Over several seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, only a handful of contestants can say that they came close to winning, only to settle for the runner-up position. One contestant, Raven, has those people beat: after placing as Runner-Up in Season 2, she returned for the recent All-Stars season of Drag Race, only to find herself in the exact same placement at the end of the season.
Still, Raven’s placements on both seasons of the show, along with her role on spinoff Drag U, have made her one of the biggest names in the franchise’s history. Before her Atlanta debut at Burkhart’s on May 23 and 24, I caught up with Raven to talk about her Drag Race experiences, her start in drag, and more.
Being on RuPaul’s Drag Race certainly can have an impact on a performer’s career. With your appearances in Season 2, All-Stars and Drag U, how much has that continual exposure affected your career?
Oh my gosh! Before appearing on Season 2, I was thinking to myself, “What the hell are you doing with your drag? Where are you taking it and do you even want to continue?” I had been doing drag andperforming for eight years up until I got the call I was a cast member for Season 2.
I was doing the club and bar gigs, which I love, but just doing the local hot spots and sometimes not so hot spots! One of my goals was to travel with my drag and go perform and see different places. I saw a definite jolt in my drag “career” after having the opportunity to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Drag U and thenAll Stars! It is a true blessing!
You were the runner-up in both Season 2 and All-Stars. If you had the chance to compete in another season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, would you do it again? What was your reaction to your placement inAll-Stars?
I would most definitely do it all again! I loved the entire experience. From beginning to end. I was asked the same question after Season 2 and I did get to do it all again with All Stars. A crowned queen, I am not destined to be!
What do you love about RuPaul’s Drag Race?
I love that it has taken an art form that so many people have “poo-pooed”, misunderstood and bashed at times and put it into their homes. It has opened the eyes of so many people and really helped wake them up! It has sparked a whole new generation of drag babies. Everyone wants to do it now…it is fun!
How did you get your start in drag?
I was a go-go boy and also a back up dancer for friends who did drag. I remember sitting and watching a show one night and thinking I wanted to be the one in the makeup, heels and wig. I wanted to do drag the way I wanted to. I wanted to be center stage. I wanted to do it—only once!
My friend, who I was a backup dancer for, held an amateur contest and I said, “I’m doing this!” I did not care if I won or lost. I wanted to say that I actually went on stage and performed the way I wanted to. It turns out I won. I often think if what would have happened had I not won?!?
Besides appearing at Burkhart’s during your Atlanta stay, what do you plan on doing while you’re in Atlanta?
Probably catching a few Z’s, but hopefully I get to see some of the sights. I have never been to Atlanta, and I’m so excited!
What are your plans for the next few months?
I have a full calendar! I am literally gone every weekend and loving it. But I still want to make sure I get in some beach time, and a few summer visits to Disneyland are always fun!
Raven takes the stage at Burkhart’s May 23–24. On May 23, she’ll appear in Dancefloor Divas at 11:30 p.m. with fellow Drag Race alums Phoenix and Mariah Paris Balenciaga. On May 24, she’ll appear with Angelica D’Paige in The Fab Five, beginning at 11 p.m. For more information, visit burkharts.com.