With the launch of the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, airing Mondays on OUTtv, the previous season winner Tyra Sanchez recently left the warmth of her Atlanta home to embark on a cross-Canada promotional tour. Prior to her January 29th appearance at Club Sapien in Calgary, we caught up with Tyra over the phone.
She told us about how, initially she didn’t want to apply for the show. As fate would have it, a friend stepped in and sent her on her path to victory.
"I enjoyed doing drag but a friend of mine went behind my back and sent in the application for me. When they called about me doing a video I thought it was a joke. I did the video and three weeks later they selected me to be on the show. With not having anywhere to stay and sleeping on my drag mother’s floor, of course if I was selected to be on a TV show I was going to go ahead and do it. It was a chance to win $25,000 and exposure. It ended up being a life changing experience."
Up to the last minute, there was doubt in her mind.
"Going to the final episode, I thought that I wasn’t going to win. I thought I would be like Nina Flowers, who had never been in the bottom two but didn’t win. I was like Oh My God I am going to follow in her footsteps! ...When Ru said my name I forgot to breathe, I was overjoyed and overwhelmed."
Tyra had advice for future contestants as well.
"Just be yourselves, do what is asked of you but make sure the judges still see you. You can challenge yourself to do different things but at the same time be yourself while doing those things. There wasn’t a difficult challenge for me. The Rock n Roll challenge was harder because I can’t sing, but I knew I can’t sing. I had immunity so I just went out and had fun."
Being able to provide a home and support for his son is a big part of why Tyra is determined to maximize her Drag Race victory.
"My son is with me now, I see him every day. When I travel out of town his Mom comes and stays at the house and watches him. We work together as a team."
She has been busy since the show making guest appearances, working on a planned TV show, and touring across Canada and possibly the UK. Being the next drag superstar comes with high expectations for performing live.
"I just make sure that I am relaxed. When getting ready in makeup and stuff, I make sure everything is in order and on schedule. I know how long it takes to do my makeup and hair and I don’t want to be rushed, I want to relax and meditate while getting ready."
The queens seemed to clash a lot over the course of the show, and in the Untucked episodes that aired afterward. But Tyra says, on the whole, the experience brought contestants closer together.
"What everyone saw was the truth. It did leave out a lot of the good parts and showed the bad parts for ratings, but the good parts outweighed the bad parts. We got along and were happy a lot of the time, we were really good friends."
Read our first interview with Trya written by Bebe Zahara Benet
RuPaul’s Drag Race - Season 3
OUTtv, Monday nights at 8:00pm