January 03 2019

Hot Tea with Laganja Estranja: Why She Will Not Be Part of All Stars

New York
Happy 2019! It may be a new year, but we’re back with more Hot Tea. This week, we sat down with Laganja Estranja. We spoke about her drag roots in Dallas (feat. Alyssa Edwards), reflections on her time on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, activism, and, of course, cannabis.

Tell us more about your drag roots. As the story goes, you were working with Justin Johnson (Alyssa Edwards) at the time. How did that come about?

I started working with Alyssa Edwards aka Justin Johnson in probably 2006. I had been working at a competition studio that actually competed against his, and after that studio stopped hiring me, I reached out to Justin and was like “Hey, I’m a fabulous teacher. I worked for this other studio. Would it be possible for me to come in, teach a class, show you what it is I do, and see if our styles work together?” Right away we were drawn to each other. We’re both eccentric people. We both have a love of choreography and movement. So yeah, I started working for him then.

No, I definitely do not see All Stars in my future. I’m actually trying to break away from the brand to be on my own two feet.

We’re in full swing with All Stars Season 4. Is All Stars something you see in your future?

No, I definitely do not see All Stars in my future. I’m actually trying to break away from the brand to be on my own two feet. As much as I love RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I’m thankful for all opportunities it’s given me, I feel for me to go onto all stars just to raise my booking fee would be taking away a spot from someone who truly wants to be known as a RuPaul Drag Race girl for the rest of their life. Also, it’s not really my type of environment for art making. I survived it once, and there’s no reason to get back into the shark tank.

What would you do differently, or the same, if you were to participate in RPDR again?

When looking back on season six, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I don’t believe in regret; I believe in learning from your mistakes, so I’m definitely thankful for how everything turned out. I’d rather be infamous than forgotten. If I were ever to go back, I would just try to be calmer. I would try to not necessarily pull focus as much as I did at 23 years old when I was new to Hollywood.

What is one misperception people viewing the show might have of you or the show?

I think a misperception people have of me, from viewing the show, is that I’m just on ten always, which isn’t true. You have to remember, we film anywhere from eight to, gosh, 12 hours a day, so what you’re seeing is very condensed. So that would be the main thing, that people just think I’m always on ten, always catch phrasing.

I don’t think I could walk into a Home Depot and people would know who I am.
The Standard

You’re very much an entrepreneur. What do you think is next for you?

As I move to Colorado, I’m definitely going to be focusing more on my cannabis brand. I definitely would like to release my own line of products, be that pipes or accessories, and then I eventually want to get into cannabis products, such as wax or pre rolls.

Once you’ve been on RuPaul, you pretty much become a household name. I know you have used your platform for activism. Do you think there is a responsibility for anyone with such a large following to use their platform in a meaningful way?

Let’s clarify--household name among gays--I don’t think I could walk into a Home Depot and people would know who I am. And yes, I do feel a great responsibility with my platform. I feel when given the opportunity to shine, thanks to RuPaul and Drag Race, it’s up to me to use that platform and make it what I have. I do a lot of cannabis outreach, and I really try to be a representative for both the cannabis community and the LGBT community in how I present myself.

What can people, both public figures and not, do over the next two years to make change happen?

I think people who have a platform need to be outspoken. They need to not be afraid to have an opinion, whether it’s pro or against Trump. I’m all for speaking your beliefs. I
think it’s also putting it into action. It’s one thing to talk about it, but it’s another to actually take it to the streets, to join the rallies, to volunteer, to really create a movement through action because unfortunately apathy is not enough these days.
The Standard
Photographer
Serichai
Writer
Sarah Morrison