Last Words With RuPaul's Drag Race's Dax and Laila
It was a shocking end to this week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. For the second time in the show's herstory, two queens were eliminated, after failing to impress RuPaul in a lip-synch battle to I Will Survive: Dax ExclamationPoint and Laila McQueen.
The Advocate spoke with the queens about their dual elimination, working in a group in this week's musical challenge, and one of the topics of the episode: virginity.
The Advocate: What was running through your mind when RuPaul said both of you would be eliminated?
Laila: I was so in shock and embarrassed. I couldn’t think of anything else but that. It was like a song was playing and only a moment of it kept repeating in my head. It was a lot to take in all at once.
Dax: I was furious and just frantic. There weren’t many tangible feelings. We were just shocked. Neither Laila nor I do disco, so it wasn’t our forte. It’s not a genre I would ever pick to do on stage.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently to avoid elimination?
Laila: I would have taken a bigger role in the challenge and really pushed myself forward to standout. It’s a competition, so I should have been more in front and lively. I was too shy.
Dax: What I do, is what I do. I can’t place a single moment as a specific misstep. Although, I would have picked a different costume for my final runaway. I burned that dress when I got home.
What would you have shown the world, if you had more time?
Laila: Instead of being anxious, worried, and lip-sinking for my life twice in a row, I would have shown the world that I’m fun, relatable, and just a fun idiot.
Dax: I would have shown the world more variety. People saw my cosplay, but I’m more than one-note queen. There’s more to me than that.
What was the most challenging part of working in a team for this week's challenge?
Laila: Trying to standout in a group challenge. It was definitely hard when you’re up against big personalities like Thorgy Thor and Bob the Drag Queen.
Dax: It was a challenge dealing with everyone’s conflicting style choice and ideas. There are a lot of strong personalities on the show. I was focused on learning the choreography to just get it done.
Do you believe working in a group helped or hindered your chances?
Laila: It hindered my chances, but at the time I didn’t think it would have. I was excited to do a performer challenge, be part of the group, and show my personality. But I wasn’t flashy and it ended up hurting me.
Dax: I think it hindered my chances. I’m self-sufficient person, so when I’m in a group, I have to put myself in the backseat and that’s hard for me to do.
If you could play any character on Pitch Perfect, who would it be and why?
Laila: Rebel Wilson’s “Fat Amy” character. She has the best lines! And I hate exercise, so I feel like I can relate.
Dax: Rebel Wilson, because she’s hilarious. I just want to play her, like the real life Rebel Wilson. I’m a big fan.
Dax, we hear you’re Violet Chachki’s drag mother. What lessons did you impart to Violet? And what have you learned from her?
Dax: Commit to your look, never take your shoes off in a performance, and keep your drag on at the venue even after the show. I also gave her advice on how to work the room and gave pointers on technique. But she’s very self-aware and able to do her own thing. I Feel like when I hang out with Violet and her sister Brigitte Bidet, they remind me of why I started doing drag in the first place. They spark that fire in me, which reminds me to recommit to performing and exploring my drag character.
How did you prepare for Drag Race?
Laila: I frantically went to every store and fabric shop to make sure I had everything I would need. Before I submitted my audition tape, Tatianna gave me some advice as well.
Dax: A lot of shopping! I spent a lot of time putting looks together, planning different hair and costume options, and just making sure I had all the supplies I needed. It’s not like we can just pop out and grab some lashes or pantyhose any time we wanted to. I wanted to be prepared for whatever challenge they tossed at me.
Kim Chi revealed that she was a virgin! What advice would you give the gay virgins of the world?
Laila: I wouldn’t know anything about that. I’m the farthest thing from a virgin. If I had to give advice, it would be to just get out there and do it. Get all the men, but be safe about it!
Dax: Be you and be happy with that. If you’re virgin, don’t do anything until you’re ready and just be safe when you do decide to go for it.
Who are you rooting for among the remaining contestants?
Laila: I really love the New York girls. I’m rooting for one of them to take it home this year.
Dax: It’s anyone’s game. I love Kim Chi, Bob the Drag Queen, Chi Chi DeVayne, and Thorgy Thor. I think they’re all really strong contenders and really diverse. They each bring something different to the table.
Laila, you’re from Massachusetts; and Dax, you’re from Savannah. What are some must-visit destinations in your hometowns for an LGBT tourist?
Laila: Head immediately to Provincetown, Mass. You’ll have a gay ol’ time there.
Dax: Check out Chuck’s Bar on River St in Savannah. You can also drink openly, so check out the downtown bar scene. Come see Savannah! But don’t touch the moss, it’s full of chiggers!
What inspired your drag name?
Laila: My best friend is a stripper and I used to work at a strip bar, so were thinking of some of common stripper names and loved Laila. McQueen is an homage, Alexander McQueen, because he’s such an amazing designer. It’s also kind of a joke because my fashion is the worst.
Dax: Dax is my birth name and I’ve always signed my name with an exclamation point. I just decided one day to start spelling out the exclamation point and it stuck.
Laila: I’m an artist, so I would like to get back into paintings and creating more works. I definitely plan to do more shows to get out and meet fans. Basically, I just want to do anything that gets me out of my parent’s basement.
Dax: I want to do more cosplay and hit the comic book convention circuit. I’m also recording some music in the next few weeks and will be sharing that with you all soon. People can see me at DragCon and I’ll be performing all over, so there is a lot coming up. I just focused on putting my life in motion.
Thanks, Laila and Dax! Tune in next week to find out who Ru called at the end of this week’s cliffhanger. Plus, the queens compete in an over-acting challenge with guest judges Faith Evans and Tasha Smith from Empire. Get a taste below.