Since we first met her on season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alaska has had us in a state of awe. After making the final three of her season, she went on two snatch the crown on season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
This multi-talented performer has pretty much done it all. She has released four chart-topping studio albums, “Anus,” “Poundcake,” “Vagina” and “Red 4 Filth”. Her latest album is inspired by the music of the 90s and early 2000s and has cranked out hits including “Wow”, “I Am Her (She Is Me)” (featuring Ts Madison), “Girlz Night” (featuring Stephanie’s Child)” and a fantastic cover of the Ace of Base hit “All That She Wants.”
Alaska has also taken the stage, playing Queen Gynecia in the Go Go’s scored musical comedy “Head Over Heels” and starred in the live stage show DRAG: The Musical which she co-wrote with Tomas Costanza and Ashley Gordon. She’s also co-host of the fabulous podcast Race Chaser, where she and Willam relive the highs and lows of every season of Drag Race as well as share lots of “Hot Goss”. And, if that’s not enough, she told her life story (so far) in the wildly entertaining My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska?: A Memoir.
Alaska took a quick break from her Red 4 Filth tour, which runs through December 18 (and tickets can be found here) to talk with us about her music, her inspiration and so much more in our exclusive interview. Get to know more about this scalding hot drag superstar.
How has the tour been going for you so far?
It’s been going really great. I mean, I’m just, I’m so grateful. Everyone on the crew and the team is so fun and it just feels like a family and we’re having a really, really, really good time.
So, for those who have not seen you in concert yet, what can fans expect?
Well, it’s sort of like an action movie, but also a sci-fi movie, but also kind of a musical. Basically it tells the story of a young, intrepid alien who ends up finding herself cast away from her home planet, and she ends up on planet Earth in the year 2000, and she falls in love and she becomes famous and then she gets thrown to jail and then…oh, I don’t want to give away the ending!
What is the best and or worst part of being on tour?
I guess the best part and the worst part are the same – and it’s fact that we’re in places for very short periods of time, which is wonderful. It’s like a whirlwind everywhere we go, but it’s also like you’re only in a place for one day. So, I have no idea like when we have hotel rooms, which isn’t every day, but when we do, I can’t remember what the hotel room number is. I have no idea. So, my brain is a little bit mushed, but that’s also fun. I love my brain being mush.
I love your latest album. I have “Wow” on heavy rotation on my Spotify playlist and I loved your cover of Ace of Base. I know that the 2000s are a very influential part of your music but are there any other genres of music you’d like to tackle that you haven’t yet?
Country music. Christian music…because I actually quite love these genres and I think that they’re sometimes at odds with queer culture. But I actually love country music so much.
What is your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song from this album to do on tour is “Wow”, for sure. It’s really fun and I don’t know, I think it just resonates with people a lot because everybody has an ex that they don’t like, I guess…or someone in their life that they don’t like.
Why did you decide at this point in your life to write your memoirs? It seems like you’ve got so much more to do.
I know, that’s why I was sort of scared about it, but then I was like, well, RuPaul had a memoir that came out before Drag Race even existed. So, I don’t know. It was just sort of like a midlife, mid-beginning of my career check-in of where I’ve been and where I’m at now, I guess.
Was it difficult for you to share so much personal information in the book?
Yes, it was like a very long therapy session and I had to just relive some of the hardest, weirdest moments of my life over and over and then make sure that they’re spelled correctly and then make sure that commas and the periods are in the right place. It was very difficult. I definitely want my next book to be fiction so I don’t have to talk about my life.
Is there any genre you’d want to write?
Yeah, I want to write sort of like the Valley of the Dolls. Like that sort of sensational, sort of pulpy, sort of dramatic, over-the-top booze and drug addled book, you know?
Yes, I love that. Did you learn anything surprising about yourself when you were writing the book?
I don’t know. I think actually, afterwards, the fact that people bring it to the shows and ask me to sign it, and they say they liked it and they found it inspirational. I love that. I just go out there and live my life. But the fact that that people can read that and then find something that’s helpful or inspirational for their own life is nice.
I love the documentary Circus of Books and I was so happy to see you in it. What is the wildest thing that happened when you were working there?
