Being the daughter of a former RuPaul’s Drag Race competitor can be high standard to live up to, especially if your mother is a powerhouse performer and Drag Race All Star like Coco Montrese. With Drag Race now in the rearview mirror, Kahanna Montrese is now ready to stand on her own and with a fresh perspective on drag and sisterhood. With her new single “Scores” dropping (along with a sickening video), Montrese talked to me post elimination about her new single, her elimination and what she has learned since, and which of her Season 11 sisters could snag the crown this season!
Michael Cook: Looking back, what was your RuPaul’s Drag Race experience like all the way around?
Kahanna Montrese: I am feeling like I am on top of the world. The experience was really rewarding to me and that was what I took away from it. There are lessons to be learned, and the critiques that I got I was able to apply to my drag and I have gotten to grow. For me, that was the best part of it-getting to grow. I have learned so much and you will definitely see the change that has happened since the show.
M.C.: What factors do you think helped contribute to your elimination so early?
K.M.: I think it was a combination of things really. For me, I put way too much pressure on myself then I needed to. I should have gone into it just having fun. There was the pressure of being Coco Montrese’s daughter and picking up where she left off. My mind was on the fact that I had to at least make it to the Top Four, because if I didn’t people were going to say things like “well why was she on”? That kept getting to me, and I finally realized it wasn’t even about that. I gotta show the world why I am different, I’m not Coco Montrese. I also needed to make the show a priority and I was not able to, and that definitely showed. Going forward, I was able to take lessons from it and apply them to the real world. I truly learned a lot from the show. I am not upset about my elimination because I truly feel like I won. The things I learned are not things you can pay for. You don’t learn these things overnight; it takes going through stressful situations to really get the message.
M.C: What do you think the biggest lesson is that you take from Drag Race?
K.M.: No matter what situation is or how stressful it is, be your authentic self and let that shine through. There were plenty of times that I was super stressed out and I retracted a little bit, that is my biggest regret. Not being expressive and being myself and taking that huge opportunity. Not being in the forefront is a regret; it’s easy to get in your head and fight through that.
M.C:.You were extremely emotional at the end of the episode, especially when you started to read the letters from your Season 11 sisters.
K.M.:Yes, that was hard! I wasn’t expecting it. Sisterhood is a powerful thing. Before the show, I put drag in the category of being just a job-you go do the gig and you go home. On the show, we were together for a long time, almost twenty four hours. You are forced to get to know each other and the girls have almost become like family now. My perspective on drag is just completely different, it really is a sisterhood. To get those letters, it was like “whoa”. I was not ready for it. Each of the girls wrote me a letter; it meant a lot to me.
M.C.: Speaking of your sisters, who do you think could snag the crown this season?
K.M.: it’s between two; Silky Nutmeg Ganache and Yvie Oddly, and both for different reasons. If I had to pick one though, it would have to be Yvie. I have known her for so many years, and we have performed together; there is history. I have seen this girl come from nothing to become the superstar that she is today. it is very rewarding to have that all play out on television. This girl is a fighter and I think you guys are gonna see that. Her drag is amazing and it needs to be represented on the show.
M.C.: Who were you going to do for the “Snatch Game” challenge?
K.M.: I was going to do LaToya Jackson! It definitely would have been one of the “Snatch Game” challenges that you were never going to forget. I can do a spot on impersonation!
M.C.: When you left the runway, you clearly were ready for the next chapter. So-what’s next for Kahanna Montrese?
K.M.: I have a music video coming out today for my single ’Scores”. It’s a little different though than others. I have a ton of cameos from previous Drag Race contestants and we have three winners in this video. That alone shows that I am not here to play. You’ll see the video and I feel that you will actually get what I present, what I am bringing, and I am not here to play baby!
M.C.: What keeps inspiring you to put your best foot forward and the best performer?
K.M.: To be honest, now that I have this platform and the amount of supporters that believe in me, that is my motivation. Like I said on the show, it does not stop here and there is more to come. People are really looking to me to do exactly what I said. These people believe in me and I think there is an obligation to do exactly what I said. These people believe in me and I think the obligation that I have is to not let them down. The amount of love and support I got and still get is what motivates me every single day to give really good drag and that is what I am doing. The fans keep pushing me, and are so loving and so supportive.
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Thursday nights on VH1 (check local listings)