Only three episodes of season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race have aired, and already Orion Story is living up to the “Story” in her moniker. Between her improvised “comedy” skit and her over-the-top fashion — not to mention her first out followed by a surprise return — she’s shown herself to be full of surprises as a contestant. But now she’s opening up about another story, and it’s an incredibly vulnerable one about how participating in the show really saved her from an especially “rough” period in her life.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly on its Quick Drag recap series, Orion shared how when her season of Drag Race began filming, she was going through a dark chapter in her life.
“The entire Drag Race experience has been therapeutic for me,” said Orion. “Pretty much, I went to Drag Race homeless; I was struggling with substance abuse. I felt like, when I auditioned, it was a now or never. I thought of it as the only way I’m going to get my shit together is to do it the only way I know how: through drag.”
For Orion, Drag Race proved to be a “healing process,” and watching it has been both an opportunity for reflection and has also given her a lot of empathy for herself. “It’s quite hard to watch back because I see how much I was struggling in that point in my life, and I want to go in the past and give myself a hug and say, ‘It’s going to be OK,’” she shared.
Post-filming, Orion shared that she’s “absolutely” on a better path. “I came back from the show and I got a lot of my shit together,” she said. “I’m so thankful to the show for helping me get through that difficulty in my life.” She’s also grateful to have made it through episode 3 to “slay another day.”
You can listen to EW’s full conversation with Orion here.