Toward the very end of one of the tightest seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race ever, Aquaria cemented herself as the front-runner and sealed the deal on Thursday night with a triumphant series of lip syncs on her way to being crowned the show's 10th queen. Entering the workroom at just 21 years old, Aquaria showed tenacity and wisdom beyond her years, seamlessly mashing up references as disparate as '80s New Wave to Paris couture to old-fashioned stage magic (not to mention some unexpected political comedy) into a package that was all her own. Perhaps it was because she started watching the show when she was practically a child herself. Maybe it was because she came out of New York City's clubland scene under the eye of party promoter legends like Ladyfag and Susanne Bartsch (whom RuPaul herself used to work with).
We chatted with Aquaria the day after she snatched the crown. Not only does it turn out that every moment and reveal in her lip sync performance last night has way more meaning than you might expect, but she also promises that we haven't seen the last of her Melania Trump impression.
Everyone's talking about all the reveals in the lip syncs last night. How did you come up with yours and decide what to do?
For me, I know how things come off on the screen and how they look on camera, so I knew I wanted to look a little wild. Almost a little in-your-face statement to the whole concept of the expectation of the reveals and gag-worthiness. So my friend B. Calla designed this Balenciaga-inspired tinfoil moment, which is what it came out looking like. That's what I wanted. I wanted people to talk, and I wanted it to be a sort of vessel for me to be in while we're picking who is lip-synching. I think everyone was initially confused, like, "Why this crazy reveal and why are you dropping it at the beginning of the song?" It's because I've been on television for five minutes already. That was the performance. Me just standing there looking like that was the performance.
For the "True" Janet Jackson song, I wanted to give a little bit of an homage to her incident at the Super Bowl, so that's why I had the reveal latched to her nipples. That was very important to me.
Also, I had my Miss Vanjie fan with me because she was with me at the beginning of the season—I guess that was the only time she was with us, wasn't it? S--t. No, but we shared a workstation and we bonded during the short time she was there. I knew that would be something that would get a quick giggle out of Ru and the audience, but also be something that would be very applicable had I lip-synched to "Nasty" by Janet Jackson. I was going to pull it out for "Miss Vanjie, if you're nasty."
Then, for the final song, it being "Bang, Bang," I wanted to give a very military moment with the look, and keep it simple, but make it fun. I wanted to give you pizzazz at the beginning, because I'm all about a little razzle-dazzle. I love magic acts, and you could see that on the "Hats Incredible" runway on the show. I love a quick little magician gag.
And then the confetti cannons at the end, because, bitch, if they ain't going to shoot out confetti for me, I'll bring my own.
You're sort of the first winner to come out of that proper lineage of NYC club kids. How do you think coming up out of that scene prepared you for the competition and what comes next?
Well, I mean, I don't mean I'm the first club kid–esque queen. Raja did this a long time ago. Sharon came up kind of in the New York City clubs, etcetera, etcetera. But to be a representation of what is currently going on in the New York City clubs is f---ing cool. The kids are making really cool looks, really cool art, really cool statements, really cool performances in New York City right now, and to be an example of someone who saw what I could do, went out and worked my f---ing ass off every night, running to and from clubs, from subway stop to subway stop, and to finally make it to this point my career—I'm so humbled by the experience, and so proud to be from such a f---ing fierce community like the club kids in New York City.
What do you have planned for after this? Do you have music? Are we going to see Melania again?
Unfortunately, I think we've got a few more years of Melania, so I think we're going to milk that as much as we can. I actually just put out an "Any hole is a goal" T-shirt in honor of her, uh, Zara fashion choices… So I'm going to definitely exploit Melania a little more, because that's a little, funny character for me to do whom everyone deserves to be able to laugh at.
For me, drag has always been about being someone younger kids can look up to, or even older kids can look up to as well, and I want to continue to tour and travel and entertain. So I have massive amounts of dates all over my website, AgeOfAquaria.com. I'll be touring all over the world: Asia, Australia, Europe, America—like every corner of the globe.
I also want to add details to all aspects of my drag, specifically when it comes to my performances, fashion, the content that I'm performing.
I have a new song out today, called "Burn Rubber," and that is an example of the type of material I would love to perform on a tour, very much in the vein of your standard pop star. Fierce choreography, fierce songs, fierce fashion, fierce me.