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First off, congratulations! You’re definitely a hometown fave since you’re frequently one of the drag divas in Tommi Rose’s “The Playgirls” at Toucans — I know lots of people who were rooting for you on Drag Race this season!
Morgan McMichaels: I’m a Palm Springs girl!
So, how has your life changed since being on RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Well, ever since I’ve been on Drag Race it’s been nothing but positivity. I had my regular gigs at Toucans and just around the area. I have always had really great support from the gay community in California, especially in Palm Springs. I became the drag queen I am because of the audience in Palm Springs and I believe the audience in Palm Springs is the hardest audience to please—they are!
It’s a lot of retirees and a more mature generation of gays who have seen the best of drag from here to Rhode Island. So to impress them is no easy task and means a great deal to me.
Being on Drag Race has opened so many more doors for me—it’s been nothing but positive for work and opportunity. It’s just been great. I’d never trade the experience for anything in the world.
As a West Coast queen, what do you think is the biggest difference between drag performers on the East and West Coasts—or is there any difference?
Well with drag there are a lot of similarities that we share between the coasts, which we share across the board. But in the West Coast, California especially, I mean Hollywood is just up the street. Character illusion seems to be a big thing here in California. People, especially in Palm Springs, want to see Judy Garland, Bette Midler—as long as it is character illusion; along with your own interpretations of how you dress up in your own character.
On the East Coast it is very pageant oriented. The girls in the pageants are the stars, they are the celebrities. Doing drag on the East Coast and in the Midwest has a lot more celebrity status than it does in the West. …The girls in the West, we do our thing and we’re not really looked upon as superstars. We’re looked upon as entertainers. In the East Coast I believe that those girls are the celebrities—they are the superstars.
But we all work so hard at it, across the board. Drag is no easy feat—at all!
Speaking of hard, as a professor on Drag U, how different is it teach real girls drag compared to the boys?
I think on Drag Race it was a competition setting, and yet it was still very positive. RuPaul definitely stresses the fact that you are not in a competition with others, you are in competition with yourself. You are not there to outshine the other girls, you are there to outshine your own drag and do the best you can do by pushing yourself. Even though it was a competition, it was a healthy competition.
In Drag U, we’re teaching these women the secrets that we’ve acquired from RuPaul and Lady Bunny and other people that have paved the way for us. It’s kind of Pay It Forward, that idea.
Obviously, it’s a television show and people are entertained whether it is Drag Race or Drag U, but I think Drag U is so much more inspirational. It’s these women who have fallen by the wayside who can’t feel fabulous or be that diva that they were. You know some of these women were dateless. Some of these women are struggling in their marriages. We’re trying to take those women back to who they were twenty years ago and give them that power. Yes, go on a date! Yes, get your business together! Yes, take care of your kids—but be fabulous while doing it.
I think every straight woman wants to know—gay women as well, women in general—everyone wants to know the secrets of drag. …Even my mom is super excited about learning the secrets from the show. She’s been trying to get it out of me for years!
Finally, what’s the most important accessory for any drag queen?
A hot boyfriend! [Morgan laughs] No, you know it’s attitude and how you carry yourself. Some people live for the sassiness. Some people hate the sassiness. But it’s all in your attitude. It doesn’t matter what you wear or how you wear it, it’s about how you carry it. Drag is everything. Drag is not just about dressing up as a girl. It’s just like what RuPaul says, “You’re born naked—the rest is drag.” That’s the best quote I’ve ever heard because it’s so true. It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it as long as you have fun while you do it and you don’t hurt others.