Last Words With Chad Michaels, RuPaul's All Star

Chad Michaels, winner of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, talks to The Advocate about his victory and reveals juicy behind-the-scenes details.



What inspired your style for this episode during the three challenges?
It was a matter of what I had left [laughs]… My style is clean and simple. I don’t like a lot of feathers and frills. I like a clean aesthetic, a Calvin Klein aesthetic.
How did you prepare for each challenge?
It was terrifying — especially the comedy challenge. I’ve been working on a microphone for a long, long time. The Hamburger Mary’s challenge was a natural for me. Both Raven and I, being from southern California, had been to Hamburger Mary’s, knew the clientele, had friends who worked there. We had a connection to it, so it was easy to come up with something. The comedy challenge was really hard. It’s one thing to go off the cuff, but it’s another thing to have to prepare something and then execute the timing, and fight back your nerves and the quiver in your voice and that beating heart. That was terrifying for me…And it felt good just to be able to get through it. 
What do you think is the role of drag in the gay community today?
More and more, I think people are seeing us with a little more value, and not so much as a diversion or a freak show. I think Drag Race had shown our human side…and allowed us to have a voice and shows things like my relationship with my father, and Raven’s relationship with his mother. I’m hoping that we’re becoming more of a group within the gay community that the rest can look at and hopefully learn something from — but also accept, and possibly, admire... For a long time, I’ve always felt that some in the gay community have made me feel like I’m at the bottom at the gay ladder, the bottom of the barrel, because I dress as a woman for a living, and wow, that’s about as low as you can go as a gay. I have been made to feel that way by people in my life who are gay or lesbian. I’m hoping that those feelings change, and are changing. Hopefully, we’re playing a role that is positive, and no longer negative.
What needs to be fought for? What needs to be cared about today?
We need to care about our civil rights. This year, for me, has been overwhelming. I’ve visited a lot of different cities, especially in the South and through the Midwest. The fact that we have no rights in certain states and counties really hit home. I met the people who are getting evicted from the homes because their landlords don’t like the fact that they’re gay, or fired from their jobs because their boss is homophobic… These are the things that we need to work on, change, and be vocal about, and not back down on. It’s not right. I honestly didn’t know, and it really shook me to my core that these people live in such fear…Some of these people… [their mentality is] ‘I don’t care if I get married, I just don’t want to get fired because I’m gay.’… That’s something that has really resonated with me this year. 
Tags: television