RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! in Las Vegas has only gotten better with time, and now the show has added three more fan-favorites to the cast–Trinity K. Bonet, Jaida Essence Hall, Eureka! and Plastique Tiara. Shadow and Act was able to speak to three of the four queens about what it’s been like to join the cast of the Vegas show.
“You speak things into your life and you’re trying to manifest the goals and aspirations that you have, and then you know you can only hope for the best and I’ve manifested the goals and aspirations that I’ve had for myself,” said Bonet. “It still hasn’t quite hit me yet that I’m a headliner in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. I’m still just taking it in.”
“It’s just as exciting as it was to go to be on Drag Race. [It’s amazing] to actually be able to go and be a part of something so major,” said Hall. “There are [many queens] from the Drag Race world who have been able to be a part of this show, and I’m lucky now to be one of them. It feels really major.”
“Growing up and seeing Vegas and what it means, the light and the energy and how big Vegas is, it’s like–being a young gay queer person, I’ve always felt like I had this big, huge energy and one day something big like this would happen for me, and now I’m literally headlining at the Flamingo,” she continued. “It’s crazy.”
“I’m so excited because the work is still here to be had. You know, and it’s taken me a couple of years to get here because I was supposed to be here for the first part of the Vegas show and because of the pandemic and [with] We’re Here filming, I wasn’t able to make it. So I’m just excited now two and a half years later, here comes the big girl to be the biggest showgirl you all have ever seen in Vegas. And that’s my goal for sure,” said Eureka.
“Honestly, it’s amazing to be a part of the show and to join the rest of the cast because I worked with these people in a television competition atmosphere, and now we get to celebrate each other. It’s no longer competitive,” they continued. “I mean, honestly, drag queens are always a little competitive and territorial, but I don’t know a diva or a feminine icon that’s not, you know what I mean? It’s just kind of comes with the entertainment territory, but we also get to have this sisterhood of being in a situation where we get to perform in Las Vegas as we’re show girls. It’s kind of a dream for a little drag queen from east Tennessee who had big dreams and nowhere to go, but obviously had everywhere to go and the ability to dream as big as I want it to be, you know? So it’s, it’s exciting. It’s really, really, honestly emotional almost. It’s amazing.”
Bonet said that fans can expect so much glitz and glamour, which will enthrall even the most casual of viewers.
“Oh, God, just lights and costuming and choreography and just the whole nine yards. My first time going, I was in total awe,” she said. “So I think everybody kind of has the same experience. I’m just happy to be a part of it and to be able to leave a lasting impression on people who sometimes come to stuff [with] speculation or not sure what they’re going to [see], especially heterosexual people who come just to see because it’s a show and they’re staying at a hotel and we want to make it worth their while.”
Eureka also said fans can except “lots of glitter, fashion, costumes, [and] energy.”
“You’ve got TKB, my bae from All Stars 6, you’ve got the Elephant Queen–honey, watch out. When I step into our room, it’s going to go boom, boom, boom. You’ve got Jaida Essence Hall. You have the talents of people like Derek Berry, Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, [Naomi Smalls], Alexis Mateo, Coco Montrese, Kahanna Montrese, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, Plastique Tiara. I mean, these are all headlining, incredible entertainers. And RuPaul has handpicked these girls for a reason. So trust Mama Ru like we always have, you know what I mean, and come see a kick-ass show.”
The show’s queerness is intrinsic to the show, and it gives the queens to be the role models they wish they had growing up.
“It’s really crazy because before leaving [for] the [RuPaul’s Drag Race]–and I have to be extremely honest– I was telling some of my friends that they had that if I go into Drag Race, I’m like, I would love to win, but I do feel like most importantly, I hope that I can leave an impact on people like myself, because growing up, I know what it felt like to not have any role models,” said Hall. “I was extremely femme and you really wouldn’t see people on TV that were femme unless they were being portrayed in a negative, almost a comical way, and it would make you feel bad. But I want to be proud of who I am.”
“I want people who look like me that maybe not even might not have the exact same issues as myself, but seeing a black queer person on television doing it, just to see somebody doing it, makes you believe, ‘Oh my God, now I can do that too,'” she continued. “Often, I think that people tell [kids], especially [young] Black people and young queer people that they can be anything when they grow up. But then oftentimes they don’t mean that when they say to them and I want to be living proof to them, like, literally, you can be whatever you want to be, when you grow up, you can be that [influential person], like somebody headlining in Vegas, because anything is possible for you.”
Eureka also added how great it feels to represent for southern queer people who might have grown up feeling ostracized within the unique perfect storm of religious, racial, and cultural discrimination that the region still contends with today.
“I appreciate you saying southern queer folk because there is a difference, right? I think because of the issues with segregation and equality in the south, queer people were often put in that same corner that minorities were and things like that. And so there is a sense of family there when it comes to people of difference in the south, we all know what it’s like to be shunned and pushed to the side,” they said. “So I love that you mentioned that like Southern people, Southern queer people, because there is a thing to it. And I think that what’s powerful about it.”
“It’s like me as a white cis male, I mean, sadly [laughs] and non-binary now that I like coming into who I am as a person and being able to have the platform to perform where I’m at and knowing that I am from the south and that people see me from the south acting and being educated and doing the things that I’m doing, it’s actually really inspirational to even myself, because it reminds me every day to keep leading that way, being the example for those people to remember just because you were raised around certain things or attitudes or comedy, doesn’t make it okay,” they continued. “And it is a time of growth and education and just to be fucking fabulous together for everybody. And I think that’s what’s really fun about Vegas and this Drag Race Live show is the versatility and the show and the amount of people and the types of acts, it all comes full circle to it, being a very diverse and fun inclusive, exciting shows a part of.”
Bonet said she’s glad entertainers from all backgrounds are able to showcase their talents on a stage like Vegas. For her, the show is a great way to represent the multicultural and multiracial queer community.
“The show is based off of great entertainers who have stage presence and can put on a show, and whether that be Black, white, whatever the case may be, if you have the qualifications to be a part of this particular show, then you should be afforded the opportunity,” she said. “I’m just honored to be who I am in this time representing our community to the best of my ability. Y’all [might] hear we [queens of color] don’t get all the opportunities and stuff like that, but I’ve always felt like opportunity comes when it’s afforded or when it’s given. God only gives you so much at one time, you know? So for me, to be a part of this cast is just monumental in itself. I just happened to be a Black drag queen at the same time.”
All three hope the Vegas show propels them into other long-time aspirations, including acting in film and writing. Hall, for instance said that she had a conversation with her boyfriend about how the move to Las Vegas from Atlanta would be the “elevation” in her career, which she hopes includes writing a book and the creation of her upcoming podcast. She sums up her fellow queens’ aspirations by saying she hopes to create a career “that’s going to be long-lasting and leaves a legacy for me and my name.”
“You can’t do nothing but go up from here,” she said. “You can’t do nothing but rise to the top.”