'You Can Quote Me' - June 10, 2018 - Sasha Velour

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) "You Can Quote Me" - June 10, 2018.

Guest:

Sasha Velour/RuPaul's Drag Race Winner
Topic: Winning the crown, eating disorders, losing her mom to cancer, how she credits Vermont and the Center for Cartoon Studies for launching her career. One-on-one interview with Velour.

Host: Darren Perron

TRANSCRIPT:

>> FROM WCAX, THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."
>> DARREN: GOOD MORNING, I'M DARREN PERRON.
RIGHT NOW ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME," DRAG QUEENS CATAPULTED INTO STARDOM, BECAUSE OF THE REALITY SHOW, RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE.
THIS YEAR'S REIGNING QUEEN CREDITS VERMONT WITH LAUNCHING HER CAREER.
SHE CROWNS A NEW CHAMPION SOON, BUT BEFORE THAT HAPPENS, I TRAVEL TO NEW YORK CITY TO CATCH UP WITH DRAG SUPERSTAR, SASHA VELOUR.
>> I REALLY GOT TO STEP INTO SASHA VELOUR AND SHE TOOK OVER.
>> DARREN: AND TOOK OVER THE CROWD.
A TOP TV MOMENT OF 2017, THE NIGHT SASHA VELOUR WOWED WATCHERS OF RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE WITH THIS EMOTIONAL PERFORMANCE.
¶.
>> DID THE ROSE PETAL PERFORMANCE SEAL THE DEAL?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> AMERICA'S NEXT DRAG SUPERSTAR IS --
>> DARREN: SASHA VELOUR, ONE OF 14 CONTESTANTS ON SEASON 9, COMPETED FOR PRIZES AND THE TITLE AMERICA'S NEXT DRAG SUPERSTAR.
AND SHE WON.
SASHAYING AWAY WITH THE CROWN.
RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE IS IS A BOUNDARY PUSHING HIT REALITY SHOW ON VH1.
DRAG QUEENS COMPETE IN ACTING, COMEDY, MUSIC, FASHION DESIGN, RUNWAY, AND ULTIMATELY THEY MUSLIM SYNC FOR THEIR LIFE.
>> THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU TO LIP SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE!
>> BUT BEFORE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS AND FAME, SASHA VELOUR WAS SASHA STEINBERG AND A STUDENT HERE AT THE CENTER FOR CARTOON STUDIES IN WHITE RIVER JUNCTION.
>> I THINK EVERYONE KNEW THAT SASHA WAS GOING BIG PLACES.
>> DARREN: CLASSMATES DESCRIBE HER AS VIBRANT, WITTY, SOMEONE WHO OWNED THE ROOM.
SO WHEN SHE WON NO ONE WAS SHOCKED, BUT BOY WERE THEY ANIMATED.
>> SASHA WAS, IT'S THIS TRIBAL THING, IT WAS INTOXICATING, PEOPLE WENT NUTS.
IT WAS A REAL HIGH, REAL GOOD HIGH.
>> DARREN: HOW DID VERMONT INFLUENCE YOUR DRAG?
>> VERMONT HAD SUCH A POSITIVE IMPACT ON MY DRAG.
I FOUND EVEN IN A REALLY SMALL TOWN LIKE WHITE RIVER JUNCTION THAT I COULD BE CONFIDENTLY WEIRD.
THE WORLD JUST SEEMS MORE OF THAT IN GENERAL, TOLERANCE OF PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THE WORLD SINGING THEIR OWN SONG.
>> DARREN: SASHA BEGAN DOING DRAG AT FIRST DRESSING UP TO ATTEND DRAG RACE WATCH PARTIES.
THEN SHE HOSTED THEM IN DRAG, THEN SHE CREATED A DRAG SHOW, AND HER CARTOONING EDUCATION PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE IN HER UNIQUE STAGE STYLE.
>> CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE BOTH THE WINNERS.
