Asia O’Hara is one of the most beloved drag queens to ever appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race although the Texas mainstay had an illustrious career before she entered the show’s famous werk room.
She’s been able to stay busy in the years since, even during her time during COVID which has seen a complete 180 degree shift for anyone in her profession.
Luckily 2021 will be a much more exciting year for her and other Drag Race alum as they’ll be hitting the road on the Drive ‘N Drag Tour that begins later this month.
Asia took time to chat with me about what fans can expect from it, her favorite memories from filming Drag Race, love life and so much more in our exclusive chat below.
What’s life been like for you during COVID? How much has everything changed for you since this all began last year?
Everything has changed. Everything is completely different. I’ll be honest, at first I was excited. I was excited to not have anything to do or anywhere to go and to be able to be at home and sleep in my own bed for a while. That lasted about 10 days. After that I was stir crazy and bored.
I’m still in Dallas. I have a little Etsy shop, which is what I’ve been using to occupy my time, so I’m not sitting at home on the couch every day, all day. Fortunately for me I haven’t had as hard of a time as a lot of other people. Knock on wood, I haven’t been sick. I haven’t had COVID. I’ve been stressed a little bit, but I haven’t had it as bad as a lot of my friends and fans that are around me. It has really been a time for me to really appreciate what I have. I kind of feel like, if we can come through this, if we can survive this and make it through this, then literally anything is possible.
And you won’t be on the couch for that much longer because you have the Drive n’ Drag tour coming up with a lot of really other fabulous queens including Kameron Michaels and Bianca Del Rio! Can you tell us a little bit more about that and what fans can expect?
Yeah, well, in fact, it’s our third one. We did our first back in the summer followed by a Halloween version. And then, we were preparing to do a Christmas tour, but we had to postpone that because of the crisis in some of the cities that we were planning on traveling to. So we had to move that to the spring, which is the one that is happening now. It all starts February 19 in Atlanta.
The best thing about it is people can get the entertainment that they’re craving and hungry for, but from the safety and comfort of their own vehicles. There’s Jumbotrons, the music is loud and everybody can hear and see. In some cities people can actually get out and sit on the hood of their car. It becomes a tailgate party with food, coolers and drink and there’s also merch venues where they buy some awesome items. It’s a really fun, outdoor event that we’re happy to have.
Are you optimistic at all that the clubs and venues are going to open later this year for drag talent and for anyone else in this business?
I’m optimistic that we will. The thing I think people have to realize and understand is things are not going to go back to normal like they were. The world is forever changed. And there will always be repercussions and side effects from what we’ve been dealing with for the past year.
But I’m hopeful that we will be able to get back together. We will be able to do the things that we love to do, but I’m also optimistic that we will find more opportunities to enjoy ourselves and enjoy others that we probably wouldn’t have discovered had it not been for COVID. I’m optimistic that we will get back to a place where we feel comfortable and safe and excited fellowshipping with one another, going out and entertaining ourselves.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been several years since you competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Looking back on it all this time later, did you have a favorite memory from filming?
I have two. One of them is a memory with The Vixen. We were sitting outside waiting to go inside to go on the set. At this point we had been filming for a couple of weeks. And as some people know we can’t just sit and have free conversations or what not because obviously they want all that to be on television. So we’re all sitting after a rough day where everybody’s in their heads and feeling kind of blah. The Vixen looked around and said, “Why are all of y’all sad? We are literally on top of the world right now.”
It was a wakeup call because many of us were just so into the competition and in our heads about what was going on and how to make it to the next challenge. And she broke the ice for that. After that the whole morale of the cast changed. We were a lot happier to be there and excited and living in the moment.
That’s one of my favorite memories. My other one is, which you did see on television, is when I was having the conversation with RuPaul in the workroom when she was doing one of her walkthroughs. She told me to remember who you are. That was such a prolific moment for me because in drag and also on Drag Race, you’re wanting to be yourself, but you’re also striving to be as good as possible to do as good as possible. So sometimes we need a reminder or a kick in the pants to remember what it was that got us to this point. And a fan of mine made a bracelet for me that says, “Remember who you are,” which I wear almost every day now.
Are you still with that cute bear we first locked eyes on during the season 10 finale?
Yes I am! Things are going great but, hold up, he’s not a bear. I think this is maybe the first time he’s ever been called a bear, which when I got this list of questions, I just showed him and he was like, “Okay, I guess I’m a bear now.”
Thanks to COVID, this has been the most amount of time we’ve ever been able to spend with one another. When we first got together we were living in separate states. Then when he moved to Texas, around that time is when I, shortly after that, left to film Drag Race. But we’re still together and everything is great and wonderful.
Are you rooting for anyone on this season of Drag Race?
I don’t the whole rooting thing. It kind of changes for me. I don’t normally watch it and be like, “Oh my God, I hope she goes all the way, or hope that she wins, or she’s my favorite.” But to answer your question, the ones that I really enjoy watching right now are Symone, Olivia Lux and Utica.
Would you do All Stars if asked?
My answer changes almost weekly. I’m uncertain. It’s definitely not a definite no for me. It depends on where I am in my life and career, like in that moment. So the thing about, for me, the yes or no about All Stars would be the dedication that it takes for a chunk of your year to prepare for that and to film that, and to take a year to basically be in the brawl. That really is what would be the deciding factor for me. It’s not, to answer your question in short, it’s not a definite no, for me. It’s a definite maybe. Just kind of depending on where the cards were falling at that particular time.
Is there anything else coming up this year that your fans and our followers should know about?
I’m producing a few creative projects that are in the works. I also own the Miss Gay Texas pageant, which is happening this July in Dallas. Those are the two big things on my plate right now that I’m preparing for.