The queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race have never shied away from opening up about some of their most painful experiences in their lives — and a revelation on Friday’s episode may be one of the most heartbreaking ones fans have heard yet.
In an exclusive sneak peek at the episode, New York City-based queen Peppermint (né Agnes Moore) talked about the violent bullying she received in high school.
“I did high school cheerleading,” the 37-year-old tells her cast mates. “I’ll never forget. I was in the gym with all the cheerleaders. Some of the girls were like, ‘Oh what do you think about that basketball players of there?’ And he was sooo fine. Like, coco skin. And I was like, ‘Oh, he’s cute, he’s cute.’ “
The innocent answer had scary consequences for Peppermint.
“Later on at lunch, I see the entire basketball team looking at me like I’m about to get it. So I get up like, ‘Let me get out of here early.’ I’m by myself in the stairwell and the entire basketball team comes up the steps, and one of the boys beats the hell out of me.”
Her fellow queens gasped at the revelation — but Peppermint assures them it had a happier ending.
“Afterwards I was talking to the secretary and told her what happened. And you know how those high school offices have all glass windows? And I turn around and I swear, the entire school was just there. It felt like a circle of love. People were crying. My friends were out there.”
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What happened to he attacker? “He got expelled,” Peppermint reveals. “And I stayed captain of the cheerleading squad.”
The first openly trans woman ever to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Peppermint shares the incident helped her feel strong about who she is and understand the importance of feeling supported.
“When I was in high school I was singled out for being different,” she recalls. “After that incident I had strangers reaching out to me, and I knew right away that I was loved. And that felt great.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays (8 p.m. ET) on VH1.