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Last week, it was the celebrity-impersonating Snatch Game on RuPaul's Drag Race. And Aiden Zhane -- after failing to impress the judges with her take on Rocky Horror actress Patricia Quinn -- sashayed away after lip-synching against a rival, Brita.
Below, Zhane spoke with The Advocate about the origins of her unique drag look that endeared her to many fans as well as the message she has for the haters who doubted her.
The Advocate: Your look really is so unique and striking. How did you develop it and what were your inspirations?
Zhane: I am someone who likes to say that I use myself as my own inspiration. I grew up loving horror movies, Halloween, and cartoons. I pull inspiration from all of those things.
You often said you were at a disadvantage on Drag Race because you didn't come from a big city. Do you still believe that impacted your odds?
I think that you can come from any type of background and rise above. Even though I said that on Drag Race, I wanted to show that you can come from anywhere and you can still make something of yourself.
What are some strengths you have as a result of growing up in a small town?
I would say starting drag in a small town gave me the strength of being able to depend on myself. I have always done everything on my own -- me, myself, and I -- and that has made me stronger.
There was hostility from the other queens that you weren't eliminated sooner. What do you believe was the source of that sentiment?
Going into a situation like this, it's a competition. And everyone came for the same reason and that is to win. Tempers are going to flare and people are going to be upset. Regardless of the situation, if it wasn't me, it would have been someone else.
What was it like to lip-synch against Brita after her record of naysaying against you?
I wasn't even necessarily focused on the fact that I was up against Brita. I was focused that I was in the bottom. My mind wasn't present in that moment, it was just that I was in the bottom two.
What message would you like to send to the haters?
I would like to send the haters the message that it doesn't matter where you come from, if you are from a small town or a big city with one follower or a million. Drag is for everybody. It doesn't matter your background.
You played Rocky Horror's Patricia Quinn on the Snatch Game. Can you tell us a little more about why you wanted to impersonate her?
One of my first exposures to drag in general was The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I went with friends to a local screening. Between that and Drag Race, those were my first two exposures to the drag world. With that said, being one of those first things that introduced me to the world of drag, it felt like an obvious choice for me.
Most of the country is under a stay-at-home order right now. How are you making life in lockdown interesting?
I think the most important thing for me and for a lot of people right now is developing a routine and finding things to keep yourself busy. Finding things to keep you productive, especially as drag queens. Our livelihood depends on us getting out and being around people, but we can't do that. So I am trying to find ways to work around that and communicate with people in other ways.
Drag queens make their living from events, making them particularly vulnerable right now. How can fans support their favorite queens (and you!) in this extraordinary time?
Queens are doing a lot of different things right now. You can support queens doing digital drag shows. Queens have Venmos, merch, cameos. Check on their social media and find ways to support your local queens.
What gives you hope and happiness right now?
For me, I always look at what's to come. If there is a hard time, I try not to wallow in that. I am always looking forward to the future and excited for what's next.
RuPaul's Drag Race airs Fridays at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific on VH1.