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Darienne Lake Chats All Stars 8, Reinvention, & Why It’s Crucial For Allies To Join The Fight

Since her star-making turn on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 (where she made Top Four), Darienne Lake has continued on her sensational career path, whether it be dominating the Rochester drag brunch game or hitting the stage in her own stand up special (Altered Boy, streaming now)! Darienne’s return to Drag Race for All Stars 8 was well overdue, and while she has departed the competition, she still has plenty to share for the fans (and for the online Fame Games)! I sat down to chat with Darienne about her All Stars experience, her work and friendships in Upstate New York, and that runway moment people are still buzzing about!

Michael Cook: It was so wonderful seeing you return to RuPaul’s Drag Race on All Stars 8 this season!  You mentioned several times that it was “about damn time”! Did you truly feel that your return was overdue? 

Darienne Lake: In a way. Honestly, though, there were a few years where I would have been like “no, I’m good. Honestly. I am not up to the challenge right now”; whether it was financial, emotional, or physical. I got off of Drag Race, toured, and had a great time and continued some bad habits and gained about sixty pounds. I turned my life around in 2019, but who knows though; I’ve failed in the past so you never know, failure might be the teacher. 

Luckily, Mrs. Kasha Davis and her sobriety helps me; OA and AA are very much the same. A lot of the steps that you can take to improve your life, one day at a time, all of that. Losing close to two hundred pounds, I am a little further away because you know, life happens. I think some of those previous years I would have said that I was not up of the challenge, but that is the great thing about life; timing is everything. 

MC: It is fantastic that you openly speak about your weight loss journey and you are honest about that journey. You have taken the narrative and written it yourself, and in and out of drag, you look fantastic! There is an empowerment and a confidence that is evident in you and you seem ready to take more risks in your fashion and otherwise; is all of that fair to say? 

DL: I would say yeah, sure. It is great to find people who will make stuff for larger bodies as well. That the thing, I’m still a large person. People will say “you can’t make fat jokes” and it’s like “yes I can” and I can make those forever. I am never going to be a skinny person, but that is the great thing about body positivity. You can be whatever size you want to be and also still want to work on that and improve on that; because all bodies are beautiful. 

MC: The acting challenge last week was so up your alley and seeing you work with people like Alexis Michelle and Jaymes Mansfield who both had similar skill sets, yet were new to you work with as competitors, was really great. What was this particular challenge like? 

DL: It was great because I do know them on a personal level as well. I think we also, from what I felt, were comfortable enough with each other that we could say whatever is on our mind; “We should do this” or “we should do that” and we were all open to that. 

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Darienne Lake Chats All Stars 8, Reinvention, & Why It’s Crucial For Allies To Join The Fight 7

MC: It almost seemed like a case of “be careful what you wish for” because many felt that your teammate Alexis Michelle might have thrown you under the bus on the main stage. Is that how it felt to you? 

DL: I don’t know if she threw me under the bus or if she was driving the bus, but she definitely did not pull me out of the crosswalk!  There are definitely levels and it definitely depends on what angle you are looking at it from. If you’re across the street, behind it, if you’re on a grassy knoll, it really depends on your point of view. Also, it is what it is. I can’t take it back and I harbor no ill will towards her for anything that she said because I know that it was self preservation as well. Everybody plays the game a different way, you know? We also had a discussion of “I’ll never vote for you” and…(laughs)!

MC: It probably can be increasingly difficult to be in a competition with people that you are friends with in different ways that adds a layer of “Sophie’s Choice” to the competition, is that fair to say? 

DL: Yeah, a little bit. Also, it reminds you to trust no bitch (laughs)!


MC: During my conversation with Mrs. Kasha Davis last week, she spoke so lovingly about the cast in Rochester that you both are a part of and how it truly is, like a family. 

DL: It really is. Even her husband (Mr. Davis) and our assistant Katie who is really helpful as well, and of course she never gets credit (laughs)! We just have such a beautiful team that we all work so well together and we can count on each other and there are other people that we add into our group and our mix, especially when some of us can’t be part of it and it’s great. Rochester is so small that we don’t have tons of different bars that you can perform at. We’ve created more of these venues, I think it’s like, twenty different venues where we have this going on and it’s been amazing. From Saratoga Casinos in Saratoga, New York to all the way out to Buffalo, we’re taking up the whole upstate and Western New York. People also keep saying that they want us to do a traveling brunch tour. The girls that I used to party with back in the day all have kids now and they can’t go out. They’re like “9:30 PM, no thanks, but in the AM, honey I’m there. I’m gonna have some mimosas, tell my husband he’s taking the kids, and I’m going out with the girls”! Also they have more money now that they’re older. Also, you throw in a 90’s TLC song and they are “YASSSSSS” (laughs)! 

MC: Season 6 was so many years ago, but your season was stacked with such phenomenal talent. What are some of your favorite memories of your season? 

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Darienne Lake Chats All Stars 8, Reinvention, & Why It’s Crucial For Allies To Join The Fight 7

DL: And there is still phenomenal talent every single year! I think that everybody started becoming so aware. The internet and Instagram wasn’t so prominent. Then when people saw what happened to me during one little “argument” which wasn’t really an argument with myself and BenDeLaCreme got turned into twelve episodes. Then of course, people roasted me! My theory is that I think that even the producers didn’t think it was that bad! So many people say that they miss the old days of RuPaul’s Drag Race where a bitch would get in trouble and say shit (laughs)! I love that some of the younger girls haven’t learned what we do need to be aware of though, so they spout off at the mouth (laughs)! Especially this past season with Mistress Isabelle Brooks, she just says shit and it’s such a return to the old shadiness, I love it.


MC: What is next up for Darienne Lake? 

DL: I definitely want to go back as a Lip Sync Assassin & show them how I can lip sync and kill these girls (laughs)! I just had my one woman show Altered Boy come out, so that is available for purchase and rental. I didn’t want it to be just me telling jokes, I wanted to have a true story about my life. I already have some dates set up where I will be touring with that and changing, altering and shortening that. Then of course, a brunch tour, which is so fantastic and then all of the other opportunities that come my way. 

We love to talk, so we are talking about being one more group of girls that has a podcast. For me, I love to talk and I love to put my foot in my mouth, so that I think is fun. I listen to podcasts and I know that makes me laugh and cackle. Especially when it comes to the gay thing, as young gays we were always like “oh girl, once I hit forty forget it”! Now you get past forty and you get past fifty, watching The Old Gays on TikTok you see them living the life in Palm Springs. You learn so much from your elders. 

MC: As Pride month commences, how do you think that the people in our community should be pushing back and making our voices heard? 

DL: Well its not just the people in the community, its also the people that are the allies that need to stand up,. The Nazis took over not just because of the people who were in the Nazi party, but because of the people who said nothing. That is what we need from our allies, from our straight people, from the people that go go our brunches and shows, and from the people who have gay children. They need to stand up and stand with us. 

I don’t have a uterus I will never have children, but I stand by the rights of every woman who wants to have rights about her own body and her own autonomy. I am going to stand with you for something that has nothing do to with me, so you need to stand with us. That is what we need, more people. I listen to the angry voices, but the angry voices are small in comparison to the people who really do support us. We need to get more of those supporters being a little bit louder and a little bit more vocal. 

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Darienne Lake Chats All Stars 8, Reinvention, & Why It’s Crucial For Allies To Join The Fight 7

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