'RuPaul's Drag Race' Finalists on "Racist" Donald Trump, North Carolina Anti-LGBT Laws
"He's racist. So you get to be racist by liking Donald Trump without saying things [that are] overtly racist," says Bob the Drag Queen, as she, Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls stop by THR ahead of Monday's grand finale.
On Monday night, RuPaul's Drag Race will anoint its eighth winner, who'll catwalk out of the finale — taped last week at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles — $100,000 richer.
This time around, however, the title that comes along with that prize money may carry with it just a little more weight than in seasons prior.
One got the sense that the Logo reality show was upping its game simply by the parade of notables who served as guest judges: A-listers from the world of high fashion (Marc Jacobs), comedy and literature (siblings Amy and David Sedaris) and, in RuPaul parlance, "supermodels of the world" (Gigi Hadid and Chanel Iman) showed up to pay homage.
Even before the season began, there were signs that the show had reached a cultural tipping point: Last August, Miley Cyrus invited dozens of former contestants onstage to strut and pose alongside her during an unhinged performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. That set the stage nicely for a season in which furious fan devotion spilled over from a predominantly gay audience into the general population — particularly among straight teen fangirls (and, while loath to admit it, their boyfriends too).
With each new episode, social media erupted with outpourings of support for these glitter-encrusted underdogs. Allegiances were declared to a dozen drag decathletes expected to excel at fashion, hair and makeup design, acting, dancing and comedy (often all at the same time).
But any contest is only as strong as its competitors, and Drag Race's season eight has stumbled into what many are calling the most formidable final three in its history. You want diversity? Two are African-American, the other first generation Korean-American. And their moment could not come at a more politically charged time for LGBT visibility, as North Carolina and the federal government lock horns over transgender rights.
Bob the Drag Queen, 30, is the whip-smart New Yorker, a gay-rights activist less concerned about "fishyness" (drag lingo for passing convincingly as a woman) than in always keeping the audience thinking and giggling. Like a drag queen Oprah, his love is tough, his energy infectious and his wisdom frequently profound.
Then there is Kim Chi, also 30, a self-described "seven-foot-tall, live-action anime character and high-fashion model." Kim is a savvy artist capable of transforming herself into eye-popping Instagram candy. She's also an endearing klutz on the runway, whose strict Korean upbringing — out of makeup, she admits her own mother does not know about her drag pursuits — has made for some of the most riveting and emotionally authentic moments in Drag Race history.
Like her mentor RuPaul, Kim also has a keen business sense: At the finale, she teased an endorsement with a major cosmetics company.
Finally there is 21-year-old Naomi Smalls, the cub of the group — in age, at least. In body she is closer to a giraffe, standing 6-foot-9 in heels. Smalls, who dazzled Marc Jacobs with her chic design sense and catwalk prowess, blossomed into a self-confident glamazon before America's very eyes. Her fabulousness has been called out by no less than her namesake, Naomi Campbell, on Twitter.
Ahead of tonight's finale, the final three stopped by The Hollywood Reporter to dish on a wide variety of topics. Inevitably, the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency came up. "The first thing I'd do is I'd stay right here in America and deal with it," said Bob without hesitation. "I love how Americans are like, 'I'm just going to get up and move!' That's not how the world works. You don't get to just get up and move to Canada."
"People like Donald Trump because he embodies the things that they have in themselves that they don't want to say," Bob continued. "He's racist. So you get to be racist by liking Donald Trump without saying things [that are] overtly racist. You get to be undercover. 'Ooh, look at me being racist!' Your wife is 1000 percent immigrant. Of course he hates all brown immigrants, all black immigrants. Brown people are scary. I get it," Bob said.
Asked if Trump's popularity caught him off-guard, Bob replied, "No. It's disgusting and I'm not surprised."
Smalls had a word of advice to a young drag queen or transgender youth currently living in North Carolina, where laws have been passed prohibiting individuals from using public restrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex. "Walk with your head held high and if they don't like you then f— 'em! Do you. I'm sorry if they're going through that tough time but there's always other places that have open arms and will accept you," Smalls said.
Kim Chi had a one-word response to North Carolina legislators: "Bollocks." Pressed as to whether she would boycott the state, Kim said, "Not everybody that lives in North Carolina necessarily agrees with the laws — but definitely [boycott] the homies in charge."
Watch Logo tonight at 9 p.m. ET to find out who wins.