Aquaria talks ‘Drag Race’ ahead of her Gay Days at Parliament House concert

Only four years into her drag career, Aquaria has grabbed the attention of fans around the world in her short time on Season 10 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Prior to joining the show, Aquaria had around 200,000 followers on her Instagram. That number has grown to more than half a million.

Reigning from the New York City drag scene, Aquaria grew up in Pennsylvania when she started expressing interest in wanting to put on makeup for costumes. The drag daughter of Season 4’s winner Sharon Needles, Aquaria has continued to perform well on “Drag Race” by winning two mini-challenges and two main challenges, and she has never been in the bottom.

Accompanied by fellow Season 10 queens the Vixen and Miz Cracker, Aquaria will be headlining the Sunday show for Gay Days at Parliament House June 3. Watermark spoke with Aquaria ahead of the big show and asked about Gay Days, her time on “Drag Race” and what we can expect to see from her at Parliament House.


Watermark: I know you were recently at your first Drag Con. How was that?

Aquaria: It was very intense. I had a really fantastic team working behind the design and building of my booth and behind the business end of my booth, and I think that all really helped things come together very well. And it was just such a great opportunity to meet all the fans. I met as many people as I physically could have in the time that we had there, so I mean I could not have done any more. I feel very fulfilled and grateful for the opportunity and the experience.


What can we expect to see from you when you are at Parliament House for Gay Days?

A good old fucking gay time. I’m a club queen and I know how to vibe well with the club atmosphere and with a crowd. I know we’ll be coming off a long weekend, and I’m ready to keep the energy going, keep the party flowing and just have a great time. I love performing in Florida, and I’m very excited for my first time performing at Parliament House.


You will be at the Parliament House almost two years from the day of the Pulse shooting. Is that weighing on your mind as you head to Orlando to perform?

Every time I go to perform, whether it’s a good night for me, a bad night for me, whether I’m in the mood or not, I just try to make sure that I’m involving the crowd, having a good time and making other people happy. After all of that happened, it’s definitely made me appreciate these spaces we have to celebrate. It just shows the importance and value of safety and community. You know, in such terrible times, you have to find a way to see the light, for lack of a better term, and come together and try to get through it as best as you can, and drag and performance is definitely a way to help, I think, ease peoples tensions about situations like that or just anything. I think as drag queens, we are the leaders of the gay community and people look to us for support and guidance in times like that.


Since you’ve been on “Drag Race,” how has your drag changed or evolved, if it has at all?

I think I am becoming more and more aware of what I’m looking for in myself as far as looks and aesthetic and what route I see Aquaria fitting into. I have this opportunity now where I can do exactly what I want and how I want it, and the people that enjoy me will enjoy me for that. So it’s nice having “Drag Race” as a way to introduce myself to the world and give people a better understanding of why I’m doing what I’m doing.


Are there any parts of yourself that you feel aren’t being portrayed or not being communicated more often that you’d like people to know about you?

I always say this: As far as I know, as far as my story and my experience from “Drag Race” goes, the show seems to do a very accurate job of portraying everyone’s stories. Of course, there are things that have to be edited out or dramatized due to the fact it’s a 90-minute television show, and we filmed for more than 90 minutes, but I do think everything is very accurate and it’s given me a better understanding of some of the issues that we talk about with me on the show, like my unique and kind of difficult way of communicating with the other girls or the way my humor can come off or the way my– I guess my general demeanor about my work can come off.

I see now that the way I present myself sometimes can lead people to perceive me a particular way, and I think we see me grow and understand that throughout my time on the show. Also, watching it back in real time it’s nice to see this journey because it just further reiterates that you’re not always perfect and there’s always things that you can learn, and I’ve definitely learned a lot from the show and even more so from watching it back. But I think it’s something that I’ve learned to take a bit of knowledge from.


Did you watch the show leading up to before you went on?

Yeah, I’m a huge fan of the show. I definitely figured that if I’m gonna be on the show I better rewatch a couple episodes to refresh myself on how to not go home immediately.


Did anything surprise you during actually being on the season opposed to just being a viewer?

I wasn’t really surprised much by anything, I guess not in a bad or a good way, but I expect what I figured I’d expect. You know, one thing that is never apparent is, and what kind of caught me off guard for a second, was Ru[Paul] has a bug in his ear for lines and stuff like that. When he first came out as a guy and, you know we’re all inexperienced, so we’re like, “Oh, he’s just gonna talk to us.” Then he’s just standing there like looking out into the distance and nodding. I know a couple of us were like, “Are we…? Y’all, this ain’t even RuPaul, watch.” But I was like, well no yeah duh, of course he has a bug in his ear, that makes so much more sense. I guess that would be the one thing that threw me, but I think it was just mostly because I was so wrapped up into the experience of coming into the werk room, I forgot that, hello, how is he supposed to know what he’s supposed to say?

So watching the show back, was everybody on the show portrayed on the show as they are in real life?

I mean, genuinely how I think I experience things is how the viewers have been experiencing most of those scenarios. What we say is what we say, and what you see is what you get, and no one’s, like, secretly a nice girl who’s coming off a bitch or no one’s secretly a bitch who’s coming off as a nice girl. I don’t think there’s any two-sidedness. There’s obviously a lot of complex personalities that are not just one or the other, but I don’t think anyone’s sneaky or anything. The portrayal is very transparent. You know, whether the person’s weird, cool, a bitch, nice – it was how they were on that day in that scenario.


That’s good to hear. Going back to the days of MTV’s “Real World,” and up through reality TV you hear a lot of reality stars say they edited to seem a certain way.

Yeah, no, that’s a bitch’s favorite line. Maybe if they edited you to look like a bitch, you’re a bitch.  I can’t speak on the “Real World,” but I can talk about the Realness World.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Williams.

Photos from Brandon Voss (Voss Events).

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