Mayhem Miller sashayed away last week on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, which saw the queens imitating celebrities-behaving-badly on a TMZ spoof, SheMZ.
She did so, in a twist of fate, after her longtime friend Morgan McMichaels appeared as the surprise lip-synch assassin and tied with challenge winner Miz Cracker. In both possible scenarios, Miller was booted, saving the other bottom-two contestant, India Ferrah, from elimination.
But in her final episode, Miller also opened up for the first time, sharing with the other queens and the audience her history of substance abuse and a horrific encounter with the police. Below, Miller spoke more about the elimination and how Drag Race and the world can address racism.
The Advocate: How are you feeling about the elimination? You seemed to have taken on a different attitude this episode toward its possibility.
I feel good about it! Sometimes you have to be at peace with things in order to move on in life. And I am at peace with this.
India told the other queens that you had did not bring enough in your performance together. What is your response to that?
I mean, this is a competition. If India needs to do what she needs to do to advance in it then more to power to her. But I honor my word to support her as my scene partner. I have her back in this and I am not going to campaign against her.
What was your reaction to your longtime friend (and lipsynch assassin) Morgan McMichaels’ role in your fate?
My reaction is, I'm ready to see my sister tear it up on this stage!
In light of how events unfolded, do you have any regrets about voting for Shea to be eliminated last week?
I do not have any regrets. My character is what is most important to me. And my word is my bond. I would never vote off one of my best friends in life, Mariah, and I would never vote someone off who I had promised I would have their back, India. I love Shea and I think she is a great drag queen but she was the only one left to vote for.
I loved the “straight drag” you all adapted for the SheMZ newsroom. Who was your inspiration for that character?
What character?! Haha
You really opened up about this season about your issues with substance abuse. How are you coping today?
I am doing great! I have been drug-free for quite some time. I am working with my issues with alcohol but everything is under control and I am in a much happier place in life. I am continuing to work on myself and thrive.
What impact do you hope telling your story will have?
My hope is for anyone out there struggling who feels like they may be alone to see my story and relate and say, "Hey, if this person can be brave enough to tell the world then maybe I can face my demons too."
The story about how the police treated you — shaming you, stripping you, taking your photo — was heartbreaking. In light of your own experience, and the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations, what do you think needs to be done to address abusive law enforcement?
With responsibility, there needs to be accountability. I just hope that with what's happening in the world today and with how things are being spoken about, I hope actual reform happens.
Drag Race is reckoning with its own racism in its fan base. What steps would you like to see done to address this?
I think more people need to speak out. It's not just telling people that their behavior is unacceptable. I understand people are passionate about this show and they feel like they can say and do what they want but at some point, we have to take our power back as well. People need to start calling out racism in the fanbase. The queens need to speak to their fan base and let them know they can not be a part of the fanbase if you are going to use racial derogatory comments in my name. The fans want to stand up for their queen and tear down another for them. It is our responsibility as queens to call them out and let them know that this behavior will not be tolerated.
What is next for you?
To continue doing what I do! Which is work! Hopefully, the world gets back to a better place with some normalcy. The party can’t stop!
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars airs Fridays at 8 p.m. Eastern on VH1. Revisit last Friday's lip-synch below.