I guess the wildest…well they used to sell, um, like crack pipes. You know, it was like the glass tubes that you would smoke meth out of – like crystal meth. And so I was like, I don’t like this. And I would like hide them. I would resort the pipe shelf so that they were not visible, but someone always ended up putting them back out. But when I was working, I would hide the crack pipes.
How did Drag: The Musical come about and what was that experience like for you?
Well, that was a long journey. We really started writing it like six years ago. It was me, Tomas [Costanza] and Ashley [Gordon], who, who basically are Killingsworth Recording Company who do a bunch of the drag queens’ music out there. I mean, if there’s a drag queen with a single or a song, Killingsworth is probably involved, but we’ve written a lot of songs together and they were like, “We were thinking of writing a musical and we want do it with you, and we want it to be about drag so let’s just start working on it.”
And so, we started by working on the songs and then we were like, “Okay, these are good, and now I guess we should have some characters and figure out what they do.” And then six years later it actually came to life and it became something way better than I ever thought it could possibly be because of everyone who was involved and everyone brought their fucking shit to it. And it was really inspiring.
Before DRAG: The Musical, I remember you were in Head Over Heels. Do you prefer playing a character or do you just prefer being Alaska?
I love playing a character. I love it. I love being totally different. I love pouring myself into someone completely different. I love it. Like with Kitty Galloway in the musical, I wanted this character to be “not Alaska”. She has black hair, she has bangs, like, she’s got kind of short and severe hair. It’s not Alaska and so that’s really fun. I fucking love doing that.
Is there a character that you would want to play on stage?
I really want do a show as Mae West, whether it’s Dirty Blonde or whether it’s something like that. I think that would be really fun. Also, Joan Crawford.
Are you surprised at the popularity of the Race Chaser podcast?
I am, because we just started it because it was something we were doing anyway. We would watch old episodes of Drag Race and we would talk about it and talk shit. It would be like something we would do if we were on tour and there was a bunch of queens around, we would like put on season one of Drag Race and be like, “Girl, can you believe this nonsense?” And it was really, really fun. And so, we just like did it as like a, “let’s just see how this goes.” And yeah, I don’t know, people liked it.
How are you able to do everything that you do in a day?
I would like to say that it’s because of work ethic or discipline, but it’s really not. I’m very lazy and I love doing nothing, but I guess I just have to do one thing at a time. It’s like in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. She says, “Don’t be overwhelmed. Just do one thing at a time.” That’s what I have to do.
You perform, you’re an author, you’re a podcaster, you’re an actor. Is there anything left that you haven’t tackled yet that you want to do?
Hmm. Astronaut. Okay. No, no, no. I don’t want do that. Nevermind. I don’t want do that. I mean, drag is the only job that I’ve had that haven’t gotten fired from or quit after one year. I think it’s just my calling and life. I think I might be really bad at it though, actually. My mantra as I’m getting ready is “I don’t how to do drag.” ‘Cause I don’t, I’m just making it up. Everyone is fooled!
Alaska Answers the Socialite Seven
When did you know that you wanted to become a singer?
I sort of always wanted to, and I didn’t think it was possible, but I used to daydream when I was a child that I would grow up and I would be a girl and I would be singing songs in a room full of people. And so, it actually came true.
Who has had the biggest influence on you and your music?
Britney Spears is a big part of it. I think it’s Britney Spears and Divine.
Who, if anyone, would you want to collaborate with?
Lady Gaga. Go ahead and call me girl. You have my phone number. I’m ready anytime you want. Oh, and also Cher.
What type of music or an artist that you listen to do you think fans would be surprised that you’re a fan of?
Patti LaBelle was my number one artist on Spotify last year that I listened to. I’m obsessed with her. I think she’s the best ever of all time. She’s had a million different lives and careers and she’s really fascinating and really, really good and really cool and funny.
What superpower or talent would you love to wake up with tomorrow?
Oh, super strength. I really want that one. I’d just like to pick up a car.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Tea, eyebrow mascara and The Simpsons.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Um, I have no idea. I don’t know. Um…tip your servers, tip your bartenders.