This LA-based performer wowed the audience with a fierce cover of Sigala’s “Just Got Paid” that kept her in the running for a $250,000 prize and the title of Queen of the Universe.
Don’t let the name fool you, this insanely talented singer (and winner of Alaska’s 2022 Drag Queen of the Year pageant) is as sweet as her voice – and we had the pleasure of chatting with her for our exclusive interview.
What was your reaction when you found out you got cast on the show?
I was excited. I hadn’t competed for anything in a while and obviously I’ve never competed on TV. I’m really competitive, so I was really excited, but then all of a sudden, I was also very overwhelmed because then you get the list of everything you need to do and it’s a really quick turnaround. So, I was just like, okay, I guess I have to sew and stone for the next month or whatever, but I was really excited.
You won last year’s Drag Queen of the Year pageant. Did winning that change your career trajectory?
I don’t necessarily think it changed my trajectory, especially when it comes to the show because I actually found out I was booked for both of them on the same day. So that also made it more overwhelming because I had to sew everything for the pageant and then I had to sew everything for the show. But since then, it’s been great. I mean, I got to go on TV and I’m already Drag Queen of the Year. You know what I mean? It was a nice little notch on my resume.
Your talent performance in the pageant was amazing. How did you come up with that?
Thank you. I had been working on that number for about five years before that, so I had pieces of it that I’d done in other pageants, and so I was just sort of like a slide puzzle, moving things around and like changing, sort of switching out songs for other songs. But it always started with “Strange Fruit”, had a Beyoncé song and then that last song had come out like two weeks before the pageant. And when I heard it I was like, ah, I finally found it. So, yeah, it was just a long time of trial and error and to find like the right mix.
How did you get started doing drag?
I got started doing drag when I was 19. I’d never really heard of drag before that. I didn’t really know what drag was because I was super sheltered. But I was in college and I was a music major and the acting department wanted to put on a musical, and so they got it all together, got it all set up, got all the rights, but then forgot that people had to sing and they didn’t have any actors who could sing. So, they all came over to the music department and asked us to audition and [the show] ended up being Rent and I got the role of Angel. Through that, I used Drag Race to like do bookwork and see what does a drag queen even do? And then when I saw it, I was like, oh, I could do that. So, once the play was over, I just started doing it and the rest is history.
How would you describe Militia to the uninitiated?
Ooh, that’s a good question. Well, when I first started, the name kind of came from me being competitive. I have this thing when I do competitions where I don’t really talk to people. Like we can be friends after, but for the moment, I’m very focused and people thought I was bitchy or whatever. But I would say outside of that sort of personality trait, I’m really easygoing. My performances are all over the place, like the pageant. You will get vocals, you will get stunts, you’ll get like, a ballad or an upbeat number, whatever it is. I just like being on stage. I’m an attention hog, I guess is what it is. So, if you like a good performance, then I’m the one, you know what I mean?
You mentioned that you’re a music major; where did your passion for singing come from?
My passion for music came from my family. We didn’t really have a choice. My mom is a singer, she sung in choir and sung in high school. My granddad sang in the Army. My uncle played in the Army band. It’s just a family thing. And we’re Mexicans – a bunch of my uncles play the guitar and sing at family functions and all that good stuff. We were homeschooled, but my mom forced us to go to public school once we got to junior high to go into band class, we all had to learn one instrument and then I chose the saxophone. From there, we ended up studying jazz and then once I found jazz, that’s when I really got hooked. And actually, funny enough, the first song that I really heard was “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. We had to do a book report on it, and once I heard it, I was hooked on jazz, and that was where the passion really started when I was around 10 or 11.
Who are your musical influences? You mentioned Billie Holiday, but do you have other ones?
Number one is always going be Billie Holiday, then Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, a bunch of old jazz singers. Tony Bennett. Current day, well, not really current because she’s also dead now, Amy Winehouse. Anita Baker. Sade. Really just like anything that’s sort of steeped in soul and jazz related, that’s what I really grew up with. And beyond that then it’s like traditional Mexican music. So like Tejano music, Banda, like mariachi type things. It was kind of my shit. I’m like the mix of those two worlds.
On the end of the second episode, they did that Spice Girl Challenge and you were not in it because you made the cut. Is there a Spice Girl you identify with the most? If you had to do that challenge, which one would you have wanted to be?
Okay. I was so happy I did not have to do that challenge. Not only because I wasn’t in the bottom, but because I didn’t grow up with the Spice Girls. I didn’t have a reference. The only thing I really knew about Spice Girls was Mel B doing Dancing with the Stars. I obviously related most to Mel B because she was the only brown one. I also just liked her edit. It’s kind of in line with Militia, with sort of like a kick-ass personality type vibe. So I would say Mel B, but it feels so on the nose to say. But yeah, Mel B just because of my limited knowledge. I think beyond her, I only know Victoria because she’s with David Beckham and David Beckham’s hot.
