RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Winner Alaska Defends Herself (and Her Meltdown)

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From dust to dust, shade to shade, so another season of RuPaul's Drag Race has come to a close. It was a well-deserved coronation for one of the most dominant runs in Drag Race herstory, as RuPaul crowned Alaska as the winner of All Stars season two. But of course, the win didn't come without controversy: Alaska had a "meltdown, breakdown, whatever you want to call it" in the penultimate episode, and made some elimination decisions that vilified her in the eyes of some viewers and Katya fans. Well, suck it up, racers, because Alaska has no problem pointing out that she won more often than any of her competitors. Vulture got on the phone with her for a brief chat Friday morning to discuss the pressure of putting together a perfect season, her friendship with Roxxxy, and why she deserved to win.

First of all, congratulations. I think you are a very well-deserved winner. You were very emotional onstage when you won. What does it mean to you?
I mean, it's really a culmination of so much time. Because I've auditioned for every single season of Drag Race that's ever existed. And then I finally got on and it was not my moment, and then there was this specter possibility of All Stars happening and then it happened, and I'm just really glad I got to be a part of it. I thought it was really the best season ever.

It was incredible TV. What was going through your mind when RuPaul announced you as the winner?
I did that makeup trick where I smeared my makeup and I was hoping it looked smeared enough. I was like, What do I look like? Actually, I think I asked them for a mirror so I could make sure the makeup was actually smeared because I didn't know what I looked like, I didn't have a mirror. While RuPaul was reviewing the tapes, I made sure my makeup was actually smeared. But it looked pretty good, it worked out.

It looked appropriately messy. I wanted to talk about your, for lack of a better word, meltdown when you were in the bottom.
Meltdown, breakdown, whatever word you want to use.

We've all been there. It felt very real because normally you seem kind of droll and in control. What happened in that moment?
I went in and I wanted to be Bianca del Rio. I wanted to do nothing wrong, I wanted to have nothing on tape where I was fucking up. Then finally the moment happened where that wasn't a reality and I was going through that. I mean, you also have to keep in mind, and Bob the Drag Queen just said this onstage, that we're there, we're waking up at seven in the morning every day, we're working for 12 hours, eating Cheetos and drinking Red Bull. It's a high-pressure situation, so I was going through that. But I think we all have felt that way. Luckily most people when they feel that way they don't have a camera crew, but you know. I'm happy to volunteer as tribute for RuPaul's Drag Race.

Especially this season, it seemed like when queens were in the bottom, it took a big emotional toll on them, like with Adore and with Katya. Why do you think that was?
It definitely took a huge toll because this is our last chance, our last time in Thunderdome. There's not going to be another opportunity. I think we definitely all felt that. 

I want to talk about your strategies and your elimination choices, because it seemed in a few instances like you were not eliminating the person who deserved to go home, but arguably your strongest competition. Was that your strategy?
Well … No, I can seriously say for myself I wasn't making any choices out of cunning or malice or trying to fuck somebody over so I could do better. I literally saw what I saw, I made the best choice literally that I could when I was there. And of course, what you see on TV, I think you get to see as a viewer way more than I got to see. Like, I didn't get to see the actual taping process of all the commercials. And so it was like, I took what information I had and I made the best choice that I could. So I stand behind that.

Even if you don't call it a clique, did you feel like your relationship with Roxxxy impacted your decision-making capabilities?
I think it definitely did. And I think what also came into play was the fact that Roxxxy to me, and I think to a lot of drag queens, is she's from the House of Andrews, she's from this legendary drag house that basically invented what we see as glamorous, polished drag. Like, they're the definition of that. So I think that definitely came into it. And Roxxxy was literally a joy to have around; she was so helpful when the cameras weren't rolling. She was helping you zip up this or pin up that or sew you into that. So yeah, of course it played into it. And so it's like, if being nice to my friend makes me a snake or a bitch, well then I'm the queen of the snakes, okay. That's fine.

So it is a little bit like RuPaul's Best Friend Race?
Sure, thank you Lashauwn Beyond.

What was your favorite moment from the season?
I liked when I did good. I liked the Snatch Game, I thought that was a sweet, innocent time. And it was really fun to watch. 

I wanted to talk about social media, specifically because a lot of people are upset about your win. What’s the best way to respond to that criticism? You did post some response videos that I thought were hilarious, like the one where you were a snake or calling Detox about the bribe.
I haven't been on social media. What, are people mad that I won?

Well, the thing is, okay, here we are, finally, the moment has happened. And it's like, count the points, just count them. It's like, everybody played a great game, everybody did amazing, but the truth is, I won the most things, I won the most lip syncs, I won the most challenges, I won both of the mini-challenges. So I don't know, say what you want to say, but every time in RuPaul's Drag Race, and I know this because I'm obsessed, the person who won the most challenges has won. So if you have a problem with it, watch another show. I mean, watch Survivor, I don't know, become obsessed with that.

You were really on another level this season. What changed for you between your season and this All Stars season?
I think I've just been doing drag a lot, and I'm really grateful to have to opportunity to be a working person who has a job as a drag queen. I mean, that's remarkable and it's really rare and really amazing. But once you go through RuPaul's Drag Race, you're doing drag all the time, you're doing drag five times a week, so I think we all stepped our game up because we've just been doing it so much. But it made it a really great season.

What makes you laugh?
What makes me laugh? I like really mean humor. Like, my favorite thing is when drag queens say really mean stuff to me. So that's just how I am. I love Jackie Beat, I think she's fucking hilarious. I think she has some of the most smartly written — it's so smart to be so dumb. I absolutely love it. I love mean, rotten, stupid humor.

This interview has been edited and condensed.