Chicago queen Lucy Stoole joins me this week to kvetch about the Drag Race!
Chad: It’s funny–I was looking back at when we chatted last season, and it was also for the third episode! Which also featured an awkward acting challenge! But also beards.
Lucy: That’s awesome! 3 is one of my lucky numbers.
Chad: I’m sure Lucy loves her threesomes. Your favorite way to get lucky!
Lucy: HAHAHAH You know me so wellllllll
Chad: Ha! So, I’ve been stewing over last night’s episode. To me, it felt like kind of a let down on a number of levels. But first of all, what did you think of Naysha’s return?
Lucy: I would like to say that I’m surprised about the return, but it was the pretty obvious choice. It could have been cool to throw a real curve ball and have another girl appear from a previous season, but I think it made sense. I did want to see more from her, but I also kinda believe that if you go home first, you probably deserve to. That sounds so harsh, but it’s how I feel!
Chad: Ha! Yeah, I had gone deep down the reddit rabbithole — there were some really wild speculations, and I LOVED thinking through the different possibilities. My greatest hope was to have an entirely new queen show up and have to prove her worth. I think Naysha seems cool, and she definitely brings the beauty — as she likes to keep reminding us — but I was hoping for something a little more dramatic. Did you find the episode’s main challenge as cringe-worthy as I did?
Lucy: ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *insert biggest eyeroll ever* That main challenge was a snoozefest, and so were most of the looks that came across that stage.
Chad: I feel like I’d so much rather see the girls in the workroom than reciting some awkward lines and being directed to act more ratchet. There is so much more wit and warmth in their normal interactions than there ever is in these group acting challenges.
Lucy: I KNOW! And it’s so hard to try to really bring your personality through with some of these awful characters the show is coming up with.
Chad: Yeah, I was especially bothered by the “multiple personality” character and the militant lesbian. They felt like they were antiquated stereotypes from an entirely different era.
Lucy: Also, I’m just really over people throwing ratchet around as the new “ghetto”.
Chad: Ru coaching Kim on how to incorporate more tongue pops and head bobbing made me die a little. I really dislike seeing black queens being told to act more ratchet/ghetto. And I also really dislike seeing queens who aren’t black being told the same.
Lucy: That was one of the most awkward moments for so many reasons. I get the Empire parallel they were trying to make there, but what happened to the intelligent humor and activism, Ru? I’m kind of frustrated with RuPaul on a few of these issues…
Chad: Dish, girl! DEEP dish!
Lucy: I really need for her to have her “Beyonce Awakening”
Chad: Oooh, that’s a great way of putting it!
Lucy: As a queer black performer in this community, I know a fraction of what she’s been faced with when it comes to being all three of those roles at once. It’s not easy. We’re basically brought up thinking that we have to hide or dim down our Blackness to be taken seriously and valued as a creator and intelligent mind. And a lot of people will still try to say “well, that’s not true. look at where she is!”
But we’ve seen just how much of herself she had to tailor to the whims of her audience/America to become sellable. Ru back in the day was my kind of lady: A filthy, outspoken, gogo dancing, gender-bending loudmouth with drive and focus.
Chad: God, I’m so turned on by that description.
Lucy: hahahahahah right?!?!? Like, that’s my inspiration!
Chad: Absolutely, I can definitely see that!
Lucy: That’s why it’s so important to me that no matter how much I grow and change as an artist, that Lucy stays the girl that everyone fell in love with. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t want to be popular and a spokesperson of sorts BUT I’m not willing to change fundamental parts of myself to obtain it. I’ve been asked many times about shaving my beard and dropping the Stoole off my name.
Lucy: And I never would!!! Exactly!
Chad: So, in an ideal world, what do you see Ru doing on the show to embrace, as you said, a new “Beyonce Awakening”?
Lucy: Well, first off, killing off some of these tired stereotype tropes she seems to fill every season with. Also, maybe the way they edit some of these POC girls’ conversations. I’d also love to see a spectrum of POC performers on that show. The inclusion of Bob on this season is def a step in the right direction. I feel like a lot of Black girls in the drag scene are still used as a death dropping, booty shaking prop, and not seen as artists and creators like a lot of these other queens get promoted as. I mean, I still have moments myself, as one of the hardest working queens in this city, where I feel under-appreciated and not seen as on the same level of some of the people who work half as hard and without any real intent behind it.
Chad: I see, that makes sense. Do you feel like Chi Chi has been characterized in that way?
Lucy: I feel like Chi Chi has been characterized that way a bit. This backwoods black Barbie came into the room on her first day wearing a trash bag for God’s sake.
Chad: Yeah, they reeeeeally play up her poor, Southern upbringing.
Lucy: Like allllllllll the time. And I get it, there’s a lot of people that came from that, and I do like to see representation on TV for all walks of life.
Chad: I really, really respect Chi Chi, but I do think that they make her the butt of the joke far too often.
