Hometown hero! The legendary Season 1 winner gave Twin Cities Gay Scene an exclusive interview for our Pride 2018 Part II issue.
Flanked by two ripped go-go dancers, the official Bebe Zahara Benet booth at RuPaul's DragCon was the definition of vivacious - much like the RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1 winner and All Stars 3 finalist herself. Our third time meeting, we spoke about past memories and enjoyed a lively interview full of boiling hot tea.
Derek: We’re here from Twin Cities Gay Scene magazine - your hometown of Minneapolis, in the house!
Bebe Zahara Benet: [Squeals excitedly] Noooo! Well, you guys know I represent Minneapolis because the past DragCons, you guys have not been here. Were you here last year?
D: No, this is my first DragCon.
BZB: How is it? How do you feel?
D: Amazing. It’s so fun! We’re here the entire time.
BZB: Tomorrow is like, going to be ridiculous, now it’s more quiet. Tomorrow that is like when everybody decides to show up.
D: Yeah! I’ve seen some of your residencies in Minneapolis, like Queendom.
BZB: You have, like at the Pourhouse?
D: Yeah, at Pourhouse!
BZB: You see, this is called support.
D: And then you tried to teach us how to do fans at the Gay 90s. [Laughs]
BZB: Oh, did you see the “Jungle Kitty” fan? You’ll have to take a picture with it.
D: Oh, yeah!
BZB: It says, “I'm Pussy Bitch.” YAAAAS! It does. [Laughs]
D: Oh my God, that’s amazing. [Laughs]
BZB: It’s an attitude, and it’s a state of mind! It’s very that.
D: What was it like going back to RuPaul’s Drag Race after all the years between Season 1 and All Stars 3?
BZB: Oh my gosh, what was it like? You know what’s so funny is I was very - when I was asked to do the show - of course at first I turned it down a couple of times because I wasn’t sure why, when had already won the show and the title. It’s not as if I needed any validation. But, when I thought more about it and to see how far the show has come many years from when I started. I was very excited to come, you know I would say the seasoned queens can always learn new tricks, but it was very important to also show this whole new generation of fans a different aesthetic and a different point of view of drag. I think that coming to the show and coming a voice there was very very, necessary. For people to know where the foundation all started. So, I was very excited and honey, I was excited to come and see my face on HD, honey! [Laughs]
D: Oh, yes! It’s beautiful.
BZB: I wanna see my face on HD! You know? It was amazing and I had such a good time, I really did.
D: Yeah, that iTunes HD… you look SO good! Oh my God.
BZB: Oh honey, I said I was going to come and make sure she’s painted now.
D: The big twist of the season was that you were coming on, and you weren’t announced right away. How was it keeping that secret, even though a lot of people had already kinda figured it out?
BZB: You know, it was very easy for me to keep it a secret because remember when we started Season 1, being able to be quiet about the season or anything about that was very, very important. I mean even worse than now, you know. So when Season 1 happened, when I did Season 1, nobody knew - even my family. So going to All Stars was like “okay, whatever,” you know what I mean? Plus, I didn’t want to ruin the surprise because I knew people were going to be SO surprised at seeing me walk through the door. And I just really wanted them to have a moment for them to be like, “oh! Did she really show up?” [Laughs]
D: Yeah. To be gagged!
BZB: Yeah! We needed a gagging moment. And I’m sure that was… Was that a gagging moment for you?
BZB: Because I knew there were rumors around, but was that really a gagging moment when those doors opened?
D: Yeah, ‘cause I don’t trust anything except for the actual show. [Laughs]
BZB: [Laughs] When it happens, right!
D: I don’t trust Reddit, or whatever.
BZB: Did you love the show? What did you think of All Stars?
D: Oh my God, yeah. I was so happy that you made it to the end, ‘cause if you hadn’t make it to the end, I would’ve been…
BZB: Well did you have any doubts that I was going to make it to the end?
D: No, I just mean because of the fact that everybody was voting each other, I was worried that they were going to like, snub you out sooner.
BZB: Oh, they tried it! [Laughs]
D: Yeah. [Laughs]
BZB: They tried it, because what I had to do was to be good - and even better than good - to not be voted out. Because I knew coming into the show, as much I love the entertainers, they were like, “She’s already a winner why is she here?" So, if I was in the bottom, I would have been gone.
BZB: I love the glitter [gestures to my cheeks], it’s like you are trying to copy me. I live! Minneapolis in the house. Thank you guys for representing.
D: Thank you.
BZB: We got to represent Minneapolis, so say hi tomorrow.
D: If I see you I’ll be like, “Hey!” [Laughs]
BZB: I will know exactly who you are. Thank you guys!
D: Well, thank you so much!
Special thank you to RuPaul's DragCon and World of Wonder for giving us the opportunity to cover their Los Angeles 2018 convention. Buy tickets to RuPaul's DragCon NYC 2018 here.
What are you doing for Pride this year? Let me know! @DerekPlease on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter