RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Tatianna on Elimination, Rolaskatox, and Making Good Choices

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Tatianna came into the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars as an unknown quantity. How much had she evolved since competing on Drag Race in 2010, when she was a talented newcomer knocked for being too green? On All Stars, she proved she was up to the part, delivering some memorable performances and a fresh catchphrase, but under the show's new elimination rules, she was unceremoniously dumped not once, but twice. Earlier today, Vulture spoke with Tatianna on the phone about her All Stars run, the influence of the Rolaskatox clique, and why she doesn’t think she should have gone home.

What made you want to return to Drag Race?
I wanted to return just because the competition is fun. [Laughs.] It's a good time. It's great for one's career and, you know, trying to get some money out of the deal. I had a lot of fun on season two. All Stars was a no-brainer.

And you did make a little money.
Yeah, totally! I won like $5,000 and I got a dress and some jewelry so I'm not mad about it.

Your lip-sync with Alyssa was amazing. Were you surprised that you won?
Not so much surprised, just shocked that it went as well in real life as it did in my head. You never really know how you're doing, you know what I mean? Also, Alyssa is a big dancing queen. I don't think many people thought that I was going to be able to compete against her in that kind of way. Not everyone is necessarily familiar with what I'm able to do when it comes to a lip-sync. On season two, all I had were '70s mid-tempo jams. Nothing dance-worthy.

Do you wish you had lent Alaska something to wear?
Ha! You know what? No! I don't think that it has anything to do with that. The moment it was me and Roxxxy in the bottom, I knew that I was gonna go home because she's not gonna send home Roxxxy. I think the crop top was a very convenient detail.

Do you think it had to do with Rolaskatox? Alaska said she was out of the clique, but it seems to be staying strong.
In every interview that I did on the show, you see me going, 'Well girl, if I'm against one of the …" Every time I was sent home, it was because Alaska won and I was in the bottom with some part of Rolaskatox. I don't think they walked into it going, "We're a clique." But they were already a clique. You can't really un-clique yourself once you're a clique.

Naturally, they're going to look out for each other. I think Alaska was just using the excuse, "Oh, she gave me her crop top," as a way to make it look better.

Judging from social media, at least, a lot of people think the wrong person went home.
Yes. I feel that same way. [Laughs.]

So you think Roxxxy should've gone home?
I think I should not have gone home.

I don't think you should've been in the bottom.
Yeah. I agree with that one, too.

What do you think of the elimination format? Is it fair?
No, it's obviously not always going to end up being fair. The worst person in the challenge isn't always the person that goes home because it's up to the other girls. Sometimes, they might pick off someone who's a threat. Sometimes, they might pick off someone who's getting on their nerves. It's not always gonna be fair when it comes to eliminations, doing it this way.

Both you and Alyssa decided to send Phi Phi home last week. Why did you pick her?
Well, first and foremost, I thought that her and Coco did the worst in the challenge, especially given there were two of them and Roxxxy was all alone. I thought that Roxxxy gave it a good ol' try — you know, she tried to bring back an old character from her season — and I thought that she did as much as she could in the best way that she could.

Also, Phi was plucking my nerves a little bit by playing mind games or whatever.

Can you tell me more about that?
Well, after the comedy challenge, he told me, "You were really funny, but Detox wasn't." And then he told Detox, "You were really funny, but Tatianna wasn't so funny." Within an hour of that, me and Detox traded notes and we were like, "Oh bitch, okay. Cool. I see you." That played into it, too. But overall, they clearly did the worst.

Afterwards, Phi Phi blamed the edit for making her seem like a villain. Would you agree with that?
I don't think she was coming off crazy or super villainy. I think it is editing, but not in the way people are taking it. Phi Phi said everything that she said, and she said it the way she said it. They're just not showing what everyone else also said. When five people say the same thing but you only show one person saying it, it makes it look like that one person is the only person that feels that way.

I'd like to get your advice on how one makes good choices.
You make good choices by thinking things through and just being smart about your shit, you know what I mean? Don't be stupid. [Laughs.] It's that easy.

How did "choices" become your catchphrase?
It fits in a lot of places. I'm not one of those people who go into something with a planned catchphrase. Like, "thank you" was not ever a thought in my mind until I watched the show. And I was like, oh, I guess I said thank you a lot and they're certainly using it a lot. It's all kind of organic. "Choices" is just something I had been saying, so I said it a few times here and there. I guess it just caught on.

What was your favorite moment from this season?
I think it's split between three. I loved how well "The Same Parts" came off because that was pretty awesome. It was a total fluke, last-minute decision. Obviously, I really loved the opportunity to lip-sync twice, but mainly with Alyssa. And my T-Boz runway! I had been waiting to do that, so I was super excited that ended up working out. They had told us to bring a '90s look, but then they told us the night before, "You guys won't be doing '90s looks anymore." And I was like, damn, I really wanted to! And Katya was like, "well, isn't your T-Boz pants? You can wear that for your pants on the runway." And I was like, you're a fucking smart bitch.

Is there anything you wished you did differently?
Not really. I'd choose another Snatch Game character, but other than that, I felt good about everything that I did when I was doing it. I don't really have any regrets. I'm pretty pleased with what I did.

Tell me about how "The Same Parts" came about. You said that you switched it at the last minute?
Yeah, I had some other weird, spoken-word thing that I thought was gonna be cute. I wrote "The Same Parts" back when I was 16 or 17. It's literally about me going to house parties and dancing with dudes and stuff when I was a little teen drag queen. A little ho. I was like, if I slow it down and take out a whole bunch of the curse words, I can make this work with the music that was provided.

Who are you rooting for now?
I'm rooting for Katya. I love me some Katya. I love her points of view on drag and also just life in general. And she's completely fucking crazy, which I really enjoy. I'm definitely rooting for her.

How do you hope people will remember your performance this season? What's the biggest takeaway they should have?
You never know what you're gonna get because I'm surprising in certain situations. I'm talented, and I think some people may have forgotten that. Or they might not know it because they'd never seen season two. The biggest takeaway is that Tatianna is kind of sickening. I think that's the best way to sum it up.