What a year BenDeLaCreme has had.
The RuPaul's Drag Race season 6 fan favorite was the name on everybody's lips during her appearance on All Stars 3. Ben played extremely well each episode, placing in the top 2 more than any other queen in All Stars history and making a major beeline for the coveted win in the end.
Then Ben decided to shock her fellow queens, the judges, and everyone at home when she eliminated herself only two episodes before the finale. She gave her reasons for doing it that night... but is it something she still stands by all this time later?
Ben chatted with me about that experience as well as who she is rooting for in All Stars 4, her love life, what the drag scene is like today, and more.
How has life been for you since being on All Stars 3?
A non-stop rollercoaster fever dream. I’ve been traveling the world with my solo shows, writing, directing, producing plays and touring productions - and things are only building. I kind of can’t believe my life right now. It’s a ton of work, and not a ton of sleep, but it is one thousand percent worth it.
Were you surprised at how galvanized people were regarding your self-elimination?
Not at all! I expected it to be polarizing, and it was. Which I’m fine with. Some people didn’t get it - but overwhelmingly the response I got was one of support and appreciation.
I found myself in a moment where anything seemed possible. I was in the unique position of being able to say, “I’ve proven I can win your game, but I don’t agree to your terms.” I think that resonated with a lot of people. No one else can define success for you. You are the only person who knows where and how YOU will find happiness and satisfaction.
Would you do it the same way all over again?
Abso-freakin-lutely. That moment turned out to be a catalyst in my life outside the show. I cut ties that had been holding me back for years, I took control of aspects of my business and personal life that I had been too afraid to before. That decision made me feel powerful. It made me realize that no one has authority over you just because they say they do. You are in charge of you. And there are far fewer limits to that than you think.
Who are you rooting for the most on All Stars 4 and why?
My fave to watch has gotta be Manila (Luzon). I’ve been a huge Manila fan since her first season. I love her comedy and her glamour - she’s a hard worker with a clear vision and I’m here for it. Really, I don’t super care who wins the crown, although if they want it and they get it, more power to ‘em. A queen’s time on the show, and after, is what she makes of it, and there are a million ways to be a Drag Race success story.
Has the drag scene in Seattle evolved since queens like you and Jinkx Monsoon have appeared on the show?
Here in Seattle, drag has always had one foot in the theater/cabaret/performance art world. Jinkx and I were influenced by the Pacific Northwest scene. I don’t think any cultural shift is going to take that unique flavor out of our city.
What's your love life like... dating anyone special? If not, do you have a type?
I am happily settled with a wonderful man named Gus. We’ve been together for almost four years at this point, and it’s only been getting stronger. He’s one of the smartest, funniest people I’ve ever known, and is shockingly unfazed by my over the top drag queen antics.
Do you think drag in general would be big at all if RPDR never existed?
Well for me drag was ALWAYS big. As a kid I was OBSESSED with drag and just wanted to break into the scene. At the time Lady Bunny’s Wigstock festival in New York was huge and there were booming scenes on both costs that launched thriving careers for queens like Varla Jean Merman, Jackie Beat and Coco Peru.
Those queens are going strong and continue to draw crowds all over the country during the Drag Race frenzy, and I believe they will continue to long after. Drag has always been around and has always had a devoted following. At some point everyone else was bound to catch up.
What do you have coming up in 2019 that our readers should know about?
In the next few months between touring the US with the Hater’s Roast, and the UK with Peaches Christ’s Drag Becomes Her, I’m writing my fourth solo show which will premiere in NYC this June before I bring it to Provincetown for the summer season.
Then I head back to Seattle, where we go straight into rehearsal for the third mounting of my immersive 60s horror spoof Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor at ACT theater.
Then it’s straight into rehearsal for the second year of my Christmas tour with Jinkx. I also produce that tour, so there’s a million things to do. And then it’s 2020! Of course, there will be all sorts of other tour dates crammed into any cracks I find in the schedule. Even I have to check my own website to keep up, so you definitely should.
For more on BenDeLaCreme, click here.