The 15th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” premiered on MTV in January, introducing the reality competition’s latest batch of fan favorite queens to the world. Sixteen performers lip synced for some serious cash, the crown and coveted title of America’s next drag superstar.
Breakout stars included Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, the show’s first performer from Miami. While she sashayed away in eighth place, her fellow contestants awarded her Miss Congeniality.
A 14-year drag veteran, Foxx followed in the heel-steps of Fort Lauderdale’s Lashauwn Beyond, her drag mother and season 4 contestant. She was a fan before and after Beyond’s experience and says she’d gladly compete again.
Until she’s an All Star, Foxx is connecting with fans in and outside of her home state — appearances which include a headlining stop at St Pete Pride 2023. Watermark spoke with her ahead of time about “Drag Race,” attacks against drag and the importance of Pride.
WATERMARK: What drew you to drag?
It was the creativity and the freedom in drag to dress up and be someone else that you aren’t on the regular, especially when you see yourself as a shy person. You get to just put on that mask and portray someone else, be free, have fun and have nobody to judge you. I just like the creativity.
What are your thoughts on the state of drag in Florida? Is drag dangerous?
Drag is not dangerous, it’s always just been entertainment. I think the more that it becomes mainstream, people that don’t understand it are the ones that are afraid.
They are putting unnecessary labels on it just to shut it down, because they clearly see the positive impact that drag has. A lot of times when people don’t agree with certain things, they’d rather put a negative narrative on it … some people who aren’t willing to do the research to understand what it really is, they just follow that narrative.
But for me, drag has always been so colorful, so positive, so welcoming, especially for people who feel misunderstood or who don’t feel like they’re a part of anything. Drag has always been that space and that platform that is welcoming to any and every one, because drag is not just for queer people. It’s for everyone.
A number of Florida entertainers have appeared on “Drag Race,” including your drag mother, but you’re the first from Miami. What’s that like?
It makes me feel very good to be the first person from Miami. Obviously you get the bragging rights, but I wanted to be on the show just open up the door to what the scene is like in Miami, because I felt like we didn’t have anyone that represented us on “Drag Race.”
Miami represents the fun side of drag, where it’s so free. We’re so popular when it comes to drag and I was always like, “why is one of the most popular places for drag not being seen on this platform?” Florida is one of the biggest pageant scenes and is very popular, so I felt like it was time for somebody from Miami to represent that.
Why did you want to be that person?
I feel like I kind of give a mixture of pageantry as well as the performance side of drag. I wanted to open that door to give other entertainers the opportunity to utilize this platform and be seen as well.
I know that a lot of entertainers from Miami have tried out for the show throughout the years and haven’t been successful making it on. I also thought that making it on it would open up that door for those people and help them not to give up, because it took me six times to get there.
What were some of your takeaways from competing on the show?
It made me realize that I wasn’t as super confident as I thought I was. (Laughs.) So it opened up doors to make me build myself up even more and I learned to use my voice in a way that doesn’t have to be malicious, but also to stand your ground and be seen.
Anyone that watched the show saw my little episodes when I had to stand my ground and stand up for myself, but that all comes from things that I’ve been through outside of the show, especially trying to be noticed in my drag scene or trying to make a name for myself.
So when you go into a competition on TV, and you are around a bunch of strangers — and you feel like they don’t see you either — I felt like I had so much more to prove. I’m happy that I learned those things about myself, to use my voice, stand up for myself and not to back down.
You made an impression on fans and your cast. Did you expect to be voted Miss Congeniality?
I mean, I wasn’t aiming to be Miss Congeniality, I was aiming to be the winner. (Laughs.) But anything that I do comes from a place of love and I know that I’m a very genuine and nice person. We didn’t see all of those moments for me there, but I took the time to really get to know every girl that was on the cast outside of the show.
I made it my duty to get to know every person because that’s just how I am. It’s a very unique and very particular experience, I would say, that no one knows about unless you’ve been through it.
So everyone has a situation very differently and for me, I always wanted to make sure that everyone was okay or feeling alright, because some people don’t like to lose and they handle it very differently. My goal was always to make sure that everyone was okay and if they needed an ear or somebody to talk to, that I was that person. At the end of the day, I just feel motherly all the time.
Would you be interested in going back?
I wouldn’t mind it, I think I would have a different perspective going back. I’m not going to say I didn’t have fun, but I think I would have a lot more fun because I understand what it is that I’m going through. (Laughs.) When you do it the first time, everything is a surprise. I would know what I’m getting myself into, so I definitely would go back to show my growth. Yeah, why not?
Where do you find yourself now as an entertainer?
Right now I’m just traveling and meeting all my fans and the people that support me. That’s something that I really enjoy doing, because I didn’t really get to do it before. I wasn’t a full time drag queen before “Drag Race” [and] now it’s an obligation, but a fun obligation. You get to do what you love, you get to create and be whoever you want to be at the end of the day. It’s great.
Why are you excited to perform at St Pete Pride?
Pride in general is such an amazing thing, because it’s people gathering to celebrate love, life, happiness, being authentic, being free and just being themselves. I’m excited to be surrounded by and intimate with people that want to show love and support. I want to give off the same energy to those people.
Why do you think Pride is more important than ever right now, especially in Florida?
Because we have people who don’t understand what drag entertainers and performers are doing. We need to show that as queer people — people who celebrate Pride, even allies — can all come together to celebrate life and love, because at the end of the day, the message is spreading love.
We don’t want to do anything other than spread love, have fun, be our authentic selves and just create a safe space for people to be exactly who they are. I think we need as many people as possible to celebrate Pride … we have to show people that no matter what, we’re still got to live our lives, we’re still going to have a good time. We still gonna have fun and that’s what it is, you’re just going to have to deal with it.
What’s coming next for you?
I’m going to be going on tour later on this year. Me and [fellow “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 15 contestants] Sugar, Spice and Mistress. We will be doing a drag bootcamp tour and spreading a lot of love.
Malaysia Babydoll Foxx performs after this year’s St Pete Pride parade June 24 at Vinoy Park, located at 701 Bayshore Dr. NE in St. Petersburg. Read Watermark’s in-depth coverage of St Pete Pride 2023 here and view details about when and where to celebrate here.