Being the first queen to leave any season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is never an enviable position. While last year Vanessa “Miss Vangie” Mateo became a meme queen (and returned for Season 11), it remains to be seen if any queen in future seasons has the ability to capture the fandom’s attention like Ms. Mateo did. As Soju “sashayed away” at the end of the first episode, the (get ready) oozing cyst that she mentioned during runway deliberations had already captured the judges attention and surely would capture the publics. This Chicago standout is now finding herself the subject of various memes, and the self proclaimed social media queen is absolutely loving it. I caught up with Soju about who she would have portrayed on being the first to depart this season, who she would have portrayed during the Snatch Game challenge and how this Korean dynamo stays inspired.
Michael Cook: We hated seeing you be the first eliminated this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. What do you think you did not have the opportunity to show the viewers that you wish you had?
Soju:My waist (laughs)! My strength I feel, would have been definitely in the acting challenge. I also wanted to do the Snatch Game challenge, so those are the two things that I really wanted to show, but did not get the chance to do.
MC:Who were you going to do for Snatch Game?
S:My first choice was going to be Connie Chung .My second choice was going to be Jennifer Coolidge. The third one was going to be Renee Zellweger. You know, any of the white ladies with smaller eyes, that is what I was going for (laughs).
MC:For those that have never gotten to see you live or were not familiar with you, how do you describe Soju’s drag style?
S:It is very K-pop, it’s very colorful, and there are silhouettes that you probably have never seen on a drag queen before. I like to challenge what the “norm” is; personally, drag is personal. Drag is something that makes me happy and I am always going to do what makes me happy. If I get bored with it, I’m not going to do it anymore, you know? You are always going to see something that I truly, truly enjoy.
MC:Shot With Soju is an amazing YouTube show that you do, and you have featured both former Drag Race girls as well as some of your favorite Chicago sisters, along with other queens from all over the country. This season, contestants like Nina West, Ariel Versace, and yourself have somewhat of a national platform before even stepping onto the Drag Race runway. What is it like going into the show already having a bit of notoriety as opposed to being completely unknown like some other girls have been?
S: It is a little bit of pressure, and you get that stereotype that people put on girls who are a little more social media famous or who are known from You Tube; people expect something from you. You just have to prove your worth in a way. It is a little bit challenging, but I definitely came into it with a great deal of confidence. I just wanted to have fun, and I just wanted to be there. I was happy to be there and I wanted to have fun, and I ended up having a great time! Even though I had a cyst oozing out of my taint, I was trying to enjoy myself as much as possible (laughs). There are also cameras everywhere and you just don’t; want to spend your whole day being in and looking like you’re in pain. It was like “girl, you['re gonna have to just suck it up and just show it out."
MC: Last year, your fellow Season 11 competitor went viral as the first eliminated girl of the season, and now your simple mention of an oozing cyst on the runway has also taken on a life of its own!
S:There are so many funny ones! I saw one where Naomi Small said “Club Ninety Cyst”, Christina Aguilera saying “Seoul Cyster”, there are some really great ones out there. I am a social media queen, so I live off of that stuff and those kind of memes, so keep them coming girl!
MC:You have your new traveling party Seoul Train coming, which is your own traveling K-pop Party. Can we expect to see Soju all over America now?
S: Yes! It is my traveling K-pop party and the dates are all on my new website shotwithsoju.com including my merch, parties and my YouTube Everything that I do is based on my Korean culture, including this party. it is a K-pop party and we play K-pop music all night long. I work with local drag queens who don’t normally get to perform K Pop music and they love it.. Many times they are scared to perform K pop music because a lot of people may not understand it. Many times they do it because they perform since they need to get the tips, and people will not tip you if they don’t know you’re serving. I come through the city and they really enjoy themselves, because everyone enjoys K- pop and we play K-pop twenty four seven!
MC: Chicago is a well known and amazing drag scene. Who do you think would be some fantastic ladies that would slay the competition?
S: I would say Eva Young, who is my sister. She has been doing drag since she was fourteen; she went to the prom in drag! Her looks are not just pretty, they are at another level and so artistic. It is something that Drag Race needs! Chicago is where diversity really flourishes. People are encouraged to be different, we don’t want to see the same thing over and over again. We get bored; we challenge ourselves to just be different.
MC:What keeps you inspired as a queen and as a performer every day.
S:You need to have a purpose. I think that is what is really important. If you don’t have a purpose for what you are doing, you lose sight of what you are doing. how are you going to inspire other people and encourage yourself when you don’t have a clear purpose? If you have that, it is so easy to motivate yourself and keep things fresh, I think. My purpose is to continue to spread my Korean culture in America and fight to have representation in the American industry. That is my purpose and that is what drives me and I love it.
RuPaul's Drag Race airs Thursday night on VH1 (check local listings).