Ra'Jah O'Hara Talks Fan Hatred, the Villain Edit & More After 'Drag Race' Exit

April 12, 2019
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On Thursday (April 11) night, RuPaul’s Drag Race served up some organic realness when the queens were tasked with turning all-natural ingredients into runway-ready fashion looks.

Some queens got 5 star ratings from the critics -- both Yvie Oddly and Brooke Lynn Hytes were praised for their farm-to-runway fashion, but Plastique Tiara took home her first win for showing off her process using unprocessed materials. Two queens, however, faced the cutting board. After a lip-sync to Sheena Easton’s classic '80s pop hit “Strut,” A’Keria Davenport was added back into the competition, while Ra’Jah O’Hara got chopped after her fourth time in the bottom.

Ra’Jah spoke to Billboard the day after her elimination about her lip-sync record, dealing with hatred from the fandom, and her on-air beef with the queens.

How are you feeling after watching your elimination last night?

You know, I am optimistic after watching the last episode -- I'm super optimistic about the future. Like mother said, this is only the beginning. So we can only go up from here! I'm excited, I thought I was going to be devastated watching myself get eliminated on national TV, but I wasn't. I wasn't ... too sad. Maybe it's because I already lived that experience, so I'm not into reliving that experience.

That's good to hear! So listen, fans can say whatever they want, but the truth is that you were a lip-sync assassin this season. That's just a fact. Is that a fun reputation to have on the show, or was it something that stressed you out?

Going into the season, I was really excited to show my lip syncing ability -- and I know that sounds crazy, but a lot of times on Drag Race, we go through so many challenges, and jump through so many hoops just to show ourselves and standout amongst a group. And it sometimes has nothing to do with our drag or what we do as entertainers -- like a potato sack race, for example. So, the opportunity where you get to see who we are is on the runways, but I feel like Ra'Jah is at home and most comfortable on a stage, entertaining people. So what better opportunity to showcase what I do than in a lip sync?

But having that reputation on the show is not fun, because that means that you are the lowest performing of the group. But you've been able to send some girls home by your performance ability. It's just a double-edged sword, is all.

But you were clearly showing that you know how to turn out a successful lip sync. What do you think the key to a good lip sync is?

First off, know your words. [Laughs.] Second, it's about knowing the emotion behind the track, and most definitely embodying the song from the beat to the melody to the emotions. And then it's about bringing your own uniqueness, and charisma and ... stank. You know what I'm saying? That's what Ra'Jah does, she puts some stank on her songs.

Now a lot of fans did not appreciate your "stank" in your lip sync against Scarlet, and you've been on the receiving end of quite a lot of hate, even some threats. What do you think can be done to try and prevent this kind of vitriol from the fan base?

I mean, I hate to say it, but I think that this is the world that we have to live in, and we as queens have to push the message of love. Love will conquer all, if you lead with light, then the darkness will eventually disappear. But I do feel like... maybe... I don't know. The only thing I can do is be true to myself. I can't really focus on the negative. Personally, I am a black boy from the South, so I have already had to deal with a lot of that, period. So it happens, that's the world we live in, I can just pray that people wake up, and people get up out their feelings and get up out their bag, and just continue to enjoy the television they get from us -- as opposed to trying to micromanage, trying to belittle queens in defense of other people.

Especially in a situation where I had no real... beef with Scarlet. Like, there was no real drama between Scarlet and I. Yes, I was hurt in the moment, and I had my human reaction, but I think the viewers need to know that we are allowed to have real emotions, and that's what I brought; something real and authentic, not pre-produced.

A lot of times when this drama happens, queens will talk about the way that the show is edited. Do you feel that you were given a fair edit? Is there anything they didn't show that you wish they did?

I think the show actually portrayed my experience on Drag Race pretty authentically. I feel like they should have or could have shown some of my lighthearted or softer side, because I watched my part of the season, and you barely know who I was even friends with on the show. That didn't help the story that they were telling for the entire show, not just for my portion. So I do wish that I could have gotten a softer side, as opposed to just all of my emotions.

But honestly, it is what it is, and I can't complain. Everything that you hear me saying, that was me saying what I had to say. But yeah, I'm OK with it. I won't blame editing, or say the editing made me look a certain type of way, because I made myself look that way. That was truthful to my experience.

I think a lot of what made fans so upset was about the way you did speak out against a lot of the show's queens -- including Yvie, Scarlet, and as we saw last night, Plastique, after her emotional walkthrough with Ru. Have you had a chance to reconnect with them after everything that went down in the Werk Room a year ago?

Um... with those three, we were never the closest. We don't have any issues, that I know of, but I mean, we'll have to see what the reunion brings us. As of now, we are all in a good place, I'm in a good place with all of them. I don't know how they are after watching the last episode, or how they're feeling about what I had to say, but ultimately I think they'll move past it, because I think they know the situation, and they all know the pressure cooker that we were under. They had moments, too!

Something that I feel was overlooked about you was your fashion sense -- you made most of the outfits that you wore on the main stage, and a lot of them were sickening. How do you approach making a garment with your fashion sense.

I think what sets me apart from other queens is my design aesthetic, because a lot of girls ... well, I won't say what a lot of girls go for. What Ra'Jah goes for is not super-glam, it's not super high-fashion, but it is fashion with a street edge, because that's who Ra'Jah is. She is a polished pageant girl from the streets, I grew up in the hood, so I represent an urban take on high fashion glam.

I do have to correct you, if that's okay -- I didn't make most of my outfits, I made all of my outfits for the show. [Laughs.] So I am so proud of the work that I got to present on the show. No, I didn't get a lot of praise or credit where credit probably should have been due. But that's okay, that's life. You all still saw it.

What can we expect to see coming up from Ra'Jah?

Well, we've got a lot of things in the works, most of which I can't speak of. But, I am working on a few music collaborations with my sister Honey Davenport, we're gonna get in the studio and do our damn thing as opposed to trying to come up with a song and routine to ... oh god, what was the song? "Throw Glitter on the Mountain?" "There's Glitter on the Mountain?"

Truthfully, I couldn't tell you, the lyrics didn't really come across on the televangelist episode.

Yeah, but I'm excited about you guys actually getting to hear me actually showcase my singing ability. There's so many things in the works, but I will most definitely be touring and going around the world, showing off my lip sync skills and my showgirl abilities. It's gonna be fun to meet each and every fan of Ra'Jah's, so they actually get to see me and see how I actually am as a person, as opposed to the character from the show.

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