This past week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, our featured “queen-testant”, the self-described “chunky and funky” diva Latrice Royale, has finally, deservedly, come into her own – and has quickly become a fan favorite! With her infectious, boisterous laugh, nurturing demeanor and boundless enthusiasm, this lady is large, in charge and has definitely shown she’s got what it takes to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. This beautiful “bitch” (that’s “Being In Control of Herself” – in case you didn’t know) chats with us about how she was able to overcome adversity and make it to the top of the drag scene and shares some of her best beauty secrets – and once you get to know Latrice, it’s easy to see that she’s beautiful inside and out. Good God Girl, Get a Grip and get to know this South Beach stunner in our exclusive interview!
Socialite Life: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Latrice Royale: I am a California native, 39 years of age. I’ve been in the art of female impersonation and living in South Florida for nearly 20 years.
SL: How did you get started in drag?
Latrice: My career started as a dare – and from that moment on, I was hooked.
SL: You said in your video that you looked like a “hot mess” the first time you dressed in drag. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Latrice: LOL…WOW!! I had no clue what I was doing…liquid make-up without powder to set it…frosty blue eyeshadow, because I thought that was the only thing that would show up on my skin tone…LOL…Need I say more??? Lipstick for blush and for my lips…Child, please!! HOT MESS!!
SL: How did you come up with your name?
Latrice: Well the name “Latrice” came from a childhood friend who I thought was such a beautiful girl. To me, she looked like her name. And “Royale” came from my dear good friend Matt, he said I was “thick and chocolaty, like fudge royale”. Plus when you say it, it’s pleasant on the palate.
SL: Who are your biggest influences or inspirations?
Latrice: I have to say that I was exposed to some of the finest in the art of female impersonation. South Florida is the home of legends, one, in particular, has had a great influence on me and my career. Her name is Tiffany Arieagus – a living legend.
SL: How would you describe your look?
Latrice: My look is very eclectic, I don’t just do one specific look. In this business, you have to be a chameleon. And I can fit in and bring fierceness to any situation.
SL: You also mentioned in your introductory video that there are “standards” for representing big girls. What does that mean to you?
Latrice: Aaah yes…well, simply put? I hate it when people use their size as an excuse to fail. You knew you were big coming into the competition, your size should not be a factor if you are confident in yourself. I make people eat their words all the time, and I LOVE IT!!!
SL: You tell us you’ve been through “19 years of boot camp” – what was the most important thing you’ve learned as you’ve developed as a drag queen?
Latrice: Be HONEST with yourself! Know who you are and stay true to the good things, and let the “drama” go.
SL: What do you enjoy most about performing?
Latrice: I absolutely love making people scream and lose their minds! It’s all about shock value for me, and that’s priceless.
SL: Where is your favorite place to perform?
Latrice: I work at place called Palace Bar on South Beach…baby, when I tell you! It is the most awesome job I’ve had in my nearly 20 years in the business. It’s outside right on Ocean Drive, and we have BLAST!
SL: What can people expect to see when they come to see you perform?
Latrice: I promise you this, you will be FULLY ENTERTAINED! You are going to see things that will amaze you in every possible good way.
SL: Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
Latrice: Oh dear…haven’t we all? LOL! I remember some years ago after I had won my very first pageant, I had a moment. I was entertaining at another pageant and my wig flew off. “Oh Lawd!”, I screamed. I ran, picked up my hair, put it back on and didn’t miss a beat.
SL: What do you think separates you from the other queens?
Latrice: I can honestly say I am like NO other. My sheer size and the way that I carry it is very unique.
SL: What was it like working with RuPaul?
Latrice: Although our one on one time with Ru was very limited, it only takes a split second to connect with someone. I truly felt an amazing connection with Ru, he is an incredible soul!
SL: What was it like working with the other queens?
Latrice: Ya know? I loved meeting the other girls. It’s always interesting to see other people’s art. I can learn to appreciate all forms of art, as long as you can call it “art”. Sometimes it’s just “GRAFFITI”. LOL!
SL: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Latrice: Can we talk about that in this interview? LOL! No, I’m KIDDING!! What I have learned as of recent, people seem to be surprised at how nice I am. I am very grounded and as real as it gets.
SL: You shared a very surprising fact about your personal life in the first episode of the show. What was it like to have cameras in your face while you revealed so much about yourself?
Latrice: Going into this situation I decided that I was going to be an open book. Anytime you put your self in a situation where you can be judged and ridiculed, it’s better that you put it out there yourself. There is no shame in my game and the cameras weren’t there to me.
SL: What do you hope people will learn about you from the show?
Latrice: I want people to see my “person”, I hope I can help someone by telling my story. Ultimately it’s about perseverance, overcoming adversity, and never giving up on your dreams.
SL: What song would be your dream song to “lip sync for your life”?
Latrice: Hmmm…I would love to do any of my girls, Gladys, Aretha, Patti, Jennifer Holliday. Any of those divas.
SL: What words of wisdom do you live by?
Latrice: “The only thing constant, is change”. I am always striving to be the best person that I can be, and with that comes “Change”. Changing and evolving.
SL: Could you share one of your beauty tips with us?
Latrice: It is so important to blend when applying eyeshadow. LOL!
SL: What one beauty item can you not live without?
Latrice: I can NOT live without my BODY! (hip pads)
SL: What are you hoping to gain from your experience on the show?
Latrice: I honestly pray that this experience will open other doors to further my career in the direction I want it to go.
SL: Any upcoming news, future projects or events you’d like to share with us?
Latrice: I am planning on going into the studio to record some club tracks, so hopefully by spring I will have my single out.
SL: How can your fans best stay in touch with you?
Latrice: Oh baby! You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or on my website www.latriceroyale.com. And, if you’re in South Beach, I work at the Palace every Friday. Shows begin at 6 pm, and I’m also at Drag Race Mondays, also at the Palace from 8pm-10pm!
This article was originally published on February 27, 2012.
Latrice will be one of the returning queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 4 which premieres Friday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.