>> I THINK ABOUT THAT EVERY TIME I PUT TOGETHER A LOOK FOR DRAG.
I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT DESIGNING A CHARACTER THAT WOULD READ IN A COMIC BOOK AND THEN I GET TO PUT IT OUT INTO THE WORLD.
>> DARREN: RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE GIVES VIEWERS A LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN OF WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A DRAG QUEEN, THE HIGHS AND LOWS.
>> THESE KIDS ON OUR SHOW HAVE BEEN THROUGH HELL LITERALLY, THEIR FAMILIES HAVE THROWN THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE, THEY'VE BEEN ABUSED AND BEATEN UP, BUT THEY HAVE COME THROUGH AND SHINED.
THAT IS THE LESSON RIGHT THERE.
>> DARREN: FOR SASHA VELOUR, HER LOW, EATING DIGS ORDERS, SHE DISCLOSED IN ONE OF THE EPISODES.
YOU TALKED ABOUT YOUR EATING DISORDER.
WHY WAS THAT IMPORTANT TO SHARE?
>> I FEEL LIKE IT'S WRITTEN ALL OVER MY DRAG.
THAT CHARACTER WAS MY ARMOR TO FIND BEAUTY AND CONFIDENCE IN MY BODY, EVEN WHEN I COULDN'T NECESSARILY FEEL IT MYSELF.
THE MESSAGE, AND ALSO THE SUCCESS THAT I KNOW I FOUND THROUGH LIKE FINDING HEALING, LEARNING HOW TO EAT FOR MYSELF PROPERLY IN A HEALTHY WAY.
I THINK THAT CAN BE HELPFUL FOR PEOPLE.
SO I WANT TO STAGE IT AND PRESENT IT WITH MY DRAG.
>> DARREN: SHE ALSO SHARED THE LOSS OF HER MOM TO CANCER.
IT'S WHY SASHA SHAVES HER HEAD AND IT'S BECOME HER TRADE MARK.
>> MY MOM STARTED LOSING HER HAIR AT THE TIME THAT I STARTED GETTING INTO DRAG IN VERMONT.
AND HER GOAL FOR HERSELF WAS TO EMBRACE THE REALITY OF BEING BALD, AND LEARN TO FIND CONFIDENCE AND BEAUTY IN THAT.
AND THAT WAS LIKE SO INCREDIBLY EMPOWERING TO WATCH.
I CAN THINK ABOUT HER AND HOW MUCH THAT MEANT TO ME TO HEAR.
>> DARREN: SINCE WINNING THE CROWN IT'S BEEN A WHIRLWIND.
GOOGLE ENLISTED SASHA TO ILLUSTRATE A GOOGLE DOODLE TO HONOR MARCH LANE ADIETRICH WHO SHE PORTRAYED ON THE SHOW.
>> PEOPLE SAY MARLENA, ARE YOU --
>> DARREN: SHE'S LAUNCHED A MAGAZINE AND CLOTHING LINE.
>> I COULDN'T FIT THROUGH THE DOORWAY.
>> DARREN: AND PERFORMS NEARLY EVERY NIGHT, TRAVELING ALL OVER THE WORLD.
AND SOMETHING TELLS ME AS SHE GETS SET TO HAND OVER THE DRAG RACE CROWN NEXT MONTH, THIS IS JUST THE FIRST LAP FOR SASHA VELOUR.
YOU'VE BEEN BUSY.
>> YES.
>> DARREN: WHEN DOES IT SLOW DOWN FOR YOU?
>> HOPEFULLY NEVER.
>> DARREN: MORE WITH SASHA VELOUR NEXT, IN A ONE ON ONE INTERVIEW.
DON'T MISS IT.
>> DARREN: WE HAVE YOUR LATEST NEWS HEADLINES AND WEATHER AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR RIGHT HERE ON CHANNEL 3, BUT FIRST MORE OF MY CONVERSATION WITH THE WINNER OF RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, SASHA VELOUR.
¶.
¶.
