We celebrate mothers, grandmothers, stepmoms, aunts, and all kinds of "mother figures" on Mother's Day. But for some, today is the day to honor the gal who helped you figure out your face, your wig line, or your signature lip sync. When it comes to drag, the term mom takes on a whole new meaning with drag moms serving as usually seasoned mentors to baby queens who are just getting their tucks wet in the the world of drag.
In honor of Mother's Day, we asked some of the most iconic queens from RuPaul's Drag Race to gush about their equally iconic drag moms and give us all the dirt--from how they first met and became mother and daughter to the kind of off-camera advice they gave each other to prepare for the Olympics of drag.
Aquaria on Sharon Needles
How did you meet Sharon and how did she become your drag mother?
I was a huge Sharon Needles fan right when the cast list for RuPaul's Drag Race season four was released and [then] Sharon noticed how obsessed I was with her drag. From there, we would hang out before her gigs in my hometown, since I couldn't get into the bars, and then later we tried sneaking me in places as her assistant--definitely not very okay but we did it anyways!
What was your favorite Sharon Needles moment from season four of Drag Race?
Honestly, watching her, not only win the first challenge but also rounding out her awesome run on the show by winning the final challenge to accumulate four wins was totally iconic. Sharon took advantage of the situations she was given and really turned out a fabulous season and made it very obvious to the viewers why she deserved to win.
What is one thing we would not know about Sharon from her time on Drag Race?
One of my favorite little things about Sharon is that she is a MASSIVE fan of Jeopardy. I remember when I got home from Drag Race the first thing I told her that I got to meet Alex Trebek on [the Snatch Game episode] and she was so excited and jealous.
Violet Chatchki on Dax Exclamationpoint
How did you meet Dax and how did she become your drag mother?
I met Dax out on the Atlanta nightlife scene, no doubt at some seedy bar. She was always loud and the center of attention, [you] couldn’t miss her. Me and my sister Bridgette Bidet were basically like, "Meh, you'll work"
People seem to be surprised that Dax is your drag mother. Why do you think that is?
I think Dax is surprised she's my drag mother. When I first started drag in Atlanta there really wasn't a place for me and I wanted to exist in reality not just on a screen--so I had to make a space and Dax was a big part of that. At the time there was a scene in midtown that was predominately fish/pageant/showgirl style and the older queens in that scene were absolutely not mentoring in any way to someone like me--an overly confident ambitious baby queen--and then there was Dax who had been doing this genderf*ck alternative drag for a long time. It was a no-brainer to form an alliance and start our own scene. So we did! The alternative scene we created has grown and is fostering a lot of queens today.
What is one thing we wouldn't know about Dax from her time on RuPaul's Drag Race?
She's an absolute party girl. Quite possibly the biggest party girl I know. We have shut many a bar down.
Shangela Laquifa Wadley on Alyssa Edwards
How did you meet Alyssa and how did she become your drag mother?
I first met Alyssa Edwards when we were both in college in Dallas, Texas, years before Drag Race. Alyssa was in the process of preparing for the Miss Gay America pageant. She saw me on the dance floor and walked over and asked, "Who do you dance for?" I was like, "Nobody." And she goes, "Okay, you dance for me now." We became great friends, then family, then Drag Family.
Did you give Alyssa any advice before her time on season five of Drag Race?
Shhh! No one is supposed to know I knew she was going. My advice to her was to not try to become what she thought they wanted. I told her, "You’re TV gold, honey. Just be Alyssa." I also warned her against doing Katy Perry for Snatch Game. I was like, "Go with Kim Zolciak!" But we saw how that turned out.
What did Alyssa tell you when you told her you about All Stars 3?
Even though the very ending didn’t go the way I wished, I was proud to tell her about my AS3 experience. I felt like the entire season, from the challenges to the runways, I finally was able to be the Queen I always envisioned myself to be--and I am so proud of that and couldn't wait to share! While the season was airing, she would call me after every episode and say, "Alright Mama, you did that!" And then after the finale, she said, "Well gal, another Edwards doll as a LOVELY runner-up!" But then, she said, "Don’t worry baby. The way you’ve grown, and the things you’ve done. You were a winner before you even walked in the door."
What is one thing we would not know about Alyssa from her time on Drag Race?
She is deathly afraid of pigeons--I mean she'll literally get up from the table and run. What else?!? She is a big kid at heart. She loves amusement parks, laser tag, and game nights. Oh, and she fell asleep in a bathtub once and woke up thinking she was Joan Crawford...and kept screaming for me, "Shangie! Bring me the axe!"
