'Drag Race' Winner Aquaria Talks Victory, Melania Trump & That Butterfly Snafu


RuPaul's Drag Race declared a season 10 winner Thursday (June 28) night, with Sasha Velour passing the crown to fellow New York City queen Aquaria after a three-way lip sync against Eureka and Kameron Michaels.

Following a stellar season that saw her turning innovative, unforgettable looks week after week, the 22-year-old queen (who was 21 during filming) is now the youngest person to win RuPaul's Drag Race.

The morning after her victory, Aquaria hopped on the phone with Billboard to talk about everything from the show's editing to whether Melania Trump is aware her gag-worthy Snatch Game impersonation.

Condragulations! How are you feeling?

I'm feeling wonderful. There's never been a day where I've woke up hungover that felt more exciting than today.

You entered the season with a lot confidence. When you won, was it like, “Yeah, this is what I expected,” or were you shocked?

I was definitely shocked, because no matter what you expect – to watch in real time, I was speechless and not sure how to deal with my emotions. I had so many emotions I almost had no emotions. But you have to go into the competition thinking you're going to win or you really might not win. For me I was like, “If I do not see the finish line and see myself crossing it, I will never make it to the finish line.” It just feels freaking fantastic.

Have you processed the emotions yet?

I've definitely not processed it yet, and I'm overwhelmed with excitement for my future and the future my career. And very grateful for everything that RuPaul, VH1, and the fans have afforded me over the past year. But it's slowly but surely starting to click. I'm walking down the street and people are congratulating me who I've never seen in my life, so it's kind fun.

Your win was almost overshadowed by Asia O'Hara's lip sync butterfly fiasco in terms social media reaction to the finale. What was that like to watch in real life?

It was very sad. I know the majority the girls on this season saw Asia as a fantastic example a drag queen, and someone who was rightfully deserving the crown. To watch that as people who know her and know her good intentions with something like that was very sad. That's just clearly not the way she meant for things to go. Accidents happen and all that, but it's how we pick ourselves up from the accidents that matters.

We got to meet your parents on the finale. Were they always supportive you and you being a drag queen?

For me, my parents were always supportive me whether I was a bowler a dishwasher or a drag queen. As long as I was good at whatever I was doing and enjoyed whatever I was doing, they were supportive it. So for me to drop out school and find being a drag queen as my pression, most their reaction was like, “All right, are you gonna be happy? Are you gonna be able to afford your rent and whatnot with that? Okay, fine.” As long as those boxes were checked they were like, “Okay, here we are. You're good, do it, turn it.”

I feel like affording rent is no longer a problem for you.

You know what, I don't think so. We should be fine for at least another year or two.

Did you see anyone getting further this season than they did?

Mayhem Miller was one those people, because when I walked into the Werk Room I was excited to see her because I was a huge fan or her work and I was like, “Oh bitch, now I'm gonna have to really step it up to beat her,” because I saw her as top 4 with me. She is a well-rounded and polished queen and I would have loved to see more her drag.

Did anything surprise you in the editing about yourself? The way you look or act or anything?

No, for me, I kept a journal everything that happened on the show so I would remember in between filming and everything airing. Most, if not all, the content shown from the show, I stand by the editing and whatever the story line it was. It truly is what happened. I don't think there are a lot instances where people get some shady edit that they didn't already given themselves in real life.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the show that fans have?

I feel like in the same vein as your previous question, a lot people like to claim the edit for some things or try to perceive the show as biased to one queen or another. At the end the day, the show is going to be the show no matter who wins. They're not looking for a big girl to win or a twink to win, the show is just the competition as it presents itself; the people who continue to succeed in challenges will continue to progress. And the queens who fumble or find its not their time to win the crown will go home. Oftentimes I'll think even in past seasons, oh this girl just went home, and the next week is a challenge I couldn't even imagine how they would go about doing it. So sometimes I think people go home at the right time. And just because you go home over it doesn't mean your story as a performer is over or that your story on Drag Race is over. We'll hopefully be getting a fourth season All Stars in the next couple years. That's an example that everyone is welcome to a second chance if they work hard and show up and show out. I don't think the perception that the show is pushing queens or biased to anyone is true.

In the Snatch Game we witnessed your remarkable Melania Trump impersonation. Do you know if she's aware it?

To be quite honest, I don't know if Melania Trump is aware a lot things going on in her life right now. She seems certainly tone deaf to a lot the issues facing immigrants and marginalized people in this country. So I can only assume she completely missed my iconic homage to her on Drag Race. But a word advice for her, to say as simply as possible, would be to crack open The New York Times. Hell, at this point, open up Billboard.com and see what's new. Maybe a look at the news will give you better insight into how to deal with and understand the American people.

Your look with the 3D-printed bone mask was described by RuPaul as one the top 5 looks in the show's history. What did it feel like to hear that?

This happened many times in this season where I would be back in Untucked and Ru adopts high-pitched jokey voice] would have the nerve to talk about me behind my back. I would be watching later because obviously I never saw these things in real life. And to hear on episode four that RuPaul thinks I'm exciting or on episode 11 that RuPaul think I'm up there with some the top look turners in Drag Race history is very validating and I feel very honored by it. I went in and that was my stronger suit and I put a really strong effort into my looks and the interpretations I would try to present on the runway. To hear “gobsmacked,” etc., from RuPaul is obviously gonna be very shook, because this is someone I've looked up to for such a long time even beyond Drag Race. But it's also something, not necessarily that I expected, but I'm glad they saw what I was seeing in my own looks.

Good luck with everything, and good luck getting over your hangover.

Nothing a little water won't fix.