Laganja Estranja has done a really great job at many aspects of her professional career, from drag to dancing to singing and more. Something that this particular writer finds very impressive is that she’s been able to do a complete 180 on her public perception since she appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race five years ago.
The then 23-year-old was polarizing during that season for her somewhat over-the-top personality that kept audiences glued to their screens every single Monday night. Good or bad, you enjoyed watching her no matter what. Since then, she’s proven to be so much more than just a personality on a reality show by becoming a major force in and out of the drag world and has won millions of fans over in the process who have really gotten to see who she is outside of the series that helped make her famous.
In an Instinct exclusive, Laganja discusses so much about what’s going in her world right now including new music, her time on another popular reality competition series, that amazing friendship with Gia Gunn and why she will never do an All Stars season… ever. Take a look.
Hey Laganja, thanks for doing the interview! It was great seeing you this summer on So You Think You Can Dance. What was that process like and are you happy with the overall result?
Honestly being on So You Think You Can Dance really changed my perception of what filming reality TV can be like. You must understand, on RuPaul's Drag Race, we are put under extreme situations that are meant to cause a bit of commotion. For SYTYCD, it was much more about the talent on stage and the form of dance, which is my strongest suit. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the result. When I left their facility, I felt respected. I created space for someone like myself, someone in the LGBTQ+ community, to belong in that competition.
Do you think the RPDR fanbase was able to see a different side of you?
I absolutely think the RPDR fanbase saw a different side of me, and not just because I was out of drag. It's been five years since I filmed RPDR, I have done so much maturing in that time. I think I spoke with grace and humility while still delivering that "Laganja" flair.
Let's chat about RPDR. It's been almost five years since your season aired (many people think yours was the best). How do you look back on it all this time later?
It was the BEST season, hands down, and we all need to face that music and dance OCKURRR!! When I look back, honestly, I'm thankful I survived. I'm grateful I had an incredible support base around me and #BUDS who loved me unconditionally. I laugh when I think about first meeting Gia (Gunn), I cry when I think about how many people I disappointed. But overall, I'm proud of the work I did as a 23-year-old who wanted nothing more than the world to love him but didn't necessarily have the tools with which to make that happen.
A lot of fans have wondered why you haven't been on All Stars yet. Will we see you on the 4th season?
No All Stars for me. I have nothing but respect for that competition, but I know it's not a good fit for my sanity. My health and well being have to be more important than my need to succeed.
I see you have an upcoming album coming out. Can you tell us more about that?
Exhibit A is coming soon but that's all I can really tell you about it, of course!! What I can say is it's filled with some of the best drag race music you've ever heard. WHAT! I'm not afraid to say it. I have worked so hard with my team at Big Snow Entertainment, and we believe in our product with all our hearts. I am really hoping this will launch my career into a new direction. I know the drag world is saturated with music, but I'm ready to prove why I will be Exhibit A.
I know you are BFF's with the one and only Gia Gunn. What has been the funniest moment in your friendship?
Every day with Gia is an adventure. We are not called "Team Too Much" for no reason! But honestly living with her and watching her transition before my very eyes, I have learned so much about myself and gender fluidity. I feel blessed I have a sister in this game. And just like family, we have our ups and downs, too. But real friends stick with one another and grow together, and we both know we've just begun our journey.
Will we be seeing you on your drag mother Alyssa Edwards' Netflix show?
What won't you be seeing out of Dancing Queen coming this October 5th?!? Stunts, shows, shenanigans. It's going to be a GAG for sure!
What are you most hopeful about this point in your career?
I'm hopeful I can keep believing in myself and financially afford my dreams. I dream of selling out theatre houses and having a full-on production of my own. I really want my music career to succeed more than anything! And I want a husband and kids and a life full of laughs and love.