Trixie Mattel: ‘Fans that moan about queens being robbed have never been actually robbed. I have!’
It’s been almost a year since the unstoppable Trixie Mattel won All Stars 3, and solidified herself as the Drag Race queen who, more than anyone, spun straw into gold.
As well as being a chart-topping singer/songwriter, a comedian and a TV star, the 29-year-old drag superstar, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can also boast Hollywood hunk Paul Rudd as one of her many fans. (Mr Phoebe Buffet!)
Fangirling all the way, London X caught up with Trixie, to find out all about her reign, as the All Stars franchise gears up to crown her successor on its fourth season, and also find out how she feels about Drag Race UK, which begins filming next month, finally!
“There can be 99 people in a room who don’t want to fuck you… and all it takes is my Uncle Steven to open me up like an envelope.”
Trixie delivers this joke with her signature deadpan tone during our chat, and it’s hard not to marvel at how one of the most unapologetically dark-humoured drag queens of today also managed to amass one of the youngest and wide-reaching commercial followings. Because, yes, at a Trixie Mattel show, you’re just as likely to find a teenage girl seeking a selfie as you are a shrieking gay man yelling one of her ironic catchphrases, such as the often mimicked: ‘Oh hoooooo-nnnneeeeyyy.’
But don’t get it twisted. Trixie does this for herself. Okurr? “I don’t like sincerity and sweetness,” she says, bluntly. “I think drag queens do drag for free drinks, and then they get on TV and make out they were doing it to change the world. Bitch, you did it because you wanted to get in the club free!
“And I feel like I’m the only one who’s up front about that. It’s inherently a selfish act, dressing up so you feel a certain way, so people will pay attention to you. We’re not curing cancer. But there is some magic there.”
‘Some magic’ is an understatement. Since being eliminated tenth, returning, and eventually placing sixth on season seven – dubbed the ‘dud season’ by many disgruntled fans at the time – Trixie has managed to claw her way into the upper legion of success stories from the show, alongside the Bianca Del Rio’s and Alaska’s of the Ru-niverse.
But the road to success hasn’t been without hiccups, of course. Last year, after landing her own Vice TV show, The Trixie and Katya show, Trixie’s friend and co-star Katya had to take a break to focus on her mental health, meaning fellow Ru-girl and season eight winner Bob the Drag Queen had to stand in for her.
Now their partnership, which was first showcased on their widely successful web show, UHNhhh, is back to its original home on YouTube, where millions of fans tune in every week to find new quotable moments.
Luckily, they were able to pick up seamlessly where they left off. “We both kind of prefer the vibe of the YouTube series,” the star tells London X. “We loved doing the TV series but Katya had her own set of hurdles which made it really difficult to do it.
“I remember the day we got back to it, after Katya got better, she stepped out of the room to go and have a cigarette. And me and the camera guy and the assistant all looked at each other and said, ‘oh thank god, it’s back to the way it was before!’”
But just what is the secret to the duo’s winning chemistry, which has seen superfans dressing up as them for Halloween, writing Trixie and Katya fan fiction – and even bizarrely calling the pair: ‘Mom’?
“We were just in a meeting where someone said, ‘are we going to hear all the jokes from your show?’ And I said, ‘you think we make that up?’” Trixie laughs.
“We don’t write or prepare anything, we just show up and talk. We love how in the moment it is and make sure we don’t script anything.”
Although sometimes they get distracted, obviously, which is all part of the charm.
“There’s an episode coming up in season four, where we were supposed to be talking about shopping and I think we talked almost entirely about shit.” After a pause, Trixie clarifies, “like… faeces.” Still, she adds: “Drag Race introduced people to me, but that web series made people love and be a fan of me.”
It was also where fans got to know Trixie’s iconic laugh, which usually sounds like a cross between a horror film scream and an asthma attack.
“There needs to be a gateway camp for people with difficult laughs,” she admits. “I want to go somewhere where I can leave with a normal laugh.”
Not everything is a laughing matter for the fans though in 2019. In an increasingly PC world, Trixie has had to learn to adjust. Last year she came under fire for making a slavery-related joke about fellow Drag Race royalty Latrice Royale during a comedy roast.
“I was in a roast and they focused on one joke,” Trixie says. “Queerty magazine photoshopped me on the front of a black and white picture of slaves. I was like – who’s the real fucking asshole here? Not the queens at the roast.
