Scroll To Top

Drag Race's Kennedy Davenport: I Am 'Honored' to Represent Sahara's Legacy

Drag Race's Kennedy Davenport: I Am 'Honored' to Represent Sahara's Legacy


The Advocate spoke with RuPaul's Drag Race's Kennedy Davenport after she sashayed away.


It's only a few days until the crowning of the winner of season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race. To slake fans' thirst for drag until Monday, The Advocate spoke with Kennedy Davenport, who was eliminated during the penultimate episode. The Texas-based entertainer talked about the challenges of filming a music video with RuPaul, the influence of her father on her drag career, and her late sister and Drag Race alum, Sahara Davenport.

The Advocate: How did you prepare for RuPaul's Drag Race?
Kennedy Davenport: In preparing for Drag Race, there is literally no time between the dates you are contacted and departure! I either purchased or borrowed the little things I needed that I didn't have in my closet already. I'm known for jumping into pageants at the very last minute, so this was the explanation I gave to those individuals I borrowed from. I was unaware of what I was getting myself into, but knew I wanted to be prepared. Honey, and looking back, I do believe I was! [Laughs]

Your lip-synch with Katya in last week's episode was epic. Where did you find that energy?
As an entertainer outside of Drag Race, my performances either tell a story or has some type of emotional effect! This is how I ensure the "Kennedy Davenport Experience" is given each and every time I grace a stage with my presence. The lyrics to the song "Roar" speak of the struggles I have dealt with and overcome in my life. While listening to the song, I remembered the emotions of feeling as though I didn't fit in, constantly trying without success, rejection, etc. [That] is where my inspiration came from and aided in my passionate performance! That's why when Ru said I had to lip-synch for my life, I felt good, had made peace with everything, and plus, I had a lot built up that needed to be released.

You mentioned that the loss of your father prompted your decision to appear on RuPaul's Drag Race. At what point did he embrace your decision to pursue drag?
I can truly say my dad supported me in whatever decision I made in my life. He may not have always agreed with it, but [he] always said, "Reuben, life is about choices!" So when he saw I was serious about drag and made it my full-time career, he was very supportive. But I will say that he had to see that first, and that it wasn't a joke. He saw my success in the art form and potential it had. After that, he became my biggest fan. Before his passing, he was planning on making me an evening gown. [Laughs] After attending one of my pageants, he was convinced he could do a much better job, [since] he was a men's clothing designer.

How do you think he would have responded to your time on Drag Race?
Wholeheartedly, I know he would have been so proud of me! He would not have been happy with the outcome and definitely would've wanted to have a talk with Miss RuPaul, honey! [Laughs] That's just how he was! In the end, he would've told me that God has something bigger and better for me, which I do believe with all my heart.

You also mentioned that you are a caregiver to your sister. How can society better support those who are dealing with mental disabilities, as well as those who care for him?
Society can treat those with disabilities like they don't have one. Everyone should treat other individuals as they would like to be treated. Take some out, and go volunteer at a facility for individuals with different disabilities. They are such a blessing to be around and smart as a whip. We can definitely learn a few things from them. As for those who take care of them, always put them first. If you don't have that type of time, don't do it. They need your love and all your attention. Also make sure you put them somewhere where they are constantly learning. The most important thing is to keep their mind stimulated.

Some of the other drag queens had wardrobe malfunctions during the music video shoot this episode. What tips would you have for the others on keeping your outfit and performance together under pressure?
Well, at this point in Drag Race, there should be no malfunctions. Period. You are the best of the best at this point. When being briefed on what's about to happen, it is very important that you listen and prepare. You know that there will be wind and movement involved, so you dress accordingly -- extra wig glue, bobby pins, etc. -- to make sure you don't have any problems and fall apart like my sisters did.

Who was your favorite character to play in the acting challenge?
Divine, of course. It took me completely out of my comfort zone, and I loved it. I was glad that I was able to learn a little bit about her beforehand. That allowed my creative juices to flow and put a little Kennedy stank on it. [Laughs]

You told Violet that she was too young to take on the responsibility of being America's Next Drag Superstar. After watching her performance throughout the season, do you stand by this statement?
I made that statement not based on how she did in the competition, but [on] her work ethic, how she was with people, and her professionalism. I do believe that by the end of the final challenge, Violet had grown and learned a lot. Being that I have had the opportunity to work with her in some venues, I do still stand by my statement to some extent! However, I do believe she will learn, and hopefully sooner than later. I wish nothing but the best for her.