Chad: What did you make of Bob this episode?
Lucy: I think we all knew that this was her moment. Girl was born with “it” and is such a skilled performer/actress! I’m just so glad they stepped out of the way and let her have that role in the performance. And really, I could see her on Empire!
Chad: Yeah, I think Bob has no problem hamming it up and demanding your attention. I would be shocked if she doesn’t make it to the final three. Now, be honest, what did you make of her runway look?
Lucy: First of all, I love you to death, Bob. That being said, I did not love that Party City robot look. I mean, I saw where she was going…
Chad: I thought she was going more for “Cyborg Storm,” keeping Dax’s cosplay spirit alive. I truly would have liked to see her crazy “Transformer” idea come to fruition — my feeling was that what we saw was just part of the outfit she had planned. But what we saw was, well, probably one of the most ridiculous runway looks I’ve ever seen on this show. I will say, however, that I thought her herky jerky robot movements were a pretty hilarious way to conceal her complete inexperience with skates!
Chad: You mentioned before that you weren’t into the runway this week — I felt like some of the girls really tried to channel that 70’s disco theme, and the others had no idea what the “roller girl” theme even meant. Were there any standouts for you?
Lucy: HAHAHAH Some of those poor girls were so lost. It was another moment that I had to check my age while watching this show. I forget some stuff that seems so commonplace and iconic to me is so generational.
Lucy: Although they said Thorgy was a bit basic, I thought she really nailed it! (could have thrown on some jewelry or something but whatever)
Chad: Yeah, the overall palette of Thorgy’s outfit was just absolutely gorgeous!
Lucy: She knows what she is doing! Her editing and choice of lqqks is so spot on. Acid nailed that Mad Max inspired roller derby look. I loved Derrick’s look, but mostly because it looks like something I would wear.
Chad: I thought she looked really gorgeous! I lovvvvved Kim Chi’s parrot outfit.
Lucy: OMG Kimmmmmmmmm
Chad: Even though I didn’t quite understand how it fit the runway theme. Is it like… she would be flying/gliding along on those skates? Like… a bird?
Lucy: hahahahahah yea it wasn’t really where I would have gone with that, but it was a phenomenal lqqk.Why didn’t someone do a lqqk that hid the skates so it gave the illusion they were gliding/hovering?!??! cum on queens
Chad: Oh yeah! Probably out of fear that a skirt would get caught in the wheels, right?
Lucy: Had to be, but I would had taken the chance to pull off a cute levitation lqqk. Bitches were falling anyway, might as well look cool while doing it.
Chad: HA! I felt like Robbie was really treated like shit this week, but it was probably just so she’d be in the bottom two and show us all her skills! So… I have mixed feelings about that. But I unabashedly loved seeing her skate!
Lucy: OHHH I AGREE! It was nasty, and I love me some Robbie.
Chad: Yeah, I really adore Robbie as a friend, though her depiction on the show is proving quite unpredictable.
Lucy: I was just thinking that! She’s been tossed back and forth between being the headstrong, confident and kinda bitchy queen…
Chad: But in the workroom, she often comes across as really sweet and sensitive, right? Like, she’s often the one the others are confiding in during their most heartfelt moments.
Lucy: Exactly! It’s like, is she a fake bitch or America’s sweetheart?
Chad: We’ll have to tune in to find out!
Chad: That’s all the main stuff I wanted to ask about for this episode — did you have other thoughts you wanted to share?
Lucy: Can we talk about RuPaul’s new album? How she gonna have a album called “Butch Queen” and not be booking any?!?!? It’s like she’s almost jumping on trend. Actually, no almost about it.
Chad: Well, that’s sort of what you felt last year with the bearded queen runway, right?
Lucy: YES! And now it’s a step further, but I still don’t really see her supporting her butch queens/gender non-conforming queens/etc. Yet another moment I feel like she has a chance to really say something and isn’t.
Chad: I feel like Acid Betty is somewhat non-conforming, at least in her looks. But I do agree — I would love to see the casting pushing the boundaries more!
Lucy: Yea, they’ve def stepped out of the box this year! But I want it to go much further.
Chad: Let’s hope so! With you leading the way!
Lucy: We can only hope! #stoolefordragpresident
Chad: Do you have any event plugs you’d like me to include in this lovely interview? I know you’ve been busier than ever!
Lucy: My baby Fabitat is still going strong and coming up on our third anniversary! Super excited about my new party Deep Dish at Berlin every other Monday. It’s a body positive pizza party with gogo dancers of all shapes, sizes and genders. It’s just a love filled, body/sex affirming dance party that’s going really well! Biggest gig, yet, happening April 2nd! I’ll be MCing the Divas of Drag Tour at House of Blues!
Season 8 prints will be available very, very soon at my Etsy store! I recommend going there immediately and just refreshing the website until you see things and buy all of them.