>> LIVING IN A WORLD OF FANTASY, I CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD.

>> DARREN: DID THE ROSE PETAL PERFORMANCE SEAL THE DEAL?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
NO ONE HAD REALLY SEEN ME LIP SYNC THE WAY THAT I LIP SYNC ON DRAG RACE, AND THAT WAS STRANGE FOR ME BECAUSE THAT'S THE ENTIRETY OF WHAT MY DRAG WAS BEFORE DRAG RACE.
IT WAS LIKE I REMEMBER I STEPPED OFF STAGE, STILL SHAKING ALL OVER, AND BOB THE DRAG QUEEN WAS BACK THERE IN WHATEVER OUTFIT SHE WAS WEARING, I GUESS IT WAS THE CROWNING OUTFIT THAT SHE HAD ON AND SHE WAS LIKE, YOU JUST MADE HISTORY.
¶ I GET SO EXCITED, BABY, EVERY TIME I SEE YOU.
AND IT WAS THAT FEELING THAT NO ONE HAD EVER DONE A PERFORMANCE QUITE LIKE THAT ON DRAG RACE, AND THAT THERE WAS A SENSE, EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE STOOD UP AND FREAKING OUT.
SO EVEN IF I DON'T WIN AT THIS POINT, LIKE, I KNOW I'VE SHOWN THAT I HAVE VALUE IN THIS BIG COMUJT OF DRAG QUEENS, BECAUSE OF THAT PERFORMANCE.
AND THAT MADE ME SO PROUD, BECAUSE THAT PERFORMANCE IS A BETTER INDICATION OF WHAT I'M LIKE AS A DRAG QUEEN, THAN ANYTHING I DID ALL SEASON LONG.
AND INSTEAD I HAD TO BE AN ACTOR, AND A CHARACTER ILLUSIONIST AND A COMEDIAN AND ALL THESE THINGS, AND FINALLY I HAD A CHANCE TO SHOW WHAT I DO IN MY SHOWS.
SO I THINK IT WAS A BIG TURNING POINT FOR PEOPLE'S UNDERSTANDING OF WHO HI AM AS A DRAG QUEEN, I GOT TO SHOW OFF A LITTLE, TOO.
BECAUSE THE CONTEXT IS WAY TRUER TO WHAT I GET TO DO AS MY JOB, WHICH IS PERFORM.
ON A STAGE IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.
SO THAT MADE ME, AT THAT POINT I HAD REAL CONFIDENCE IN MY WORK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THAT COMPETITION.
AND THAT WAS EXCITING.
>> DARREN: WAS THERE ANY PARTICULAR TALENT WHERE YOU WERE LIKE OH THIS IS THE WEEK I COULD BE SENT HOME?
>> OH GOSH, THE 90210 CHALLENGE.
I HOPE I SAVED MYSELF WITH THE MOHAWK, I FELT I DID AT THE TIME BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE HAD GIANT HAIR, AND I HAD LIBERTY SPIKES.
>> DARREN: WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
>> I THINK THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS FIGURING OUT HOW TO MARKET YOURSELF AS A DRAG QUEEN.
LIKE THAT'S A BIG PART OF THE COMPETITION IS THE WORDS YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF.
AND THERE ARE OVER 100 DRAG RACE QUEENS, NOT TO MENTION THE THOUSANDS OF AMAZING QUEENS THAT ARE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD HAVING SUCCESSFUL CAREERS OUTSIDE OF DRAG RACE.
SO TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF, YOU DO HAVE TO BE SPECIAL, AND FIGURING OUT THE WAY THAT YOU ARE SPECIAL IS CHALLENGING SOMETIMES.
>> DARREN: LET'S TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT, BECAUSE IT'S REALLY NOT JUST THROWING, CLEARLY, ON A WIG AND FANCY DRESS.
YOUR DRAG IS VERY DIFFERENT.
>> YES.
I THINK EVERYONE'S DRAG IS DIFFERENT TRULY BECAUSE THE WIG AND THE DRESS ARE JUST LIKE, THAT'S JUST THE FINAL STEP.
