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Drag Race's Utica 'Can Die Happy' After Being Flipped Off by RuPaul

Drag Race's Utica 'Can Die Happy' After Being Flipped Off by RuPaul


The season 13 contestant discusses her elimination, evolution, and video games.


It took a roast to bring down Utica Queen, last week's eliminated contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Season 13's lovable oddball, after surviving two lip-synchs, turned off the judges with her too-mean reads of the fellow queens -- including RuPaul, who gave the middle fingers to the Minnesota performer not once but twice. To The Advocate, Utica compared her performance to "burnt popcorn" but noted that she can now "die happy" after receiving the bird multiple times from the drag icon.

Below, Utica discusses her elimination, evolution, and a newfound love of video games, which was inspired by some of her fellow contestants.

The Advocate: First of all, I just want to tell you that I really enjoyed your "Utican" commercial, which was initially panned by the judges.
Utica Queen: It was very Adult Swim at 3 a.m.

Exactly! With a little David Lynch thrown in there.
During the episode, I was a little down on myself, [feeling] that was terrible, because I was told it was terrible. After seeing it, I was like, That was so good, so good. I haven't laughed out loud and cackled at myself that hard ever. ... I loved it. Every moment.

In Untucked, you talked about how you felt you were still figuring things out about yourself as a drag performer. Where are you in that journey, and how has Drag Race helped you?
When you go into Drag Race, it's a big pressure cooker, and you really have to be so strong in who you are, who you want to represent, your brand, and just the best version of yourself you can imagine. I think I have that. However, there's a lot of stuff that happens [in] Drag Race. It's very difficult. It takes a toll on your body and your mind, and you're constantly questioning yourself, and you're just trying to do the best work you can but also put your best foot forward. ...

This competition is amazing, and there are so many things I could have worked on to make it so much easier [with what] I was dealing with while I was there, whether it being emotional distress or worrying about people back home or this or that. It was a moment of trying to just let [the others] know that I was dealing with more than what was offered in just the competition. Girls will talk about, all the time, how tough the competition is. It's not only tough in the challenges and whatnot, but it's very mentally draining. And I felt that I was having a little bit of trouble with that, that I definitely wanted to share.

You had the opportunity to receive advice from the Miss Congenialities of seasons past. Was there a piece of advice that resonated with you?
Valentina mentioned that Drag Race is really a race from the beginning to the end. And, like, don't try to run too fast. Really try to pace yourself and try to just create the best work you can to take advantage of the opportunity that you're given. I think that one really hit home for me because in this type of situation you want to run and you want to try to create the best work you can. ... But what's amazing about this work is that it's going to be there. And you can come back to it if you want. Definitely try to take a break and pace yourself as much as you can. I really took that to heart. A lot of what the other girls in that congenial circle, what they said revolves around that idea ... and I think that I'm really going to hold on to that.

In addition to receiving advice, you also received multiple flippings of the bird from RuPaul.
I can literally die happy. Who gets that? No one gets that. OK, if I recall correctly, is this one of the first times that she's done that? I think so.

I can't remember another time. So you've made Drag Race herstory! How does that feel?
Bonkers. It happened the first time and I was like, I can die happy, hold on! And then it happened the second time and I was like, Oh, OK. This is a moment. ... I really like, stepped outside myself and I was like, this is crazy.

What would you do differently in the roast, considering you got such an amazing reaction from RuPaul?
OK, well, you saw the roast. I will say, classically, [I'm] not the best at roasting. ... My roast was like a burnt bag of popcorn. There's some good kernels in there, but it's still a burnt bag of popcorn.

With some seeds left in the bottom somehow.
That haven't even popped. You got to put it back in the microwave. ... But I think I had some good zingers in there because it really paid off with RuPaul.

What's next for you?
I'm working on more storytelling and more beautiful art. I definitely want to go and travel, and just share the art everywhere I can and just be the best version of myself I could possibly imagine. I think that Drag Race has given me this opportunity and I just want to take from it the most that I can, to share all the love, because I think that's what the world needs right now.

And Super Smash Brothers!
Yes. If you ever want to play online, let me know. I'm starting to get good.

RuPaul's Drag Race airs Fridays on VH1. Revisit the roast below.

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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.