Gigi Goode: “Anyone can do drag in the age of the Rona”
For our summer issue, the breakout star of Ru Paul's Drag Race season 12 talks having their show interrupted by the pandemic, coming out as non-binary and making their mum a star.
On the sliding scale of incredible Drag Race talent there’s good, there’s great, and then there’s Gigi Goode. The breakout star of the show’s twelfth season, the 22-year-old breezed through the competition with an array of stunning looks created by her mum, and an unwavering confidence that performers decades her senior would envy.
In the 11 years (!) since RuPaul’s Drag Race first aired, the show has gone from an indie gem to a veritable international sensation, introducing the world to over 150 queens. Against that it can be difficult to stand out, to make your name in an increasingly oversaturated market.
It hasn’t helped that season 12 was marred by controversy -- contestant Sherry Pie, who made it to the top four with Gigi, Jaida and Crystal, had to be edited out in post-production -- as well as by the little matter of a global pandemic, which threw the show’s traditional live lip-syncing finale into jeopardy.
Somehow though, Gigi Goode managed it. As she prepares for a historic lip sync for the crown conducted solely over Zoom (there’s a 2020 sentence we never thought we’d utter), we caught up with the look queen who proved she’s more than just a pretty face.
Hey Gigi! So first of all, we have to ask – how have you been staying creative in quarantine? I’ve been working constantly, actually. Creating different hair looks, garments and routines has really been keeping me creative. Doing drag has been really helpful.
What’s the most trashy show you’ve sat through in lockdown just because you have nothing to do?
I’m obsessed with trash TV! But the trashiest show I’ve sat through during quarantine is definitely True Blood. Obsessed.
Your season of the show was unique, obviously, in that it was interrupted by the pandemic. Can you do drag in the age of Miss Rona?
You know, contrary to what you might think, I would actually argue that, for young or aspiring queens, this is the perfect opportunity to really perfect your craft. Now is the time! It might feel tough, but absolutely anyone can do drag in the age of the Rona.
The Drag Race fandom is so huge. How are you coping with the sudden pressures of having a huge following, especially on social media? It’s definitely been overwhelming, but I think it’s overwhelming in a positive way. I wake up every morning to endless notifications full of so much love and support, which is really nice.
What’s your favourite meme you’ve seen of yourself?
It’s hard to pick, but my favourite at the minute is definitely one of me where I’m just lying on the ground in my sparkly green suit from the first episode runway. Complete with helmet, obviously.
What’s the weirdest lockdown meal you’ve cooked for yourself?
Nothing! But that’s only because I cannot cook. At all.
Your looks are pretty much consistently tooted all round. Do you have a favourite of the ones you showcased on your season?
I think it’s definitely my sad girl at prom look, which I wore for best drag eleganza in the last televised episode before the finale. My mother made it for me the day before I left to film, so it means a lot to me. And, like everything she creates for me, it’s absolutely flawless, too.
Which one of your looks would you boot?
I would never boot one of my looks.
I know your mum created a lot of your looks and you’ve been super outspoken about how much she supports you and your drag. How important do you think that is? Are you quarantining together?
I wish I was quarantined with her right now. We’re apart for the moment and I miss her a lot. Our relationship was important for me to communicate on the show because I just wanted to show the world what she and I are capable of doing together and what we can create when we join forces. Thankfully Drag Race has allowed me to give her a platform and spotlight her.
You came out as non-binary on the show and it was a really powerful moment. Is that something you planned to do or was it spur of the moment? What has the reaction been like to your coming out since then?
You know, it was actually a very spur of the moment decision. Gender has never been at the forefront of my mind, and in that moment where we got deep while painting in the work room, it was really the first time I explored it in words and actually put a label on it. If I could give some advice or message to any young gender non-binary or non-conforming people out there reading this, it would be to communicate the importance of being aware that you don’t have to fit into any category of gender, either in drag or in life in general! Fluid is just the word that fits best for me, but everyone is on their own journey.
How would you sum up Gigi Goode in three words?
Goode morning campers!
Photography Amy Troost
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.