Violet Chachki is undeniable. Her looks teeter on the edge of high fashion and burlesque, letting everyone know that despite her youth, she knows exactly how to brand her image. The very morning after her triumphant crowning as RuPaul’s newest drag superstar, Violet released her sickening new single ‘Bettie’; a testament to her sense of timing.
This is my second interview with Violet. In the first, during a photo shot, I knew that she had done really well in RPDR because of the plethora of gorgeous and very new fashions and wigs that she unleashed on our camera. But she wasn’t sharing anything about the show. However this time Violet is finally able to share her experiences on the show, her new found fame and the responsibility that comes with it, and her plans for her very bright future.
David Atlanta: How are you feeling today?
Violet Chachki: Oh my God. I’m like numb. I’m not sure if it’s real. I’m in New York, I think Midtown somewhere. (laughs) I don’t really know where!
DA: It’s a shame you couldn’t have been at your home bar, Mary’s last night.
VC: I know, I saw a bunch of videos though. Were you there?
DA: No, I was actually at Blake’s. The crowd went insane when you were crowned.
VC: Was Edie doing her thing?
DA: You know it.
VC: I got a couple of videos from Mary’s and it looked packed.
DA: I have to say; I knew that you had done really well on Drag Race back when we did that photo shoot last year. You came in with all those new clothes and new wigs. One of the wigs didn’t even have the lace-front cut off of it yet. You were so tight lipped about everything. Was it hard to stay quiet about everything?
VC: Well, in my defense, even if I hadn’t made it so far, I had to look good. Well fuck, either way you have to look nice. I tried to keep my mouth shut. I wouldn’t say anything about the show, but it was hard to keep a poker face. My friends know me. The people that I work with know me. The second that I told Edie [Cheezburger] on The Other Show that I was leaving for two months, her first response was “Good luck…and don’t fuck it up.” She knew immediately. It was definitely hard to keep quiet.
DA: How has your life changed?
VC: It’s crazy, and about to get even crazier. I’m constantly traveling through airports. I don’t think I’ve done ‘The Other Show’ in like two months.
DA: But you’re going to be back on Friday for ‘Hogtied’ (at Heretic)?
VC: Yeah I will be. I’m super excited; it’s actually a great homecoming kinda thing. I can’t wait to see my friends and just be around people that actually know me. Just get drunk and hang out. (laughs)
Meeting people from all over the world is awesome. I mean Miley Cyrus called me yesterday! It’s been FUCKING crazy. Miley Cyrus calls me directly yesterday and tells me that she’s ‘fan girling over you’. Then Dita Von Teese tweeted me yesterday. That’s like, the end-all be-all for me. She’s my idol. I’m on cloud nine right now.
In general, traveling and meeting all these fans…the gay youth/queer youth and how inspired they are by me, I gain a mutual inspiration from them. There are no words to describe how surreal this has been. It’s like my whole life has been a dream up to this point, and I’m about to wake up at any minute.
DA: What advice do you give the kids that are contacting you?
VC: It depends on what they are saying. There’s some really dark stuff that I’m getting asked. I’m like, “let me direct you to a help line.” (laughs) “One that will better assist your needs.” There are these kids from like, the Middle East with problems, and I’m like, “this is what I did.” [These kids] are like, “I’ll get killed.” Our situations are really different, so it’s hard to give advice on that front. That’s the darkest of what I’ve gotten.
I’ve also gotten some really beautiful ones. People saying that they’ve always been ashamed of being an effeminate man, and that I’ve really inspired them to be proud of themselves. There’s some really touching and sweet and inspirational stuff coming at me.
You go onto the show thinking that you’re going to just be fabulous and do drag and showcase your art, and then there’s all these things that come with it. Afterwards especially, you realize that there are all these people that you touched. It’s insane.
DA: What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten from a fan?
VC: I think maybe someone saying something about the whole ‘confidence’ thing. I think my confidence resonates with a lot of people. Especially when it comes to just being who you are and being proud of it. It’s incredible. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. When someone who has had similar experiences reaches out to me and says that because of my strengths they’re inspired. It’s super rewarding.
DA: That’s got to be a cool feeling. What was the hardest challenge for you on RPDR?
VC: Any acting-group-dancing-comedy-singing challenge! The whole experience was a total mind-fuck.
DA: (laughing) I think every challenge was acting-group-dancing-comedy-singing this season!
VC: Yeah, that’s why I was jumping for joy at the ‘Hello Kitty challenge’–my first solo challenge with fashion…I really got to release all this creative, pent up energy that I had, and not have to stifle whatever idea that I had to be in a group. I kept wondering when the fuck I was going to shine. There were a lot of performance challenges this season that were all equally difficult this season. The ‘John Waters challenge’ as much fun as it was, was the one that I was the most scared about lip syncing [for my life]. I had matching rainbow panties under that hideous dress. I was ready to hike that dress up and lip sync. I was so ready.
DA: It’s good that you prepared for that. Some of the other girls were so restricted by what they were wearing, that they couldn’t give a good performance.
VC: I was ready every single week. I would be duct taped so tight every week. I was ready to lip sync every week. You literally never know what’s going to happen. You do these little skits and then they play them back. You go, “oh shit, that was terrible!” You have to be prepared for anything.
DA: Some of the girls have complained about the editing this season. Was it a problem for you?
VC: I definitely think it was a fair edit for me. I’m not sure about the other girls.
DA: Was there a moment in the show that you felt was a ‘game changer’ for you?
VC: I think when I won the dancing challenge with Katya. That was such a weight off my shoulder kind of relief. I think also, once you get to ‘Snatch Game’ you know that you’re doing okay.
DA: Walk me through the last moments before you got crowned last night.
VC: It’s funny, me, Pearl and Ginger were all watching the crowning [in NY], and RuPaul says; “and the next drag superstar is….” And the screen goes black! I guess there was a loose wire and it kept cutting out. The screen was black for like a good minute and a half. All of us were flipping out. Screaming “what the fuck!” Then the scream comes back on and it’s my name. After that, I was just in shock. It was a very weird build-up to a very weird moment. I’m still in a state of shock. I looked at the other girls and I think I tried to hug them in my latex dress…I don’t know. It was a very surreal, weird, weird moment. It still doesn’t feel real.
DA: In the taping, you yelled out “come thru”. What does that mean?
VC: I did yell that! It’s something the Legendary Children and my friends would say when a girl is really ‘turning it.’ We’ll say things like that when a girl is doing an amazing job. We’ll say; “yes bitch! Work! Come thru!” A girl like Kennedy [Davenport] can do these things. At Mary’s there’s been drag balls, or pseudo-drag balls that we’ve hosted. That’s where it comes from for me. I guess I was really feeling that phrase.
DA: So what are you going to do with the prize money?
VC: I think I want to invest it back in my drag. Take this money and elevate my art and myself. It just makes sense to make yourself better. Take it to the next level. Maybe it’ll be designing something…a clothing line, aerial stuff, performance stuff. I’d also like to donate some of my drag to an LGBT youth charity.
DA: Like Lost-N-Found Youth?
VC: Potentially, yeah. Miley Cyrus actually just started one. [The Happy Hippy Foundation, with the mission “to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations.”] She was at the taping and she was so sweet and supportive.
DA: You should start your own line of corsets!
VC: I think all that’s going to come later. Right now I just want to take what I do to the next level. For winning I think I owe it to take it to the next level. I actually just released a new video, it came out today. It’s called ‘Bettie’ and it’s available online. My EP drops on the 30th of this month as well.
DA: You’ve got this all planned out then don’t you?
VC: Yasss ma’am! You should go watch it!