THE FIRST STEP IS ALWAYS ABOUT TAPPING INTO THAT FEMININE POWER OR THAT BEYOND GENDER POWER THAT EACH OF US, ESPECIALLY QUEER PEOPLE KNOW SO DEEPLY, BECAUSE GENDER IS NOT LIKE REALLY THAT ESSENTIAL TO WHO WE ARE.
IT'S THE LANGUAGE WE HAVE TO SELL OURSELVES THROUGH.
AND DRAG PERFORMERS START LEARNING HOW TO FILTER OURSELVES THROUGH THAT LANGUAGE AND REALLY SURPRISING AND DIFFERENT WAYS.
FOR ME, SOMETIMES IT'S SEQUINNED DRESSES, OTHER TIMES IT'S GIANT PIECES OF CLOTHING OR A WEIRD CROWN OR A COSTUME, AND ALL THOSE ARE WAYS THAT I WANT TO EXPRESS MY GENDER BEAUTIFULLY, BUT ONLY IN TERMS OF BEAUTY THAT MAKES SENSE TO ME.
>> DARREN: WHAT DO YOU SAY, YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN REPORTED IN A NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE REACHED OUT TO YOU, I FOLLOW YOU ON TWITTER, PEOPLE TWEET AT YOU.
CALLING YOU AN INSPIRATION.
WHAT'S THAT FEEL LIKE?
>> IT'S NOT ME, YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE I RECOGNIZE THAT I BOTH AM A REAL PERSON AND A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN ON TELEVISION THAT REPRESENTS SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE, AND I WANT TO DO A GOOD JOB OF REPRESENTING THAT FOR PEOPLE AND MAKING YOUNG GENDER QUEER PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE SOMEONE WHO THEY CAN LOOK UP TO AND THAT THEY CAN SEE SOMEONE THAT REMINDS THEM OF THEMSELVES FIND SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD.
I THINK THAT IS EMPOWERING.
AT THE SAME TIME, SOMETIMES I HEAR AND I'M LIKE I'M JUST A REAL PERSON WHO MAKES TONS OF MISTAKES AND I'M JUST TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON'T SEE TOO MUCH OF THAT, SO THAT I CAN STILL BE HELPFUL FOR YOU IN YOUR LIFE.
THAT'S DRAG.
>> DARREN: WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH RUPAUL?
>> OH, MY GOSH, SHE IS SUCH AN INSPIRATION.
>> SASHA VELOUR.
>> LIKE VISIBLY AND CLEARLY ONE OF THE HARDEST WORKING AND KINDEST PEOPLE IN SHOW BUSINESS.
IT'S LIKE SHE'S REALLY GIVEN THAT DRAG FLAVOR TO HOLLYWOOD, AND THEY NEED IT AND WANT IT AND IT'S GOOD FOR THEM.
AND SHE'S JUST SO INSPIRING, I THINK EVERYONE TRIES TO TAKE LESSONS FROM HOW SHE GOES ABOUT HER LIFE.
>> THE TIME HAS COME.
FOR YOU TO LIP SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE.
>> DARREN: "NEW YORK TIMES," SO MANY ARTICLES RECENTLY CALLING RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE THE MOST INNOVATIVE TELEVISION SHOW GOING RIGHT NOW.
WHY?
>> BECAUSE IT'S LIKE, IT'S PERFECT FOR TELEVISION.
DRAG PERFORMANCE IS THE MOST NATURAL FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT THAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH.
IT'S OVER THE TOP, IT'S LIGHT HEARTED, BUT IT'S ALSO REALLY SINCERE AND IT PLUNGES TO REALLY REAL AND DEEP PLACES.
AND IT'S COLORFUL AND EXCITING AND DRAMATIC.
YOU GET TO SEE ALL THE SLICES OF HUMAN KIND AMONG THE DRAG WORLD.
