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'RuPaul's Drag Race' Interview: Kahanna Montrese on Avoiding Workroom Drama and Feeling Her 'Bring It On' Fantasy

As she sashays away, the queen reflects on the advice she received from her drag mother, Coco Montrese

By Christopher Rudolph

On this week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, the queens had to show off their acting skills when they divided into teams and starred in the film classics, Why It Gotta Be Black, Panther? and Good God Girl, Get Out! But after a so-so turn in the acting challenge, and a horny runway lewk, it was time for Kahanna Montrese to follow in Soju's heels, and sashay away.

After her elimination, MTV News chatted with the Las Vegas-based queen about her time on the show, if Silky really brought all the drama, and what words of advice her drag mother, Coco Montrese, had for her before she walked into the workroom.

MTV News: Hey Kahanna! How are you feeling today?

Kahanna Montrese: I'm feeling really good, man. I've received a lot of love since the show. I'm just overjoyed. Truly. Watching the episode last night was really intense, but I had fun watching it. It was a good episode!

MTV News: In the acting challenge you were given a small part with only two lines. When you realized that, did you think that was your death sentence?

Montrese: Not a death sentence! [Laughs] I knew when I saw how small my role was I thought, "Okay this is going to be tough. I'm really going to have to work on hard on this." What I didn't realize, I was so focused on my part, I completely neglected Mercedes. I let her down because I could have helped her in that situation so we both shined. That's what we needed. We needed to work as a team to make that part super strong. It's a learning lesson. It taught me to look outside of myself and make sure my team, as a whole, is strong.

MTV News: The episode showed a lot of drama around the girls and Silky. Is that how it really was in the workroom?

Montrese: I'll be honest, I wasn't really engaged in a lot of the drama, that's not my vibe. Every time I was with Silky — and I was with her most of the time — it was a lot of fun! So when I saw it on TV, it was shocking because we were not putting that energy out at all. The girls were probably just intimidated by her. When Silky walked into that workroom so confident, I think it got to a lot of girls, and they didn't know how to handle it. But the energy that she put out helped everyone be more engaged. Let's be real, the season picked up when Silky got airtime.

MTV News: Since it's the beginning of the season there are so many girls still. Was it on your mind to try to stand out from the pack?

Montrese: For me it wasn't so much to outshine the girls to get airtime, but the pressure for me was being Coco's daughter. I feel people are always going to compare me to her. That got in my head.

MTV News: Coco has done Drag Race twice. What advice did she have for you?

Montrese: She's a strong competitor, so on her season she was in straight competition mode, and she forgot to have fun. That was her biggest piece of advice for me. She said, "I'm not asking you to make top five or to win the show. I'm just asking you to go there, be yourself, and really take it all in." Looking back, I wish I had done that. It's one of those situations that when you walk in you forget everything that was told to you. It's so much to take in. I should have had more fun! I got the call [to be on the show] because they believe in my drag, so let me show that.

MTV News: I loved your zodiac runway look, but those ram horns must have taken up a lot of room in your suitcase!

Montrese: Those horns, baby! I'm the horniest on the season, so I had to showcase that! I'm proud of my horns!

MTV News: Is there a certain look you're sad you won't get to show off on the show?

Montrese: Oh, for sure. I'm not sure if I can spill the tea on that, but it was crazy because every look I brought after the zodiac sign challenge was so sickening! I didn't even get to showcase my really good stuff! But you will see those looks on the road.

MTV News: And that lip sync! You were doing back flips, and jumping all over the stage!

Montrese: I was feeling my Bring It On fantasy! For me, cheerleading was a huge part of my childhood, it was a way I got to express myself creatively. Tumbling was stress relief for me. It was a way for me to let go. I wanted to show the world who I am, what I do. I'm a performer, that's what I bring onstage, so I'm so glad that I got to show that.

MTV News: On Untucked, you got really emotional reading your goodbye letters from the other queens. What was going through your mind in that moment?

Montrese: Before Drag Race I took drag as just a job. Go to the gig and go home. When I was there in the workroom, you had no choice but to bond with the other girls because we were stuck together through these really long days. They became family. To get those letters was so validating for me. This was more than just a competition. This was more than work. When I was reading those letters, I thought, "This is my family, man. They really have my back."

RuPaul's Drag Race airs Thursdays at 9/8c on VH1.