By Evan Ross Katz
"Everything must be leopard print," Alaska Thunderfuck declares on the second track of hew new album, Vagina. True to form, as she entered RuPaul’s DragCon on Saturday morning (May 25), everything was leopard print — the dress, the headband, the gloves, and her four minions, who flanked the queen in leopard print bodysuits that fully covered their faces. Subtle? Not quite.
But subtlety has never been part of Thunderfuck's brand.
As the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 2, Alaska was on hand not just to spread the word about the first-ever Drag Queen of the Year Pageant, which Thunderfuck organized on Sunday evening, but to give fans their first listen of the album.
"It was really a surprise," she tells MTV News of the album, which dropped on Friday without any promotion. "I think we just had a lot of stuff going on and I was just like… DragCon weekend, let’s just do it." And so it was: a brand new album, the third solo LP from the singer, and her first in three years. The album follows 2015’s Anus, which included her hit single "This Is My Hair" and "Your Makeup Is Terrible," and 2016’s Poundcake, featuring dis track "The T" and "Race Chaser,” the latter of which inspired her Drag Race podcast with fellow Drag Race alum, Willam.
Unlike past albums, which have featured Drag Race alum like Adore, Miss Fame, Laganja Estranja, Vagina contains no guest stars. It’s also somewhat of a shift in tone for the artist thematically. Compare the lyrics from Anus ("This is my hair / This is my hair / This is my hair / This is my hair / I don't wear wigs / This is my hair / This is my hair / This is my hair / This is my hair / I don't wear wigs") to Vagina ("I take a look around the world and it blows my mind / Men have fucked up this planet since the dawn of time / What, Noah's Ark-y, such malarkey / Brick by brick we disassemble the patriarchy") and it couldn’t be more clear.
"Some of the message is I like to get wasted at nightclubs and get thrown out," she says. "Some of the message is that, like a lot of people, I’m fuckin’ pissed off at how women are treated in this fuckin’ country and in this world. So I just write what I’m feeling and that’s something I feel a lot."
And that passion to express what's on her mind can be heard on her popular Drag Race podcast, which is focused on the weekly discussion, dissection and dissemination of the show. "I care deeply about Drag Race and drag. It’s my life and it changed my life," she says. "I think of us like commentators, like on the Super Bowl you know how Terry Bradshaw sits there and is like 'this guy’s really good this season…' like we do that… just with Drag Race. I’m the Terry Bradshaw of drag. Not Carrie Bradshaw," she stresses, "Terry!"
Alaska Thunderfuck and Willam Belli perform at 2019 Tribeca Film Festival
Her efforts to make predominantly male-oriented spaces more accepting of women and femmes also extends to her drag pageant, which included non-binary and transgender contestants as well as cisgender women, or what’s sometimes-but-not-always referred to as bio-queens. Additionally, the panel of judges featured five women: Drag Race stars Gia, Jiggly Caliente, and Peppermint, as well as comedian Nicole Byer and drag king Landon Cider.
"I think Alaska is probably one of the most important drag queens to the drag community simply because she’s not afraid to do what’s uncomfortable in order to do what’s right," the night’s winner, Abhora, says when asked what makes Alaska so special to so many in both the LGBT community and sub-community of drag performers.
"I’m blown away by the level of talent and fierceness that all eight contestants brought to the show," Thunderfuck says. "We did this competition as an experiment, to see what would happen in a pageant that was open to everyone, with diversity and inclusivity in mind. It’s a really fun art form where anus-thing is possible, truly," she concludes before being whisked back down to the main floor of the Con.
There, I watch as countless fans — many of them teens and younger, dressed as the fearless Ms. Alaska Thunderfuck — wait for the chance to meet their queen, a leader who truly practices what she preaches: equality among all genders and leopard-print boldness.