RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars champion, and season four runner-up, Chad Michaels, will bring her fabulous impersonations and styling to Utah for Pride weekend. The all-star diva will perform Friday, May 31, at Hydrate at Club Sound.
We caught up with Michaels to find out her experiences with Utah, what to expect at her show and all about her inspirations. For more information, go to chadmichaels.com.
What have you been up to since appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars?
Touring, living, loving and learning. It’s been an amazing two years and I have really enjoyed getting out on the road and meeting the crazy, beautiful fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race!
I feel like between season four, All Stars and Drag U, we’ve become more familiar with you than perhaps any other drag queen on the show. Do you feel like a celebrity? Do you get recognized in the coffee shop and the airport?
I am always true to myself. There is a time and place for ‘Chad the Star’ and ‘Chad the Private Citizen.’ Being a celebrity is not as easy as it seems. Scrutiny and criticism can be cruel and harsh sometimes. Though the show has blessed me with celebrity status, I don’t take it for granted and treat it with the respect it deserves. Celebrity can be a sword that cuts both ways so I try to keep it in perspective. At the end of the day, it is the people in your everyday life who really matter, not the spotlight or the red carpet.
I get recognized the house down and many times when I least expect it. It is kind of cool to know that people get such a charge out of just meeting you and saying hi. These interactions are definitely a benefit of the show, and it’s very fun for me to meet the people who love us so much.
In your two seasons of competition, what was the biggest challenge you faced?
I think the biggest challenge I faced in both seasons was conquering that inner voice of doubt. I think this is something we all struggle with, but I have learned to ignore it and actually use it as a tool for success. When we conquer our fears and insecurities, anything is possible.
What was your favorite part of participating in the show?
I loved the entire process of making two seasons of the show, from the actual competition to watching the crew work so hard to capture our drama and mess on camera! It is very exciting to be chosen to compete on Drag Race. Going into the competition, one has no idea what is heading his way, and the element of the unknown is both scary and invigorating. It’s like jumping off a cliff and not knowing what awaits you at the bottom. I love thrills!
We know that you’re a fabulous Cher impersonator. Who else would you say inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many things, and random things at that. Strong female role models have always been my muses. From Joan Crawford to Meryl Streep, I have learned from them all — how to be fierce, how to be a bitch and how to be a diva. I love film, TV and music and am a major fan of science fiction and fantasy. I always wished as a kid that I was Princess Leia from Star Wars … so that speaks volumes. I also love a female villain. The dark side of the female intellect has always fascinated me. There is nothing like an evil bitch on a mission to inspire a new performance.
What can we expect to see at your show?
I will of course be bringing Cher to Salt Lake City along with some other drag delights to captivate the kiddies! I have worked live Cher banter into my act so the audience can catch up with Cher’s current happenings and maybe even get read by the diva herself. It’s often hard for me to decide what to take on the road because it’s important to me to please my audiences and there are so many different demographics around the country — perhaps something from The Book of Mormon for Salt Lake. I may dig up some tablets or something.
Have you been to Utah before? If so, what do you remember?
I have never worked in Salt Lake City before. The airport has a smoking lounge though and I do love that about it!
Do you have any advice for your young, gay fans living in conservative Utah?
My advice to young gays living in conservative Utah is to be yourself and to not live in fear of what others may think of you or do to you. This empowers you to walk in the light and truth. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. We are in the midst of one of the final civil-rights battles our country will face. Now is the time to be visible, vocal and proud.
If you had to choose one book and one movie to read/watch for the rest of your life, which would they be?
The book would be The Shack as it truly spoke to me and helped me acknowledge the feelings I had been suppressing about my father for 25 years. The movie would have to be Mommie Dearest for a lifetime of laughs, drama and lessons on being a temperamental diva.
Britney or Lady Gaga?
Lady Gaga, please.
What are your biggest fears?
Letting go of fear is something I have been working on for a long time, and it’s becoming easier and easier to say, ‘Fuck it!’ and let things happen as they will. I have always had control issues, and learning to let those go has made my life easier and much more enjoyable. When one realizes that what will be, will be, the pressure is off and you can just enjoy the ride.
Other than drag, what are your biggest passions?
My biggest passion is my relationship with my partner of 10 years, Adam Magee. He has truly been my rock; and making sure he is all right through this whole journey has been paramount for me. I have built my career around my life. By doing this, I never lose sight of what is really important: love, friends and family. Celebrity and fame are fleeting. Love is forever and you take it with you. I want a lot to take with me. I can’t wait to see you Salt Lake City! Mother Dust is coming!