Your Best Drag look was stunning on the runway. Why did you choose it? And why was it important to show rainbow Pride colors?
What other way to close your performance on RuPaul's Drag Race than with the colors of pride. I felt complete. Drag Race is definitely a competition of freedom of expression and total liberation. So I felt my choice was a perfect conclusion to a great run and a perfect dress to convince the judges that I was more than qualified for the position. Guess not. [Laughs]

You were very emotional speaking to your 4-year-old self. What were some of the challenges you faced growing up?
As a young boy, I was favored by my teachers, because of my outgoing personality and my performance ability. Due to this, I was teased and bullied on the daily by my peers. I was even spit on. I would always go home crying and wondering why I was different from others.

Carson Kressley called you the professional of the group. Where did you learn your fierce performance skills?
I attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts! This is where the foundation was created.

Michelle criticized your final speech on why you should be America's Next Drag Superstar. How would you have revised it to make a more favorable impression?
The only thing I would change would be the obvious -- where I used the word "condone" instead of "conduct"! I do place partial blame on the editing, though. If my speech in its entirety would have been shown, the viewers would have a better understanding.

Do you think performance skills were overlooked in the final lip-synch?
Yes, I do believe performance skills were overlooked in the last performance. I truly believe if they weren't, Kennedy would have been in the top three.

Did you wish you could have worn a dress that would have allowed you to do splits and more movement?
Truth be told, I had a dance costume I was going to wear for the lip-synch, but at the last minute, I changed my mind. I decided to just give them a sickening lip-synch, because I felt as though I had done all I could.

Looking back on the episode, would you have done anything else differently to avoid elimination?
Honestly, I feel I did nothing wrong! I made the top four by giving my all and doing what I thought was best. In my opinion, eliminations aren't just based on talent alone.

What was it like to reunite with the cast at this week's reunion taping as well as having a live audience?
Reuniting with my sisters is always a breath of fresh air! Baby, the live audience gave me my life!

How close were you to Sahara Davenport? And what is it like to represent your drag family and to help continue her legacy?
Sahara was my little sister, so we were very close! Our drag mother, Kelexis, raised us with high standards! Representing the Davenport family and continuing my sister's legacy means so much to me and am honored to do so!

You live in Texas, which is not known as the most LGBT-friendly state. As a drag queen, what is it like to live there?
In my opinion, Texas is LGBT-friendly! I have never had any issues. I don't know where that stereotype came from.

Can you recommend some destinations for an LGBT tourist in Dallas?
To LGBT tourists, I would definitely recommend the Cedar Springs area -- also known as the gay strip -- [Hunky's Hamburgers] where you can get an old-fashioned hamburger; S4, which is directly across the street and Dallas's largest gay club; my two home bars, which are the Brick & Joe's and the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth; and Harry Hines, a street where you can buy all the ho-sale, I mean wholesale, items for cheap! [Laughs]

Who should be America's Next Drag Superstar, and why?
Honestly, I haven't picked one. I feel as though each girl has a different aesthetic to offer!

What is the most important lesson you learned from your time on RPDR?
The most important lesson I learned is to never doubt my ability as a female impersonator!

What first attracted you to drag, and what inspired your drag name?
Beauty of other queens and another way of getting on a stage to entertain is what attracted me to drag. My mother, Kelexis Davenport, named me. She said Kennedy was a unisex name and appealed to different audiences!

What's next after RuPaul?
I'm hoping to fulfill my first dream, which is to entertain all over the world. I also would love to get back into music. Singing was my first love!

What should a drag queen always keep in her purse?
A queen should always smell as well as look beautiful. So to answer the question, some type of perfume should always be in a drag queen's purse. They need to remember to bathe first, though! IJS!

Why did the drag queen cross the road?
The drag queen crossed the road because trade was on the other side!

Thanks, Kennedy! See the full music video of RuPaul's "Born Naked," featuring Davenport, Ginger Minj, Pearl Liaison, and Violet Chachki, below.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.