Peppermint is a woman of many titles: transgender woman, drag queen, pop star and New York City legend.
The runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 has given an exclusive extended interview with Gay Star News on her life, her time on the show, and her upcoming documentary Project Peppermint.
She also answers the all important All Stars question, on including AFAB (assigned female at birth) queens and drag kings in future seasons of Drag Race, and upcoming music.
Future records includes a new album from the queens who performed C.L.A.T (which she made with with Aja, Alexis Michelle and Sasha Velour), as well as a solo EP.
Also if you think you know her ‘real’ name, as seen on Wikipedia? You’d be very wrong.
The interview in split in two parts. Listen to them here:
On filming RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9
‘I was worried I was going to psych myself out,’ she told us, saying she decided to bingewatch the TV show Unreal before filming the show in August last year.
‘It’s all about these unscrupulous reality TV producers and all the dastardly things they do to manipulate the contestants on a televised competition.
‘Of course I binge-watched that to do some research, days before I was scheduled to leave to film Drag Race.
‘I put myself in a headspace where I was convinced they were out to get me. They were going to be gunning for me from the start. The whole production would be working out a way to get rid of me or make fun of me.
‘Frankly I don’t think I’m the only one. I think we were all in the same head space. Going back to All Stars, or as Eureka has the ability to go back because of her injury, it would be different because it’s a different ball game as you’ve been through it. But for the first time, it’s really tough to know whether it’s what you see is what you get or whether there’s a whole different plan.’
On Project Peppermint
Peppermint says Project Peppermint came about because she realized she was so busy but had no time to stop and appreciate it.
‘I wasn’t building my scrapbook. I didn’t have videos, film, pictures or memories, really,’ the drag star said.
‘Because I was experiencing so much of it, I forgot to take it all in. In retrospect it’s a disservice to myself. I was trying to live in the moment, but it was too in the moment. So it started out as me inviting a friend to help documenting big moments, shows, fun events, a little of my crazy life.’
But then Peppermint got Drag Race. And while she came second in the lip sync showstopping showdown finale, she also got a lot of criticism.
Many questioned why, after she came out as trans on the show, she would stay in clothes that could be considered presenting as male.
On criticism during her time on the show
‘No one can determine my womanhood or my trans womanhood except for me No one can define it except for me. And no one can set the parameters except for me. That’s it,’ Peppermint said.
‘But to shed a little light on what I was thinking, for a lot of people they’re watching a TV show and then that’s it – what they see is what they think they get. I was balancing coming out to strangers, people in the workroom I didn’t know, and it was a competition.
‘I had history to go against. There hadn’t been a lot of trans women on the show who had come out on the show and excelled at Drag Race or in any TV show.’
She said it was important for her that the environment was supportive, crediting Sasha with creating that tone in the workroom.
‘It would have been nice to be glamorous 24/7, but at 6 in the morning and you have the call to get in front of a camera where you’ll likely be dressing like a cat or a zombie or whatever at a moment’’s notice, you’re not concerned about putting on a wig and another set of makeup just to take it all off,’ Peppermint added.
‘You just want to shower and get out of the door because you want to win the challenge. Focusing on, wait guys, I need paint my nails. It would have been more of a disadvantage rather than an advantage.’
But for Peppermint it’s all about the future. And she’s hoping Drag Race itself keeps on evolving.
On cis women and trans men appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race
‘As long as I’ve been doing drag, I’ve seen performances that would run circles around me,’ she said.
‘A lot of that comes from cisgender women or drag kings. I’ve seen some really amazing things come from the community.
‘If gay men can be inspired by the likes of Liza Minelli, and Diana Ross, and Wonder Woman enough to put on an outfit and wow an audience doing drag.
‘Why can’t a woman or a trans man be inspired by the performances of a gay man doing drag, enough to put on a costume or a kooky outfit, to wow an audience as well?
‘If drag is about being an illusionist or a performer or a gender rebel, I don’t think gay men own that experience. Gay men don’t own gender and genderfuck and playing with rules. Humans do. Everyone has a right to it.’
Peppermint is working on new music with gay rappers Cazwell and Q-Boy.