There were "Jocks in Frocks" on last night's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race: Straight, athletic guys donned makeup, heels, dresses and wigs, in an attempt to channel the glamour, elegance and beauty of a drag queen. Unsurprisingly, many failed. Not just any man can be a drag queen! As RuPaul says, it takes creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent. But water polo player Slava — who was paired with Alexis Mateo — did a pretty good job, and we were able to speak with him about his experience.
How did you get involved with the show?
Slava: I swim and I play water polo in West Hollywood, and there's a lot of gay guys in the entertainment business. And we got this massive email sent to us from RuPaul's Drag Race, saying, "Are you athletic? Do you want to be on TV?" And I was like, check, check, check, even though I didn't know what RuPaul's Drag Race was. I did not know about it at all. I didn't really know what drag means. I went to audition, and I even said, "I don't really know what this is… I don't know who RuPaul is." But I got chosen.
So you had never dressed in drag before.
No. I had definitely never dressed in drag before. And when I was chosen, I didn't know I was going to be dressed as a drag queen. I just thought I was going to do some kind of sporting event. But then, when I actually got on the set and they told me I would be dressed up as a beautiful queen, I thought, oh my god, what are my friends going to think, what is my family going to think? But to be honest, I'm a very open personality, and I just went along with it. And I enjoyed it a lot, a lot, a lot.
What was the hardest part?
Playing water polo is difficult, but walking in heels? And putting on makeup and the things that Alexis put on my head? Being a jock did not help in this situation. The worst part were the heels. And that wig. It was just pulling on my scalp! I was in tremendous pain. Oh, and shaving my chest — it was very itchy and I'd never done that before in my life.
What was the best part?
The best part was just getting to know Alexis, like, on this personal level. Alexis is a celebrity, she is just this powerful queen. And I got to know her, and about her family. Just having fun on the show — this is an experience that is so unique, and you won't get to experience anywhere else.
How did you feel when you saw yourself in the mirror in drag?
I remember it very clearly. I was sitting in that chair and Alexis was working on me, and I didn't want to look in the mirror, because I was kind of nervous of what my face would look like. And when I turned around, I couldn't — do you know what an aesthetic arrest means? It's when you gasp for air from seeing something so gorgeous? That's what happened.
What about tucking?
To be honest, I didn't get to tuck... My dress was all black, and I didn't need it. But Carmen! When Carmen was naked, and tucking… She created… A, you know, vagina. I don't even know how she did that. It was out of this world.
Do you think that you learned anything from your experience?
Yes. A lot of people have this perception that these men dressed as women are transvestites or something… These queens, these guys, are the most talented and fun people to be around. Them being drag queens — it's something new for them every time. And they really love it. I definitely respect it, and I envy their talent. I wish I could be as creative as them.
Did you learn any beauty tips?
One thing I learned: Women who have big breasts — I feel for you. It hurts your back a lot! Wearing a wig is better when you have long hair. Alexis chose me specifically because I had long hair. And she found me cute, too!
What can being a drag queen teach a straight man about women?
To be honest… Seeing these queens in drag — I sometimes got so confused. Is it a man? Is it a woman? They look so beautiful. And I'm sure that straight guys get confused like me. Either way, they're just so gorgeous. Very sexy.
Would you do it again?
If I had Alexis with me, by my side, 100%. I think I remember proposing to her! A promise ring is already on her finger.
Here are the other straight guys in drag! (click to enlarge)
Missed the episode? watch it here.