Shantay, you stay! RuPaul’s Drag Race is the little engine that could. Since its debut in 2009, the reality tv show skyrocketed from a cult classic to an Emmy Award winning television phenomenon that has helped launch the career of hundreds of talented drag queens. Every season, we are introduced to a gaggle of new stars who have each taken the drag world by storm in their own creative way. In season 11, we were introduced to one of my new favorites, the life size Bratz Doll from New Jersey, Ariel Versace.
Upon entering the Werk Room for Drag Race’s 11th season, the larger than life performer had quite the following on Instagram before the show and was quickly labeled an “Instagram Queen” by her fellow contestants. Ariel is known for her over the top hair, large than life costumes and colorful makeup and she quickly one of our favorites this season.
I hung out with the New Jersey born queen before her show at Vera Night Club in Cherry Hill, Jersey. Ariel made quite the entrance as she entered the room for our interview. Dressed in sugary sweet orange wig and a nude colored corset with black silk accents, she commanded the room as she strutted over to us in her sky high nude heels. Her star power (aka charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent) was undeniable. The first question that came to my mind was, “How does every drag queen always walk like there is a perfectly placed fan in front of them. It’s very Beyoncé and I’m here for it, honey!
We chatted about the New York City stop of RuPaul’s DragCon, aka the glammed up drag version of The Van’s Warped Tour (for all my scene friends) and season 11 of Drag Race. “It’s called drag race,” She said. “It’s a race.”
On her mermaid look on the show: “That blue hair, it was all about the big hair on the show, especially marketing my hair business. But, that blue hair was two wigs laying on the table of stuff we could use.” She said with a laugh. “We only had like forty minutes to change looks in between each of the three runways and I made that hair during that forty minutes. That’s why I was like fuck my makeup!”
On her season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: “Do I think that if I were to get on another season after this that I would I be stronger? Fuck yes! I think that I would be so much better than I presented. Especially because I have more resources now.” She said. “With you being here, I’m from such a small area. So, even a lot of the girls are from New York, which is technically a small place but there’s a lot of resources. When I had got on the show, I had just moved into my house. Money was a little bit tighter. I used what I had. I didn’t have as many designers or things around here. I took control all of my hair. I didn’t have a hundred different resources like a lot of the other girls did. I kind of just had to make do with what I already had.”
On how she would do RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: “But now, I am definitely more confident in what I’m doing and just going through that experience and having the resources I do now. I could definitely kill it now. And I won’t fucking fall this time!”
On being eliminated after her lip sync for your life to Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”: I mean would I have wanted a different lip sync song? Obviously.” She said. “That was a good old mid-tempo gig-o-rama.”
So does she cringe when she listens to Whitney’s iconic track? “Kind of! I mean I made a mix when that I happened. I made a performance with that in it and I like fall over and then go into Fergie’s ‘London Bridge.’ “You have to make the best out of it.
Watch the video for the full interview!