AND THE WAY THAT DRAG RACE PRESENTS IT IS REALLY, IT'S ACTUALLY PRETTY STRAIGHT FORWARD AND HONEST AS REALITY TELEVISION GOES.
EVEN NO WE'RE IN THE BUSINESS OF DECEIT AND PRETENSE.
AND THAT'S I THINK A CONTRADICTION THAT MAKES IT SO COMPELLING TO WATCH.
>> DARREN: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF YOUR SUCCESS SINCE YOU WON THE CROWN.
GOOGLE DOODLE, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
>> GOOGLE CONTACTED ME OUT OF NOWHERE AND ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO DRAW MARLENA DIETRICH FOR THE ANNIVERSARY OF HER BIRTH FOR A GOOGLE DOODLE THAT I WAS TOLD WOULD BE RELEASED ONLY IN GERMANY, BUT AS IT TURNS OUT IT WAS PRETTY MUCH ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHICH WAS SUCH A HUGE HONOR.
TO EXPERIENCE SUCCESS AS AN ILLUSTRATOR AND ARTIST, IN ADDITION WITH AND CONNECTED TO MY DRAG IS TRULY A DREAM COME TRUE.
A LOT OF PEOPLE TAG ME IN PICTURES OF IT NOT REALIZING THAT I HAD BEEN THE ARTIST OF IT, THEY'RE LIKE OH, THIS REMINDS ME OF YOU BECAUSE DIETRICH WAS A CHARACTER I PORTRAYED.
>> PEOPLE SAY MARLENA, ARE YOU A LESBIAN?
AND I LOOK AT THEM AND SAY YES.
>> LONG BEFORE DRAG RACE WHEN I PRODUCED A LOCAL SHOW, I STILL WORKED THIS HARD.
>> THE TIME HAS COME TO CROWN OUR QUEEN.
LADIES, I'VE MADE MY DECISION.
THE WINNER OF RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, AMERICA'S NEXT DRAG SUPERSTAR, IS SASHA VELOUR.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]


>> DARREN: UP NEXT SASHA VELOUR DISCUSSES HOW VERMONT LAUNCHED HER CAREER, HER STRUGGLE WITH AN EATING DISORDER, AND HER MOM'S LOSS TO CANCER.
YOU'RE WATCHING CHANNEL 3'S "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."
WE'RE BACK IN A MOMENT.

>> DARREN: SASHA VELOUR USES HER BRAIN TO CREATE BEAUTY.
SHE IS SASSY, WITTY AND ONE HECK OF A PERFORMER.
SHE'S ALSO A CARTOONIST, AND I DISCOVERED SHE OFTEN DRAWS FROM DEEP SADNESS TO CREATE ART ON PAPER AND ON STAGE.
>> I HAD NO IDEA I WAS GOING TO HAVE THAT KIND OF REACTION.
I THINK THE REASON THAT IT WORKS SO WELL, I COULD NOT HAVE PREDICTED IT, AND I THINK THAT'S PARTLY WHY IT WORKED SO WELL, BECAUSE IT'S SO SIMPLE, AND SPLICING, BUT ALSO THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FAMILIAR.
I TRY TO TELL THE STORY OF THAT SONG, AND THE WAY THAT SONG BUILDS AND HEIGHTENS AS IT GOES ON, AND ON MULTIPLE LEVELS.
THE CLASSY WAY THE DRAG PERFORMERS NOW HAVE TO EMPHASIZE THE EMOTION OF A STORY IS BY TAKING THEIR CLOTHES OFF AND MAKING THINGS COME OUT OF OTHER THINGS, AND I REALLY WANTED TO SHOW THAT OFF.
IT WAS AN EMOTIONAL PERFORMANCE, MUCH MORE THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE.
BACK STAGE I WAS OVERWHELMED BY THE STRESS, LIKE I WAS TRYING TO GET ROSE PETALS INTO MY GLOVES AND UNDER MY HAIR AND THERE WAS NO LIGHT BACK STAGE.
