Her name was etched in sorrow, but now it’s blasted in lights. Although Asia O’Hara bowed out of the finals on RuPaul’s Drag Race season ten, she’s left an indelible mark on the drag community with her stunning looks, winning personality, and a social-media presence that is both lively and moving. The day after the finale, we spoke with Asia on the phone to chat about compassion, getting gloriously messy online, and what she would have done for the final number.
Is there anything you want to say about the butterfly moment?
I went into some detail on my social media, but I think it’s just important for people to know that I made a mistake, and even though it wasn’t out of negligence, I’m looking forward to doing right by it and learning from that.
It had to be difficult to watch the final three when you obviously prepared a whole performance for “Bang Bang” as well. What would you have done?
[Chuckles.] I hate to be this way, but I’m hoping I get to showcase this idea in the future. Had this happened a month earlier, I would be able to do this all of June for Pride season, but I want to be able to showcase what I had planned, and I want everybody to be able to enjoy it, even though they weren’t able to enjoy it in the manner that I had hoped. When you see it, you’ll know exactly what it was meant to be.
Thank you for leaving some mystery! Let’s talk about the reunion: You went toe to toe with Ru on the Vixen leaving and the larger issue of compassion. It almost felt like Ru was shouting over you at the end. What’s your reaction to that in hindsight?
It went down the way that it went down. If you take all the decoration off it, it’s just two people having a conversation about something they feel very strongly about. Ru is from a different generation than me. If you were to sit down to have a conversation with your uncle about politics, he may have a vastly different view on things than you do. At some point, out of respect for him, you kind of have to say, “Okay, I hear you.” You have to know that’s the way conversations go with people from a different generation. The important thing to understand is, in some cases, it’s unfair to force people from other generations to live by every social standard of today. Looking back on it, there’s nothing special or grand or even me “going toe to toe” with him — it’s just me having a conversation with him about something that’s very important to both of us. We both said our piece and went about our day.
It was like the most glamorous Thanksgiving-dinner conversation.
You’re certainly one of the most empathic people to ever be on the show. Where do you find the space in your life to think and care about others so deeply?
Oh my God, that’s the only thing I have! It’s the most important thing to me. I guess I could say it comes naturally, but it’s really the thing I get the most joy from and where I find myself the most passionate. At the reunion, had it been me in the Vixen’s place having to advocate for myself, I probably would not have been as passionate about it. It’s those moments when I feel my heart come alive. It’s just deeply embedded in who I am as a person.
In the last Untucked, Aquaria expressed that you had a deep effect on her, and that seemed to really move you. How do you feel about her victory?
Aquaria is very deserving of her victory, and I’m very excited and very proud for her. I think our friendship has enriched both of us. We both give each other advice on certain things — she gives me advice on fashion, I give her advice on being an adult. It’s a great pairing, and making those connections is one of the most special things about the show.
It was so sweet to see your drag daughter and your boyfriend Brett get some screentime at the finale. Did we essentially see a proposal during your interview?
Oh my God! Not a downright proposal, because we’re both traditionalists and we both would not stand for anything less than someone at sunset down on one knee. But it’s a conversation we’ve had. We both know where our life is headed and we know where each other’s hearts are, so we’re in no rush.
We have to ask about your social-media high jinks! What’s the tea on one of your season-ten sisters potentially voting for Trump? You said it was a joke, but where did that come from?
[Laughs.] It was a joke! I was just on a rampage, just being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous. Come to find out afterwards, people took it seriously, and prior to all of that some of the season-ten girls did follow him on Twitter, as a lot of people do. People took that and ran with that and said, “Oh my God, they must have voted for him!” It all just came out of me being silly, and it started with me outing the Vixen for being the only queen who didn’t have an iPhone, so it kind of blossomed from there.
We would love to see you on All Stars. We know you’re fresh off this season, but would you consider that?
I’m not opposed to it! I’m definitely not “gung-ho, game on, let’s go right now.” I’m taking it day by day, and when and if I get the opportunity, I’ll seriously consider it. I’m definitely not anti–All Stars as some girls are, and I’m definitely not “Oh my God, please put me on All Stars!” as some girls are.
You still have to slap Ru back. Do you vow to someday take vengeance?
Yeah! Absolutely. It’s coming. It’s like a Get Out of Jail Free card, so I’m really trying to make sure I use it at the best time possible.