Anetra joins Irene Dubois on EW’s Quick Drag podcast to discuss writing her talent show song and praise shady queens in the Werk Room: “There’s fun shade, but it’s also our culture.”
Do you smell that? It’s like something’s burning. Is that Anetra’s p—y? Yes, it is, and it burned bright on Friday’s RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere as season 15’s first challenge winner. Now, on the debut episode of EW’s Quick Drag podcast (below), the Las Vegas queen exclusively reveals how she devised her talent show number that’s had the internet talking (and walking that f—ing duck) all weekend.
“I’ve never recorded music, even though I’m the voice of the season,” Anetra says, adding that the viral tune was written under the influence… of excellence. “So I’m like, okay, let’s just see what comes of it. I’ve been so excited to just create in general, whether it’s something I do or do not do on a regular basis. Me and my friend, DJ Chris Tavi, at the club that I work at, we just sat in his living room with a microphone and I had me an edible and had me a ki.”
Anetra also worked her Taekwondo skills into the number, as she broke two boards (one with a quick chop and the other with a flying jump-kick) on the Main Stage. She noted during critiques that she had to rehearse the bit a few times before presenting it to the judges (including guest panelist Ariana Grande), and tells EW that her Pit Crew partner was totally game in the face of high-heeled danger.
“I know that Bryce was really excited to do it, and he was really good at holding [the board]. When you hold the boards, you have to hold them a certain way so your fingers don’t get smashed, and he was really good about it,” she explains. “He didn’t move at all. No fingers were smashed, everything came out safe.”
Egos, on the other hand, might’ve been bruised a tad on the debut episode, which also centered on an on-air divide in drag sentiment and Werk Room behavior — including a line seemingly drawn between newer queens who cultivated their art on social media (Luxx Noir London, Sugar, and Spice) and old-school divas who marched their shady boots to the show after honing their craft while cutting up with queens backstage at live shows.
“Working in Vegas, Alexis Mateo comes up in my mirror and reads me every day, and I know it’s out of love, you know what I mean? Shannel reads my lace to filth every day, and I know it’s out of love,” Anetra jokes. “There is fun shade, but it’s also our culture. It’s our environment. If you don’t know that environment, it can be a little jarring, but it’s a lot of good fun and it’s all out of love. You won’t read somebody that you don’t love.”
She later distinguishes between a read and an outright insult, which she feels is important for fans to remember when digesting the show and the banter they might see in the Werk Room.
“It’s funny because we read each other on the show and have these cute moments, but most of the time it’s very surface level and it’s not an attack on anybody’s personality. That’s a read,” she says. “An insult would be the latter. Sometimes the fans will watch the show and think it’s cute to insult people or speak to people disrespectfully. Don’t comment on somebody’s character or a read, or if it’s something you think might be a little bit too far, you may not want to do that, just from a fan standpoint. Yes, we read on the show, that’s our culture, but if you’re not coming from that culture, you want to be more respectful about it and more leery.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 continues Friday at 8 p.m. ET on MTV. Listen to Anetra’s full conversation about her challenge-winning Drag Race season 15 talent show performance on EW’s Quick Drag podcast — also featuring an exit interview with Irene Dubois — above.