When Asia O'Hara went wig-to-wig with fellow RuPaul's Drag Race finalist Kameron Michaels during a lip-sync battle set to Janet Jackson's "Nasty," she had a risky trick up her sleeves — and bra — that ultimately forced the 35-year-old Texas queen to sashay into fourth place. The stunt, which has been called everything from an "epic fail" to a full-blown "massacre," went horribly wrong when O'Hara's hidden trove of real-life butterflies failed to take flight, sending some of the winged creatures to the ground while others were D.O.A.
What may have been a defining lip sync battle moment on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 — and perhaps the entire series — is no way definitive of the fabulosity of O'Hara, who has time and time again served up empathic realness (Vixen, we see you) and maintained one of the fiercest faces in the biz.
O'Hara's world has not slowed down since the airing of Drag Race's finale in June. In fact, she's feeling the fantasy full speed and has no intention of slinking into her chrysalis anytime soon. Ahead of "RuPaul's Drag Race: Werq The World Tour" stop at Detroit's Sound Board, where O'Hara will be joined by a gaggle of drag royalty, the queen shared her tips on living life in the drag lane.
Drag on the road
"It's not glamorous at all. It's a lot harder than working at home or filming Drag Race. For instance, we were all in Australia, we flew to Singapore, then flew to London, went through customs, got on a two-hour bus and got to the venue literally 40 minutes before the show was supposed to start. Unlike your shows at home or even on television, you have people who paid money who are sitting in a seat waiting for you to go on stage and you don't have the option of, 'Oh, I need an extra 15 minutes.' On top of that, people obviously expect you to be lovely and gracious and friendly and smile and give them 100 percent."
"My tip is to prepare to do laundry on the road. I usually bring a travel container of laundry detergent and wash my tights in the sink and hang them to dry. Also, like anything in life, prepare and think ahead if you're going to a different country and make sure that you research the travel restrictions for customs going into that country and don't just show up."
"My biggest thing is your skin is just like the rest of your body — it will tell you exactly what it needs and what it likes and what it doesn't like. You just have to pay attention to that. Skin care is so different from person to person. The one thing all of our skin needs is hydration, so hydrate from the inside out and moisturize. Try different products. As long as you are giving your skin some attention and making sure it's being cleansed, toned, and hydrated on a regular basis, that is worth its weight in gold."
"My only rule is, as people say, eyebrows are sisters and not twins. I think people over-obsess with making their eyebrows perfectly symmetrical. That's not the case for anyone's natural brow. You have to make a decision between a bangin' brow or a brow makes sense with hair color and the rest of your face. Just commit to one of those. God did not intend for them to be perfect so you shouldn't try to make them perfect, either."
"I don't look at is as fame, I look at it as success. I think it's important, when you know you're on the cusp of something great or you know have plans or dreams of doing or being something great to have to sit down with yourself and have a conversation as far as what you want to do with that and what you want to give back to the universe in exchange for all the great gifts you've been given. I think as long as you're honest with yourself and hold up your end of the bargain it makes the transition very easy, at least it has for me."
"I have said on a basic level if I ever got the chance to be or do something great that I would do as much as possible to improve the lives of my friends and family, and that was my own promise to myself. I wouldn't be the person who builds a big house on a hill looking down my nose at people. In a more specific level, I have said time and time again that our sole purpose on the planet is to enrich the lives of others. So now I purposefully seek out people or situations where I feel like I have something I can do to enrich the lives of other people regardless of how small or big."
"Self-doubt comes from comparing your life to other people. I always tell people that when you're by yourself and having your own time and not concerned with what other people are doing with their lives, a lot of times that's when you find yourself in your most confident state. It's not until you start paying attention to what other people are doing that you start to think, 'Oh my god, am I doing the right thing? Maybe I'm not doing enough. I should have a master's degree or I should be buying my third home.' Travel your journey and walk in your own light and do what you know is right for you. Live your life as if everyone else is looking at you to set their example."
Unleashing your inner queen
"I think we all are brainwashed by generations before us, thinking a man looks like this or dresses like this, or a woman does this and dresses like this. I think there is a line of truth in some of those, what I call myths, but you have to find a way to make it work with the social standards of today. I grew up believing that a man was supposed to be a leader, the head of the household, the breadwinner. I went through a period of my life where I wasn't any of those things, so I thought I hadn't grown up to be a man. Obviously, through the course of RuPaul's Drag Race and being in another part of a community, now I see so many of those characteristics in myself."
"I'm inspired by people being exactly where they're supposed to be at exactly the right time. When I see someone at a point in their life where they have that 'a-ha' moment, that inspires me. I think those moments happen frequently in our lives and we don't always recognize it so when I do see someone who has reached that point I'm inspired to keep pushing forward because I know at some point again, as it has happened in the past I will be standing on a street corner and I will have that 'a-ha' moment."
The Butterfly incident
"Knowing what I know now, I would have probably done something differently because, obviously, the goal at that point is to win. So if I had any inkling that anything I was going to do was going to hinder me from being successful that night then I wouldn't have done it. I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I do view myself as a leader, and where a lot of people would have tucked their tail and ran for the hills, I learned that I was meant to go through that experience, I was meant to learn from it. The results at the end of the evening were exactly what they were supposed to be. No matter what I did it would have probably been a risk. I regret what happened, but I don't regret the attempt."
Werq The World Tour
"First of all, there may or may not be a butterfly. I think this is one of the best shows drag has ever had to offer. It's a high energy, an entertainment-packed night with some of the best queens, best dancers, best theatrics, best effects; there's dancing, there's laughing, there are tears, there's joy. It's a feel-good evening."
Asia O'Hara will perform with Aquaria, Eureka, Kameron Michaels, and more as part of RuPaul's Drag Race: Werq The World Tour at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at Sound Board; 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-309-4614; soundboarddetroit.com; Tickets are $42-$55.
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