India Ferrah returned to the RuPaul’s Drag Race workroom for All Stars 5 and both viewers and the queen herself were surprised at her return. Ferrah entered the completion strong, and showed that her years away from Drag Race (and drag itself for several) showed that this Las Vegas queen had something to prove. While she got embroiled in some workroom espionage between fellow competitors Shea Coulee and Alexis Mateo, she left the competition showing that she is a very different queen than the one picked up by Mimi Imfurst many years ago. I sat down to chat with Ferrah about her new business venture, her All Stars experience, and what has changed the most in her life since first walking into that workroom.
Michael Cook: Your return to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 was a long time coming. What was it like to be back there?
India Ferrah: It was great to be back! I have worked year after year and perfected my craft and I just wanted the world to see who India was now. I was so grateful that I was brought back and I was able to shine some light on the maturity and the growth that I have gone through.
MC: You were originally on Season Three of Drag Race, and the show has definitely changed, this season for example was very strategic. What do you attribute that to?
IF: It was crazy, I did not know what to expect. We filmed Season Three ten years ago now, so it was a completely different ballgame. And it was All Stars, so to go back for All Stars, I had no idea what to expect. Every week it was another curve ball, another bomb, it was just crazy.
MC: Ten years is a long time; what was the most marked difference that you noticed when you came back for All Stars that you noticed?
IF: I think that workroom; bitch she got an upgrade (laughs)! I would definitely say the production value. From the first day on the set, every crew member was so welcoming and they were so on top of it and that was the biggest change, it was incredible.
MC: We got to see that India Ferrah is so much more than the queen that was picked up by Mimi Imfurst. For example, you were extremely vulnerable this season and spoke openly about your struggles in the past. What made you feel comfortable enough to do so?
IF: I think I just got exhausted with being so bitter and negative. I left Season Three upset that that happened and that I was not able to show who I was on Season Three. I think I finally just got tired of being bitter, and I said to myself, “you know what, you need to grow and you need to let it go”. You are more than this, you are going to be incredible and I had to keep telling myself that. I have an amazing support system with my fiancee and my family as well. I was in a toxic place back in Season Three, I was in a toxic relationship. I was living in a city where I didn’t really work in many bars, but it was still very territorial with some of the girls, me not being an Ohio born queen, they were kind of touch and sensitive that I was representing Ohio on RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was a lot of things built up.
MC: How does one become a fiancé to India Ferrah?
IF: I don’t know you’d have to ask him (laughs)! His name is Savannah F. James, he is actually a drag queen also. We have both basically created a business where we sew costumes, wigs, we sell nails and face masks on our website Ferrah-JamesDesigns.com. We basically feed off of each others energy. He is my rock; He is the reason that I was able to go back to All Stars and to show who India was. He was always there pushing me, telling me that I was ready to go back, I was ready to show the world who I was, and that I was not the same girl that Mimi picked up. He let me know that the world needed to see how talented I was. I think having that backbone and that rock push you is really good.
MC: What is the Las Vegas drag scene like for you?
IF: Insane (laughs)! I have been here eight years and the very first year that I moved here I became a cast member at Piranha and I was doing three to four nights a week there. It really shaped me into the performer that I am, and I am thankful for that. I grew outside of it; sadly you just grow and you have to let the club scene go. I have been doing drag brunches with Voss Events and that has been for the past three years; that is about eight shows a weekend. I have been working nonstop. The drag scene is not like other cities where we are best friends or girlfriends, its very cliquey. Everyone is in their own zone; I keep to myself, I am very private and I am not obsessed with social media to tell everyone my life anymore. You grow and you realize that there is real life out there and you have to live it instead of staying on a computer screen; I think that is what Vegas has really shown me
MC: You were very honest about the fact that you had some negative comments about RuPaul’s Drag Race and about doing drag. What made you fall back in love with the art of drag and get back on that stage?
IF: I think everyone can see that I am a performer and an entertainer at heart. I feed off of peoples energy and I was kind of lacking that in my life when I quit drag and moved to Las Vegas. I wanted to be a costume designer out here and do hair and makeup for Cirque shows. It was never my intention to go back into drag here, but when I was offered a position I said I would try it out for a month and see how it goes and get my toes wet in the water and see. I missed it so much and I realized that that is what completes me; performing. I need that stage and I need that spotlight.
MC: What is next for India Ferrah?
IF: I want to tour the world. My fiancee and I are going to get married, and we were actually planning to get married this year but, then the pandemic hit. Something positive did come out of it though, because we are moving into a new home next week. We are packing and moving things right now. It’s little things like that that will keep us going. We are also being very productive with our website also. I definitely want to tour after quarantine and I want to go back to brunch and see everyone’s beautiful faces. I miss performing so so much.
MC: How have you managed to stay creatively fueled during the quarantine?
I think it is just staying focused and staying positive. You cannot get into that negative and dark space. Luckily being with Savannah, we both feed off of each others energy and we both push each other to not go into that dark space. We say that we will get out of this, we stay focused, we are going to build something. There are better things and this is just a bump in the road. The quarantine has not been all that bad for me; you learn a lot about other people and yourself. Being able to build the website with my fiancee has been incredible. Hopefully it can just get bigger and grow better from here.
For all things India Ferrah, follow her on her Instagram