Time to Remember
It’s close to the finale of Season 7, and my excitement is …petering out as to who will be crowned Americas next Drag Superstar. Petering out may be an overstatement, as I never really invested much interest in any of these seasons’ contestants…except for one. A blonde slip of a girly boy from Communist Germ- uh, I mean Russia, named Katya. There are several talented girls still remaining in the race, but none can match the humble, emotionally flawed Russkie that captured my heart with her frankness and humility. Those exact qualities ultimately betrayed her-the extraordinary talent that should have seen her crowned couldn’t overcome the massive set of nerves and her mis-guided self-doubt. My heart broke a little bit when she sashayed away but she ended up having the most grace, poise, and dignity of any exit in RPDR her-story.
Then I got over it because I knew that it wasn’t if she won or lost. She was seen. She was heard. She is loved. Just like other reality talent competitions, the exposure can be enough to propel you to stardom if you have the talent, and Katya is loaded with all of RuPauls’ prerequisites: Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent. She doesn’t need the title or the crown (though the money would have been fastastic) because she has it. That unquantifiable star power- the it factor- that makes her stand out in a crowd of talented Queens.
The weekend before the episode she was eliminated, I made the trek just to catch a glimpse of her. She was performing at Splash Bar Florida, a local gay bar that hosts a lot of the RPDR girls. Katya was the only one I cared about this season to stay up that late (the shows start at midnight and I’m getting fucking old!). I saw her across the courtyard talking animatedly with a bunch of young Queens. I wouldn’t say that I was nervous and too starstruck to go over and meet her- I knew after the show she would do the meet and greet and I would have my chance to get a picture with her. More so I felt respectful of her conversation not to go up and interrupt. I marveled at her ease and seeming familiarity with her "groupies she looked like she made them all feel special.
The show was about to start and she scurried into the drag hut and I made my way inside the bar, planting myself on the opposite side of the stage, closer to the door. I had a fair enough view from there and my sightlines weren’t impeded too much by the multitudes of Queens with camera phones. The in-house drag Queens performed first, whipping up the crowds’ energy and nicely building the anticipation for the headliner. I happened to catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye a mane of blonde hair behind me and turned to see Katya right behind me. A young gay was talking her up and saying how fabulous her tits were as he groped her. I could see in her eyes that he was going a bit too far, a slight eye roll and grimace. I felt for her but she kept her poise and let it roll off her back. Seeing now as my moment to say something, I gave her an understanding look and a head nod. I almost froze because I didn’t want to be like the drunken ass before me, but finally blurted out, "You are phenomenally talented. I know you are going to win." I didn’t expect any response, but was astounded when her face lit up. "Really? Thank you!" she said, and threw her arms around me, giving me a hug. Not a two pat on the back hug, but an earnest hug with squeeze. With that she turned away and marched off to tear up the stage. Now, I didn’t misinterpret the hug to mean anything but this: Katya doesn’t know how fabulous she is, and her response was genuine and unaffected. This tells me that everything I saw on RPDR and Untucked was pure, unadulterated Katya.
And that is why I think she is the winner. Now matter who gets the crown, she done had herses.
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