"RuPaPaul's Drag Race" Season 8 has some of the best drag queens fans have ever seen, and to be among the coveted top 3 is considered extremely prestigious. Naomi Smalls, who is known for her long, beautiful legs, was one of them.
International Business Times, India, got the opportunity to speak with her about her remarkable journey on the show. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview:
International Business Times: How would you describe your journey in "RuPaul's Drag Race?"
Naomi Smalls: My journey on "RuPaul's Drag Race" was all over the place. I went in feeling very confident and once I saw all the strong competition, the confidence was put to test. For a long time I seemed to coast and hide from the spotlight. Only when faced with a solo challenge did I realise how important it is to stand out for all the right reasons.
IBT: How has your drag changed after taking part in the show?
Naomi: My drag has changed after "RPDR" by just becoming even more confident in my skin. Before "Drag Race," I spent a lot of the time comparing myself to other queens. Being in a group where no one was doing the same thing and everyone had such different styles of drag made me realise there's nothing wrong with being confident with your own drag and owning it.
IBT: What is the most valuable lesson you learned after competing in "RuPaul's Drag Race?"
Naomi: The most important lesson I learned was really to love yourself. We hear it every season but it really sunk in being on the show.
IBT: If you could redo anything on the show, what would it be?
Naomi: I would redo my snatch game performance. I went in very nervous and unprepared and it got to my head.
IBT: What was your favourite challenge to compete in?
Naomi: My favourite challenge was the Wizard of Oz makeover challenge. Getting to work with Jasmine [Arteaga Sorge] from "Little Woman: LA" was so much fun and I love creating something out of nothing.
IBT: How did you congratulate Bob on winning the "Drag Race?"
Naomi: I never congratulated Bob. I actually had a temper tantrum and screamed: "It should have been me!"
IBT: Could you describe Kim Chi and Bob in one word each?
Naomi: Kim in one word: visionary. Bob in one word: winner.
IBT: Whose critique did you dread or look forward to the most â€” Ru or Michelle Visage?
Naomi: I loved hearing what Michelle had to say at judges' critique. Michelle told you what you needed to hear and work on. I always appreciate honest opinions that help you grow rather than people who tiptoe around the truth.
IBT: If you could nominate one queen as a contestant for Season 9 who would it be?
Naomi: I would nominate Mayhem Miller from Riverside, California. Gorgeous, talented, and hilarious.
IBT: What message/advice do you have for the queens of the coming seasons?
Naomi: It sounds so cliche to say this: Just be yourself. The audience can see when someone is putting on a front and so can casting. People will fall in love with you for being you, and if they don't, fuck them.