Photography: VIJAT MOHINDRA
Creative Direction: ELI REZKALLAH
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What was the first female item you ever wore, and how old were you?
My dearly departed grandmother, Pierrette Nadeau Honard was 100% Québécois, spoke French as her first language, and had exquisite taste - real fur coats, fragrances with fancy spray bottles, BERETS! I remember dressing up in her jewelry and clothes and prancing the runway which was her living room. Once my father even gave me the stage name, “Justina”. I know I inherited my fashion sense from her and I love her so much.
Who or what was your inspiration when creating your drag persona?
In a word: Marijuana. I originally stole the name from a strain of marijuana known as Alaskan Thunderfuck. But when I was 22, and I had just moved to LA (where the marijuana is the non-pareil), the extra-terrestrial being that is Alaska beamed herself into me. I am a channel for this being that exists in another time and place. She is real.
What is a drag queen’s biggest asset?
We are the two-spirit people of our time. We are the shamans. We see truths and tell truths. That’s why going to a drag show is a religious experience.
What are you like when you’re not in drag?
I am the Clark Kent to Alaska’s Superman. Justin prefers to keep to himself and be quiet and still.
How does your male persona feel about your drag persona grabbing all the attention?
She can have it.
Drag Queens are the best at being offensive, but never hurtful. What’s your trick?
In Gay culture, throughout the generations, we have used our wits and language as protection and armor against an oppressive mainstream world. We cut each other down to the core as a sign of respect and camaraderie, and to keep our teeth sharp. I say the rudest, most vile things to the people I respect and admire most deeply. Reading is a language of love, however, it is also a magic power that is to be used responsibly by people who have learned how to use it.
If there was one Drag Queen stereotype that you would like to eliminate, which one would it be and why?
I wouldn’t want to eliminate any of the stereotypes held against drag queens, because most of them are true. We can drink you under the table and we know where to find the best drugs.
Do you consider yourself a Dragtivist?
I am your newly crowned Diamond Crown Queen and I plan to use this platform to make my voice heard. Women should be paid an equal wage. Don’t elect Donald Trump. Black Lives Matter.
In your opinion, is drag still considered a ‘gay thing’? Why/not?
Drag comes from Gay culture. We invented that. However, Drag is an art form and an experience for everyone, and that is why more and more people pay attention with each passing year. My audiences are gay men, married straight couples, young people - everyone. In a drag show you experience a space where gender isn’t so carved in stone, a space where the walls come down, if only for an hour or two.
Gender roles are slowly but surely becoming obsolete. How does this affect drag culture?
I would like to see a world where a man in a dress is not seen as something odd, or even interesting, or offensive, or dangerous, or threatening. It’s a man in a dress. Cool.
What’s your take on “Faux-Queens” or “Bio-Queens”?
I mean it when I say; some of the most beautiful women in the world have gigantic penises. That is the truth. However, press themselves.
RuPaul once stated that drag will never be mainstream. RuPaul now holds an Emmy for Outstanding host for a Reality program. What’s your take on it?
Personally, I liked when RuPaul said drag will never be mainstream. I think it’s exciting that drag gets to be underground and subversive and counter-culture. Drag doesn’t adhere to the rules and regulations of the mainstream. That’s what I love about it.
Out of all the drag queens seen in RuPaul’s Drag Race, who would you choose as your ride-or-die?
Alyssa Mothafuckin’ Edwards.
If you were to cast the next season of RuPaul’s All Stars, who would you cast?
Kennedy Davenport, Shangela, Laganja Estranja, Gia Gunn, Trixie Mattel, Victoria Parker, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Akashia and India Ferrah.
Is there any season, besides yours, that you would have loved to be a part of? If so, which one and why?
I was jealous when on Season 6 they got to do ‘RuPaul Realness’ on the runway. I really want to do that one.
If you were to come up with a challenge for RuPaul’s Drag Race, what would it be?
I hope they do a garbage bag/plastic tablecloth challenge. The material is really versatile, durable, and beautiful. It comes in every color and, really, the possibilities are endless. I would love to see what a cast of queens could come up with using only plastic.
INTERVIEWED BY: RALPH ARIDA