April 28 2017

Three Sheets to the Wind: Detox

Los Angeles-Standard Spirits
We think an interview over three drinks makes the conversation a little more fun and a lot more scandalous, and that's exactly what happened with the queen of our dreams, Detox. Actually, the amount of drinks was definitely more than three, but no one was counting. The Standard, Downtown LA 's John just kept bringing the "It's Amasils." 

Before Drag Con takes over LA, the RuPaul's Drag Race (Season 5 and All Stars 2) alum came to 24/7 Restaurantand now that her year contract is up, she was more than happy to spill the tea on current Drag Race contestants, Wendy Williams, and all the behind-the-scenes gossip. Lucky for us, The Standard's own Corey Tuttle is the show's number one fan, and he was soaking it all up. 
DRINK ONE
The Standard
COREY TUTTLE [THE STANDARD]: Cheers.
DETOX: Cheers! This is delicious by the way. What is this? There’s rum in this? Rum I can always do. Gin makes me angry. Tequila makes me naked. And I still have to work tonight.
 
Why the name “Detox”?
Detox came around basically when I was 16 of 17 years old in the nightclub industry in Orlando. I was really obsessed with the whole erotica era and Madonna’s career, so I was calling myself Dita, but I was so young and such a drunk mess that I would only wear 10-inch platform shoes and I would fall down stairs everywhere. I was a crazy party girl, so everyone started calling me Detox, and it kind of stuck.
 
I heard “Three Sheets to the Wind” is really aligned with the Detox brand.
Because usually I am three sheets to the wind. I’m usually like, Bed Bath & Beyond to the wind.
 
What else is the Detox brand?
Fashion. Dick-piggery. I think the epitome of the Detox brand is super high fashion, very fun, very outgoing, but down the earth and humble.
 
So, you’re from Orlando?
I was born there, but my father was with the State Department so we moved around quite a bit. And my sister, who’s seven years older than I am (she’s going to hate me for saying that publically), has always been one of my biggest influences. When I turned 15 years old, I got emancipated from my mother, moved in with my sister, and she told me that it was OK to be gay. She encouraged me to come out and explore the arts and other opportunities for me as a young gay boy in the world, so I was very thankful to have her and very thankful to have the community in Orlando because it was, and still is, a tight-knit gay community.

At what age did you come out?
I was always stealing my mom’s heels and dressing up with my sister’s clothes, so it was always kind of a given, but I came out around 15 or 16 after I had been emancipated and was already living with my sister. She found a stash of gay porn in the bathroom and I was like, “I don’t know where that came from!” And she was like, “It’s just us in this house, bitch.” And she really encouraged me to come out, like forced me to call our parents. She was like, “What’s it going to hurt? I’ve got you. If they have any problems you’re in a safe area.” And that was very encouraging.
 
Does your family come to your shows?
Oh, yeah, they love it. It took them a while to get there. My brother was always very supportive. My parents…it took them a while to turn around, and I think I feel with the success of Drag Race and actually doing this professionally and doing well, it made them realize it was something much more than they thought it was.
 
Speaking of Drag Race, people say Season 5 is one of the best ever.
It was the best season, until All Stars 2. [Laughs.]
 
What do you think it is that made Season 5 so strong?
There were so many well-known names in that season from the drag world. The drag community who was watching the show was able to tune into it more and be present with it, instead of being like, “Well, this is bullshit. They’re exploiting the drag community.” Because for a while there, I feel like there was a bitterness. There still is a bitterness in the drag world when it comes to Drag Race.
 
What is that bitterness?
From girls that haven’t been able to get on the show that deserve to be on it. There are so many girls out there that are such amazing talents that have been staples in the drag community for years that haven’t had the opportunity to do that. 
 
Going back to Season 5, the challenges the producers made you do were just better.
Season 4 definitely put it on the map, and I feel like they just had to step it up. And they did with Season 5. Especially with the casting, challenges, and prizes. I still haven’t received a lot of my prizes from Season 5. [Laughs.]
 
Which ones did you get that season?
I don’t even remember. The one main challenge I won, I won a wigged wardrobe. I still have no idea what that was or where it is, because I never received it. I did get a really great Marc Jacobs prize, but that was for All Stars 2. 

[A new drink arrives at the tableJohn, the waiter, says, “This is the Daydreamer with saged vodka, blueberries, simple syrup, and lime juice.” Detox says, “Y’all gon’ fuck me up!”]
 
Cheers.
Cheers.