IT WAS TERRIFYING, THERE WAS BEADS OF SWEAT RUNNING DOWN THE SIDE OF MY FACE.
BUT WHEN I STEPPED OUT ONTO THE STAGE IN FRONT OF A LIVE AUDIENCE, BECAUSE WE HAD NEVER HAD A LIVE AUDIENCE FILMING EITHER REALLY, MAYBE 20 PEOPLE TO LOOK LIKE A LIVE AUDIENCE, BUT THIS WAS A BIG THEATER, THE BIGGEST THEATER I HAD EVER PLAYED.
AND I REALLY GOT TO STEP INTO SASHA VELOUR, AND SHE TOOK OVER.
AND I FELT EVERYWHERE TO THAT SONG SO MUCH, AND THE ROSE PETALS JUST HELPED.
>> DARREN: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CENTER FOR CARTOON STUDIES.
>> YES.
>> DARREN: DO YOU CREDIT THAT PLACE WITH WHAT YOU'VE BECOME?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
I WAS REALLY LIKE LOST FOR A MOMENT, AND DRAWING COMICS, WHICH I STARTED DOING AT THE SAME TIME I STARTED DOING LIPSTICKS AND HEELS.
THAT HELPED ME FIGURE OUT THAT YOU COULD HAVE A CAREER IN THE ARTS WITHOUT FOLLOWING THIS TRADITIONAL PATH THAT I HAD LEARNED ABOUT.
BECAUSE COMICS IS LIKE A CAREER MAKING ART WITHOUT NEEDING TO GO THROUGH THE INSANE AND OFTEN VERY PRETENTIOUS ART SYSTEM, BECAUSE YOU HAVE AN IDEA, YOU HAVE A STORY YOU WANT TO TELL, PUT IT ONTO THE PAGES OF A COMIC BOOK AND PUBLISH IT YOURSELF.
THAT'S WHAT I LEARNED TO DO AT THE CENTER FOR CARTOON STUDIES, AND TURNS OUT THAT'S THE SAME MESSAGE OF DRAG.
WHEN I MOVED TO NEW YORK CITY, WHICH IS ONE OF THE HARDEST PLACES TO MAKE IT AS ANY KIND OF PERFORMER, I WAS LIKE OKAY I'M GOING TO USE MY COMIC BOOK KNOWLEDGE AND SAY, INSTEAD OF GOING THROUGH A COMPLICATED SYSTEM TO PROVE THAT I BELONG HERE, I'M JUST GOING TO MAKE MY OWN SHOW AND TELL THE STORIES THAT I WANT THERE, AND IF PEOPLE LIKE IT THEN THEY'LL COME AND SEE ME.
AND THAT TURNED OUT TO WORK SO WELL, AND I THINK THAT IS A LITTLE BIT THE FUTURE THAT HOPEFULLY ART AND PERFORMANCE ARE GOING TO TAKE.
AND THEN LIKE I EVEN LEARNED THINGS ABOUT FASHION FROM BEING A CARTOONIST.
I REMEMBER THEY TAUGHT THIS LESSON OF WHEN YOU DESIGN A CHARACTER FOR COMICS, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FOLLOW THAT CHARACTER THROUGH A LOT OF SCENES, EVEN WHEN THEY'RE REALLY SMALL IN A CROWD, SO YOU WANT TO THINK ABOUT DESIGNING YOUR CHARACTER SO IT HAS REALLY CLEAR COLOR, REALLY CLEAR DESIGN.
AND I THINK ABOUT THAT EVERY TIME I PUT TOGETHER A LOOK FOR DRAG, BECAUSE IT'S THE WAY OF WRITING A CHARACTER FOR A STORY.
SO THAT'S, PARTS, THE WAY MY BALD HEAD LOOKS, MY EYEBROWS, THE CROWN, I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT DESIGNING A CHARACTER THAT WOULD READ IN A COMIC BOOK.
THEN I GET TO PUT IT OUT INTO THE WORLD.
