Life After RuPaul’s Drag Race, with Darienne Lake, Jiggly Caliente, & Phi Phi O’Hara

Helloooo drag-queen-loving friends!

This summer, I had the absolute pleasure of being Canadian media on-board U by Uniworld‘s river boat cruise through Germany. U is a new take on experiential travel, with cruises designed for those with a passion for exploring and a taste for authentic adventures. Specifically, this river cruise was hosted by three lovely drag performers: Darienne Lake, Jiggly Caliente, and Phi Phi O’Hara.

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After cruising together for several days, I decided to sit down with the three queens to get ALL the tea on their post-RuPaul’s Drag Race life.

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Michael: Today we are in Germany with three fabulous drag queens: Darienne Lake, Phi Phi O’Hara, and Jiggly Caliente. We are here on a beautiful ship called The A, part of U by Uniworld, and we’ve been travelling through Germany over the last week. How have you all been enjoying Germany so far?

Phi Phi: I hate it…! No, I’m just kidding.

Darienne: It’s very fun!

Michael: German men are very cute, though — they have a great jawline.

Phi Phi: Yes, okay, you’re very beautiful people.

Darienne: Beautiful people, beautiful sceneries, really every port that we’ve been to is just like a magical fairyland, really.

Jiggly: A romantic place.

Michael: SO! I’m going to be asking the queens questions about their personal lives, RuPaul’s Drag Race, so let’s just get right into it! What have your careers been like, post-RuPaul’s Drag Race?

Phi Phi: Well, we’re on a boat with you.

*everyone laughs*

Michael: Is that a good thing?

Phi Phi: I’m just kidding!

Darienne: It’s just been fantastic. I never thought that I would get to travel the world as I have already, so I count every blessing as they come. I feel very comfortable and happy.

Jiggly: It’s been a slow, steady pace, but I’m doing good considering how long it’s been since Season 4. I’ve been able to travel the world, create an album, be on TV — and I can pay my bills. I live a cute little luxurious life… it’s no Kardashian life but it’s enough.

Phi Phi: Well I’m fucking amazing. I think my success came after drag race, to be honest with you. Like, the show put my name out there but made me look like a complete c***. I had to work extra hard after the show — and I’m lucky to do my career as a boy, and do my singing and all my comic stuff, and I can also do cosplay as a [drag] queen, and travel the world all by doing that. I’m #blessed.

Michael: It’s interesting you mention that, I feel like when you all went into the show it wasn’t all prepped with a PR plan.

Phi Phi: A lot of the new girls do.

Michael: What made your season’s different?

Phi Phi: We were good.

Jiggly: I think we were more authentic. People weren’t thinking about a hashtag or something.

Phi Phi: Or the t-shirt that we’re going to sell, or something like that.

Darienne: And a lot of us started doing drag a long time ago, really put in the hours. We have performed for huge crowds, but we’ve also performed for no crowds, y’know on some Sunday night in some little bar. So we’ve gotten that experience of really learning how to grab a microphone, entertain the audience, all that kind of stuff — and be more than just a performer or just a look. A lot of queens these days started drag when they saw RuPaul’s Drag Race. Which is not to say that they’re not fabulous performers or entertainers or beautiful queens, I think for us it’s just about having that experience, and with experience comes a lot.

Michael: And I think the phenomenon of RuPaul’s Drag Race has brought a lot of new people into the scene, a lot of heterosexual people in bars. Do you have any drag etiquette tips?

Jiggly: Sitting in front of the the drag show, you better be the ones tipping.

Darienne: Yea tipping…

Phi Phi: You don’t have to tip. I don’t think you have to tip, that’s that’s…

Jiggly: But if you’re in the front-front-

Phi Phi: If you’re in the front I think you should pay attention, get off your phone, like that’s absolutely drag etiquette. Yes we appreciate tips at a show, but you don’t have to. I would much rather someone come and enjoy themselves while cheering, and be into the show. ‘Cause some people don’t have the money.

Jiggly: Well, okay, in that case.

Darienne: But also it’s just about being a human being, and respect. Don’t touch us without letting us know or asking for permission. Don’t touch our hair, or the face.

Jiggly: Never touch my face.

Darienne: But that’s a human thing anyway.

Phi Phi: I think the way you would carry yourself at a theatre, carry yourself the same way at a [drag] show.

Michael: Do you find that the show has caused people to forget your humanness?

Jiggly: Fans have literally grabbed my face.

Phi Phi: Maybe I’m glad I was a bitch ‘cause they’re scared of me!

*everyone laughs*

Darienne: I think over the years things have definitely changed. Y’know, back in the day people were like, “hey girl, how’s it going?!”, and younger kids these days come up to a meet-and-greet and are like, “is it okay if I have a hug?”, and I’m like — sure! That’ll be five dollars.

*everyone laughs*

Darienne: However, you do get those moments where your out at a club, even not in drag, and it’s like, “OH HI I WANT A PICTURE!” — hey, calm down, alright? I’m trying to enjoy my life here, I’m not working. I’m off the clock, so, leave me alone.

Michael: Jiggly, could you talk to us about your gig on Pose, and what it means for trans representation in the media?

Jiggly: Well, for me, visibility it really important for the trans community but specifically trans women of colour. I’m so blessed to say that I’ve been part of two groundbreaking shows for the LGBT community, RuPaul’s Drag Race being one of them, and now being on Pose. I think the time is now, considering how the administration deals with things. Trump is taking away all of the rights of the LGBT community, specifically trans people, so the visibility of these trans people and their stories from the 80s and 90s is super important. I’m glad that Janet and Steven have been making sure that these stories get told properly.

Michael: It’s so interesting how all of you were lifted off of the same platform but you all have very different careers. (to Darienne) Your hosting the Hater’s Roast next month, and that’s a big deal because it’s the first drag pay-per-view event of it’s time! Who are you most excited to roast, and who are you most excited to roast you?

Darienne: I love all the girls, I thin they’re all so witty and brilliant. I really love Thorgy, she really gives me a chuckle. Mimi Imfurst is a powerhouse, a rapid fire. Alaska, she has a slow-play. All the girls are really fantastic. I love making fun of Mimi, because it’s just so easy.

Jiggly: That is so easy… *laughing*

Darienne: That’s not… it’s-

Everyone: True.

*everyone laughs*

Darienne: We all have fun, at the end of the day none of us take it seriously with each other. My biggest goal, always, is to make Willam laugh. So when I hear him — *imitates Willam’s laugh* — behind me, I know I’ve done a great job. He’s a tough one sometimes.

Michael: And Phi Phi, you’ve had an interesting career both as Phi Phi and as Jeremi. So could you tell me what that’s been like, sort of spitting up those two different paths?

Phi Phi: Well for me, it was always important to keep a hold of Jeremi. I think so many people do drag and create this character that everybody loves and gravitates towards, maybe they’re not happy with who they are as a boy or how they present themselves. For me, there would be no Phi Phi without Jeremi, and I never wanted to forget that. I did music before I ever did drag, and it was always my passion to make an album, so when I did and it was successful, I was so proud. For me, it’s important to keep [Jeremi and Phi Phi] separate — luckily that’s paid off really well.

Michael: Well, you all are doing a show tonight for everyone on-board our U by Uniworld ship, I can’t wait to see it!

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Want to learn more about U by Uniworld? Check out their newest itineraries & let your adventurous side guide you!

-MR

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