[*Clink.*]


DRINK TWO
The Standard
So, you mentioned All Stars 2. I feel like that season created a whole new discussion about the show, and people watching got very intense about their feelings.
People have been getting really intense about it, especially with this season. With what’s going on in the world, people aren’t holding themselves back, which I love. It’s kind of a love-hate thing, because I love the fact that people are very opinionated and allowed to speak their minds and do it freely. However, a lot of times they’re ridiculous. Just because you watch the show doesn’t give you the end-all be-all opinion of what drag is and who we are as people. You’re only seeing 15 minutes out of 24 hours’ worth of footage per episode. It’s highly edited, and it’s highly edited to the favor of people they want to be in the favor of, and none of us know that going into it. None of us know while it’s happening.
 
That was a point of contention, that season. Was there ever a moment you felt you were unfairly edited?
I don’t feel like I was unfairly edited ever, but I feel like I was almost edited out with just how well I was doing, to make it look like I wasn’t. When I walked away after filming All Stars 2 (and I can talk about it now that my year contract is up, and I’m so obsessed with being able to freely talk about things now) I was like, I have this in the bag. It was between Alaska and I—she killed it, but I killed it, too. So, to me, her and I were the only ones who were in the competition. I know Katya was there with us, but there was just a different dynamic when you were there on set. Watching it like the 3rd episode in, I was like, “Welp, that’s it. I’m not getting this.” For that to happen and to not actually win...it was very jarring.
 
Did you guys enjoy voting with the lipstick?
NO! It was horrifying. We knew there was going to be some kind of twist, but it’s gut-wrenching to have to do that to somebody.
 
When you sent Alyssa home…
It was heartbreaking! But I could not send Roxxxy home and to be fair, her critiques were worse than Roxxxy’s that week. You don’t see that.
 
[Detox burps, then exclaims, “Oh my god! Excuse me!”, then laughs.] 

OK, so let’s go into Season 9. I think the biggest change is it's now on VH1. Do you think that’s changed it for the better or worse?
I definitely feel the Friday change is something that they should have thought out a little bit more. A lot of gay nightlife, especially little hole-in-the-wall bars in small towns in middle America, relied on the fact that they had a Monday night, or even when it moved to Thursday nights for All Stars 2, they had this already built-in audience there and built-in revenue. You’d see gay bars thriving throughout the country on those nights. Having it on Friday, everyone’s going to be out on Friday nights anyways.
 
As far as the switch to VH1 goes, any way to broaden the horizons and to get us more into the mainstream is a step in the right direction. But Wendy Williams being there…
 
It didn’t seem like people responded well to it.
Watching it live, I’m so excited. Then the first commercial break comes up, and it’s essentially “Wendy Williams Presents RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and I was like, “This is the wrong-est decision ever.”

It was also some girl from Love and Hip Hop.
I don’t even know who that girl is, but she seemed like she was more invested in the show than Wendy Williams was. And word from the set is she [Wendy Williams] refused to watch the episode while it was airing. She said that she had never watched an episode in her life and doesn’t ever plan on watching an episode in her life, and to me, someone who has built a career on outing closeted homosexual men and being transphobic should not be making money off of our community.

Someone sent me a video the other day like, “Oh, she’s at it again.” Just the other day on her show, during her “How You Doin’” segment, which is what she calls homosexuals—the “how you doins”—which is already derogatory. So she was doing a segment and Eddie Murphy came up, and she was like, “Let’s not forget his past with a transvestite.” Girl. And then you’re going to go and collect a check from VH1 talking about a drag queen show. Get the fuck out of here.

So, other than that, what do you think of Season 9 so far?
I think it’s been really fun. I need to go back and watch a lot of it, because I haven’t been able to actually sit and pay attention to it, but it’s been a lot of fun. To me it’s definitely a lot more fun than Season 7. It’s a little bit more fun than Season 8 was. 

Do you have any friends on the show this season?
I do! Shea Coulee, who I love and adore. Peppermint, who I love and adore. Trinity, I don’t know her too well, but I’ve known her.

Who has impressed you the most this season?
I was in love with Charlie’s fairy tale look. That rose gold gown was so stunning to me. I really loved Sasha Velour’s ode to NYC. Valentina is beautiful. I’m not a huge fan of Valentina but I think she’s stunning and looks great.
 
Why not a fan of Valentina?
I just don’t buy it. I feel like she’s being force fed to me. And there’s an inauthenticity about her, where everything seems very contrived and very forced, like she went in with a mission to be like, "I’m going in there to make a TV show," instead of just being good TV. I can’t blame her for it. That’s what you have to do, especially with the way the show is now, where there are all kinds of people who haven’t really paid their dues in the drag community who are there.

You saw Aja’s moment in Untucked where she basically called that out.
It was hilarious and true, and I was right there with her. I would’ve handled myself a little differently, but when you’re in that moment, things are heated and it’s stressful. I lost my mind in the second or third episode of Season 5 on poor Serena ChaCha, because in the heat of the moment, you’re stressed out and you’re used to being on the road every night and drinking. You go from being technically a hardcore, functioning alcoholic to being given one drink every other day.

