Yvie Oddly is letting it all hang out in their new book, All About Yvie, Into the Oddity.

Oddly spoke with Blavity’s Shadow & Act about their book, set for publication on June 19. The book includes intimate stories about their life, including their turbulent childhood, drag career, RuPaul’s Drag Race, personal ups and downs and more. Oddly said their mission statement in their drag is all about embracing the oddities of being yourself.

Photo: Photo Provided

“I came the conclusion that even if you don’t love yourself, you have to learn how to accept yourself and treat yourself right, because you’re the only person you’re going to be dealing with for the rest of your life, guaranteed,” the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 winner and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 (aka All Winners) contestant said. “That’s all to say that I took the thing that used to make me feel weak, I took this otherness, this outsider feeling that I always had, and I turned it into something to be celebrated instead of feeling shame about the fact that I’m not going to fit into certain boxes. I found a way to celebrate them. I thought that’s what drag was about. So that’s where my drag really came through, was just realizing there were certain ways I was never going to be like everyone else, and I might as well stick that in their face.”

Oddly said they learned over time that what they initially thought made them stick out is their superpowers. 

“My greatest weakness is my greatest strength,” they said. “It’s the thing that has always helped me connect to people. Not even fans; connect to people in general. [What helped me] is just running with what’s going on in my heart and marching to the beat of my own drum. So when it comes to Drag Race, and being on that big of a scale and putting yourself out to that many people in the world, I know for sure that seeing some shred of individuality, some shred of pride in your otherness has really helped a lot of people as much as it’s pissed off [a lot of people].

“You know, it’s not easy. I think that’s the biggest thing I would want to impress upon other people is that it’s never going to be easy to do things that feel right to you if the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way,” they continued. “But it’s your duty, it’s your job — being alive to live your life for yourself and do the things that feel authentic to you — the person that is authentic to you. So if it pisses others off, oh well, because it’s also going to help bring you closer to the people who are also trying to find themselves.”

Being yourself can be challenging, but one way Oddly looks at it is that the choices that are right for you are for you only

Photo: Photo Provided

“I think the more aligned you are with what is authentic, what’s right, what’s natural for you,” the happier you will be, Oddly said, but your choices are what make you happy, not what could make someone else happy.

“The unfortunate truth of being human is that there is no such thing as right and wrong. It is never going to be that black and white, you know? What is good for you hurts somebody else,” they said. “What hurts you benefits someone else. And so I think the truth of it is that you have to do what is feeling authentic to you and try to be mindful that somebody else out there is doing the same thing.”

Oddly dives into their childhood in the book, and while speaking to Blavity, Oddly said that their childhood shaped how they deal with adversity today. 

“I mean, the negativity is a part of it. It is as much a part of it as the positivity,” Oddly said. “You know, RuPaul likes to talk a lot about living for your inner child. And I think that, for me, has just been this constant conversation I’ve had to have with myself about the things that I loved, the things that literally gave me life and the things that have hurt me, that hindered my progress, that set me back. If you reflect enough on all of that and work to please the child, I think it helps ease the pain.”

“The child in me was very, very hurt by the otherness I felt,” they continued. “So I went out, I embraced my otherness, and I ended up finding a family and making family and building this queer community around myself to help ease the pain of what little alone me felt. And when I found all these people, what I discovered is that everybody is going through it, and everybody has that baggage, has something from their childhood, has something from yesterday, has something that’s about to happen that really might seem like too much for them to handle alone. The beautiful part of being human is so much of our experience is shared. So, for me, I think it’s going and finding the people who can help heal all the hurt that you have and constantly facing all of that and asking yourself once again, like, what made me happy? I remember what hurt me, what made me happy, and what can I do to feed that joy? People are always my biggest answer for how; I need my people.”

Oddly wrote the book with the help of Michael Bach, who they said “actually had to do the nitty gritty work of helping me lay out how this story is going to be told.”

“I just had to do the hard part of telling it all, of telling everything, and it’s scary because when I sat down to do this, it was because I wanted to have an honest conversation,” they said. “I wanted to sit down and not be able to weasel my way around or paint any narratives. I wanted to just be honest and lay it all out there because I feel like there’s so much people don’t know about me. Everything people know about me from Drag Racethere’s so much that people don’t get to see and don’t really get to put together the full picture. And that was really my drive in doing this, was just telling an honest story about who I am and who I’ve been and who I will be.”

