Interview: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”’s Tyra Sanchez is Surrounded by Love (and Controversy)

Maybe it makes sense that the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which was marked by an unusual amount of backstage conflict, ended with a somewhat controversial winner.

Tyra Sanchez was clearly a favorite of the judges, especially RuPaul, who allowed her to go through the entire season without ever having to lip-synch for her life.

Still, while Tyra’s victory wasn’t a real surprise, it has riled more than a few fans, on the show’s Facebook page and elsewhere. A lot of the uproar surrounds some prima donna behavior Tyra seemed to exhibit early in the season, especially in the “Here Comes the Bride” episode.

But even more interesting than the controversy surrounding Tyra’s victory may be the story of her creator, 21-year-old James Moss. Intriguing details have leaked out all season long: how he has a son who is extremely important to him, how he was basically homeless before being chosen to be on the show, how he ended up with that great set of new teeth.

With Tyra’s title as America’s Next Drag Superstar now secure, we decided to try to get the rest of the story straight from James himself.

But it wasn’t easy. He’s not the most talkative guy – apparently, he prefers to let Tyra speak for him. How weird was it to have filmed the show in August, but not be able to talk to anyone about the fact that you won until now?
Tyra Sanchez:
It wasn’t weird for me at all, because I knew that whatever happened, we had to keep it to ourselves. But if I needed to talk to someone about me winning, I would go in the mirror and talk to myself.


AE: When you first arrived, who did you think your competition would be?

I didn’t think anyone was my competition. I didn’t go there to compete against the other girls – I went to compete against myself and challenge myself to be a better person.

AE: That didn’t seem to be the attitude of some of the others. They made it look like there was a lot of cat-fighting.

I don’t know if a lot of the other girls had that same attitude. But I think a lot of them were just happy to be there.

AE: Who do you think went home too early?
I think Sonique and Shangela both went home too early. Shangela gave really good effort in the first episode. I think Shangela was robbed, and Sonique went home too early.

AE: A lot of people are really curious about how you ended up sleeping up on the floor of your drag mother, how you ended up basically homeless.

I’ve been on my own since I was sixteen. I had a couple of roommates who screwed me over, and she offered, so I went to live with her.

AE: Was that your choice to leave home at sixteen?

It wasn’t my choice. I was kicked out of the house. I lived in a hotel. I basically had two jobs in high school.

Next Page! What’s the story with his son? And is James in a relationship?

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