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

RAJA 2 X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COMDid you learn anything from your Top Model experience that helped you on Drag Race?
Being on another reality show really made me aware of cameras, which definitely helped, but from Tyra I learned that you have to keep doing what you do no matter what. I was there in Australia the day Tyra was photographed in that bathing suit that caused so much controversy. The day it happened, we went online and saw the articles and people calling her fat. There are so many haters out there, and being around Tyra just taught me that you just have to ignore all that, do what you do, and do it well.

Did you hear from Tyra after you imitated her during the “Snatch Game” challenge?
No, I haven’t, but I got a lot of support from Miss J. He text messaged me the day he saw the episode, and he was just losing his mind. He was like, “Oh, bitch, that was the most hysterical thing I’ve ever seen. Wait till Tyra sees this.”

You’ve also worked as Adam Lambert’s makeup artist. What have you learned from him as a performer?
I’ve also learned from his example of how he deals with haters. You have to keep making your art and being who you are. That’s really the greatest lesson I’ve learned from friends who are more famous than I am.

Let’s talk about those haters. Perez Hilton has led the argument that you shouldn’t have been allowed to compete because you’ve been friends with Ru for 15 years. How do you respond to that controversy?
All I have to say about that is that I’ve been a professional within the fashion and entertainment industry for many years. I started doing makeup when I was 19, I’ve built my own reputation and body of work within the industry, so it’s inevitable that we’re all going to be aware of each other. We may not all be friends, but we’re definitely aware of each other, and that’s true of anyone I’ve ever come across in the industry. Ru has lived in L.A. before, and she’s obviously a big fan of the drag community, so we’ve met each other many times, but it’s not like I was calling her on the phone to talk about my boy problems. I’m not from Back Swamp, and I’m not new to all this, so she was just aware of my presence.

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