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Drag Race's Tamisha Iman Is No 'Microwave' Drag Queen

Drag Race's Tamisha Iman Is No 'Microwave' Drag Queen

Tamisha Iman

The seasoned entertainer shares lessons from her career -- and spills the tea on that fight with Kandy Muse.


In this week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, the queens created a "Disco-Mentary," in which they enacted different chapters of the genre's history through groovy dance movies.

Sadly, this week also saw the departure o Tamisha Iman, who lost a lip-synch against Kandy Muse. Notably, the pair had gone head-to-head in an intense encounter on last week's Untucked, the behind-the-scenes counterpart to the competition.

Below, the seasoned Atlanta entertainer discusses the elimination, the confrontation, and lessons for the children on drag and LGBTQ+ history.

The Advocate: First of all, thank you for bringing your wisdom, perspective, and style of drag to Drag Race. I think it was really empowering for a lot of viewers.
Tamisha Iman: Thank you very much.

How are you feeling health-wise?
I am fine. I'm getting stronger every day. I really can't complain.

I'm glad to hear that. How are you feeling emotionally? It's been a dramatic season.
It's been exciting for me, I'm not emotional. I knew going in, someone had to stay, someone had to go. I was sad to see me go though! I wish I could have stayed a little longer, but I'm glad I was there.

What was it like to lip-synch against Kandy Muse after your Untucked fight?
It was life, because oftentimes in my world you know you get into the girls and then you meet them on the board at the pageant. So it was like, OK, if this is the moment, then this is the moment. It doesn't define me. It didn't hurt my feelings or anything of that nature. I did not feel bad at all. ... At the end of the day, Ru calls the shots, so I had to accept it. Nevertheless, I didn't feel any type of way about it

Was there a reconciliation?
It was a mutual thing. When you get two strong personalities together and they bump heads, and like I say you go to your mutual corner and you have time to think about and review your own actions. ...We often check ourselves. So I'm sure both of us realized we could have handled it differently. It was in the heat of the moment, even like when we talk about it now, we don't really talk about it. Like girl, we made good TV. It was nothing personal.

It was great TV. Everyone talked about your Untucked episode. How does it feel to have that moment that went viral and will live on?
What was crazy, I'd imagined everything going on Drag Race, except a fight. I never thought I would be in a fight. Like, child, I'm in control, I can handle myself. I don't even put myself in that predicament. So I'm like, I'm good. Keep in mind, in the real world, I do bump a lot of heads with girls ... but I don't do a lot of shows, so I don't have to bump a lot of heads. ... But I'm kind of glad [the viral moment] happened.

You did talk about how arrogance was an issue for Kandy and some of the other contestants. Do you think, after living through that, there's a better way to play Drag Race?
I'm from a different era of drag. And I keep using this phrase. There's a difference from a seasoned entertainer and a microwave drag queen. Microwave, meaning the internet is New Age. You can learn how to do drag over the internet. We had to learn how to do drag by messing up our faces 100 times. You had to actually do the show looking ugly. But now you have the opportunity of getting it right, creating this persona online, and you're not necessarily in a better state to really project that.

All of your competitors were younger than you. Did you really feel that age gap?
They're the same age as my biological kids, and they're not too far from the ages of my drag kids. So that environment didn't affect me at all because, OK. I'm not the type that I'm only hanging with people my age, that's not me. In this industry, you got to have to interact with different age groups, and those babies was like, babies to me. That's why it didn't really bother me. Kandy to me was the baby that wanted to be noticed the most. I don't think she was a bad person. ... Sometimes people are different. Everybody approaches stuff differently. ... It wasn't about beating her up but ... there's a way to do it. You can get so many more bees with honey than you can with salt.

Do you feel like there's an aspect of their education that's missing?
That's why I started my virtual drag battle to show the different variations of drag. Oftentimes, with the show, you have drag queens competing against camp drag, even though they can compete against one another, they're totally different, like what they stand for. Camp is more comedy, in-your-face laughter. Regular drag is more emulating artists that you would see or that you aspire to be, performing that type of thing. It's not to make you laugh, it's to make you feel. So I want to educate the community on the different variations of drag. It's drag still, but it is viewed differently and when you put it together ... you need to know how to judge without making your personal choice. You have to accept it for what it is, if that makes you feel. Because all drag performances should make you feel something.

I feel like this season, there's a lot of quizzing of the contestants of queer and queer-adjacent history, and challenges like this one have an educational component, which seeks to teach a younger audience about our past. What would you want Drag Race viewers to learn?
The elements of drag. That is very very important. I'm gonna use this as an example, and don't take it any type of way. A person that is a racist. Most racists that haven't met the people that they're hating on. And once you meet the people that get you're hating on, you get a different perspective. And another way you'll be able to get that perspective is to accept the education. And that's the thing that I've been one with the new generation. Accept the education. It's a beautiful field. It's a beautiful industry, and it is open to all. You know I love the fact that you've got on the show with me so many trendsetting moments. You got that one of the oldest. You got the first trans [male contestant]. Eve Olivia, whose been doing drag a year and a half, [against] somebody who's been doing it 30. You have your defining moments. So history is very important. And as long as you do your due diligence and find out your history, you won't repeat a lot of things.

What's next?
The sky is the limit! ... I just hope to do great things. I'm a teacher. I want to teach the world and I just want unity. So if I can continue [demonstrating] being a gay male is about being happy, spreading love, then that's just what I'm gonna do.

RuPaul's Drag Race airs Fridays on VH1 and other networks.

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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.