Aquaria may have taken the crown at tonight’s (June 28) finale RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10, but it was Texas queen Asia O’Hara that had the most unforgettable moment the night’s episode. During her lip sync showdown against Kameron Michaels, O’Hara attempted to release butterflies from her costume, but rather than flutter away, the insects had a mind their own, crawling across the stage instead.
O’Hara spoke to Billboard about her butterfly snafu, her special gift from Monét X Change and why she’s been veiling her face during recent press appearances: “That, to me, is an artistic representation how I feel — me and other girls aren’t seen by our fan base.”
What was going through your head when you realized your reveal wasn’t going according to plan?
I instantly knew that it was not gonna go the way I planned. What was going through my head was, “Oh my God, how is this going to look to people? Is it going to look like I didn't prepare or take it seriously?” And then, I was also reminding myself not to give up, finish the performance, still do the best that you can and the reveal essentially is only one part your performance.
How did you prepare for the lip sync?
We didn't know exactly what the parameters would be, but we were all thinking that it was going to be very similar to season nine. So I spent a lot time researching how I could do a butterfly release. I started it probably late September. Since there are butterfly releases at weddings and bridal showers, things like that, there are companies across the U.S. that specialize in this kind thing.
Are you nervous backlash from animal rights groups?
It is important that everyone knows many months went into researching, planning, and rehearsing what was intended to be a safe, amazing display optimism and a surprise for everyone, including the network and production. But life itself is unpredictable. I would never purposely hurt any living being, let alone a butterfly, and have the utmost respect for all animals. I would like to publicly fer the entire world my deepest apology.
Were you hoping to get “Nasty” or would you have preferred to lip sync to “If”?
To be honest with you, I don't think any us were hoping to get “Nasty.” We had collectively discussed when we got the song choices that “Nasty” was our least favorite the three. Artistically, it’s the least climactic song the three choices. And that was the one we just weren't the most excited about getting on stage in the show.
I noticed at the beginning your lip sync you had a little sponge. Was that a gift from Monét X Change?
Yes, it was a gift that I had kept since filming. She kept a sponge in her bra every time she got onstage, and the one time she forgot it, she went home. So, when she left, that next day I started putting a sponge in my bra or in my pocket. That was special moment for me during the show.
Were you shocked that Kameron Michaels chose you specifically as her challenger?
No, I try not to read into that too much. I do think the other three girls kind all agreed that I was gonna be their choice to lip sync again for various reasons. I went into that moment telling myself not to be shocked or surprised at who picked who.
Do you know who you would've chosen?
I don't, because I went through the whole competition trying not to strategize, or trying not to think too hard about that part the competition. I wanted to be in the moment. So, if the wheel landed on me first and I had to choose, I would have decided in the moment.
This past week, you’ve been covering your face at press events. Is there a meaning behind that?
Everything that I do has a very specific meaning behind it, and nothing I do is accidental I live by a model that perception unchallenged is reality. That, to me, is an artistic representation how I feel — me and other girls aren’t seen by our fan base. Some people on social media and in the fanbase understood exactly and instantaneously, but ironically, those people making a stink about not seeing me was just kind … People have not seen us when we’ve been right there on the entire ten seasons that this competition has been on air.
And so what is next for you?
I've been working for the past several months on a non-prit organization that I did not realize was as much work when I started. So between that and working on having to relearn what it is that I have to contribute to the world drag and what it is that I want from the world drag.
Would you return for a season All Stars if asked?
That's a question that I am uncertain about. Like I said, I try to live in the moment. And, I mean, who knows how long All Stars is even gonna be around? So, if you ask me if I wanted to go to All Stars tomorrow, my answer today might be different that it would be a month from now. I really don't have a definite answer for that.