Making more music, and taking more risks is the lesson Yvie Oddly wants to pass on
Yvie Oddly may have snagged the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” this season on RuPaul’s Drag Race, but she has plenty more planned after getting the crown on Season 11. Combining her own brand of tenacity, raw talent and uniqueness helped Oddly soar to the top of the competition with a couple stumbles and battles with her fellow competitors along the way. I grabbed some time with Yvie post-crowing to talk about what it’s like to have won the much sought after completion, what advice she has for future Drag Race competitors, and Oddly’s final words about embracing your inner oddball are some of the most brilliant I have heard, and something we all can do a little bit more of.
Your RuPaul’s Drag Race ride is over, and you came out on top with the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”! How does it feel to have won the competition?
Yvie Oddly: Really heavy to start with (laughs)! It really is just so crazy. I am extremely pleased, I am still having to pinch myself and remind myself that it’s real, every now and then. I think it was a great season and I am personally thrilled with how it turned out!
You went into your season with some very high profile names in the world of drag artistry as competition. Did you look around the werk room and feel slightly intimidated or did you just concentrate on getting yourself to the finale?
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YO: It was definitely more about me staying focused. Even though I know it now, I had no idea who half of the girls were, what their accomplishments were, I just said to myself “I have to beat these boring queens” (laughs). After each challenge though, they showed just how much harder that was going to be than my preconceived notions!
How do you look back at the experience in terms of how it has changed your drag or you as a person?
YO: Separate from winning, it is a nice reminder that even if you don’t feel people supporting you all of the time, there are people out there that love what you are doing. And that need you to be making your art and making your voice heard. I personally don’t feel like, internally, I went through that much of a journey. Drag Race aside, it was just learning how to play better with others, learning to be less aggressive, things like that.
You definitely were one of the most polarizing people on the show this season in terms of letting people know where they stood with both you and other cast members, and keeping them accountable for what they said and for their behavior. Think you will soften your delivery in the future?
YO: I think that is important. I mean, you can’t get let someone walk around with spinach in their teeth. If you don’t tell them that it’s there, they aren’t every going to understand why people are making weird faces at them! As for changing, it’s far too late to for me to change that now (laughs)! What I got to learn from that experience is how unwilling most people are to do the work that it takes to grow and change to be a better person. We all really badly want to. But at the end of the day you have to face your demons and not make any excuses if you want to get through them. As many fights as I got into, I think we got to see exactly how much work people in general all have to do when it comes to growing.
Where have you landed with your Season 11 sisters and your relationships post-season?
YO: I am fantastic with everybody. There is literally no one that I don’t talk to. And there is no one that I have any bad blood with. It is all pretty kosher for a bunch of queens that spent all season long fighting (laughs)!
You are now one of very few people that have won the Drag Race crown. What advice do you have for girls that enter the completion after you?
YO: Take big risks. Try hard, and scare yourself! step out of your comfort zone and take the biggest risk possible. You have to do things that are going to shake the world up. Drag is not safe and it shouldn’t be safe, it shouldn’t be predictable. If you feel like you are doing something that you have seen other people do, or just because it has been the right answer for somebody, asses whether or not it is the right answer—or not—for you.
Some of your music has been amazing so far. You and Cazwell worked with Craig C on “Weirdo” and you and your Season 11 sister Honey Davenport teamed up on the raucous single “Stan For You”. Do you think we may get to see a full album or EP production from you?
YO: You know, hopefully down the road, I would like to play with it more. I never thought that I would be getting into music. And I just released my single “Dollar Store.” That is just me dipping my toe in the pool and seeing if I liked the way it feels. But I had so much fun working on that, and getting into that process. I am hungry to make more music. So hopefully, yes!
What is next for Yvie Oddly post-Drag Race?
YO: It is, unfortunately, not that immediate. You just have to keep listening to the universe. What I do know, is that my next general step is to just make art and keep pushing the boundaries of what people think drag is. Especially drag in the mainstream. There are plenty of queens out there like me. And there are plenty of people out there like me who experience the things that I do and express the way that I do. They just don’t have the voice. I am going to keep expressing until they get it.
What gives you pride?
YO: What gives me the most pride is just knowing how authentically I am living every day. I love waking up and feeling like I am myself in my own skin. And, whether or not if I like how it looks that day (laughs)! I like who I am as a person. And I like where my moral compass has led me. I also like knowing that I am not alone in this world. That is what Pride is really for. It reminds you that you do have a community. that has all been there. They are all fighting these similar struggles. So, even if you do feel like an oddball, you are not the odd one out. There are others there and we are out loud and proud.