Hollywould Star came into the Drag Race Down Under Season 3 werkroom with the distinction of being an Aussie queen with a unique American sensibility (she previously lived in New York City)! While Hollywould departed the competition right before the Season 3 finale, this dynamic performer is hardly ready to slow down. We recently sat down to discuss her Drag Race Down Under run, the path to discovering Hollywould, and discussing vulnerability with RuPaul on the Drag Race Down Under main stage!
Michael Cook: So am I speaking to the 28 year old or the 34 year old Hollywood? Your age became a sudden point of controversy on the show.
Hollywould Star: Twenty eight is the new eighteen in Hollywood, okay honey (laughs)!?
MC: Tell me about your Drag Race Down Under experience…
HS: It was an experience, I’ll say that! I am very grateful for the opportunity. In November, I will have been only doing drag for two years, a very short period of time. So I was very honored to get on the show and to be recognized for my talent and everything that I bring to the competition. We have to remember that it is a reality television show and it is not just a competition. Overall I had a good time, it’s all surreal to kind of watch it back and see what is put in and not put in. I am grateful for the experience and I am not going to bite the hand that feeds me.
MC: It shows an absolutely fearlessness about you to audition for Drag Race Down Under after less than two years of doing drag. What was your entry way into the world of drag?
HS: I didn’t bave drag mother, I basically learned how to paint my face during COVID when we were in lockdown. I watched YouTube and painted my face every single day until I got it to how it looks now, and it’s improved since then obviously. i was a Drag Race fan and always watched it and always kind of wanted to do it, but I was always a little afraid. I kind of have a following as Timothy and I thought that if I did Hollywould, that I kind of would lose Timothy.
Being in the gay scene and being queer, I thought that boys would not like me anymore if I did drag. During COVID, I kind of just thought “I want to do this. Screw the haters, if someone doesn’t like me for who I am, that’s on them”. That’s how I kind of found Hollywould.
MC: Have you finally found the way to balance Hollywould and Timothy?
HS: I am getting better at it. I think obviously Timothy has been around for a longer period of time and Hollywood for a shorter period of time, but I am learning now to balance them. Of course, Hollywood was a baby and is still a baby. I had to give Hollywood a bit more time and care and growth. I am still learning, and I think it’s going to be a learning process for me for a very long time.
MC: I don’t recall the last time seeing anyone stand on the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race and directly look at RuPaul during critiques and ask her specifically “what are you looking for from me”. While it displayed a complete fearlessness, was it something you planned or did you just throw caution to the wind and pose your question?
HS: I just asked. We come from a family where the saying is “closed mouths don’t get fed”. I wanted to know exactly what she wanted to see from me. I work really hard and I hold my brand very highly. A lot of people may mistake that as arrogance, but for me as a person of color and an immigrant in Australia, I have to try ten times harder than everyone else. I need to know exactly what you want and I can give it to you.
It was a little confusing as well. As you know during the series, you film so many things and you don’t know exactly what is going to get shown. So it was a bit confusing for me to say that I “don’t show vulnerability” when there were definitely a lot of times in the workroom where talked about a lot of different stories about my life, my growing up, and the troubles and traumas that I have had to deal with. I actually didn’t see a lot of them, sadly, on the series. So that was a bit confusing for me…
MC: What is something that you wanted to make sure you conveyed to the fans, but you didnt get to really flesh out?
HS: I talked a lot about diversity, representation, and inclusion. I thought our season was so amazing to have seven POC’s out of ten contestants, I dont think that has ever happened in the whole Drag Race franchise. I thought it was very important; they touched on it a bit in the first episode with me and Amyl when we had that little conversation, but I really talked about that and how it has been for me in Australia, being an American and an immigrant here, and the troubles that I have had to deal with. I had had to try ten times harder.
Australians are very “Australian, go go go, Aussie Aussie Aussie”, when people come in, they almost feel like you’re taking something away from them. It’s a very different culture than growing up in American, I feel like it’s such a melting pot. The only people that were here first are the First Nation’s people, so everyone is a visitor. I spoke about that a lot and I wish that had been shown.
MC: Have you gotten to do drag in the United States yet?
HS: I have been getting a lot of messages from queens all over the world actually, wanting me to come and perform and see them. I haven’t been able to do it because I haven’t been back to the states since COVID, but am looking forward to it.
MC: Where in the states are you originally from?
HS: I was born and raised in New York and then I moved to South Carolina when I was about fourteen, then back to New York when I was seventeen for college.
MC: What do you think your rose and thorn are from your Drag Race Down Under journey?
HS: I think that I showed myself very well, I am very happy with what was shown. I showed my talent, I think I showed my professionalism, and this is the funny thing, in the first episode I thin I was quite nervous. I think they were painting me out to be “a bitch”, they were saying things like “Hollywould, I heard she has a bitch reputation”. I think as the season went on, people realized she’s not, actually “she’s a really nice person”. I legitimately am, I don’t really fight with anyone like that. I think when you feel so grounded and so stable in yourself and confident, you don’t need to fight with anyone. There were a couple of fights in the series, Ivory (Glaze) tried to pick a fight with me, Bumpa (Love) tried to fight with me, and I just held my own. I just figured that they were in their feelings and you know, I have a lot of empathy for people. I just didn’t feel like needed to do that; I guess that would be my rose. Showing people that you don’t have to fight and you don’t have to go into these tv shows and create all this drama.
I guess the thorn would be obviously not making it to the finale. I think my track record of wining two episodes and never being in the bottom (speaks for itself) and I know I did a fantastic lip sync at the end. I think that I legitimately deserved it and I think that it would have not only been a moment for myself, it would have been a moment for Australia; to have a black immigrant in the finale.
MC: What are your plans now with the global platform that you have received from Drag Race Down Under?
HS: Well I am going to be creating more new music obviously. I think that little taste of my talent show did it. I wanted to sing more, but we only had two minutes to create a song. I wanted to to create something where I can sing a little bit, rap a little bit, tell a little story. Now that I have the time and I dont have a two minute time limit (laughs) I am going to come out with an EP soon. I am definitely looking a touring the United States and Europe because I love London. I also have some meetings with some modeling agencies here, I love fashion and I love the runways that I brought, I think that everything had a story. I want to do everything!
MC: Your fearlessness didn’t just reflect on the show, but I think it will be something that will be invaluable to you going forward. What do you say to people that are having trouble being their own version of fearless in their own life?
HS: My advice to anyone would be that if you want to do something, achieve something, or you want to just be someone, just do it; you will feel so much better. You probably feel like you’re in a cage and you just want to break out but once you do, it changes your life. Hollywould has changed me for so much better. I can’t see Timothy without Hollywood now. I feel so grateful for the art of drag, where it is taking me and where it is going to take me. Overall, I just feel very grateful!
Follow Hollywould Star on Instagram
Featured Image by Eric Brumfield