Miz Cracker on Bob The Drag Queen
How did you and Bob meet?
I met Bob seven years ago by accident. During a snowstorm, I saw someone struggling to take a bookshelf to their apartment and was like, "Oh God, let me help them." As soon as I went into the apartment, I saw that the room was covered with wigs and dresses and glitter. I thought, "What did I get myself into? Who is this person?" But fast forward, he had worn me down and convinced me to try drag as part of a demonstration for marriage equality in Times Square. That one time became my career.
Did you ever think of doing Drag before that?
Never. Some drag queens [will say], "I would wear my mother's heels" but I never did any of that. I never had any interest. It took Bob six months of asking, every week. I would say "Yeah, yeah, of course, I'll try it," but I was putting him off, really. I had to make good on my promise and then it was love at first lashes.
How has Bob helped boost your confidence?
Bob is no nonsense. Bob wants you above all to move forward with your life--anything that's gonna get in the way, he thinks is bullsh*t. Bob gave me drag which gave me a way to be beautiful and see myself as beautiful. But Bob also spoke a lot about people he knew that couldn't see they were beautiful. We would meet someone and he'd be like, "That person doesn't know how beautiful they are." He would talk about it so much that it began to sink in that he thought I was one of those people. Everyday Bob tells someone, "What other people think about you is none of your business." It's not like he shook me by the shoulders and said, You're beautiful and you should know it!" He just introduced me to a new way of life and a new way of thinking about what's important.
I have to emphasize, Bob changed my life. Before I met him. I was a heavy alcoholic. I really hated myself and engaged in a bunch of dangerous stuff because I had no self-respect. By meeting Bob, I found drag. I came to see myself as someone who could create art instead of just destroying themselves as a hobby. It turned my entire life around.
What is one thing we wouldn't know about Bob from Drag Race.
This may be an inside out answer, but watching Drag Race, you wouldn't know that Bob is exactly how he appeared on season 8. You might assume that he is amped up for television or putting on a show for the cameras. But when I watched season 8, I literally felt like I was looking across the apartment at my drag mother. I know all those jokes, I know that loud behavior. That's Bob one-on-one with you, or [with] a group of five people, or in the werkroom on television. His personality never changes based on context.
Did Bob give you any advice going into season 10, or did he want you to go into it with an open mind?
A lot of people think he gave me special advice, but really he wanted me to go in completely fresh and with my own approach. So he told me absolutely nothing. The only thing I remember him saying was, "Don't go to do anything but win." The people that come in with any other ideas in mind tend to fall away pretty quickly.
Morgan McMichaels on Chad Michaels
How did you meet Chad and how did she become your drag mother?
I first met Chad at a show in Palm Springs, it was at the Toucan, and I was just so gagged for her. I was like, "This person is head to toe fantastic." I mean, so polished. [When I started doing drag,] Delta Work got me booked on all her shows, and Chad was there and she saw and let me know she thought I had so much potential and that she was going to take me under my wing and be my drag mother and make me the best that I could be. I would be nothing without her, she has set my career up.
How did you get your drag name? Is the Michaels an homage to Chad? Why the Mc?
Well Morgan comes from the Scottish. I wanted to keep my name very Scottish, and Morgan le Fay is also queen of fairies and it’s an androgynous name. Morgan was just all the things I wanted to be—big M, big organ.
The last name is for my both of my drag parents. Michaels for Chad, and then the Mc for my drag father—Chad’s husband, Adam Magee. He for years made my costumes, my Kylie Minogue, my Annie Lennox. And he’s my drag dad.
When Chad got cast on season four, did you give her any advice since you had already done RuPaul’s Drag Race?
You can’t really give Chad Michaels drag advice because she’s mastered the art of it. The only advice I could give her was have fun and be ready for people to fall in love with you. Chad is just the epitome of class and even in tense situations and through fighting, she’s the voice of reason.
When you made the decision to come back to the franchise and do All Stars 3 was there a conversation? Any advice?
Not really because of the NDA I signed and saying things can cause problems! But I think Chad had an idea because I had canceled all of my bookings for vacation. That’s what we call Drag Race, vacation. She said, "Have fun and be your honest bitchy self and have a great vacation." She’s got that motherly instinct!
Do the moms of some of your favorite season 10 queens tip at their shows? Watch the video below to find out!