After two turns on the RuPaul’s Drag Race runway during Season 8, Naysha Lopez returned for All Stars 8 (now streaming on Paramount+) with the intent to show fans and competitors alike a side of the former Miss Continental winner that they may not have gotten to see in the past. While Lopez might have departed the competition already, she was able to showcase the classic beauty and seamless aesthetic that an entire new fan base have now been able to fall in love with. I sat down to chat with Naysha and we got to discuss her newfound career path on the Roscoe’s stage, how pageantry intersects with Drag Race, and why after her latest Drag Race run, this is “only the beginning”.
MC: How did it feel to walk back into the RuPaul’s Drag Race completion for the third time but this time for All Stars 8?
Naysha Lopez: It was kind of surreal and it was kind of unbelievable. I had to pinch myself and remind myself that it was real. Any time that you get to walk into that werk room, it is an absolute pleasure and an honor, and so many good things come your way afterward, it is always a great thing.
MC: Every week when you host at Roscoe’s your viewing parties and conversations with the queens consistently go viral and you are almost becoming the “Oprah of Roscoe’s”. How does it feel to have seen your career go in that possibly unexpected direction?
NL: It’s fun, it’s great. I apply every day things to my drag and one of those things is honesty. I am an honest person and I like to be honest about my drag and what I see and my opinion; it is just fun to do for me. I love to help people grow within their drag and we don’t ever say anything malicious or mean. We do say things for these queens to either grow or learn from. Basically, just have fun with it.
I didn’t think that it was going to get to what it is now, and so many people tune in and watch it. I am just glad that I get to be a part of it. I think I have one of the best jobs as a drag queen to be able to do this every week around people that I’ve known my entire drag career. My Roscoe’s family, I have known them forever; just to have that opportunity is very exciting.
MC: Your time on RuPaul’s Drag Race during Season 8 was truly chaotic. You left initially, then were called back by RuPaul to return to the competition. When you returned for All Stars 8, what did you want to accomplish this time around?
NL: With my drag, my drag aesthetic is little different for a lack of words right now. It’s funny, drag can be very campy and that is a lot of fun, very dramatic and over the top makeup, that’s great and all. My aesthetic is a little bit different and to some people, it is considered boring. I like to say that I do female impersonation and I like to exude beauty and femininity. I associate femininity with strength,
I grew up with very strong powerful women around me, my mom was a single mother and raised two kids. I associate femininity with strength and that is what I like to exude in my drag. I wanted to make sure that within that, you saw that my drag is not boring, that it is valid, that I am talented. My drag aesthetic, we get picked on a lot. There is something more simple and more minimal about my type of drag but it doesn’t make it any less valuable or make me any less talented. And I wanted to get that across to a wider audience.
MC: Taking it a step further, I feel that your style of drag is one of the backgrounds of drag itself. Before RuPaul’s Drag Race, pageants like Miss Continental or Miss Gay America were the place where drag performers were able to showcase their talents on a much larger platform. So much of what drag is truly comes from female impersonation, is that fair to say?
NL: Absolutely, yes.
MC: As a former Miss Continental winner, what do you think you were able to bring from that competition and apply to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8?
NL: We always say “Continental time” because with Continental you are always on time. Time management for me is not an issue; also when you are in pageantry you are perfection, or you strive for perfection from head to toe. There is a level of polish that you see in a drag that I was able to apply to Drag Race. And calmness; I am used to competing and working under pressure. Being on set where some of the girls were going “I need this” or “I need that”, I am a little bit more calm and ready for the competition. Those are a few things that I did apply to the competition that I learned from pageantry.
MC: What do you think your rose and thorn are of your All Stars 8 experience?
NL: My high I would say is just getting on. The fact that I got on and I got to share this experience with these eleven other talents was really amazing. The fact that I get to be introduced to an even wider audience all over again is really the high. The thorn I would have to say is that unfortunately, i didn’t last as long as I wanted to. That is definitely something that when we filmed this, it is something that I struggled with at first. I am in a better place now, you can ask Sasha (Colby), Brooke Lynn (Hytes), Roxxy (Andrews), or Trinity (The Tuck) girls that win these national pageants, our work ethic is really different. We really do put in the work. To put in the work and unfortunately not get that payoff in the end is disappointing, its heartbreaking.
Pageant girls are in a whole league of their own. It really comes to work ethic also, it really does. We put in the work to compete and we really get enjoyment from it. I love it; I absolutely love it.
MC: Season 8 had some truly legendary names included in the cast, and All Stars 8 is no different. Who did you walk into the workroom this time around and be extremely thrilled to get to meet?
NL: My original season did have some Bob (The Drag Queen), Thorgy (Thor), and Naomi (Smalls), who I love love! I walked in thinking some people might be there and Kandy Muse for example, you might walk with this notion that one thing would happen, but it was hilarious because she was one of the closest people to me and I fell in love with her. It is one of those things where you go in there thinking one thing and another thing completely happens. We have a really good group, we’re like a family. When you love each other like family, you fight like family; those are the most passionate crazy fights. I think this is a group really loves each other so the drama is equally good
MC: This summer you are a newly minted All Star! What does the summer have in store for you?
NL: When I left and was eliminated, the last thing I said was “this is just the beginning”. Usually someone says something very funny and I had something just in case, and then I took a step back. I remembered how challenging it was for me when I was eliminated on my original season. I said something for me, to remind myself when I watch it, I know that I am going to have a tough time.; I said “this is just the beginning”. The reason I said that was because I had just moved to Los Angeles & now I have been in L.A. for over a year, but at the time had been only five six months in L.A. I had intentions to take acting classes, I am here to be not just a drag superstar, but the star that I am.
I can’t lose sight of that. I said “this is only the beginning” to remind myself that this is only an addition to the journey that I have of becoming the superstar that I plan to be. Something like this can derail you and really have an effect on you, and I remember what it was like the first time around. What’s next for me is to continue n the journey and the plan of being Naysha Lopez and Fabian the superstar. I am really excited about everything that is coming in my future, in and out of drag.
MC: Showing the dichotomy between who you are in and out of drag is such a great perspective. RuPaul consistently says the drag doesn’t hide who you are , it reveals who you are. What do you think the drag you do shows about you?
NL: For me, what it is is my background. I was raised by a single mother, lots of my aunts or cousins are women, strong independent women. For me, I equate femininity with strength, I see power behind it. That’s how I was raised; my mother is a very strong independent woman. That is something that you can see through my drag, because it is a celebration of what I think is the most beautiful being on earth and that is women. I think women are absolutely gorgeous and stunning and should be celebrated every chance that we can. That is really what my drag is about.
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