The finale started with a production number presenting all of the queens from Season 9 and ended with RuPaul and dancers — who I must say looked more beautiful than ever!
(Photo: Courtesy of VH1)
Next up were mini interviews with the top four finalists who all wore extravagant outfits. Then Ross Matthews explained to us how the new lip sync for the crown was going to work. The wheel was spun and Trinity was chosen. She got to choose who she would lip sync against, and she picked Peppermint. When Peppermint twirled from an above-the-knee outfit with long dark hair into a long fabric gown with white short hair, the battle was over!
Next up were Shea and Sasha. These best buddies had to compete against each other for the last spot in the final two. Who knew Sasha was such a dramatic and excellent lip syncer? But when she pulled her wig off and tons of rose petals fell out is when we knew for sure, she was taking the final spot.
While Peppermint and Sasha were preparing, we got to see Season 8 winner, Bob The Drag Queen, with another mini interview with Rupaul, and find out what Bob had been up to. At this point we were just left with Peppermint vs. Sasha, and Sasha snatched the crown (you may recall this writer predicting Sasha’s win a few weeks back).
I’ll never forget this moment! Crowned as Americas Next Drag Superstar by last years winner @bobthedragqueen @rupaulsdragrace 👑 Outfit a twist on presidential realness: shirt/tie gown by @bcallabcalla 👔; acrylic jewelry and buttons by @islynyc (those zig zag glasses right?!). Photo by @britterst 💖
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It was a pleasure to sit down with Sasha, only days after she was crowned, for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
Q: At what age did drag become an interest and how did you pick your name?
A: I started doing drag as a little kid, and quite honestly, I thought I invented it as I had never seen other drag queens. As I started finding out about drag and its history, I realized how important it would be to tap into the heritage of drag and become the gender-fluid and fabulous queen I had always dreamed of becoming. I started doing drag professionally at age 25. My real name is Sasha, which is a confusingly gender non-specific name…I love that. I just gave myself a fabulous last name, Velour, the poor’s man’s velvet.
Q: How many times did you apply to be on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”? How did it feel when you found out you got chosen?
A: I auditioned twice. The first time my drag was very much in development. This time I really felt clear about what I was doing and what role drag would play in my life and what impact I wanted to leave. When I was chosen it was such a huge vote of confidence, and made me feel like I did have a place and I wanted to show who I really was.
Q: Tell us about your “RuPaul’s Drag Race” experience…
A: It was an incredible experience! I knew it would be challenging and that I would have to do things outside my comfort zone. I went in open-minded that my drag would change. What I didn’t expect was to make connections and friendships with the other drag queens and that our friendships would become creative collaborations. These collaborations changed my drag even more. Drag Race was really a community experience for me.
Q: Before and after the taping of the finale, what was your thought process of you winning?
A: It was hard to say as I thought we were all on equal footing going into the finale. It was really hard to predict. The audience’s reaction to my lip sync made me feel like the winner. I had no regrets no matter what happened. I felt like I really got to show what I am as a drag queen and what I do.
Q: If you couldn’t win, who would you have wanted to win?
A: I believe in each of the top four for different reasons. At the end of the day I was rooting for Peppermint, as we shared a platform that could represent our own parts of the LGBTQ community. I knew whichever one of us would win we would step up and become leaders to show people that they can live their truest lives with grace and kindness, and make changes in the world.
Q: What’s the first thing you are going to buy with the money?
A: I’m going to invest the money in this drag show in Brooklyn called “Nightgown.” I am going to take it on the road to show that drag can be expanded into radical new places. I am transforming the show into a not-for-profit organization. It will benefit queer people in need of housing and education. The most important legacy I can leave is someone who is a community leader and activist!
Q: Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.
A: I am a lot sillier than people think. I take drag seriously, so I come across that way, but I don’t take myself seriously. I do impressions and crazy accents all day long.
Q: What’s ahead for Sasha?
A: New and different types of performances. Now that I realize how people love the show-stopping wildness of my performances, I got reenergized to take it even further.