So, when they hand you the drink backstage, that’s the only drink you get?
Yes, and they’re weak!
 
How often do you talk to Alaska?
Pretty often. We work together a lot. We text each other. We always send each other really gross things.
 
Can you show me any gross things?
I mean I can show you my crotch right now.
 
OK, let’s stop talking about Drag Race.
I can talk about whatever you want. I’m about to need another drink, though. This is delicious! I feel like this needs to be my calette—palette cleanser…calette penser! I’m already drunk. I don’t know how I’m going to work tonight!
 
Cheers.
Cheers.
 
[*Clink.*]
DRINK THREE
The Standard
The Standard
Any secret talents the world doesn’t know about?
Mmm…I’m pretty open about everything I can do. I can stick my tongue behind my uvula, but everyone knows that.    

What’s your favorite Pride?
I would have to say Stockholm. They treat me so well, it’s a huge week-long event. The love there is so palpable, everyone there is so beautiful, and the whole city lights up. It’s such a cool thing.
 
At New York Pride when Marriage Equality passed, I was there for that year. It was so powerful and so beautiful to be a part of that. Look at me, I’m crying already. I am such a crier. I don’t know if that’s a secret talent, it’s very public. Where’d I put my puff?
 
[She fixes her makeup.]

Is there a city where you've performed in which the gay nightlife completely surprised you?
Little Rock, Arkansas. I was there to host and judge the finals of a talent show called Glitter Rock and it was so much fun and you would never think it’d be in Little Rock. Salt Lake City has a really fun scene!

Finish this sentence: A drag queen should never…
Apologize.
 
A drag queen should always…
Flap their dingus at people, because that is my favorite thing to do.

Would you ever date another drag queen?
Oh, yeah! A lot of queens have an issue with that.
 
Why is that?
I don’t know, because they want to be the star. It’s a competitive thing. I want to date a bigger drag queen than I am so I can take a break for a minute. [Laughs.]

Do you have your phone on you?
I do.

Can you read me something from your DMs?
I honestly don’t read my DMs that much, because I have the notifications turned off, so I forget to look at them.

Do you get dirty things?
I get a lot of dirty things.
 
What’s the craziest request you’ve ever seen? They just send you dick pics?
Yeah, and they’re like, “Well I sent you one, you have to send me one. And I’m like, “I didn’t ask you for one.” And my other favorite thing, which I’ve gotten a lot recently, is, “Hey, could I ask you a question? It would really mean a lot,” and I’m like, “Sure,” and they’re like “Is my dick ugly? Could you rate my nude?” and I’m like, “Umm.”
 
Was fame ever something you desired?
Fame was always there. I always thought I was going to be famous for something. I never thought I was going to do drag—it ended up being that and I’m so thankful it is, because I’m able do something that I love so much, that I appreciate so much as an art form, and able to impact people’s lives in a positive way. That’s why I get so angry with a lot of my colleagues; they don’t appreciate what a privilege it is to be in our position.
 
You called out all Season 9 queens on Twitter.
I’m hearing awful things that they’re doing. And it’s not just them, it’s a lot of people from past seasons.
 
You kind of subtly called out Farrah.
Well, because she’s one of the people that I’ve heard things about. What I will say about Farrah is I appreciate that she is the only one that actually messaged me to say, “I just want to clear the air and see what you may be hearing and let you know where I’m coming from.” I really appreciated that, because she’s the only one who has done it.

Is there any chance of another reunion of your band DWV? 
Nope. [Laughs.] We tried. And you know what? I’m fine with that, because it was really fun while it lasted, it was really gross when it ended, we’ve all moved on, we’re all in a better place. Willam and I are on good terms, we still talk and support each other. We’re not going to be the same that we were before, and I’m OK with that. It would be fun. I know the fans want it. We miss it, too. We talk about it all the time. I talk to Vicky about how fun it was and I talk to Willam about how much fun it was. I relay Will’s messages to Vicky, Vicky rolls her eyes. [Laughs.] I think that we’re all in a place where it’s best not to do it.
 
When does Detox’s Life Rehab premiere?
I don’t even know, honestly. Initially it was supposed to be like 5-8 minute webisodes that were super irreverent and silly, and now it’s like a longer 25-35-minute format with a lot of content. It’s very funny and it’s very spiritual. It’s like the Martha Stewart and Oprah of drag, but with an even worse drinking problem.

What’s next for Detox?
Continuing global domination. Everything is next.

The Standard
DETOX UNDRESSED
Join RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 and All Stars 2 star Detox after Drag Con for an intimate and “undressed" gathering, where cocktails, conversation, and the T will surely be flowing. 

Sunday, April 30, 8-10pm
SPiN at The Standard, Downtown LA

Photographer
Shelby Duncan
Interview by
Corey Tuttle