With a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under Season 3 that showcased stunning lip syncs and divine runway looks, one winner could be chosen; and that is Isis Avis Loren. This Down Under dame (the first Down Under contestant in herstory to make it to the finale without being in the bottom) displayed a willingness to be open on and off the runway, which helped flesh out a truly layered performer. I sat down with the newly crowned ‘Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar’ to talk about the pride they feel in taking the crown, what it was like showcasing their mental health struggles, and when we may expect seeing them to make a stateside visit?!
Michael Cook: You’ve won RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under Season 3. How does it feel?
Isis Avis Loren: It’s really wonderful, it’s just so wonderful. I am really honored, especially being the first Australian to win full stop, but the first Australian to win the Down Under franchise. It’s been two New Zealand girls already (Season 1 winner Kita Mean and Season 2 winner Spankie Jackzon), so it’s really wonderful to bring it home for my hometown and that’s beautiful; just so gorgeous.
MC: Drag Race Down Under consistently seems to have a a finale where you truly don’t know who is going to grab the title. What is it like to truly get to compete against the best in this way?
IAL: The competition was really intense this season, especially leading up to the finale. The finale itself was tough, both Gabriella Labucci and Flor were just phenomenal in the last challenge. We look so wonderful and I just could not pick who was going to win; I think I had the edge (laughs).
So many wonderful girls competed this season, Hollywould (Star) had a wonderful track record, Ivanna (Drink) was so bubbly, Bumpa (Love) was just so warm, and to have come out on top on this season when Gabriella Labucci had such a wonderful and heartwarming season, and Flor with that fire she had! To be the one that ended up taking it through my talent and poise and with my story, it was really touching. It’s a dream come true really.
MC: What do you think is your rose and thorn of your Drag Race Down Under experience?
IAL: The best part was definitely winning the talent/brunch section. I did a performance that was somewhat vague when I went into it, but wanted to bring more awareness to mental health. A lot of people struggle with mental health so doing a fan dance at a drag brunch doesn’t seem like a winning situation and I am fully aware of that (laughs). The way that I presented it and the actual content really won the judges over.
That really meant a lot to me because I’ve had a really rough time with mental health. I’ve sought help and I’ve done the hard yards and I am all the better for it. I wanted to try and bring that to more people’s consciousness and also share in that story so people can take something from it and not feel so alone.
MC:Was there ever a hesitation for you to not share your mental health journey with the fans during your Drag Race journey?
IAL: There was. Going into a global platform like this, it is scary to be so vulnerable with your personal story, but I had to get over that. This is a platform to be able to share our queer stories and that is really important, especially now. To share who we are, what we’re doing, what we’re about, and that our struggles, no matter how specific to the queer identity, are also similar to a lot of others, no matter if you’re queer or you have other ideals or modes of being.
We all have days where we aren’t feeling so hot, where the gray clouds are circling or the black clouds are in the corner. It is so important for us to share our stories for the world to see. The most truthful of that is the most powerful; you gotta do it.
MC: What has been the reaction that you’ve gotten from people from being so brutally honest?
IAL: I’ve gotten wonderful reactions. People have said they’ve seen themselves in the story, or that they’ve been through similar situations. To know that people have seen that and really resonate with that means the world.
MC: What was your own first introduction to the world of drag?
IAL: I suppose that I’ve been exposed to it all of my life. There have been a couple of first offs through, really impactful ones. Someone like Dame Edna putting a dress on for a tv situation wasn’t that big when I was growing up, but it was still always present. The second was probably when I went to my first gay club and I saw my first drag queen perform. It was fascinating, I couldn’t wrap my head around it!
The style down here of the old girls is very over the top, camp, and gregarious and I was a very shy, young gay boy. Of course seeing Drag Race for the first time and being like “Wow, this is incredible-how can I do this”? That was when everything clicked and I saw all of my skills come together…”I think I’m gonna do that”!
MC: After winning Drag Race Down Under Season 3, you have the entire world at your feet and a global platform. What ’s next?
IAL: There is so much that I want to do and so much that I can do. I’m paranoid with choice! I would love to go on tour and perform all over the world. I would love to make music and go into many multimedia forms. Most importantly, I want to just keep sharing my story and spreading love and acceptance in this turbulent world. It’s a crazy time and I want to just keep adding to the love and the joy that we need so much.
MC: Any plans to come to the United States to spread that wonderful brand of love?
IAL: have not gotten to the states just yet, I am really excited to get there. Especially for Drag Con, I would love to perform all across the states, it would be incredible.
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