She came. She saw. She borrowed a shirt, and she conquered. But although Alaska Thunderfuck has been named the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season two, a best-of-the-best season of Logo TV’s drag queen competition series, her ascent to the crown was not entirely smooth. A series of questionable eliminations and an out-of-character meltdown threatened to overshadow her otherwise inimitably strong performance on the show. I got the chance to ask Alaska about all of the above—not to mention her just-released sophomore album, Poundcake—during a phone interview the morning after her win. Here’s what she had to say.
Hello! I’ve known a lot of johns.
Hope I can set myself apart. Congratulations on your win, first of all. How do you feel?
Thank you so much. I feel great, like Whitney Houston going to Disney Land.
Anything else you wanna do with your title?
Well, since I’ve been crowned, I’ve been feeling extremely entitled. Extremely demanding. I want someone to go to Starbucks and get me a venti black iced tea right now. But no, it feels good. I like it. Plus, I have a new hat. It’s, like, sparkly. And round.
Some of the All Stars queens seemed upset or surprised by how they were portrayed on the show, blaming producers and editing whenever they came across in a less than favorable light. Were you upset or surprised by how you were portrayed this season, particularly during the whole makeover challenge meltdown?
Well, I did everything I did and said everything I said. Do I wish I could go back in time and smoke a joint and chill the fuck out a little bit? Yeah. But when I watch it, I see someone who is extremely focused. Extremely galvanized. Someone for whom this competition means a great deal. It meant a lot to me at the time, and it means a lot to me now.
Yeah, listening to your new album, it doesn’t sound like you were ever going to “blame the editing” for things that viewers didn’t like. You reference your drive to win and what it cost you on the opening track. You apologize to Tatianna for eliminating her, twice. You apologize to Coco for—wait, what are you apologizing to Coco for?
Someone had to go home first. That ended up being Coco, and she was such a lady about it. She still came to New York this summer and did every single appearance and press interview we had to do. She’s really classy and really hardworking, and it just sucks that someone had to go home first. If I was in the top that first episode, I would not have chosen Coco.
Who would you have sent home?
Roll back the tape, and you’ll see! [Laughs] The truth is that none of us came out of this unscathed. Even me, and I won the fucking thing. But that’s what we signed up for. I see it as an opportunity to grow and to give more facets to our characters, make it a little more dynamic, a little more interesting.
Speaking of adding more facets to your character, let’s talk about your new album, Poundcake. What do you want people to know about it?
Well, I would like to say that I was kidnapped by Li’l Poundcake. She forced me into a studio under duress and made me name the album after her. She’s a vile creature. She’s terrible. The album is nothing but a vulgar collection of perverse sexual filth. Please do not buy it. Do not buy it on iTunes. Do not buy it on Amazon. Do not visit my website, alaskathunderfuck.com, whatever you do.
Wow. That’s horrible. An album available for $9.99 on iTunes.
Exactly. The struggle is real.
A lot of musicians invent alter egos to create work they might feel not comfortable creating otherwise. Nicki Minaj has Roman Zolanski. Eminem has Slim Shady. Does Li’l Poundcake let you do that, express a side of yourself you might not always want to as Alaska?
Well, I think there’s a Li’l Poundcake in all of us, resting dormant inside. I love getting to embody her and flip the middle finger at whatever the fuck I want. It’s very liberating. You should try it.
Is the Li’l Poundcake persona in any way a reaction to the success you’ve had with Drag Race? Like, you went from performing in Pittsburgh bars to being one of the most visible drag queens in the mainstream with tons of young fans watching your every move. Does the Li’l Poundcake character let you escape all that and be a messier, older version of yourself?
Li’l Poundcake definitely hearkens back to that, but I’m still that person. I’m still that fucking downtown clown queen in a trash bag getting peed on onstage.
[Alaska’s rep asks me to wrap up the interview.]
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to say that black lives matter, I think women should be paid an equal wage, and don’t vote for Donald Trump.
That’s the best answer I’ve ever gotten to that question.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.