“But I don’t worry at all. Jerry Seinfeld says political correctness is the death of comedy. Have you noticed every time someone in the news is cancelled it’s a comedian? Kathy Griffin, Kevin Hart…”
However, Miss Mattel vows she won’t allow the criticism to dilute her comedy, as fans in London will be able to see for themselves when she brings her Skinny Legend tour to the UK this month.
“Come to Skinny Legend, and see that I have not changed any of those jokes that were ‘up to the line,’” she promises. “In fact, I like to lean into them and then stare into the audience while they gasp. Come on, I’m a drag queen!”
Not every queen has achieved the same carefree attitude towards the show’s rabid fandom. In fact, rarely a day goes by when one of Trixie’s fellow Ru-girls isn’t arguing with some fan sending them seemingly endless ‘hate’ online. What does she make of that approach to the problem?
“Oh my god, it is like a character study,” Trixie says. “It’s like, today we watch All Stars, and tomorrow we watch faggots backpedal on Twitter for things they said.
“How can you be running a business and take the time to read comments? What’s wrong with you?”
Still, she’s enjoying the current season, saying that Monet X Change and Manila Luzon – who… SPOILER ALERT – was shockingly eliminated last week, are her favourites, and hasn’t let the ‘Shangela was ROBBED’ backlash of her crowning sour her win.
“I’m still on cloud nine,” Trixie insists. “I don’t read the comments! But I’ll tell you this, people are never happy. Shea was robbed! Kim Chi was robbed! Shangela was robbed! Everybody was always robbed, and everybody always disagrees.
“These people who say – so and so was robbed – haven’t been robbed. I’ve been robbed! I’ve been actually robbed.”
She recalls being given advice by her Drag Race predecessor, All Stars 2 winner Alaska Thunderfuck, who faced her own snakey backlash after beating fan favourite Katya in 2016.
“Before the finale, I told Alaska I was scared, and she said, ‘Trixie, winning and losing are really the same. If you win, you’ll see that they’re the same.’ And she’s right.”
So the $100,000 prize money means nothing? “If you’re really an All Star, you were going to make that money anyway,” Trixie says, before adding that she recently “bought a Condo” this year, so the prize money certainly can’t have hurt.
When asked which of her other season seven sisters she’d like to see on All Stars, Trixie responded: “Tempest DuJour! Or Pearl, maybe. I think Pearly is cancelled now… I don’t know. Everyone is robbed and cancelled. You can buy my new audiobook: Woke, Robbed and Cancelled.
“But then I don’t want people to think I’m making fun of people who are trying to do something good to the world. We’ll let them be.”
Despite remaining a huge Drag Race superfan, Trixie has ruled out returning to compete – if the long-rumoured Winner’s Season ever came to fruition – explaining: “I’m not very competitive and I don’t enjoy competitive environments. I don’t fetishise it. Jinkx and Bob would love to do it again. Partly because they’re sitting at home bored…
“So no, not on your life. They could be like, ‘we have your family..!’ and I’d be like, ‘bye…’
“I mean, I’m not gonna win. I’m happy to have the crown in my display case at home and never compete again. You win gold at the Olympics and then you stop skating, right?”
But will she be tuning into Drag Race UK? “Hopefully!” she says. “I haven’t even seen Drag Race Thailand so I’m a terrible person. But I don’t think it would be fair of me to be a guest judge on the UK show though, just because… I’m American. I know RuPaul is, but that’s RuPaul! Just because I competed on the American one doesn’t mean I’m qualified to judge.”
When I mention that CBB winner and fellow Drag Race alumni Courtney Act has put herself forward, Trixie jokes: “Courtney Act need to calm down! I know she’s on Dancing with the Stars. But it should be called Dancing with the Stars and Courtney Act… But she’s Beyonce in the UK!”
But can Beyonce, or, indeed, Courtney, boast Ant Man as a fan? When discussing her folk music albums – which are beautiful, by the way, if you haven’t heard them – Trixie casually mentions: “I heard Paul Rudd listens to my music. I heard through the grapevine that Paul Rudd knows who I am and likes my music. Random people like me for whatever reason.”
Her last album, One Stone, topped the iTunes chat upon release last year. With new music on the way – “a single in Spring and an album later in the year,” – Trixie fans should make sure not to miss her upcoming gigs in the UK, where she’ll be previewing the new material.
“There’s a love song about Michael Cera. And I’ll do Little Sister from One Stone. But, you know, I’m up there with a guitar every night, so if someone yells Wonderwall, we’re doing it!”
Catch Trixie at the O2 Academy in Brixton on February 23 for a night of laughs, music and incest jokes. Oh honey!