Soju Talks Diversity in Okay-Pop, Why She Didn’t Recognize Miley Cyrus & More After ‘Drag Race’ Exit


On Thursday evening, RuPaul’s Drag Race kicked off their 11th season. Fourteen new queens (and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo) sashayed into the Werk Room, posed with Drag Race alumni, met a disguised Miley Cyrus and crafted brand-new outfits out of the scraps left by queens previous.

But on the finish of the evening, somebody needed to go residence. Despite her sweet-but-stomach-curling story of a popped cyst, Chicago queen Soju was eradicated after failing to impress the judges in a lip sync towards Kahanna Montrese to Hannah Montana’s “The Best of Both Worlds.”

Soju chatted with Billboard the day after her elimination about changing into an instantaneous meme, her love for Okay-pop, and why she wasn’t capable of acknowledge Miley Cyrus within the Werk Room.

How are you feeling after watching the episode final evening?

Honestly, I cried lots. I believed that I’d be able to see myself go residence, however when it's taking place, you're hit again with all of that emotion from the day. To see all people's reactions afterword is what actually took me again. Seeing everybody give me a lot help and love, I used to be like, "Damn, I used to be not anticipating that." I believed everybody could be laughing at me. So it really was an incredible second for me

Plus, it helps that once you awakened this morning, you have been a meme, because of your cyst. That is a significant accomplishment in and of itself.

[Laughs] Well, you realize I'm the social media queen, so the extra memes that come, the stronger I turn into. You know I've received all of those medical situations, so I've received to get actually sturdy. Give me extra memes, please hold feeding me.

You and Vanjie have efficiently established a brand new custom, the place the primary queen to go residence every season should turn into a meme. "Miss Vanjie" and the cyst are the memes to beat, now.

[Laughs] Yeah, it's actually humorous that it occurred like that, since you simply by no means know what’s going to be a meme. At the time, I wasn't like, "Okay, nicely it's the time to inform the entire world about my cyst." Like, who would have thought that was going to be a factor? But like, it's bizarre how that occurred. That's extra strain on the primary residence subsequent season, woman. Whoever leaves first higher pull out some sort of trick.

Well you definitely made an impression. In the edit, Ariel Versace appeared fixated on the truth that you have been "not an entertainer." Is tough factor so that you can hear, as somebody who got here up on YouTube?

It's not as a result of I hold listening to it, and I’ve heard it my complete profession. It's one thing that I’ve to show consistently. What folks don't notice in regards to the drag tradition is whereas Ariel and Plastique may be youthful than me, they’ve been on this recreation for means longer than me. It's sort of like taekwondo, or like martial arts, the place you must earn respect from folks. I perceive that I’ve solely been doing this for a couple of years, and I’ve to work tougher to be part of this group of fantastic queens. You can see within the edit that I wasn't actually phased by that remark.

See, I don't suppose it's truthful to say that being a YouTube creator isn't performing. It completely is, and I really feel like you’ve got proven that by way of Shot with Soju.

Sometimes it's tougher since you are primarily performing for anyone that's not there! You are simply speaking to a digicam, however on the similar time, you’ve got take into consideration all of those tens of millions of people who find themselves going to observe this video. It is a efficiency, and you’re an entertainer, similar to some other drag queen. It additionally doesn't imply I'm not touring the world performing, as a result of I’m doing that. People are simply so caught in my YouTube profession, that they suppose that's the one factor I do.

Now together with all of those cyst memes, there have been various folks saying that Miley Cyrus' crew member disguise wasn't very convincing, and that extra queens ought to have seen her. Would you agree with that assertion?

When I let you know that there are literally thousands of issues occurring in that Werk Room, that's no joke. There's like 15 cameras, there's crew, there's producers strolling round, there's different queens. So Miley may have ditched the disguise, and we’d not have payed consideration. All we have been targeted on doing was getting in drag, as a result of they solely give us possibly an hour to prepare. Nobody knew she was there till Silky began screaming once more [laughs]. Even when she was shouting, I nonetheless didn't know what was taking place till she actually launched herself. I totally suppose, even when folks have been speaking to Miley, Plastique Tiara was nonetheless simply so targeted on her look that she hardly seen.

I'm undecided in the event you noticed, however Billboard has Blackpink on our cowl this week. As somebody who’s a self-proclaimed Okay-pop stan and artist, what do you suppose it’s in regards to the style that has helped it turn into such a phenomenon in America?

Globalization, I feel that's what's actually serving to. The Okay-pop business is beginning to notice that they must sort of change their methods and alter their advertising and marketing techniques if they really wish to achieve success. Before, they wished to deliver what labored in Korea to America, and make it work there. I feel that's the place they made a number of errors. With this new international market, I feel they’re beginning to do some extra collaboration; I do know Blackpink labored with Dua Lipa, a number of the Okay-pop teams are even working with folks like Rihanna. With that, individuals are beginning to respect Okay-pop and take it severely for what it’s.

As a lot as Okay-pop is enjoyable and stuff, it simply lacks a few of that range with regards to totally different sorts of artists. I feel that's why it's so vital for me to do what I do, as a result of despite the fact that I'm not backed up by YG or JYP, like Blackpink and Twice and BTS, I'm doing my very own factor and calling it Okay-pop, as a result of Okay-pop must have range. People will get drained in the event that they don't really feel represented within the business. We wish to deliver extra foreigners, we wish to see queer folks in Okay-pop. It's slowly altering — the business may be very conservative and really old style, so it should take some time for them to alter. But it's taking place.

That's why I feel somebody like Holland is so thrilling, as a result of he’s truly bringing that totally different perspective to the style.

Yes, I am keen on Holland. Totally. He is so vital to the style proper now. We have a couple of mutual mates, and we're sort of mates. He's an incredible man.

Do you’ve got a favourite artist in Okay-pop proper now?

Right now? I'm actually in love with Blackpink. They are so fierce, they usually're not solely fairly, however they're this superior, sturdy, female group. I like any sort of women which are fairly, however are additionally badass. That's why I like films like Kill Bill and Sin City.