Oddly called writing the book “the hardest process” because of how scary it can be to lay it all out on the line. 

“It’s scary because I started by just spilling everything and then going back and being like, ‘OK, is this actually helpful? Is this interesting? Will this be good for someone, or is this just me crying because I skinned my knee?'” they said. “And so I’d like to say that for the most part, this book is chock full of things that I didn’t know I’d be telling this many people about. There are some very, very hard personal revelations that come in it. But that’s what you get. It’s all about Yvie. And if I’m not good for anything else, I know I’m good for just telling my story, for sharing my story with people. I feel like this book is just the best thing I could have done to do that; no one’s going to read 800 characters on a Twitter post; no one’s going to read two words on TikTok. But you know if they pick up a book, somebody is already committing to really learning your story, not just swiping past it. And it’s just the biggest give I can give to people. This book gave me so much clarity into how I perceive myself, how others perceive me, how humans interact in general. I think I’m ready to continue writing my stories.”

One of those stories includes living with a chronic disorder. During Oddly’s original season, Oddly revealed they had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. This genetic condition affects the body’s connective tissues and could limit a person’s movement over time, potentially causing other complications. At the time, Oddly was scared about what could happen to them as they got older. Oddly said, aging “has made this a little bit easier for me, to be honest.”

“It was not only physically painful, but it definitely hurt my spirit when I was younger, just feeling my body disintegrate, feeling like I was being robbed of my time or my potential,” Oddly said. “As we get older, that’s somethingthat happens to all of us. If you’re lucky enough to see enough years on this planet, you’re going to watch things that you used to be able to do and love and cherish become a lot more difficult or impossible, and you’re going to have to find new reasons to keep living.”

“So, how I deal with EDS is by really not putting too much stock in it. Maybe, maybe that sounds, uh, blasé or privileged or uncaring, but, you know, literally the only time I ever think about the fact that I’m disabled is when I’m feeling it, which is still a lot, but even then, I always feel so weird talking about it because this isn’t something I’m proud of or like I can claim and stand up for my rights, and for me, it doesn’t feel like who I am,” they continued. “So I guess that actually is how I find the strength to keep living and making experiences is by realizing that it is not who I am, that my body might not be working for me, but my body is not who I am. Eventually I do realize that I’m going to have to reconcile a lot more with those little sacrifices with the decisions that come every day, being a disabled person — do I spend my energy on this? Can I really afford to put myself in that sort of situation? I just don’t focus on it. Not saying it’s not there, I just don’t focus on it. I focus on the life I’m living, the things I can do, the people I love, the people who love me, my goals and my dreams. I gently pat my EDS on the back and tell her, you can be here, but you’re not going to take up my space.”

Oddly also mentioned how, despite a relationship with EDS, they are glad to be a beacon of light for others with the disorder, saying they’re “very thankful” to be a positive representation. 

“There are people out there have had their lives changed, are more aware of their health and what’s going on with their bodies,” they said, adding more about their complicated feelings about life with the disorder. “Every time somebody asks me about EDS, it just reminds me that that’s how I feel. People want me to view myself [through the disorder]. It just doesn’t fit into my French vanilla fantasy.”

Oddly’s book tour is forthcoming, and along with the upcoming tour, Oddly has new performances as well. 

“I’ll be performing at a lot of the clubs in the cities I’m visiting on this tour, so if you’re not a daytime lady, you can see me in the nighttime,” they said, also adding they have a new EP coming out in conjunction with the book. They also teased about getting back into acting. 

“What I want to leave people with is…I think it’s hard to define what I’ve done since Drag Race. And it’s hard to see what my specific imprint in any field is because all I’ve ever wanted to be is an artist, and that’s what I’ve got for the future,” they said. “You know, I’m an artist. I just want to make art, and that’s what I’ll be doing. So catch me near you; let’s make art, and make out!”

With so much of Oddly on the way, they mused about the title of their book possibly being misleading. 

“You know, it’s funny that this is called All About Yvie ’cause honestly, I feel like it’s just the tip.”