DFW gets some big representation on Season 2 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ with none bigger than Mystique Summers Madison
ON THE AIR
Season 2 of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE
premieres on Logo Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.
When LOGO’s RuPaul’s Drag Race was renewed for a second season, drag queens far and wide put their pedals to the metal to secure a spot. The result is an even fiercer competition (12 queens instead of nine — and three with roots in Dallas), more celeb guest judges (including Kathy Griffin, Martha Wash, Kathy Najimy, Debbie Reynolds and punk icon Henry Rollins), new creative challenges and higher production values. Yes, gone is the White Diamonds-like gauzy filter effect ("Well, we got a little bit more budget money so we were actually able to hire a lighting director," host RuPaul laughs).
Among this season’s contestants is Bedford-based, Chicago-born Mystique Summers Madison, aka 25-year-old Donte Sims. Appearing frequently at Dallas’ Illusions and Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge and Best Friends Club, Mystique made her drag debut at age 21. The first episode sees Mystique face a photo shoot challenge involving airplane engine-caliber wind machines, and compliment her runway walk with a judges-jolting Texas-sized split.
RuPaul gushes, "Love Mystique! Love Mystique! She represents big girls this season — and not only the big girls, but a certain drag aesthetic that is Southern and unapologetic, and I love that," says the Atlanta-bred diva.
Mystique — whose life advice is, "Remember to eat a two-piece and a biscuit because skinny bitches are evil" — dished about her experience, RuPaul, Dallas queens and this season’s Ongina moment.
Dallas Voice: So when did you decide to audition for season two? Mystique: Well, originally I was planning to go to the casting call for the first season when it came to Dallas, but then I thought I’d wait and see how the first season panned out. When I found out there would be a second, I filled out the paperwork and sent in videos ASAP.
What was in your audition video? In my video I was going to be 100 percent myself to show them how retarded I am. I talked about how I was a size zero — the infinite number — and how you can’t have hips and thighs like this unless you eat a two-piece and a biscuit. Then it flipped to me on video having a two-piece and a biscuit.
How do you feel the Dallas area fares in the drag department, and did it give you an edge? It’s pretty much on top. A lot of the [national] drag pageant winners are from Dallas or the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Drag is awesome in Dallas — it’s one of a kind. We can dance, we can do a gown, and we have tons and tons of makeup to be seen like 10 miles away. If you can work a crowd over in Dallas, you can work pretty much anywhere.
What did you think once you got a look at the other contestants on set? I thought, "Wow, everybody’s cute and looks real. This is gonna be the real year!" There was nobody very extreme; everybody was on an equal playing field. There was nobody who did the [Nina Flowers] look on a daily basis.
Who was your favorite Season 1 contestant? People are gonna hate me for this one, but I loved Rebecca Glasscock because of her attitude and the way she was. She reminded me of myself.
Are there any Ongina moments this season — big, emotional revelations? Yes. I had a big one! I found out that I’m not a skinny little white girl. In my head and the mirror I see a skinny little white girl.
Who was your favorite judge? It has to be [former Project Runway contestant] Santino Rice. He actually gave us advice that helped me in the long run. Whenever I was trying to make another gown, or should I say horrible outfit, he wasn’t too mean or crazy with me. He actually helped me out. I think he’s being judged wrong — he’s actually a down-to-earth guy.
How was it working with RuPaul? She was a blast. In the workrooms, a blast to joke and cut around with; when we were onstage to show our outfits, she was 100 percent business. You’re here to work and try to win. So no laughing around right now.
What sort of drama went on behind the scenes? Drama? I don’t know what you’re talking about! We don’t have any drama. Just 12 of us bitches. Think of it: When you get 12 bitches in a room what do you think is gonna happen? Dragma! No drama. Dragma.
Who is this year’s villain? Is there an Akashia in the house? We’re all villains because we’re all bitches. In some ways, people are gonna see me and go, "She’s a bitch, but a nice bitch." You’ll see another person and say, "She’s a bitch, but a cunty bitch." We were all sweet to each other but we were all probably backstabbing each other, too.
What were the queens like back at home in Dallas when you auditioned and got on: Supportive or hateful and jealous? I have friends who were very supportive. Nobody was like, "Don’t do it, you’re not good enough!" but I did have friends who said, "I can’t wait for you to get on so I can hear RuPaul say to you, ‘Sashay away.’" But now that commercials are starting to air, I know a couple of people in the DFW area are making shady comments. It’s not about me, it’s about all the cast members because they’re jealous. They’re being hateful to all the contestants.
What will you do if you win? When I win, the plan is to educate everybody about drag because it’s paid work and it’s charity work. I do both. You never know — one day you may need help from a charity so you should give back as much as you can. If you have to perform for free to help them raise money, do it. Do one or two shows a month just to give back to the community.
More drag divas from Dallas
Mystique Summers Madison isn’t the only fierce female impersonator with North Texas roots. Also in the competition are Shangela Lafiqua Wadley, above, originally from Paris, Texas, who went to school in Dallas and performed backup in many drag shows here; and Sahara Davenport, below, a model and dancer who moved to NYC from Dallas six years ago to make it in "legitimate" theater but found her niche when she donned a dress.
— Arnold Wayne Jones
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 29, 2010.