is so so funny! Katya and I are so busy. We both knew that there may be a time that we may be stuck in another country or something and we both wondered who we would call. Bob is amazing! He brings such a great perspective to the show. I have been describing it as the song “I Will Always Love You” but with Katya there is the Dolly Parton version, but with Bob it’s the Whitney Houston version!

The community sometimes truly wants to eat their own, especially on social media. How do you stay positive and inspired with negativity swirling around at times? 

TM: You know, we all say don’t read the comments, of course that is not always true. With me, I am lucky people are generally good. People one hundred percent love you when you are Katya’s friend who makes great one-liners and has kinda good music.

When you win something, or your album sells well, it becomes more about knocking you down a few pegs. Especially true in the gay community. I really don’t know where that comes from. I have no idea. It is expected at this point. I don’t let it affect me.

Luckily I do drag in such a weird way that if someone does not like me, I do crazy makeup and sing folk music. I just tell myself that I am strange enough and just not everyone else’s thing. I make bold choices; with bold choices you end up on one end the spectrum or the other definitely!