It wasn’t the easiest road for Seattle drag queen Robbie Turner on season eight of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” On this week’s episode, she lost a lip sync against Derrick Barry after her “Wizard of Oz” Cowardly Lion looks for herself and her “Little Women L.A.” counterpart failed to please the judges. Nevertheless, despite the challenges she faced, she’s managed to emerge from the show with her reputation in tact and with a bright future ahead of her. byteclay.com caught up with her to find out more.
byteclay.com: What was going through your mind when RuPaul asked you to sashay away?
Robbie: I was feeling a kind of weird, bittersweet vibe. I’m very good friends with Naomi [Smalls] and I was so excited for her win then it was like “oh and Robbie, you’re in the bottom two.” So it was like OK, that was short lived. I really didn’t think from my critiques that I was going to be in the bottom two, so I thought that I’d be able to go back and congratulate Naomi and be excited for her, [but] that soon changed rather quickly. And then to be up against somebody that I actually was very friendly with as well, Derrick [Barry], who is the person I knew the most before the show, I was kind of like “oh great, isn’t that the way the cookie crumbles.”
byteclay.com: You said you didn’t think from your critiques that you were going to be in the bottom, so do you think there were other queens who deserved to be in the bottom more than you?
Robbie: It’s kind of hard to say, but I thought from the way the critiques were going to go, I thought it was going to be Chi Chi [DeVayne] and Derrick. But this was months ago for us, I’ve already put it to rest. I talk to all the girls everyday.
byteclay.com: Do you have any regrets?
Robbie: I think my biggest regret is that I got nervous and in my head in front of RuPaul. It happens so quickly that you don’t get a chance to really think about things. So if you aren’t 100% trusting your instinct and you’re second guessing things, that will work against you every time. Specifically, [it happened to me in] the acting challenge and even in some of the mini challenge moments. [RuPaul] walks in the work room and you’re like this is like the drag queen, everyone knows her name. You don’t want to f*ck it up in front of her and then when she says things like “don’t f*ck it,” you’re like oh God, I’m going to die.
Examiner: Looking back would you still have chosen to play Diana Vreeland in the “Snatch Game?”
Robbie: I actually do Liza Minnelli from the 70s a lot, but I really don’t want to make fun of Liza and I know that’s kind of the point of “Snatch Game.” Hindsight is always 20/20, right?
byteclay.com: So far this season there have been some minor spats but for the most part this cast seems to get along pretty well. Even in this week’s “Untucked,” which followed the main stage where each queen had to pick someone they felt should go home, there were some words exchanged between Chi Chi and Derrick but nothing too dramatic. Can you speak more to this?
Robbie: It’s funny, I think we all got along so well that we were just kind of like, I respect your drag, your drag is different than mine, let’s all be professional about this. It was never discussed but we all just kind of knew to be a good sport. At the end of the day, especially when we had to all say somebody, it’s the worst feeling in the world. Especially poor Chi Chi had to go first in that episode, which is the worst because you’re setting a tone. Sometimes your name is called for a reason that you might not think. Like for Chi Chi, everyone was saying her mostly because she was wasting her time and she wasn’t doing anything at the moment. Everybody else was working and people’s outfits were falling apart well before and were having to recreate things and push things along. So it was frustrating for some of us to be like oh this girl is taking a nap. It was hard because aren’t you wanting to take every opportunity that you’re handed? It sucks because then you’re out there in front of RuPaul with that pressure and you’re saying it friend to friend. It’s awful.
byteclay.com: It’s been a few times that you were in the bottom or had to lip sync but some queens still haven’t at all. Do you think certain queens are getting judged a little less harshly than others?
Robbie: Well, we all get judged pretty harshly but you can’t spend an hour showing all of the critiques that we got so they try to show the best ones. At the point of the editing of the show, they know who’s going to be in the bottom two so you’re going to want to show [their critiques]. But it’s pretty straight forward across the board. They’ve barely shown negative critiques for Bob [The Drag Queen] but he’s had it, it exists.
byteclay.com: Are there any challenges you were most looking forward that you think you would have killed had you been there?
Robbie: Yes and I can’t even tell you what it is! It’s also always exciting for me to find out what those themes are [for the Ball]. [In general], you do have outfits that you wanted to wear you and were hoping would fit into a challenge. Then they don’t and those glamorous outfits become your premiere look.
byteclay.com: What’s next for you?
Robbie: I just flew back to Seattle and I have a show at the Hard Rock Cafe coming up. It’s a throw back to the 1960s, Hollywood television variety show like “The Carol Burnett Show.” It’s called “The Robbie Turner Review.” It’s all sung live and has comedy sketches in it that I write. I have six dancers in the show and it’s hilarious. We’re taking it on tour and the idea is to eventually have it on TV. Yeah, I’ve got goals. Also I have a book that I’ve written, like little short stories and shenanigans, and that will hopefully come out for DragCon [May 7th and 8th in Los Angeles]. We have to be at DragCon, it’s part of the cookie.
TW: @TheRobbieTurner, IG: @therobbieturner
The next all new “RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs April 18th at 9/8c on Logo, when Vivaca A. Fox and Thomas Roberts guest judge as the queens run for political office. For a Sneak Peak, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILUM8hJQt7c