Gottmik Talks Bringing Trans Representation and Paris Hilton to 'Drag Race' (Exclusive)
By John Boone
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"I grew up being told that I wasn't allowed to do drag, let alone be on Drag Race," season 13 queen Gottmik says. "Now I'm here at the finale and I can win this sh*t."
The L.A.-based makeup artist crashed the cis-tem and made RuPaul's Drag Race herstory by becoming the first trans man to compete on the show. After a season that can only be described as gagatondra, Gottmik not only made final four but is a favorite to become America's Next Drag Superstar. "It's such a magical, insane feeling to me to be able to accomplish all that and finally be here," she gushes.
ET's Brice Sander spoke with Gottmik ahead of Friday's grand finale about learning to let go, her Snatch Game-winning performance as Paris Hilton and making the most gorge impact on Drag Race ever.
ET: Let's talk about the potential her-story making moment, history-making moment, cis-tory breaking moment of you becoming the first trans man to take home the title. What would that mean to you? And what do you think it would mean to the community?
It would mean so much to me -- obviously -- if I was the first trans man to win RuPaul's Drag Race for so many reasons. For me personally, just being able say, like, "F**k you," and prove all these people wrong that I am here and I'm trans and I do drag and I can do drag and drag is an art and not an identity. And I got to prove that. So, I'm so proud that I was able to come on the show and tell my story and see how many people were inspired by my story and inspired to start drag and move forward in their transition and so many things. I know that even just me being on the show, no matter what happens, I made such an impact. I'm so proud of being here and what I did.
You've literally changed the game and are helping to change the world. I thought the show handled your story so well and how you were hesitant at first to reveal that part of yourself to your season 13 sisters. Can you talk about why you were hesitant and how you overcame that hesitancy?
At the beginning of the show, I was just so hesitant across the board, because I wanted to come in and be this good role model and be able to tell my story with the perfect words and say the perfect things and be, like, the most perfect little gorge drag queen I could ever be with my perfect makeup and waist and everything. And then the more I realized that my drag is so much more than just this physical aspect that I thought it was, the more I was able to have fun with my comedy and my acting and so many things I learned that I love even more than my physical appearance now, which is so crazy.
I think when I started opening up and having fun in my performances, I was, like, I don't need to worry about saying the right thing and being the perfect role model, because just being visible and being myself is all it takes to be a role model. That's why people are going to connect with me, is just me being myself and me being open. So, it just became a lot easier. And it definitely helped that every girl in this cast was just so welcoming and open and they were like, "Girl, loves it. Moving on." Like, "Let's f**king fight for this crown." So, it was just such an amazing journey for me in every aspect of it.
You talk about having to present this perfect Gottmik -- this perfect drag queen -- but the viewers have also taken to Gottmik out of drag. The boys, the girls, they're crushing on you. How are you receiving that?
[Laughs] That is funny. Well, I'm obsessed with that. I mean, this is on a stupid level, but just being able to look like that with my Attitude magazine cover, me two years ago, starting hormones, seeing that I would have been, like, screaming. The fact that I'm in a magazine looking like that and people are into it, I'm just dying inside. It's still new kind of, so it's just a dream come true. And still looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, whatever it is. Just holler at me, please!
What are the requirements? I would imagine fully vaccinated.
Definitely vaccinated. A double-dose vaxxer. Definitely just have a really gorge personality and I love a funny bitch and that's pretty much it, across the board. Just make me laugh. I'm like hosting American Idol right now. I'm like, just make me laugh.
Well, you made a RuPaul laugh. I think RuPaul maybe fell in love with you this season. Your critiques on the main stage, you experienced them and felt a certain way, but then to get to watch the episodes week by week and actually really process it, what was it like to take in all that positive feedback from the queen herself?
