US drag queen Alaska in town for RuPaul's Extravaganza Tour
US drag queen Alaska talks about his popularity on RuPaul's Drag Race: I'm just insane, I guess
Sometimes, all it takes is patience and determination.
Season 5 runner-up and fan favourite Alaska auditioned for every season of RuPaul's Drag Race until he was eventually cast.
The US reality TV series has spawned eight seasons since 2009.
The show documents 55-year-old US drag queen RuPaul's search for "America's next drag superstar" via weekly challenges that test contestants' skills in fashion design, musical performance, comedy and runway walking.
Alaska, 31, whose real name is Justin Honard, said in an e-mail interview with The New Paper: "I'm very happy with the timing of getting on the show. I wouldn't have been ready any time before Season 5 (in 2013).
"I cried a lot (on the show). I had a good run. If I could go back and do it again, I would try to win more challenges."
He added: "I wanted to be a Ru Girl (contestant) as soon as I realised what being a Ru Girl was. I'm very grateful for the opportunity and I encourage young queens everywhere to follow their dreams."
Although Alaska did not win, he was the contestant everyone was rooting for.
He was also one of only six queens on the show who were never in the bottom nor did they have to lip-sync to avoid elimination.
Week after week, he would come up with the craziest outfits and impersonations that won over viewers, like wearing a horse mask and creating hilarious skits.
"I'm just insane, I guess. But really these are things that just exist, and I just listen to the Lord and to the Universe and play with them," joked Alaska.
He named Madonna, RuPaul and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles heroine April O'Neil as his drag inspirations.
Since his stint on the show, Alaska has helmed a string of solo tours.
He will be in Singapore on Sunday for the R18 drag revue RuPaul's Drag Race Battle Of The Seasons 2016 Extravaganza Tour, which is into its third year.
It features a line-up of past winners, finalists and favourites from the show. They include Manila Luzon, Detox, Ginger Minj, Ivy Winters, Pandora Boxx, Violet Chachki, Phi Phi O'Hara and an opening DJ set by Pearl. (See report on right.)
"(The shows are) always different because we're feeding off the energy of the crowd. So whatever you guys bring is what we give to you.
"I try to keep Alaska fresh by doing laundry and bathing at least once a month," Alaska joked.
His favourite part about touring?
"I like hanging out with my sisters. Our time together is always so fun because they make me laugh so much. Any time with these girls is a blessing," he said.
Alaska has also enjoyed success in the music industry with the release of his debut album Anus last June, which topped the iTunes dance chart.
But acting seems to be the path he hopes to eventually take.
In 2014, he starred as straight-laced Charlotte in a stage production of TV series Sex And The City.
He said: "(RuPaul's Drag Race) has given me a lot of opportunities and opened a lot of doors. I now have a full-time job doing drag, which a few years ago would have been unheard of. So I'm very grateful.
"I love acting, so doing roles as a man or a woman would be something I'd love to do in the future."
But before that, Alaska will return to the small screen for the second season of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race.
Is he planning to lip-sync better, sew faster and death drop harder than ever before?
"I'm just going to go in with a positive attitude and try to do my best. I still don't really know how to sew though," said Alaska.
"This time round, the judges and the audience are familiar with my work, so it becomes a matter of doing what I do, but pushing myself further."
RuPaul's Drag Race Battle Of The Seasons 2016 Extravaganza Tour
WHERE Kallang Theatre
WHEN Sunday, 7pm
TICKETS $88-$188 from Sistic (6348-5555 or www.sistic.com.sg)
It's a 'blessing and curse'
DEEJAY: Season 7 runner-up Pearl will be in Singapore. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/PEARLIAISON
Season 7 runner-up Pearl got his drag on every Halloween, dressing as "hot old-school blondes" like Hollywood actresses Michelle Pfeiffer, Goldie Hawn and Sharon Stone.
What started as a hobby, later turned into a full-time gig.
Pearl, 25, whose real name is Matthew James Lent, told TNP in an e-mail interview: "(Doing drag for a living) is a blessing and a curse because I'm lucky as hell, but people don't realise how unglamorous it can be working and travelling like I do.
"The exhaustion is very real. But it's an amazing experience that won't last forever and I'm so grateful."
Pearl was most noted on his season for being "exhausted", as many perceived him to be lacklustre. But he later "kicked ass", winning two challenges and cracked the Top 3.
Pearl also kick-started his music career as a DJ last year, producing his debut electronic dance music album Pleasure.
It reached No. 11 on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart.
As part of RuPaul's Drag Race Battle Of The Seasons 2016 Extravaganza Tour, he will helm the opening DJ set.
He said: "There needs to be more to a drag show than death dropping and Top 20s (music)."
And that's not all.
Pearl's perfume Flazeda, which was released in June last year, marked him as the first RuPaul's Drag Race alumnus to release his own fragrance.
And as he is known to be one of the hottest guys of the series both in and out of drag, it is no surprise that he landed a major contract with the prestigious Wilhelmina Models talent agency in March.
It seems Pearl himself expected such results.
Asked if he thought he would make such a leap from drag to high fashion, he said: "Yes".