Stacy Layne Matthews was, until recently, a contestant on the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was voted off only two weeks ago and is now pursuing a drag career across the United States. Stacy stopped over in Fresno recently, performing exclusively AT THE NORTH TOWER CIRCLE on January 22nd, 2011. After watching Stacy voted off the show (TRAGEDY!) I thought I’d call her up and talk about what it takes to get on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and how to maintain your sanity once you’re there…
Chris Jarvis: Let’s talk about the process of what it takes to get on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Stacy Layne Matthews: You know, it was kind of a last minute thing for me. I sent in a tape and then they contacted me and I was kind of surprised. I didn’t expect to get a call back. I’m glad I did.
CJ: Why didn’t you expect to get a call back?
SLM: I’ve never auditioned for anything like that. I did American Idol once.
CJ: What happened on American Idol?
SLM: Well, they liked my voice when I sang, but I guess I wasn’t what they were looking for.
CJ: Can you tell me about what happens after you send in a tape and they say they’re interested? What’s the process like? How long does it take?
SLM: It’s a lot of phone calls and a lot of questions. You have to meet with a psychologist, send in measurements, and they ask you a lot of personal information.
CJ: What’s the psychologist stuff about?
SLM: I guess they just want to make sure we’re sane and we’re not going to kill all the other contestants.
CJ: I guess the reason I’m asking is because Delta was just voted off and if anyone should have been spotted by a psychologist it should have been Delta. She was just so depressed and moody.
SLM: Yeah, she sounded sad. You know, the whole pressure of the competition finally caught up with her.
CJ: Well let’s talk about that. How much privacy do you get on the show? How much are they on top of you all the time?
SLM: There’s a lot of pressure. You know, we were filming for a long time, we’d get up early and go to bed late so it’s a lot of pressure. You eat late, not a lot of sleep, so it’s a lot of pressure. It was a challenge for me.
CJ: What hour would you guys start and when would it end every day?
SLM: On a good day we would be at the studio about 9AM and we’d leave around 11 at night. We were in drag for a while.
CJ: So let’s say for the one episode we see every week, does that entail one week’s worth of work?
SLM: Not really, there’s a few days for each episode. Some might take longer because we were always on photo shoots.
CJ: What kind of reaction did you get when you were voted off?
SLM: Honestly, there are a lot of people who thought I should still be there and a lot of people who, you know, kind of miss the flavor of the country queen on the show. You don’t really have that left on the show, and I hear from a lot of people who are upset that I’m not still on the show.
CJ: You’ve got a lot of support on Facebook. How is it effecting your local performances?
SLM: I’m doing a lot of shows actually. Next week I’m doing a show in Alabama, then I go to Chicago, and a lot of shows after that.
CJ: Now I know we had you out here and you performed at the North Tower Circle a few weeks ago. Does the LOGO show work with you on getting performances?
SLM: They did. I have my own manager now.
CJ: So tell me, what was your favorite challenge and your least favorite challenge?
SLM: I think my favorite challenge was with the celebrity impersonations, because I’ve done theater my whole life, so I felt like I shined it that episode, obviously, because I won the challenge. I think my least favorite was the news episode, because we had to read a teleprompter and it was a lot of work.
CJ: And the impersonation you’re talking about is when you did Mo’Nique. Is that something you’ve done before?
SLM: Yeah, I do it at the clubs.
CJ: Well you nailed Mo’Nique.
SLM: Well you know what there’s a place in New York that wants me to come and do a mock talk show as Mo’Nique and I’m working on material for that now.
CJ: Let’s talk about the editing on the show. Do they pretty much film everything that you do?
SLM: They film a lot of stuff that doesn’t make it on the show and that people never see, but they have to squeeze all that footage into one hour so it’s hard.
CJ: And how do you feel they make you guys look when they edit you? Do you think they make you look cattier than you are?
SLM: I don’t feel they did that to me. I think they made me look like one of the sweetest people on the show.
CJ: Absolutely. But how do you feel they portrayed the others? Did they make them look catty?
SLM: Well, you know, we were all kind of catty. It is a competition, you know. It was pretty vicious, but you expect that in any competition.
CJ: Can you say who your favorite on the show was and who was hard to deal with?
SLM: There was a lot of sneakiness going around. The ones I knew were sincere with me were Shangela, Alexis and Jada and Mariah, and we kind of created a bond. The other girls were nice at times but it’s a competition so you couldn’t really trust anyone.
CJ: Now do you guys have to do all your own costuming? And let me just say this, when they asked you guys to do the cake thing, to decorate cakes, I thought that was weird. I mean, I’m a cake person but you guys are there for drag, not for cake.
SLM: Yeah, they just threw that on us. I was not prepared to decorate a cake.
CJ: So do you have to all the costuming on your own?
SLM: Yeah, nobody helps us with anything. We do all our own makeup and everything.
CJ: So you bring everything with you or do they give you fabrics to work with?
SLM: There are fabrics there to work with but a lot of the stuff we brought ourselves. We brought our own accessories.
CJ: How much do you interact with RuPaul and the celebrities?
SLM: There’s a little bit of interaction between takes. But the production was so tight that we didn’t get to sit down and talk to anybody face to face.
CJ: So when you get your main challenge, how much time do you have between when you get the challenge and the moment you’re on stage?
SLM: A few hours. Different challenges take different times.
CJ: So if you win the show, what exactly do they do for you? Do they just set you free?
SLM: I have no idea.
CJ: What about those of you who are voted off?
SLM: We still have representatives from LOGO who help us out.
CJ: Was it a good experience? Would you suggest others do it?
SLM: Yeah, it is. I would recommend it for anyone who cares about drag and who wants to put themselves out there, because that’s basically what it does. It puts you out to the world and lets people experience what kind of entertainer you are.
CJ: And it must make it a lot easier for you to get bookings after the show.
SLM: Of course. I feel like I handled myself very well on the show and I was very professional. So I know a lot of people will want to work with me now. I didn’t portray myself in any negative light.
Stacy Layne Matthews has upcoming performances in North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and then back to Los Angeles, for a RuPaul’s Drag Race Reunion episode, which will air after the season ends…Visit Stacy’s website at StacyLayneMatthews.com for information on Stacy and to follow her on Twitter…