>> DARREN: TELL ME ABOUT WHY YOU DECIDED TO GO BALD.
>> MY MOM STARTED LOSING HER HAIR AT THE SAME TIME THAT I STARTED PUTTING MYSELF UP INTO DRAG.
WHEN I WAS DISCOVERING WIGS AND WANTING TO TRY THEM ON, SHE WAS ALSO SHOPPING FOR WIGS FOR HERSELF TO HIDE THE FACT THAT SHE WAS BALD.
AND I WATCHED HER MAKE A DECISION TO NOT WEAR THEM.
NAY WERE UNCOMFORTABLE FOR HER.
AND SHE FELT SHE WOULD BE WEARING THEM TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE COMFORTABLE.
AND HER GOAL FOR HERSELF WAS TO EMBRACE THE REALITY OF BEING BALD, AND LEARN TO FIND CONFIDENCE AND BEAUTY IN THAT.
AND THAT WAS SO INCREDIBLY EMPOWERING TO WATCH.
I DIDN'T HAVE TO ENCOURAGE HER --
I WAS ENCOURAGING HER TO PUT ON WIGS, AND SHE WAS TEACHING ME THAT A WOMAN, ANYONE, CAN BE BEAUTIFUL WITH A GLISTENING BALD HEAD AND A HAT ON IT OR SOME EARRINGS OR JUST NATURAL WITH YOUR NERDY GLASSES, BECAUSE MY WHOLE FAMILY IS BLIND, AND YOUR SHINING BALD HEAD AND AN OUTFIT THAT YOU LOVE.
AND THAT MADE ME WANT TO TRY IT MYSELF.
AND I'VE NEVER REALLY LOVED MY HAIR EITHER.
AND IN FACT I WAS AFRAID OF BALDING, LIKE MEN BALD AS THEY AGE, FOR A LONG TIME, AND BEING LIKE I DON'T EVEN CARE ANY MORE, IT WAS EMPOWERING FOR ME IN MY OWN WAY.
EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T A SIGN OF SICKNESS LIKE IT WAS FOR MY MOM.
I THINK FOR HER THERE WAS A BIG POINT IN YOU DON'T NEED TO HIDE THE TRUTH OF WHAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH.
PEOPLE COULD SEE THAT SHE WAS GOING THROUGH CHEMO, SHE WASN'T SCARED OF THAT AND DIDN'T WANT TO CHANGE HERSELF TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE COMFORTABLE.
AND IF THERE'S LIKE A MESSAGE THAT DRAG HAS, IT'S DEFINITELY THAT.
YOU NEVER SHOULD CHANGE YOURSELF TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE FEEL COMFORTABLE.
YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW YOUR OWN INSTINCTS FOR WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL AND WHAT IS YOU.
AND CONFIDENTLY SHARE WITH THE WORLD.
AND WHEN I GET TO CHANNEL THAT IN DRAG BY BEING BALD TO THIS DAY, I CAN THINK ABOUT HER AND HOW MUCH THAT MEANT TO ME TO HEAR.
>> SASHA VELOUR.
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE THE WINNER --
CON-DRAG-ULATIONS.
>> DARREN: YOU TALKED ABOUT YOUR EATING DISORDER.
WHY WAS THAT IMPORTANT TO SHARE?
>> WHEN I GO SEE A DRAG SHOW, EVEN THAT'S NOT MY OWN, YOU LEARN A LOT ABOUT THE REAL STRUGGLES THAT THAT PERFORMER HAS, AND I THINK THAT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT AND BEAUTIFUL THING THAT YOU GET FROM DRAG.
NOT JUST THE LIGHT HEARTED STUFF, BUT THE REAL HONEST THINGS TOO.
AND FOR ME, MY DRAG IS, YOU CAN SEE THE PLACES THAT I'VE HURT IN MY DRAG, BECAUSE WHEN I'M HURTING I TAKE THAT INTO MY DRAG AND I FIND A WAY TO GROW FROM IT AND BE STRONGER FROM IT AND EMBRACE IT, DRAW ATTENTION TO IT.
