Kandy Muse Is Fine Being the 'Underdog' of 'Drag Race' Season 13 (Exclusive)
By John Boone
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From alone in the VIP to the RuPaul's Drag Race finale, no season 13 queen made her presence felt quite like Kandy Muse. Formerly of the Haus of Aja and now repping the Doll Haus, the Dominican doll came into the competition, made some damn good reality TV and won the "Nice Girls Roast" challenge along the way.
Now, Kandy is in the final four, no matter how you feel about it. (She recently changed her Twitter handle to KANDY "TOP 4" MUSE, so even the haters in her mentions have to accept that fact.) "It feels correct," she laughs. "No, it feels amazing. I've worked really hard to get to Drag Race and especially the finale. So, being here feels like I am where I'm supposed to be. Whatever way that saying goes, that."
ET's Brice Sander spoke with Kandy ahead of Friday's finale about burying the hatchet with her drag mother, Aja, and why her "underdog" status won't stop her from becoming America's Next Drag Superstar.
ET: Let's talk about the journey. You broke the family curse -- if we want to call it that -- by not only making it further than Aja and Dahlia did, but by making it to the finale. What does that mean to you?
Kandy Muse: There was definitely a lot of pressure coming into the competition, because the girls from my family didn't make it as far as I did. But halfway through, I just let go of that and got my head in the game. Now, finally being here, my drag family was very, very proud of me. There's no jealousy or no tea or none of that. They're just really happy to see one of their girls in the top four at the finale representing.
You stepped on that stage on the premiere and shocked Michelle by saying things with Aja were not in the place they used to be. Where are they now?
Since the show has aired, me and Aja have buried the hatchet, and we're really good friends now. Friends fall off and friends rekindle, and it's just the way life works.
Just the journey called life. I know the finale is going to be unlike any we've seen before. If you had to describe what we're going to see in one word, how would you describe it?
Iconic. It is a fierce top four. And if I can say anything, you've seen me slay a lip sync throughout the season four times, no different now.
Talk to me about possibly getting crowned. What would that mean to you?
I have dreamed about winning RuPaul's Drag Race for many, many, many, many years. So, being here feels out of this world and definitely being the underdog out of the top four -- because I don't have as many wins as the other girls -- that doesn't really mean anything, because going into the finale there is a clean slate and it's anyone's game.
So, you don't feel like the underdog. You're saying the audience might perceive it that way.
The audience might perceive it that way. I feel like I'm a badass bitch.
You're exactly that. It's been really fun to watch you all season long. You've stirred the pot a little bit. You've been called a villain sometimes. How do you feel about that label?
I don't necessarily think I'm a villain. I think we're all just drag queens in a competition competing for a hundred thousand dollars and a crown. Obviously, in a pressure cooker like that-- Listen, when you go backstage at a drag show, all the girls are arguing, and if you really want to look at it, I only had one argument all season. I've been lovable every other episode after that. So, villain to some, iconic to most.
I don't know if you've realized, but some other people are feeling a certain type of way about you. You're one of the crushes of the season. How are you receiving that fan love?
That's definitely news to me, but if you have a pulse, baby, I'm OK with that. Bring it on!
Have you made any moves on Joey Jay? Could we see this showmance come to fruition?
[Laughs] Well, after the show wrapped, me and Joey kind of took things just to see where things go. But we live in two completely different states, and we're two very, very busy queens. So, we're kind of focused on our careers now and worry about that later on when we fizzle out.
OK, pageant answer! I don't think we've ever had a queen where RuPaul looks at them and just lights up and laughs. Did you pick up on that in the moment or is that something you learned by watching the show back?
Getting to know RuPaul to the extent that we get to know RuPaul, it's sort of nerve-wracking, but I definitely did pick up on it throughout the season. Like, OK, she likes me. I'd talk and she laughs, and it definitely makes you feel good about what you're doing in the competition, because, I mean, that's Mother. That's an icon.
What was going through your head when you were halfway back down the runway thinking you're going home and you hear Mama Ru go, "Kandy, wait!"
Honestly, I honestly thought she was going to be, like, "Kandy, move out of my camera." But nonetheless, being told to "Shantay, you stay" after you got eliminated is-- One, it's never happened the way it happened on the show, so iconic. But you know, you just never know. It's Drag Race.
I mean, this season it was twist after twist after twist. Every week we're like, "Are we keeping all these girls all season long? We don't know!"
Baby, it is season 13, season 3 at this point.
Other than learning the phrase "turning a new leaf," what was the biggest lesson you learned about yourself on season 13?
It definitely wasn't math, but I think that the thing that I've learned throughout the season is definitely to be more level-headed and more self-centered with myself and have more patience, not only with myself but with the people around me. I definitely feel like a completely different person than I did the first day walking into the Werk Room.
Pride is fast approaching. We might get to celebrate it more normally than we'd anticipated this year. How do you expect to celebrate Pride this June?
Well, now being a fully vaccinated diva, I would love to celebrate Pride with my community. Obviously, last summer, we were unable to do that because of COVID and stuff, but with things getting a little bit easier now, hopefully we get to celebrate it together to some extent.
I just hope the Dolls get to perform for some people.
I got on Drag Race specifically so I can travel and meet the fans. I want to do that.
We don't want to be alone in the VIP anymore. We want to be in a crowded VIP with fully vaccinated folk.
No, I'm over it. Baby, I want out of the VIP and to walk through the crowded bar. That's where I want to be.
The RuPaul's Drag Race season 13 finale airs on Friday, April 23 on VH1.