It was no picnic for Alexis Mateo on the last episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars.
The Puerto Rican queen was under the suspicious gaze of her competitors, after last week's eliminated contestant, India Ferrah, implicated her in a conspiracy to oust front-runner Shea Couleé.
The shadow hung over Mateo even as she debuted a strong backyard-barbecue look on the runway, which she designed from lawn materials that included a kiddie pool beneath her gown. Ultimately, surprise lip-synch assassin Roxxxy Andrews pulled Mateo's lipstick, signaling she had been picked by the other queens to sashay away.
Below, Mateo spoke with The Advocate about the truth concerning the conspiracy, socializing during a pandemic, and fighting racism among Drag Race fans.
The Advocate: It’s a difficult time to throw a barbecue right now. How have you found ways to gather with the ones you love?
Alexis Mateo: Through social media and video calls, I have been able to stay in contact with my family and friends during this time. I normally hate phone calls, but COVID has forced me to get used to it!
What’s your signature dish at an outdoor gathering?
You know, I don’t cook at all! If it’s one thing I hate, it is cooking. Whatever is easy, hot dogs or hamburgers. But you know, I love chicken, and I always think about myself, so I would probably bring chicken!
You exited Drag Race surrounded by a cloud of drama after India accused you of conspiring to eliminate Shea. In your account, what actually happened?
It didn’t happen. Nothing happened. It was all made up. It was a very desperate effort from her. There was no misunderstanding; I communicate very well. So nothing happened!
You had considered India a friend. What is your relationship with her now after this incident?
I think our relationship is still the same. I was very surprised after the incident, but I thought it was a very desperate moment, so I didn't take it personally even though I knew it was going to end my time on the show. It was important for me to stay calm and [collected] on the show.
If India had not accused you of conspiracy, do you believe that you’d still be in this competition?
Oh, yes, hands down. I think I did a good job in every challenge. I think I was very consistent. Even though I got eliminated, I think my dress on the runway was a top dress of the evening. So yes, definitely!
What message would you like to share with the world following the drama surrounding your elimination?
I want people to remember where I am from and who I am! I thought I did a great job not just in this season but in every other season. It is not the end of me yet, so I would love to meet everyone. It is going to be a crazy ride! I appreciate all of my fans and thank them!
The Black Lives Matter movement has forced every person and institution to look inward in the fight against racism. What needs to be done to fight bigotry in the Drag Race community?
Respect is the biggest issue right now! I feel like everybody feels entitled to say and do whatever they want to and they are, but there has to be boundaries. We all have to respect each other to live in harmony. It is a very important issue everywhere right now.
On the show, you referenced the difficulties of getting older as a drag performer. What’s the greatest challenge in your view?
The greatest challenge in the show was to compete next to younger girls who are faster and have youth on their side. Getting older on the show and in drag also gives you an advantage because you have experience. Getting older has its negatives and positives. I feel like it's important to learn and grow older, and it can be an advantage, but it is also difficult to keep up with these younger girls!
What’s next for you?
I want to work in music and in television. I want to travel the world. I never had the chance to do that. I would love to introduce more material for our Drag Race fans in Latin America. I would love to be a part of a Drag Race production in Latin America!
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars airs Fridays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on VH1.