RuPaul’s Drag Race has had a shock no one expected–yet another injury has taken a queen out of the race.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll know that a queen having to leave the competition is no longer anything new, sadly. We almost have half a cast’s worth of queens leave the race with the hope of coming back next season. So far, we have Eureka (season 10) and Victoria Scone (UK season 2) injuring their knees, Veronica Green (UK season 1), who tested positive for the coronavirus, and now Kornbread, who injured her ankle and had to leave Season 14.
Shadow and Act spoke with Kornbread about what occurred and how she’s kept up her friendships with the other queens.
Shadow and Act: We were so sad to see you leave! How has the fan reaction been like since everyone’s learned of your injury?
Kornbread: I know the fans are gone insane with everything that’s taking place, which I’m glad it’s more on the side of like, ‘Holy crap. Why, what is this?’ You know, I don’t want anyone to be hurt but [there’s] love that comes with it, thinking that you’re disappointed [about] not being able to finish everything. But I think the most support comes from all 13 people I had to deal with in that workroom. As far as my sisters from the show, their support has been insane and just showing love and checking on me because honestly, they all knew what was happening. So each week, getting closer and closer [to the episode], they checked on me to make sure everything is great. So everybody has been outpouring so much love. It’s been phenomenal.
It was as shocking for us as it was for the other queens to see you leave the competition. Can you tell us how the injury occurred?
It was during the beginning of the “Supertease” challenge. I twisted my ankle and I ignored the little mini pain that was there and I kept on with this activity throughout the day. I kept going over and over and overdoing all this stuff, the rolling around the table and jumping around the running during the challenges and stuff. And I was just ignoring it because I didn’t want to put a damper on the group. I didn’t want to add anything extra to it. And then putting your drag on and then walking the runway and standing there for critiques and stuff was just adding more and more pressure. I got out of drag, put on my regular clothes, adrenaline is gone and all that cute stuff, and my ankles swelled up so bad that I couldn’t get my Croc off. I was
[My] adrenaline is gone and all that cute stuff. And, my ankles swelled up so bad that I couldn’t get my crock off. I was stuck in my shoe. And Jorgeous and Diabetica [Daya Betty] were like, ‘Girl, you need to get this checked out. This is bad.’ …I was like, ‘Yeah, this has gotten to a point where I need to put some ice on it and let somebody see it,’ thinking they’re [going to say], ‘Get off of it for a few hours and you’ll be fine.’ The doctor told me to be off of my ankle for six to eight weeks, which is way too long to be in a competition where there’s physical activity and I can’t do anything. So from that moment, that’s when I knew I wasn’t able to
I was like, yeah, this is up to a point where like I needed to put the ice in my lesson by they see it thinking that they’re like, alright, get off of him for a few hours. And you’ll be fine. The doctor told me to be off of my ankle for six to eight weeks, which is way too long to be in a competition where there’s physical activity and I can’t do anything. So from that moment, that’s when I knew that I wasn’t able to compete.
You’re now part of what is now becoming part of a club of queens who have had to leave the competition. What’s it like to now be part of what is now a legacy with queens leaving and coming back better than ever?
Well, I told them I already–everybody who’s injured–when a new Supreme rises the rest of them fall. So I told them I’m the new injured Supreme out of all of them, like American Horror Story. The first person I talked to Eureka [and said], ‘Girl, I’m taking your place, you’re no longer the Supreme, honey, Ms. Jessica Lange.’ But it’s just [what is meant to be] and I cannot wait to see all the memes and the gifs to come out of it. But it’s a, it’s a higher expectation. I think coming out of it and not letting this moment tear you down, it’s more of a [lesson to] heal and listen to your body, which I should have done. I should have spoken up as soon as I hurt myself instead of thinking, ‘Don’t look weak in front of these people,’ which is another fault of mine.
When you seen me go through this journey in the show and [thinking] tears is a sign of weakness and [doing] XYZ as a sign of weakness. And this was another moment in actually in physical pain [and thinking of being in pain] to wolves, and I’m like an injured deer in the forest. I’m going to be the one they go after. So it was very much me not listening to my body and that shouldn’t have, and I think I would be better off now had I would’ve stopped and figured everything out in that moment in time, instead of thinking, I can just get through it.
And I guess, speaking Black person to Black person, that’s kind of something that’s in our culture to feel like we can’t show weakness and to keep going.
And I think that’s the lesson–we’re human too. I think we might internalize some of that stuff that people tell us that thinking that you have to be the strong one. But that kind of speaks to the fact that we do have to take care of ourselves and honor ourselves because sometimes the world doesn’t and we have to do it for ourselves. I think that also goes into some of what you were experiencing emotionally this season because you talked about your family and some of the problems that you’ve had. What was it like getting that kind of a catharsis?
I think. It was a learning experience. Me like being able to even cry and [having] people look at my emotions not as a sign of weakness, but were thanking me, ‘Thank you so much for being open to sharing something.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, this is the opposite of what I’m used to.’ It gave me the strength to talk to my family about everything and not take no for an answer and [to say], ‘Listen, this is what you did. And this is all y’all gonna get.’ And we’re cool. We’re in a great place now. But when I tell you there’s so much parallel between my ankle injury and my regular day life of once again, you can not show a sign of weakness at any point in time, and I think that my biggest weakness was thinking, ‘I can’t show that I’m a vulnerable person.’ I’ve learned so, so much. And being able to express my emotions that I should have taken into consideration with my damn leg, or we wouldn’t be in this predicament that we’re in right now.
Before I go, I did want to ask about your friendship with Willow. She was really broken up about you leaving the show and we saw that you two had a sisterly, maternal bond with each other. What’s it been like with her now?
It’s non-stop between what’s on now. We’re still like that to this day. She leaves weird voice messages on my phone just to be stupid. I think the bond that she and I grew from the show definitely lasted past the show as well. I give Willow a lot of strength, but will also give me a lot of strength too. Willow’s very weird and very in tune with herself. That is taught me to be the exact same way. Willow’s another person to also taught me not to complain about things that I can fix, as well as being transparent because Willow’s very transparent about things that they have to deal with. One of the best friendships that I could’ve ever like gotten out of RuPaul’s Drag Race was definitely one with Willow. I thank her [Willow] every day for it.
What do you hope is next for you?
I want to focus on acting. I want to do more on-camera things. I love that. Who doesn’t love a camera? I love a good camera moment. And then I also just want to dive physically into taking care of my transition and making sure I’m okay, Both physically and mental with everything or that. So I’m just all around taking care of myself. And then hopefully these people ring my phone and tell them I get to come back to Drag Race. And so fingers crossed, knock on wood.
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.