June 28 2018

Hot Tea with Kimora Blac

New York-The Standard Interview
Is it hot in here or is it just Kimora Blac?
 
On a very steamy June night, the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 smokeshow came through for the grand finale of Season 10 and took us over the finish line with white-hot cracks on the mic, sultry shows, and lots of body-ody-ody.
 
Before joining Rify Royalty, Bootsie LeFaris, Lucy Balls, and Jada Valenciaga on stage, Ms. Blac lived her New York fantasy in the penthouse of The Standard, East Village, where she had a private, sunset photoshoot, took in the panoramic downtown views.
Read all of our "Hot Tea" interviews here.
The Standard
THE STANDARD: Hello, gorgeous! We are so thrilled you’re here for the big finale!
KIMORA BLAC: This is amazing I want to live here! [Gazes out the window.] Also, New York is big. Like, BIG.
 
It’s all yours, baby. So tell us, who is Kimora Blac? How did she come about?
I started when I was like 16! I was so fond of women’s clothing, so much that it was confusing. I had some time during my high school years where I thought about transitioning. When you’re that age, you never see drag queens or have any references, so it was confusing! But I started dressing up and I was lucky to have a family that supported me. Before I was 21, I snuck into a nightclub where I was introduced to drag and I saw how I could entertain while dressing up.
 
Where did you have your first gig?
Club 21 in Sacramento, where I was living at the time. It was the bar to be at. That’s where I saw some of my first drag queens ever. I did “Took the Night” by Chelley.
 
Oh my god, I love that song.
Right? That song is IT. I had on Daisy Dukes and a tank top cut in half, spray painted with some weird surface graffiti. And at that moment I knew I was some type of performer and I was exactly where I was supposed to be! But I probably looked disgusting.
The Standard
The Standard
So how did you land in Vegas?
I moved to San Francisco after high school and then went to Vegas with that Coyote Ugly story where I wanted to be somebody, so I moved to the city of entertainment. I just started performing where I could and collecting tips, and I was making it. There are so many open windows in Vegas because someone is always getting older and moving out, so I was a baby queen who had a place when I arrived. Actually, it’s where I met my first Ru Girl, India Ferrah. Vegas is not for everyone, but it’s a good city to have under your belt, because girl, that city pays MONEY.
 
When did you first audition for Drag Race?
I auditioned for Season 4 and got rejected, obviously. I don’t think I was even called Kimora at the time. I was called Lelani. But I changed that because I didn’t know how to spell that name.
 
Then for Season 9 you finally arrived. Tell us about that moment.
The producers are the worst with instructions! When I was waiting to walk in the Werk Room, they were literally just like, “Go.” And you can hear all the girls through those fake walls. The only girl I definitely knew was Farrah from working with her in Vegas, and I didn’t hear her voice, so I was so nervous!
 
Were you gagged by Gaga when she walked in?
Legendary. I honestly did not know it was her. Especially because she gave us an old Gaga look, I was like that is a good fucking impersonator. But then I looked at the feet and they were like a size 6 in stripper heels and then everyone started to gasp. It clicked with Eureka first. And then it was Eureka and Gaga’s conversation.

Eureka got some criticism for that. Were you upset she steamrolled that moment?
No! I praise her! Eureka stepped up to the plate. I was still in a daze from just being in the Werk Room, I couldn’t even process that it was Gaga enough to say anything. But afterwards, during the critiques in Untucked, I got to talk with her. She told me I had an amazing walk. And then she told the producers to slow down and let her finish. She was like, “Oh no, I’m having a good time with my girls.”
The Standard
That challenge was one of times the entire cast was together, since no one went home that episode. Who did you get along with?
When it comes to social skills, I can relate to Kameron Michaels, because I am more reserved and to myself. Nina caught me off guard. I didn’t even know her name at the time, and she made some comment about me having surgery. Everyone else was fine, but she’s not really the type of queen I relate to. Me and Farrah grew closer from knowing each other in Vegas. Me and Trinity Taylor got tight because we both love body. And her accent is funny as hell.
 
Aja ended up sending you home on the third episode. How did it feel seeing her on All Stars 3?
Honestly, to this day I still haven’t seen the lip-sync. I still can’t accept me going home that early! And also, it’s like hearing your voice on an answering machine. Maybe someday when I’m super stoned and with my boys I’ll watch it. But Aja, I was so happy to see her move up this fast. She’s an amazing performer and she’s fun and relatable. Me, not so much. People think I’m a bitch up front. My drag and the way I look is severe and can give off something I don’t mean to. Like, I’m still scared to go up to Raven because she’s so stunning. But honestly, what drag queen is approachable?
 
When this interview is live we’ll have a winner, but for now, what do you think of the top four?
Kameron is my favorite lip-syncer, even though she’s quiet. I mean, look at Sasha Velour. She never said anything. She’s a phenomenal queen, but she didn’t say anything ever! And then Asia is a legendary performer. Aquaria is my favorite look. Eureka is well rounded and always happy.
 
Anything you want to plug before we close out?
I have my series with WoW called Wait, What?, which is me and other girls taking over the world being stupid. I want it to be like Paris and Nicole. Other than that, just doing drag, doing my thing. Not a lot of girls get this experience, so I’m going to hold onto it.
Writer
Cameron Keady
Photographer
Morgan T. Stuart