RuPaul crowned the winning queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 2 finale Thursday night. And while Roxxxy Andrews, Detox and Katya Zamolodchikova tried their best, they were unable to best Alaska Thunderf — 5000 from snatching the crown.
The 31-year-old queen dominated the show, winning four challenges and taking home $40,000 in prize money. Earlier Thursday, she took a break from borrowing clothes and practicing parseltongue to untuck and speak to PEOPLE about her win, her haters — and all the juicy Drag Race drama on and off-set.
Condragulations! What did it feel like to win?
How do I describe that moment? It’s the culmination of four years of working, trying, growing and learning. I think it hasn’t truly hit me. But when I’m wearing the crown to the airport and to the gas station, I’m sure it will hit me at some moment. Because I’m never taking it off.
You’ve really refined yourself since your first time on Drag Race — and you seemed way more focused this time. But what’s changed the most for you outside of the competition?
The biggest change that has happened for me is not getting wasted going on stage. I know it sounds obvious, but as a drag queen, it’s like drinking is part of our job. So now I’m like ‘No — I don’t want to impede the natural energy from coming through me when I’m on stage. If I’m feeling nervous when I’m on stage, that’s good because it transmutes into adrenaline and it gives you better instincts and better improve onstage. That’s a huge thing I’ve learned.
Also, I don’t do cocaine anymore because I’m too old and I don’t have time to recover from it. It takes forever! It’s great for a half an hour and then it’s three days of wanting to die. I personally don’t have time for that.
You had a rough week last week, throwing a bit of a temper tantrum after finding yourself in the bottom two for the first time all season. What happened?
I probably would have been better off if I just smoked a joint and relaxed a little bit, but that is not how I was. I was focused and put a lot of pressure on myself. I didn’t want to flip or fall or even do anything that could be construed as flipping or falling. And finally when I did, it was a huge breakdown moment for me. I think we’ve all probably felt like that at one time or another. Luckily we all don’t have a camera crew on us when it happened.
Do you regret anything you said or did during that moment?
I don’t regret it — but I would have just chilled out a little bit more if I could do it again. One of the critiques I got on season 5 was that I needed to show more vulnerability, so I guess I was pretty vulnerable!
The haters certainly came after you online throughout the season — especially when you voted off Alyssa the first time. How do you take that?
It’s a waste of energy to send your time filling my inboxes with snake emojis. I mean, as much as I love snakes, I think there’s probably a better way to spend your time. So as the queen of the snakes, I decree that they use their energy elsewhere. Support things that really matter — like getting women paid an equal wage, the black lives matter movement, and making sure Donald Trump does not become president.
Speaking of backlash, Phi Phi O’Hara has been pretty critical about the show since her elimination — claiming producers manipulated her. Did you feel any of that manipulation?
We all went into it knowing that it’s a TV show. Do the producers want us to be in high-stress situations where dramatic things occur? Yes, absolutely. And I think they really delivered on that. I don’t think any of us has come out completely scot-free from experiencing drama on television. However, that is what we signed up for and we are making a TV show.
What about her comments towards RuPaul?
It’s important to remember that RuPaul has given us a really great opportunity and I never forget that. I’m just really grateful to have the career and do the work I do now. I’m grateful every single day for that.
You famously dated season 4 winner Sharon Needles — though you broke up after your run in season 5. You’re both in the Hall of Fame. Do you two still talk? Did she give you any All Stars advice?
Sharon and I talk all the time. Sharon’s been through it all — being the underdog and being the hero, and then having people sort of turn against her and then coming through that again. So she has a great perspective on fame and notoriety. She’s literally the funniest person I know. I really look up to her and I really value her advice and her guidance. She’s really cool.
What was your favorite moment of the season?
I thought Snatch Game was very fun. I really enjoyed doing that — it was definitely a high point for me. I also loved being Lil’ Pound Cake and embodying her — as terrifying as she is. It was a good reveal moment.
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Lil’ Pound Cake seems to be the focus of your new album, Poundcake, and single, “Puppet.”
Yes, I was kidnapped by Lil’ Pound Cake and forced into the studio. She made me record an album and name it after her. So I implore you — do not buy it on Oct. 14. Do not buy it on iTunes, do not buy it on Amazon, and do not buy it on [my website].
Any chance fans will see her on tour?
She tends to follow me around certain cities, so I wouldn’t rule it out.
If it weren’t you — who would you have wanted to see win All Stars 2?
I really would have loved to have seen Alyssa Edwards up there. I could definitely see her taking the crown and running with it. But really I think it could have been any of the girls who were there. We are all all stars, so it just really came down to the tiny little details.