It was just so unbelievable to me. We genuinely had such amazing chemistry on the show and that's why challenges like Snatch Game and things like that were kind of easy for me and fun for me, because all I had to do was just talk to her. We get along so well, so I was like, all I have to do is talk with her and then talk to Paris, that's, like, so easy. I was so blessed to have that. And she did an interview before the show even started where she was saying that I helped her open her mind and remind herself to keep moving forward. She started this show out of this punk rock "let's make drag mainstream" [mentality]. And I think I came up in here and was like, "OK, you did it. You killed it. And let's push it even farther and open these doors even more." And I feel like she vibed with that and saw that in me and we just clicked.
I'm like, does Raven need to be worried about her job?!
Oh my gosh! Well, the next time Raven's sick, I'll volunteer. But until then she can have work!
Let's talk about the Paris of it all. I love that you FaceTimed with her and got her stamp of approval. I noticed she put out a teaser for her new music video and the outfit looks very similar to what you were on Snatch Game. I think you maybe inspired the woman who inspired you.
I would die. I don't know if she would ever admit that, but I would die. And I love you saying that. Paris was my first major client I ever had, so it's kind of the craziest, weirdest, full-circle moment ever. I remember going to fashion school and getting a call, they were like, "Do you want to do Paris Hilton's makeup for this magazine cover?" And I had never had a magazine cover, never had a celebrity client, so I was like, "Yes!" I full skipped my last final of life to go paint Paris Hilton and then I won Snatch Game as her, so it was just the weirdest. Life is so weird. It's like manifesting without trying with that one.
I feel like something you really learned about yourself this season is you're a funny bitch.
Yes, yes. I did get to learn that. It's actually weird, because I always knew I was funny and I love my personality and my ability to connect with people. But I didn't know I could write jokes and have good comedic timing, which is why I was nervous going into all those comedy challenges. I was like, I should be able to be fine because I know I can loosen up and be funny, but at the same time, I have to sit here and write jokes and deliver them in front of RuPaul on TV. So, it was just kind of scary. And then when I started flowing, I was like, oh my gosh, girl. I was like, now that I know how to write jokes, it's game over for you, bitches. Give me a roast tour. I'm ready to go on it. Like, It's my favorite thing in the world. And I'm a shady bitch, so I can read down, so that helps, too.
All these girls need to brace for impact whenever that tour happens. I mean, it'll be pretty, but it won't be pretty.
Oh, yeah. And I have a list of some dolls that I think we would just rip each other apart. It'd be so fun. [Laughs]
Was learning about your comedic sensibility and your ability to write jokes the biggest aha moment for you in this competition? Or was there something else that you learned about yourself?
The aha moment for me overall was like Rusical time, when I learned to let go. That was the first time that I think the judges saw that I was here to f**king win, because I was just letting go and having fun. And I realized when I was onstage, no matter what it was -- like Snatch Game, The Roast, Rusical -- if I was having fun, it was translating, period. Even if someone was the most perfect performer in the world, I was in the top with them, because I was just crazy in the corner doing my own thing. I think that's really important in drag is to have your brand and understand what makes you unique and not try to be anyone else except for yourself. Because the second year like, "Oh, Rosé is spinning! Like, I better spin." That's where you're going to fail, gorge.
Right. I imagine this finale is going to look different than the finales we've seen in the past. What's one word you would describe what we're going to see in this finale?
It might be a little bit of a letdown, but you'll see when you see it, but my word is definitely "artistry." We're jam-packing as much artistry as you could ever jam-pack in an episode. I can't even comprehend it. It's crazy.
Are you wearing Tina's hair right now, Gottmik?
I mean, I might as well be! I literally told my wig designer, I was like, "Just surprise me, at this point. I literally can do whatever color, whatever style." And then this came and I was like, "I'm Tina Burner." I'm also a Halloween queen right now.
You're giving me Pennywise but make it fashion.
A hundred thousand percent. Like, I am the queen of Halloween today for the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race. So, hello.
The RuPaul's Drag Race season 13 finale airs on Friday, April 23 on VH1.