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Drag Race’s Kerri Colby Is Still Jasmine’s Big Sister

Photo: VH1

Sometimes Drag Race lip-sync pairings have a way of working out in a certain poetic way. (Thanks, producers.) That can heat up the drama of the show — remember Coco Montrese versus Alyssa Edwards? It can also make it harder to say good-bye to the queen who goes home, as we saw this past week.

Jasmine Kennedie and Kerri Colby found themselves in the bottom two after a girl-groups performance challenge just one episode after Kennedie emotionally came out as trans in Untucked! and spoke about how Colby is a role model for her own transition. (Colby, meanwhile, is one of just a handful of queens to have entered the show as an out trans woman.) Kennedie assured Colby she didn’t need to hold back in the lip sync during this week’s Untucked!, but despite Colby’s best voguing to Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart,” she was ultimately sent home by her new little sister. Vulture caught up with Colby after that emotional elimination to talk about supporting Kennedie, jump rope, and the look she wishes she got to wear.

I want to get right into the end of this episode. The lip sync against Jasmine was a bit emotional after last week, and you had this moment in Untucked! where she was basically saying, “Don’t hold back. I still want this to be a lip sync.” What was that performance like?
There was definitely an element to it that was devastating, but there was also, in a way, a fire. ’Cause with her and my relationship, I did kind of take on this role of being a big sister to her and welcoming her into the family, so it was like, in my head, Let me show you how the big sister does it. But it was also very heartbreaking — funny enough, because we were performing “Un-Break My Heart.”

And you didn’t hold back in the performance either. Especially when you brought out the voguing.
When that beat dropped, I was like, It is go time.

Even before that specific moment with Jasmine in last week’s Untucked!, just to be sitting in this room where Jasmine, Bosco, and the queens are talking so openly about gender identity, what was that like for you?
It was so surreal because, for me, coming from Texas especially, when I was first starting to feel myself, first starting to have those conversations, it was a very unspoken thing. Like, gasp, “Oh my God, can we talk about this? No, we can’t.” It was so much emotion and suppression behind it. Then, for us, in this moment, to be able to still have emotion but the suppression is a hundred percent gone, it’s just an open door — it’s a “Please share. This is an open, welcome family, and we want you to be exactly who you are.” It really felt so beautiful.

I was emotional the whole time when we were filming the Untucked! episode, and even watching it last week at my viewing party, I got emotional all over again. It really does hit so close to home with my house mother being trans — just so many trans legacies around me. We waited for so long even to have the ability to have these conversations on national television, or any platform, where we’re not shamed or made to feel guilty for it.

And for us as viewers, this is coming after getting to watch Kylie win All Stars 6, and that was groundbreaking in its own way. But the season was playing out before you even knew that happened, either.
Yes! My beautiful auntie Sonique, honey. She went in and slayed that season too.

It was wonderful. What has it been like staying in touch with Jasmine after the season?
It’s been exactly what it was like on the show. I am her big sister: I keep her in check, I always get her together just a little bit, but I also give her so much love. I love when she brings me her updates of how she’s doing, how she’s feeling. I just see her becoming the woman that she is, and I see her, most important, achieving everything that she said she was going to do, in that Untucked! I don’t want to say it’s like a parent, but you get to see someone grow up and develop and blossom, and it’s a gift that money can’t buy and words can’t describe.

In the very first episode of the season, the talent show, I was obsessed with the jump-roping performance. Did you have any plans to bring that back later in the season?
Chile, I don’t even know if my body could handle doing that again. [Laughs.] I had to condition myself literally, like, every day for at least two and a half, three weeks beforehand just to get the stamina up because you get very winded. I definitely could see some jump-roping potentially sometime in the future. We’ll see. Depends on whose budget and what they got.

Then the first time you lip-synced was this other iconic moment because you were wearing the J.Lo dress. You were talking about worrying about messing it up and it being this very important piece. Tell me about committing to lip-syncing in that.
I wish it was a question to change out of it ’cause I would’ve. [Laughs.] It was more of a panic attack because I was like, How in the actual hell am I going to explain to my beautiful brother August that his dress has been ruined and that it was for TV purposes? If I would’ve messed that gown up, even winning the entire show wouldn’t have done much to save me.

Last episode had this twist where no one was sent home, and it was just people were safe and people were in the top. You were safe — what was that like?
I definitely didn’t want to be safe, and in watching things back, I don’t think that I necessarily should’ve won the whole thing, but I wanted to see higher placement. I’m always happy to make it through to another week, but I was also disappointed, mostly within myself, that I consistently was being safe. It’s not really my favorite thing. I’m a Leo — we like to win things.

Were there any outfits or concepts in particular that you were looking forward to wearing later on in the season?
Oh my God, yes. And I won’t talk about what it was ’cause I have a plan. As long as the Omicrons and the quarantinas and all the other things don’t come and mess with us, I plan to bring that to light when we do DragCon. But there was a look that I was personally obsessed with. I originally had rented it because it was a very elaborate moment. Once the season was over, I was like, I’m just going to go ahead and purchase this because I’m not giving it back, and I need to wear it again.

I’ll be so excited to see that. Lastly, please tell me that you were planning to do a Kardashian for Snatch Game.
That would’ve been funny, but they don’t really give enough of anything, and I already got put in that category. So I did want to give a very dry-humor person, but I was gonna go with Mariah Carey.

Oh, that’s wonderful, too!
I would’ve done the Elusive Chanteuse down, honey.

Drag Race’s Kerri Colby Is Still Jasmine’s Big Sister