Raja, Ooh La La

Newly crowned the third winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Raja opens up about her controversial Ru connection, her upcoming single, and her responsibility as a rebellious role model.

BY Brandon Voss

April 26 2011 2:00 PM ET

Who says a funny queen with a big personality can’t win Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race? Working the runway with a witty genderfuck style, Raja, a Los Angeles drag queen with 20 years of experience, snatched the season 3 tiara from glossy glamour-pusses with more feminine voices and curves. The morning after publicly accepting the title at the official finale celebration in New York, Raja’s alter ego Sutan Amrull, a celebrity makeup artist and his season’s oldest competitor at 36, spoke to Advocate.com about why he prefers starfuckers over sequins.

Advocate.com: Did you get any sleep after last night’s finale viewing party?
Sutan Amrull: It was one of those things where I just passed out. I might still be a little drunk, but I’m here and present.

The finale was filmed many months ago. Was it difficult to keep your victory a secret for so long?
It was really difficult. I wanted to tell so many people, but it was a fun secret to keep.

I’ve been reading spoilers about your win online for months, so some people clearly can’t keep their mouths shut.
I liked having that buzz out there, actually. I was on Perez Hilton two days in a row. What else can a new celebrity ask for?

Do you have a special someone to share this excitement with?
I’m pretty single right now, but the best part about this whole process is the starfuckers. They’ve been coming out of the woodwork, and they’re adorable.

What’s your type?
I have all kinds of types. I’m not that specific. I feed off energy most times, so I like someone who has a creative vibe and who is passionate about what they do. But if I had to pick a physical type, it would probably be someone a lot like me — tall and slender.

How will you spend your $75,000 prize money?
I’m probably going to do the responsible thing and pay off some debts. I owe money. Whatever’s left, I should probably save it.

Did you feel like you were fairly edited throughout the season? In other words, do you think the audience saw the real Raja?
I do and I don’t. There’s a side to me that’s a lot warmer than what was portrayed. I’m not as mean and bitchy as I might have seemed. I’m actually a really kind and nurturing person, but I knew going into it that my experience might make me be the bitch of the show. So be it. I’m very confident and I’m good at what I do.

Winning this competition positions you as a role model for the gay community, particularly for aspiring young drag queens. Are you prepared for that responsibility?
Absolutely. That’s something that I’ve kind of always needed to do: There’s something within me that wants to be a mentor, a teacher, and a role model. I don’t pretend to be some pristine, clean-cut role model; I’m a rebellious role model, which is fine. People should find their own voice and make themselves known, whoever they are. I’d like to work with different charities and organizations like the Trevor Project, but I’d really love to focus on art programs for gay youth — something that supports the arts and creativity.

Tags: television

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