A RuPaul’s Drag Race frontrunner like Symone is rare. The Ebony Enchantress won her first Lip Sync for Your Life the very first episode — courtesy of season 13’s big premiere twist — and continued on to collect the most maxi challenge wins before earning her place in the grand finale, to absolutely no one’s surprise.
“I’m so happy to be here. I worked real hard to get here, and it just means everything. Like, come on. I made it to the top four of RuPaul’s Drag Race!” she exclaims backstage. Ahead of Friday’s finale episode, ET’s Brice Sander spoke to Symone about finding fans in Lizzo and Mama Ru herself and what it would look like if she competed against her drag sister and season 12 finalist Gigi Goode.
ET: What would it mean to you to be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar?
It would mean everything. The work has been done. It means that my art is received and it’s worthy of carrying the crown. I grew up watching this show, so to be part of this legacy of queens who’ve come through and changed culture, I mean, what an honor. It would literally mean everything to me.
Crown or not, you’re a part of the legacy. Since episode one, fans have pointed to you and said, ‘There’s your winner. There she is. Crown her already.’ Does that put added pressure on you? Is it more motivation? How do you process that?
It was a little bit of both. The motivation to keep being at the level that I came in at and grow it, but also the pressure of I didn’t want to let anyone down. I didn’t want people to think less of me in a way. At first it was a lot, but coming through now, it’s kind of like, “Oh, don’t go back to where you was at them two times, sis. It’s all good.” [Laughs]
You tell that inner saboteur, “Goodbye!”
Good day, Miss Buckwheat! Good day.
This outpouring of love, I mean, Lizzo’s rocking your merch. Hayley Williams gave you kudos for your Paramore inspired look. What’s it like to receive feedback from these people who I only imagine are kind of idols in your life?
Oh, yeah! It’s kind of surreal, because it’s like, you always hear the stories of the other queens getting fans, but at least for me, I was like, “oh, these girls see me?! They’re repping me?! They know the Ebony Enchantress, darling!’ I’m always just humbled by it. I don’t know, it’s probably a boring answer. But it really surreal, because it’s, like, these people are loving what you’re doing. That’s crazy.
And RuPaul really loved what you did all season long. Were you aware how much Mama Ru had fallen in love with you in the moment? Or did you learn from watching it back?
Oh no, I was aware. She’s not one to hide her emotions, I’ll tell you that. So, I was very much aware of how she felt about me, and it just made me be like, “I’m going to go on this runway, I’m about to turn it. I’m about do this challenge.” Except that one. But other than that, it just made me more invigorated to be like, “Let’s do it. Let’s turn it. Let’s make her proud. I want to see that smile, baby. I want to see her light up.” It was very apparent, and I wanted to strive for that every week, for sure.
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Can you give me a “fact’ry” for good measure?
Oh, I got you. I got you. I got you. [Gets into character] Fact’ry!
Were you aware that you went into this voice and did this character? Olivia Lux called you out a little bit on it on the last acting challenge.
She did. Listen, drag is about having fun. And it comes from I was always told to speak a certain way –because I’m in the South, we gotta move around — so when I’m in drag, I likes to play with the English language a little bit. So, it was very conscious choices I made. [Laughs]
I think you’re in the Drag Race lexicon history now. You also got to bring messages to the runway. Talk to me about those conscious choices you made to make sure that every time you stepped out on that stage, you were showing something and saying something.
You always want to have fun, but I did think about the runways as a way to communicate. You’re not really talking unless you’re doing the voiceovers, but this is a way to show who you are. So, I was very conscious of that. I wanted to have fun, I wanted to be myself, but I also wanted to say something. And those choices, I’m happy I made them, they were hard, but I think it’s important, especially the times we’re in. I didn’t just want to be a pretty thing on the runway. I mean, that’s easy. I wanted to just say something and to show myself and to express myself through clothes. That’s obviously what I like to do. So that was my mission, and I think I did a pretty good job.
I think mission accomplished. This season had such a sisterly bond. Like, we didn’t really have a villain. We had drama, but it wasn’t drama-drama. It was an uplifting season.
All of us are cool. We came in to have a good time, and I think also, just the times you were in, there was no time for it, you know? Of course you bickered, you saw that, but we love each other. We really do. I love every on the cast, so I’m good.
Hopefully a crown appears on your head in the near future–
I would love nothing more.
If it doesn’t, would you come back and do an All Stars?
Would I come back? Of course! Now, will they have me? That’s the question.
I think the invitation’s already out. I would like to see you and Gigi compete against each other.
Oh, see y’all want drama! That’s what y’all want. Y’all trying to cause drama on these screens?!
I want to see what that looks like. Does The House of Avalon stand after something like that?
Oh, she’s coming for us! OK, I see you. [Laughs]
The RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 finale airs on Friday, April 23 on VH1.
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