It finally happened. On the third episode of RuPaul's Drag Race — after the queens survived their initial challenges unscathed — a contestant has sashayed away.
That contestant was Kahmora Hall. Her "wooden" performance as a tree in the acting challenge, in which the queens performed in cheesy "RuPaulmark" movies, failed to impress the judges. And her glittering dragon ensemble, complete with a tail train, constrained her during the ultimate lip-synch against Denali.
However, Kahmora, having floored judge Carson Kressley with her Bob Mackie gown on day 1, holds her head high as the established fashion queen of season 13. Below, she talked The Advocate Friday about the elimination, teaching style to the children, how drag will change under the Biden administration, and her inner nerd.
The Advocate: How are you feeling? I'm sure it's a little bittersweet after this week.
Kahmora Hall: Honestly, I am actually very excited. I'm not sad, which is good. I know I'm gonna look great on the runway. So I just want to see it on TV already!
Are you ready for all of the tree puns?
Oh, yes. I'm gonna be posting something tree-related tonight as well on my social, so stay tuned for that.
Your fashion has really been stunning this season. You even floored Carson Kressley with one of your Bob Mackie gowns. What was it like for you to bring that art onto the Drag Race stage?
Obviously, I'm obsessed with Mr. Mackie. He holds a very special place in my heart, and every piece that I have, it's like wearing a piece of fashion history. And for me to walk down the main stage of RuPaul's Drag Race in that, it was like such a surreal moment. I feel like a lot of the viewers of Drag Race are getting younger and younger. And Bob Mackie has such a strong influence in not just fashion and costuming but queer history as well, like influencing drag queens for decades. So I just really wanted to educate the younger viewers about who Bob Mackie is and why he's so important. It's more than just a dress to me, and clearly, by Carson's reaction, you know his jaw dropped for a reason.
We saw how fashion can also be limiting sometimes in this episode’s lip-synch. You did look a little constrained on the runway. Did you consider tearing that dragon gown off?
Oh, hell no. I paid so much money for that dragon gown I'm not gonna tear it apart. Though honestly, at that moment, I knew that Denali is such a fierce lip-syncher and she's gonna do what she does best and I wouldn't expect anything less. And I know that Denali would want me to give it my all as well. Obviously, I was constrained in this long gown, but I'm gonna do what I do best, which is serve face and look stunning. I definitely felt like I held my own. I said this before on "Meet the Queens," I feel like you don't need to give a good performance with a bunch of tricks and stunts and whatnot. Obviously, I lost, but I did what I could do best and I was very proud of what I served in that performance.
You struggled a little bit during the acting trial as well, but as you pointed out, you had this eureka moment on the runway, about what your obstacles were and what you're up against. Since the show, have you been able to make any progress on beating your inner saboteur?
Oh, definitely. Since the show, I've been working really hard on my own self-confidence. I think just like years of growing up, never being told I was good at anything, and then being in a stressful environment kind of brought those feelings back. As I was saying, I don't understand why the confidence I do have inside is not showing on the outside. That's something that I've been working on. ... I've got it. I am a star. There's a reason why RuPaul chose me to be on the show. So I have to give myself a little credit. And I just really need to believe myself a lot more, and I have been. It's still a struggle sometimes. But I just have to give myself more credit. I made it on Drag Race for a reason.
You'd also mentioned how you had some internalized shame historically about showing drag in front of your partner. Are you in a better place with him about that?
Of course. I will say, like, he's always been supportive of me. But I think seeing me on Drag Race, seeing how important drag is to me, and how it's more than just a hobby, it's a passion, it's what I want to do, has really made it clear how important it was to me for me to be on this show. And not just him but my family as well. And honestly, I do have the support that I need, and it kind of makes me regret not being more open and honest and sharing this part of my life even more. But at the same time, I do think everything happens for a reason and my experience on Drag Race has really brought me closer to my family and my boyfriend.
We're in this new era right now. We just had an inauguration. We've gone from Trump to Biden. Drag often reflects the culture and its politics. I'm curious how you think drag will change under this administration and how you might be thinking of it differently.
I feel like drag has always been political at its core. I think with the Trump administration, I think we were kind of reminded of that, and that's why a lot of drag queens, including myself, have been very vocal about that former president, and I hope as drag queens we continue to be vocal about political topics, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement. It happened a lot in the summer, but it doesn't end there. We need to keep the momentum going. And I hope that with this new administration I think we're in a better place. We're getting the COVID vaccine. It already feels like a fresh start for our country. I hope that as drag queens, we continue to use our voices to uplift people who don't have one.
And hopefully, you can perform in front of people again soon.
Yeah, very soon. There's nothing I want more than to be able to meet the fans and the viewers of the show.
As a fashion lover, was there a style highlight for you from the inauguration?
Kamala in that coat ... and seeing Michelle [in her coat]. I felt like it was just so perfectly planned. ... It just reminded me of Mileena and Kitana from Mortal Kombat. The little gamer nerd in me was, like, freaking out.
What's next for you?
I would love to incorporate my drag more into fashion and makeup. That's something I've wanted to dip my toes in. And again ... the thing people don't know about me is I'm a huge gamer, I'm a huge nerd underneath all this glamour. And so I want to be able to share that kind of part of my life with my fans and the viewers. So please stay tuned for my Twitch and YouTube channels.
I can't wait to see your tree post.
Please, and I will be sharing all the runways I would have worn in every episode. I mean it when I say I am the fashion queen of the season. Don't forget it!
RuPaul's Drag Race airs Fridays on VH1 and other networks.