From the moment she walked into the workroom, Utica proclaimed she was “sickening” — and after the roast on the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Minnesota madam proved once and for all that she is a kooky queen, not a comedy queen.
From sleeping bag runway couture to an afro made of squirrels, Utica always kept us guessing. Even though she found herself in the bottom three times, she might go down as the lip-sync assassin of the season, pulling out surprising moves every time she was forced to fight against her sisters. But anyone who is flipped off by RuPaul only has a limited amount of time left on Drag Race, and that proved true after Utica’s disastrous performance during this season’s roast.
NewNowNext spoke with Utica about getting the finger from Ru, what her Snatch Game backups were, and what she would say to Ru if they saw each other again.
Hi Utica. How are you feeling today?
I’m feeling just on top of the world. I’m wearing my Tammie Brown merch, and I’m just imagining what it would be like being in the same room as her. I have my coffee, and I’m having a great, great day. How are you doing, my love?
I’m great. I love to hear that you’re a Tammie Brown fan because so am I. So, let’s talk about the roast.
I feel like not many people can say that they’ve been given the finger by RuPaul.
I feel like I can die happy. And I get a bunch of middle fingers throughout the episode, so I think I can die happy a couple of times.
— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) March 27, 2021
Was performing the roast super awkward because there was no audience?
It was very awkward. And then you ask one of the nicest queens to be like, “Oh, do insult comedy,” and I’m like, “Okay…”
Yeah. I bet that would have been hard. Moving on, let’s talk about Snatch Game. First off, did you bring those squirrels individually and make the afro there? How did you package that?
No, actually, when I was building up the Bob Ross character, I got a headdress mold and I built all those squirrels into the headdress, and then I just packed it in and brought it to the show. So I built that prior to coming. And if you look closely, did you notice that each one of the squirrels is praying?
They’re praying? Why?
Because…I don’t know. Put a little bit of holy into it, I guess.
I love the creativity of the squirrel afro, but do you wish you had gone with just a regular white afro?
No. Absolutely not. I don’t think so. I don’t think that would have been appropriate for my art form. I think purchasing an afro and wearing it would have been more accurate to the character, but for me as an artist, I don’t think that would be appropriate, so I decided to take this route to be more artistic with it, first and foremost, but also just to bring a fun take to Bob Ross, because he’s very kooky and so I thought it would be pretty fun.
So, Bob Ross was always your number-one choice. Did you have a backup?
I did have a couple of backups. I love Bob Ross, and he was definitely very difficult for me because it’s a whole new ball game of like improv and now I’m in character and crazy, but I did bring some other characters that I really like. I brought Jim Carrey, I brought Anna Farris. And then I had a couple others up my sleeve, but I chose Bob Ross because I thought it would be the most creative.
The girls talked about how you had a notebook of unused reads from the reading challenge. Can you share any of those that you didn’t use?
I have the memory of a goldfish. I really can’t remember anything. So I don’t think I can humor you in that regard. I don’t really remember. But I did have a bunch of unused reads that I was just like testing out in that instance. I don’t know if I’m the best reader. I think I had a couple of little fingers in there.
The other queens said that the reads were a little mean, and your jokes in the roast were mean. Are you more aware now of your humor going that route?
Yeah, I really am. I feel like when you take the nicest person in the room and you try to make them get into some comedy, it doesn’t really go well. I feel like with my work and in terms of comedy, I like to be very pointed with it, but sometimes I’m very awkward and so it can seem pretty offensive and I’m like damn. I’m very anti-being offensive. I don’t know if the jokes really land that much most of the time. I guess I learned that if I do things off the cuff or just be more natural with it, then I’ll have a better time. As I realized I was bombing so hard, I was like, “I need to do something or else I’m going to bomb even more.” So I went off script, and I just let her have it.
You said that you love to lip-sync, and you’re so good, you come alive. Going into the competition, did you think that you were going to be the lip-sync assassin of the season?
No, I did not. However, I love that the work and the love that I put into lip-syncing is being revered in this way. I just love it. It’s amazing. Each time that I lip-sync, I’m telling a different story and really sharing it in my heart. I’m just sharing my joy for the work of it. And I think that’s really palpable. So being able to be given that name of the lip-sync assassin — it really means a lot. It’s very validating.
Your sleeping bag look is one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen on the Drag Race runway. Are we going to see that look again?
Would you like to?
Let’s go, yes! I would love to pull that look out again. It’s amazing. I really feel so proud of myself for that work, and I would love to continue to make work on that level. That was just a special moment where the universe’s energy comes aligned with mine and I just got to be able to share this amazing story and share this really cool look. And thank you. You flatter me!
If Ru brings up the roast the next time you see him, what would you say?
I would just hold up one of my fingers. But no, I think RuPaul was definitely seen during the roast. And if I ever get to talk to her about it, regarding it, I think we would definitely have a laugh or two about it.
Do you have any plans to go to Syracuse or Schenectady when things open up?
Absolutely. I will admit every time that RuPaul said those things, I was like, “Do I correct her? Do I correct that I’m not from New York?” But I love it. RuPaul’s having so much fun with this, might as well just let her have her fun. But yes, I would love to visit those cities, those connections, I guess that’s what she said. If I recall correctly, those are connections. So I would love to go.