In terms of Drag Race Down Under journeys, Scarlet Adams’ was truly one of a kind. From her scorching runway looks to her extremely personal discussion on race and evolution with RuPaul in front of her competitors on the main stage, Adams is definitely not the same performer or person that she was when she entered the Down Under workroom. As Season 1 concludes, I chatted with Scarlet on her about what inspires her as a drag performer, why constantly acquiring new skills is crucial as a performer, and what this experience has meant to her as a performer and a person and how it has changed her.
Michael Cook: What was it like being part of the inaugural cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under?
Scarlet Adams: It was crazy, especially being part of Season 1. It was something that I did not think we would ever see in Australia and New Zealand. Being Season 1, we did not have any other seasons to compare it to and really prepare. When they said we have five weeks and you’re on, you have five weeks! It was like “what, what is my Snatch Game character?!”. It was a crazy experience, especially flying to another country during a COVID landscape, we almost didn’t make it, production almost did not happen. The actual filming process was incredibly filming process was incredibly mentally, physically, and spiritually draining, but at the same time, so much fun. I had such a great time on set.
MC: Looking back on Australian drag as a whole, it is very irreverent and very tongue in cheek. What do you think it is that made the fans respond so positively to the drag Down Under that was presented?
SA: I think like RuPaul says, Australian drag is very nudge nudge/wink wink. We are not afraid to go there and wear a full silicone bodysuit on the runway on international television (laughs)!
MC: Drag Race has consistently been extremely revolutionary, but the past issues with you regarding race that came to light and subsequent conversation between you and RuPaul with you on the main stage was extremely honest and forthright. As we know how the Drag Race fandom can be, what was that part of the experience like for you?
SA: I had heard about how crazy and toxic at time the Drag Race fandom could be, but I guess being down in Australia I had never seen it, as it was happening in American or in the U.K.; I had never been directly connected with anyone in “the scene” and seen what it was like. The first season of Drag Race Down Under was the first time we had seen it. It has been incredibly traumatic, incredibly depressing, my mental health is the worst that it has ever been; it has been really hardcore.
MC: When you find yourself in the darkest of times, how do you pull yourself out of it?
SA: I am seeing a therapist every week, and I guess the answer to that question would be is finding purpose through friendships…
MC: When you look at the Drag Race experience, you were one of the queens to beat, as your presentation, aesthetic, and attention to detail is extremely fine tuned. When did you know your drag career had become something so much more than just simply
SA: It kind of is just something that I started doing nine years ago and I really loved it and had a massive passion for it. I have always said, in life you have to find the thing that you love the most and figure out a way to make money out of it. I also just love learning new skills. I am never complicit with one thing, that is what I learned to sew, learned burlesque, and the pole; I just love the process of learning. I bring all of these other weird little skills into drag, and I think that is what makes me into a true and well rounded performer.
MC: Your fashion aesthetic is also extremely polished and spot on. Is that also a strong passion of yours?
SA: Absolutely. I also think with fashion, it is all about knowing your references. When you are interested in fashion and you learn about fashion history and silhouettes, and you watch iconic runways or iconic fashion moments through film or television, you build up a catalog in your head of what works. You can then try it out on your body and it is definitely an acquired skill.
MC: What do you think that your next phase is now that the world is slowly starting to open up?
SA: The dream for me has always been to tour the world performing drag. That has been my dream for years and years, I love traveling. And I I can get paid to do it, why not (laughs). Being booked on something like Werq The World would be absolutely amazing!
MC: You have had a ride on your first season of Drag Race Down Under like very few other queens have had. What do you think you will take from the experience that you will apply to your career going forward?
SA: My relationship with social media has completely changed. Being someone from a small town and the only people really engaging with me and knowing me were people that had actually met me or knew me. Now, there are so many people who know who I am but don’t actually know who I am. My relationship with social media has changed and I think moving forward knowing that and understanding what it is like being a public figure is the biggest lesson that I am taking from this.
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