Interview: RuPaul’s Drag Race – Naomi Smalls
After ten gruelling weeks of watching our favourite queens jump through hoops to reach the finish line, season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race has finally reached its conclusion. With Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls all reaching the final stage of the competition, they fought for their right to the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar with final lip sync performances and interviews with RuPaul in front of a live audience. With what is arguably one of the strongest top three that the show has ever seen, their skills and talent made for what was overall an unforgettable finale.
Though she may not have taken the crown, or even have been anyone’s first guess for the crown, there’s no doubt that Naomi Smalls was a tough competitor. After rising to the challenge during the Wizards of Drag challenge in episode six with her episode-winning scarecrow outfit, she rose to the top of the pack and overcame the doubts and naysayers that plagued her earlier in the competition. As one of the finest fashion-forward queens of the season, Naomi Smalls was surely worthy of her spot in the top 3. Following the finale, we had the chance to ask her about her experience on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Michael Smith: How was your time on RuPaul’s Drag Race? Are you happy with how you were presented on the show?
Naomi Smalls: I had a blast on RPDR! It was the most fun experience I’ve ever had. It was also draining, stressful, and nerve wracking. But getting to meet lifelong friends who share the same interests I do and that I get to work so closely with was amazing. I presented my true self to the show and I believe it was very well represented on camera.
MS: You made it to the top 3! Did you expect this when filming first started?
NS: I walked into the drag race workroom wanting the crown and ready to do anything I had to do in order to get it. I was not surprised to make top 3 because I saw myself there when I auditioned.
MS: Who did you expect to make it to the top 3 with you? Were you surprised by either of the other two?
NS: I expected Bob and Kim to do really well in the competition, but I also thought Betty would get into the top 3. I’m happy she didn’t, because then I wouldn’t be there! [laughs]
MS: While you were criticised for having a familiar silhouette through most of the early competition, you really came through for the Wizard of Oz challenge and shone from that point on. What was it that stimulated this increased performance from you?
NS: What stimulated my performance in the competition was that I got way too close to going home and obviously no one wants to do that, so I made sure I did whatever I had to do.
MS: How has your career been going since the show started? Has the show had the kind of effect on your career that you expected or wanted?
NS: Post RPDR has been amazing. I get to travel all over and meet amazing fans and experience drag everywhere! It’s so interesting to me to see other styles of drag and how they perform.
MS: Was there anything you wanted to do on the show that you weren’t able to do?
NS: I would have loved to sit down with RuPaul for the Tic Tac dinner but it did not happen this season.
MS: You got your own lip sync song, Legs, during the live finale. Is this the kind of song you prefer to lip sync to? How much input did you have in it?
NS: The song for finale is written for us by the show. They nailed it! It was totally a song I would love to catwalk on a stage to while posing to grab that money, honey.
MS: What was your favourite part about your time on Drag Race?
NS: My favorite part about my time on drag race was meeting Kim Chi and getting close with her. I have made a friend for life and can’t wait to work together in the future.