Coming into the season, Alyssa Hunter was one of the queens fans were most excited to see sashay into the workroom on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Unfortunately, the Puerto Rican queen is the officially the second queen to sashay away from season 14. Though Hunter was second out, she had a heck of a run over the three episodes she competed in, giving memorable looks, vulnerable moments and much more.
Puerto Rico’s “Runway Queen,” Hunter is well-known in the pageant world. She sought to dismantle the typical “pageant queen” edit on the show, especially in regards to how queens who well-versed in that area are looked at by the fans. For Hunter, she says she wanted to talk about that on the show for other pageant queens who may feel like they are boxed in.
She told Shadow and Act in a recent exit interview, “I just wanted to say that if you are a pageant queen, you can be a pageant queen, but [it’s not like], ‘OK, I can’t do anything because I’m a pageant queen.’ No, if you’re a pageant queen, you can do it all. You can be versatile like I am. I started doing pageants since I was young and now look at me. I just want to clear that point that I do it for all those pageant girls that want to be different and not just only be the pageant queen that people [are like], ‘Oh, you’re a pageant queen. You cannot dance, you cannot host. You cannot be goofy for campy.’ Yes, you can. Drag is everything and you can do everything if you want to.”
Of Hunter’s three competitive episodes, a lot of fans believed that she she should have placed in the top and received positive critiques for the Ball challenge instead of being immediately called safe.
“I respect obviously the decision of the judges,” she told us. “Like hello, it’s the judges and I’m here for a competition [laughs]. But at the same time, this is my personal opinion. And yeah, I was a little bit disappointed about the decision and the way that they critique the other girls. I always thought, ‘Why am I sitting here in the Untucked?’ I need to be over there!”
She also says that a lot of the other queens already were thinking she would do well that episode because of something she did with her outfit that no one else did.
“I was so excited because I felt the energy in the workroom about the other girls that when they saw that it was just glue all my… I thought it was interesting that I was the only girl that glued everything,” Hunter explained. “And I thought they were going to like put it, but I feel like a shadow in that episode. But the girls told me [that] in the confessionals, they literally talked about the dress there and in the show. So that’s the reason that I was a little bit disappointed, but at the same time, I feel proud because the photos and don’t lie, and the fans saw that. And I’m super grateful for the fans that support me. And the other girls saying they think the same thing that they truly [though I would] be in the top. But it is what it is. I respect the decision of the judges. I respect them all. I love them all. And it’s a competition. So I was little bit disappointed, but at the same time I was so, so glad that I was safe and grateful.”
In the first episode’s Untucked, Hunter also was vulnerable about thinking she may not be able to communicate as effectively as the other girls due to English being her second-language. It is a unique experience that ESL queens, especially Latinx queens, go through on the show with having some barriers when it comes to language in acting challenges, improv challenges and more. It’s hard to not see a parallel with Hunter’s exit being in an acting challenge.
“When I was signing up for this, I was thinking, “OK I know what I’m capable [of doing],'” she shared. “But at the same time, I was a little bit worried and scared because obviously my English is not my first language. Now, I speak very fluid and I have communication with other people like you guys, because I now have the opportunity to travel a lot these last few months and talking with the producers and the girls…they all literally talk English. So they help me a lot to speak more English right now.”
However, she said it was a little bit rough during her arrival on the show, which resulted in the vulnerable moment during Untucked.
She continued, “I live Puerto Rico and [in] Puerto Rico, there’s literally 10 percent [of people] that speak English. So for me, it was difficult to travel from Puerto Rico to LA and be alone in that part and express myself because I just wanted to show the world like who I am. I’m this humble person [and] very social. And that’s the reason that at [in the beginning] I was a little bit shady because I said to myself, ‘OK, I don’t know how to say so many things in English, so I need to be shady because if it’s not, I will be a shadow.’ But I didn’t want to disappear in the first episode. So I threw shade, but at the same time, in the Untucked, I was just [broken], and I just said, ‘No, you need to be yourself.’ And that’s the reason that I spoke for my heart and cried and said that things that I said.”
Hunter’s favorite look of hers that she got to showcase was the cheetah print look during the Ball challenge, but she says she’s excited to share the looks that she didn’t get to wear during the competition on social media. “There’s so many looks that I was so interested to show and the girls so scared when they passed my closet. They were like, ‘F**k, Alyssa!’ [laughs]”
As for what’s ahead, Hunter is excited to be on the road and hopes she continue this upward trajectory.
“I just want to keep traveling, meeting new fans, meeting new contacts. I want to still work with World of Wonder. I’m available. I’m a super grateful person, and no matter what happened in the competition…you know look at [Vanessa] Vanjie [Mateo]! Vanjie went home first and fans love them. I’m not saying this is that the same thing that is going to happen to me, but who knows? When you are a good person and you work hard for your dreams, life gives you positive things to do. So that’s my personal thinking right now. So I’m very proud.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.