You’ve done some amazing covers on your YouTube channel, like I love your version of “Easy On Me”. Are you planning on releasing music of your own anytime soon?
I am planning on releasing music of my own. I haven’t picked release dates yet, but I already have three singles ready to go out to sort of lead up to an EP eventually within like the year or year and a half or so. So, I already have music completed and ready. I just need to film videos but yeah, those are coming in a little bit.
I love your collaborations with Rock M Sakura. How did you two get together? I know you’re both from San Francisco, but how did you hook up to make videos together?
We met because she’s from San Jose, that is the Bay Area, but I’m from the proper Bay Area. I’m by San Francisco and then I moved to San Francisco while she was still in San Jose. And I would host this show every Wednesday that we wouldn’t book anyone. We’d just say, “Hey, if you want to come do a number, come bring a USB and come do a number.” We’re bored. Let’s test stuff out’s kind of a way that like us younger girls would get a booking because it’s hard to break into the drag scene. And we wanted to just sort of hang out and like, try new stuff out with each other and we got really close at that time. She would come and do a show around the corner and then come hang out with us after and do a number there. So that’s how we got closer. And then, yeah, we just became really good friends. And then when she got on Drag Race, then I was literally locked in her basement for two weeks, stoning things for her before she went [on the show]. We got really close there and now that we’ve both moved to LA we’re like only a mile apart.
How are you planning on celebrating Pride Month this year?
I’m going to go up to San Francisco. I’m really excited to go home and just do some gigs around my local bars and all that stuff. But other than that, I think I’m kind of taking it chill this year.
San Francisco Pride is hectic. You work nonstop for like a week. But when I moved down here, I didn’t really know anybody, so my Pride suddenly became more relaxed and chill. And I didn’t have as many gigs. I wasn’t like running from gig to gig to gig and being in the same face for 48 hours. And that’s kind of nice. So, I’ll be a little chill, but I am going to fly up to San Francisco to perform up there for Pride Weekend and then fly right back down here for a gig on Sunday. And then I’m chilling.
Militia Scunt Answers the Socialite Seven
Who’s been the biggest influence on you?
Definitely my parents, even though we are not necessarily completely aligned in our ideas or our politics, things like that. I would just say that whenever I see myself, I’m just like, oh yeah, that’s my mom or I can see my dad in me. They definitely did their job.
Who, if anyone, would you like to collaborate with?
Okay. We’re going to swing big and we’re going to say Adele or Beyoncé. Okay. Uh, that’s, that’s probably a very future goal, but it’s a goal.
What type of music or an artist that you listen to, would your fans be surprised to know that you’re a fan of?
They’d be surprised that I’m a fan of…I guess my Spanish music. I don’t think a lot of people know that – or even acknowledge that I’m Mexican. It’s just like they see the skin and they’re like, oh, it’s a black girl. But, Christian Nodal is my favorite right now. He’s so good. He’s this Mexican guy with face tattoos and he’s gorgeous. I love him.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Ooh, that’s a hard one. I don’t want to say my phone…but then like, how do I watch YouTube? So, my phone, YouTube and sweatpants.
If you could wake up in the morning with a new talent or superpower, what would you want it to be?
Okay. So, a superpower, it has to be fly but if it’s a talent, I just want be a polyglot. I would love to speak with anyone in their actual native language. I feel like that’s so cool. My chaperon on the show spoke like four languages and I was so impressed. It was amazing.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
My favorite piece of advice I think I’ve ever been given came from my drag dad. And he would say whenever we were like getting ready for something, a big project, sewing, stoning, and it’s not going the way you want it, he would always say, “No one knows what it’s supposed to look like.” So basically, go easy on yourself. If it doesn’t look exactly like you envisioned it, they don’t know what your vision was. So, work on what you have and be confident in that. And everyone’s going to love it for what it is because that’s all they know. And that like that freed up so much stress for me in drag. From that day on, I just sort of relaxed and breathed and was able to focus on what is actually happening versus the vision, you know?
What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
I think my greatest accomplishment so far has just been like staying focused and persevering. I’ve auditioned for shows like this, since I was 18 over hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times, and always gotten close and never gotten it, but I made it. So, I think that’s a huge accomplishment in itself, just to have stayed focused and determined to work towards my goals and now like I’m finally getting a little peace. Do you know what I mean? I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it.