Back in 2009, you’d be hard-pressed to find an average American who knew the definition of a death drop or how to read a queen for filth. That all changed with RuPaul’s Drag Race, the must-see competition series returning this summer with its second All Stars season on Logo. And it promises to be bitchier and funnier than ever.
“The girls dropped whatever they were doing to do this,” RuPaul says. “We’ve got a hundred girls now, so we could pretty much do All Stars forever.”
So who’s going to lip-sync for their life this time around?
The season is heavy with season 5 queens – including the reunion of the tart-tongued clique RoLaskaTox (Roxxxy Andrews, Alaska Thunderf— and Detox) – as well as longtime rivals Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese.
Viewers will also get a healthy dose of laughs from season 7 comedy queens Ginger Minj and Katya and season 6 runner-up Adore Delano will return as well.
Finally, standouts from earlier seasons Phi Phi O’Hara (season 4) and Tatianna (season 2) will also take to the Drag Race stage.
As for the process of choosing the ensemble, RuPaul says it was simple: “It’s who’s going to work well together, who’s going to make a great story.” With a sweaty summer on the horizon, we could all use a little shade.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Alaska, Adore, Alyssa and Katya to chat about returning to Drag Race and their plans to snatch the crown their second time around.
Congratulations on getting cast in the second All Stars season! What was it like leaving the show and the coming back into it for another season?
ALASKA: You would think that you would feel a little bit more prepared going into it a second time, but no, it’s still completely terrifying. From the start to the end of the day, every moment you’re just afraid of going home and being read for filth by Michelle Visage, and there’s really nothing that makes that constant anxiety go away. Yeah, it’s terrifying, but at the same time what an amazing gift to be able to go back into that giant pink room again, which I never thought I would get that chance again.
KATYA: “I didn’t even go home, I didn’t even actually go home. They just kept me in one of the green rooms with no AC, no ventilation and I just festered until they were like, “Time for round two, Katya. Do it!” [Laughs] But yeah, no time passed so it was a benefit in a sense because it was very familiar, but the downside is that other girls have had like years to be out in the professional world honing their craft, and I had just made progress getting over my PTSD and then it was back into the fire.
ADORE: It was super, super weird, just, like, really weird. You go through it once and then you come back and think it’s going to be the same vibes, and it’s just different – it’s way different. It’s more pressure definitely because they’re on you, they expect you to do it all, and it’s just a lot.
ALYSSA: Well, I was super excited, and I had kind of anticipated this. Ever since Drag Race season 5 I had hit the ground running, and it’s such a huge blessing to live day to day as a gal on the go. You know that old saying, “You’re always better the second time around?” I needed this window of opportunity to redeem myself. Look, in season 5 I went into Drag Race thinking I had co-wrote the book on drag – I had taken every class and every crash course and I had followed all the rules and I had won all the pageants and lost a couple, and I was ready. But I got there and I thought, “Oh wow, I must’ve missed this class.” And I think my drag, my art, my character was kind of reborn after that season, and I just started exploring creativity more. I said the first time, I’m here to show people I still got it, and so this second time I came back to say, I always had it, I never lost it, I’m just here to prove it.
Did you have a game plan coming into this season?
ALASKA: Well, I definitely wanted to do better. On season 5, which was so long ago, I think I was more interested in just making friends and having a good time with the other queens. So this time I went into it and I was like, “I actually want to make people mad by doing really good.”
KATYA: I didn’t get to show all my cards the first time around, out of fear or whatever, and it’s so rare in life that you get a second chance. So this time I thought, “Everything you were regretful about the first time around, make sure that doesn’t happen this time.” And so I didn’t or I did. I don’t know, tune in to find out!
ADORE: I think we had so much time after our season that we really began to develop our own drag characters. You kind of find your own pack when you let time settle in, and I just wanted to go into All Stars being myself, if anything kind of amping it up a little bit more and being a little extra weird, because they need to know who I am by now.
ALYSSA: I went into All Stars with a very open mind. I just thought, “Laugh at yourself, be in on the joke, don’t take every challenge so seriously” – that’s where I think I messed up in season 5. So I was like, you know there’s going to be an acting challenge, you know there’s going to be a comedy challenge just go in there and be open to whatever they throw at you. It’s like what I teach children everyday as a dance teacher: “I’m going to throw material at you, and it’s your job to catch it and throw it right back faster,” and that’s how I feel about Drag Race. I was just going to go in there and just be wide eyed and ready to go, take every challenge with this sense of, “Girl, you’re up in a drag show, just go for it, go for gold, and if you get the silver, well at least you tried.”
Who were you most excited to see in the cast of All Stars season 2?
ALASKA: I felt like I was in the TV seeing Katya and Ginger because I had just watched their season on television, and then here I am in the workroom with them. So it was a little like a bizarre fever dream. So that was really weird. And I was completely stunned to see Tatianna walk into the room, mostly because she’s arrestingly beautiful.
KATYA: I was really hoping for Laganja and that didn’t work, so that was a big disappointment. And then the other one was Gia and then same thing, so I felt very dejected right off the bat. But I was happy to see anybody – I’m one of the rare little birds who kind of gets along with anybody, mostly out of this desperate need to be liked. I was really, really interested to see how relationships would change, if at all, in terms of the competition, because we’re all familiar with one another. In fact, Roxxxy was the only one I hadn’t met previously, so I was very curious to see if she was going to be a big old bitch like she was on her season. [Laughs]
ADORE: Probably Detox and Tatianna, because they’re the closest to me out of Drag Race. Every time I’m in D.C. I hang out with Tati, and D I’ve known since before I did drag, so in my brain I was like, “We’re going to have a blast,” because as soon as you see Detox you know you’re going to have fun.
ALYSSA: I really, really enjoy Katya a whole lot, and Alaska a whole lot. Me and Alaska, we’ve done a lot of projects together since, so walking in and seeing her . We both have really wanted this for so long, so I was happy to see her.
Was there anyone not on All Stars who you would’ve liked to see on the new season?
ALASKA: Well, I could’ve sworn Shangela was gonna show up; I’m still waiting for a pink box with Shangela in it. There are so many queens. I wanted to see Porkchop Parker, I wanted to see Trixie Mattel, Kennedy Davenport, Nicole Paige Brooks. I would’ve loved to see anybody from the family get in there, but there are only so many spots, so I feel really lucky that I get to be in one of those spots.
KATYA: I was really hoping for Laganja and Gia, because I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them after their seasons. Laganja in particular, the transformation that she’s had, it’s not even like a chrysalis into a butterfly; it’s like a beaver into a hippo. She is one of the most electrifying entertainers and one of the nicest people ever. And especially because she had such a meltdown on her season, which I really identify with. I think that she could’ve come into that competition and just really succeeded, winning or not. But that’s life! And now it’s just like a season 5 reunion. What’s up with that!? F— those bitches.
ADORE: As a fan, you want to see someone like Trixie, or there’s a lot of people. There’s just so many good girls now that it’s just hard to cast an All Stars season because everybody is doing so wonderfully now. So, you know, the Trixies, and maybe Alisa Summers and stuff like that because you kind of want to see a good comeback.
ALYSSA: Shangela! I was like, where is my daughter Shangela, or for that matter Laganja? You know, Laganja has grown so much. I really hate that she was not there. She’s one of the queens who’s had the most growth from her season to now, and I would’ve loved to see her in that room, especially with me – that would’ve been interesting. And for that matter, the whole House of Edwards, that would’ve been quite a spectacle! Well, hopefully that will be its own TV show, so stay tuned!
RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race will premiere its second season on Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on Logo.