SO I NEVER WANTED TO HIDE THE FACT THAT I'VE STRUGGLED WITH AN EATING DISORDER, BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT'S WRITTEN ALL OVER MY DRAG.
THAT CHARACTER WAS MY ARMOR TO FIND BEAUTY AND CONFIDENCE IN MY BODY, EVEN WHEN I COULDN'T NECESSARILY FEEL IT MYSELF.
SO I THINK THAT THE MESSAGE, AND ALSO THE SUCCESS THAT I KNOW I FOUND THROUGH LIKE FINDING HEALING, LEARNING HOW TO EAT FOR MYSELF PROPERLY, IN A HEALTHY WAY, LEARNING HOW TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH MY BODY THAT IS HEALTHY AND NOT DESTRUCTIVE AND NOT JUDGMENTAL, I THINK THAT CAN BE HELPFUL FOR PEOPLE.
SO I WANT TO STAGE IT AND PRESENT IT WITH MY DRAG.
>> DARREN: SOMEONE HAD MENTIONED THAT YOU REALLY STARTED DRAG WHILE YOU WERE IN THE UPPER VALLEY.
IS THAT TRUE?
>> IT'S TOTALLY TRUE.
I HAD TRIED IT ONCE IN PA POW --
IN NEW YORK.
AND I HAD TRIED IT IN ILLINOIS.
BUT WHERE I REALLY STARTED DOING IT REGULARLY WAS TO GO TO RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE VIEWING PARTIES THAT WE HOSTED AMONG FRIENDS IN WHITE RIVER JUNCTION.
AND I'D PUT LIKE, WE'D ALL GET UP INTO DRAGS, AND THEN I STARTED HOSTING THE PARTIES AND THEN I STARTED PUTTING TOGETHER LITTLE SHOWS AROUND THE UPPER VALLEY.
>> DARREN: GETTING BACK TO VERMONT, YOU HAVE A TON OF FANS, OBVIOUSLY, ALL OF US HAD SOMEBODY TO ROOT FOR THAT HAD SOME LOCAL TIES.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO VERMONT AND WHAT KIND OF INFLUENCE OR IMPACT ON YOUR DRAG DID VERMONT HAVE?
>> VERMONT HAD SUCH A POSITIVE IMPACT ON MY DRAG.
I FOUND EVEN IN A REALLY SMALL TOWN LIKE WHITE RIVER JUNCTION THAT I COULD BE CONFIDENTLY WEIRD AND PEOPLE ON THE STREETS WOULD, SOME WOULD LOOK ASKANCE, BUT SOME WOULD ENCOURAGE IT.
VERMONT IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE THE TOWN CRAZY OR THE WEIRDO AND PEOPLE LOVE IT BECAUSE I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE IDENTIFY LIKE THAT IN VERMONT.
AND I THINK THAT ENERGY, THE WORLD JUST SEES MORE OF THAT IN GENERAL, TOLERANCE OF PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THE WORLD SINGING THEIR OWN SONGS.
SO I HAVE A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE PEOPLE IN WHITE RIVER JUNCTION ESPECIALLY WHO ENCOURAGED ME TO BE LIKE QUEER ON THE STREETS OF SMALL TOWN AMERICA, WHICH IS NOT THAT COMMON.
AND I HOPE THAT PEOPLE WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN VERMONT LIKE I DID OR WHO GROW UP IN VERMONT LIKE MANY OF THE PEOPLE I KNOW, CONTINUE TO PUSH THEMSELVES TO REALLY BE AUTHENTICALLY THEMSELVES OR INAUTHENTICLY FABULOUS, AT LEAST, JUST LIKE ME.
>> DARREN: THAT WILL DO IT FOR "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."
THE CHANNEL 3 NEWS CONTINUES NEXT HERE ON THE WEEKEND.
TAKE CARE, WE'LL SEE YOU SOON.
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