By Christopher Rudolph
Nicky Doll Made Drag Race herstory before even stepping foot in the Werkroom: As the first French queen to compete for the crown, she consistently looked as if she’d just stepped off a Parisian runway, serving fierce fashion looks for Ru and the judges. But couture didn’t cut it, and the panel wanted Nicky to show a little more quirky je ne sais quois.
In her final catwalk turn she donned a caped chrome bodysuit inspired by two French icons, Joan of Arc and French designer Thierry Muger. But beyond stomping the mainstage in some sickening silhouettes, Nicky rapped for Nicki Minaj and played a rude baby during the “Gay’s Anatomy” acting challenge during her short tenure on Season 12. Nicky shocked the judges when, after being asked which queen should go home, she nominated herself, and she lip-synced for her life twice before finally saying au revoir.
MTV News spoke with Nicky Doll, who explained why she picked herself to sashay away and what other French drag queens she would love to see on Season 13.
MTV News: You’re a Season 12 queen, so you should be too-booked-to-be-bothered right now, but everything is canceled. How are you holding up?
Nicky Doll: Well, you know, I started out very frustrated because of course, you go through such an intense competition, and at the end of the day we're all drag queens — we just want to meet the fans, and we want to perform and we want to spread happiness and also be paid. So when you realize that this is not really going to happen anytime soon, you start to really feel frustrated, but then you realize that you're still this entertainer and you're still this beacon of light for the people, and now more than ever they need you, even if it's through an Instagram live. And so I very quickly figured out how to still be that person for my fans. The amazing technology that we have in 2020!
MTV News: And you're going to be part of Digital Drag Fest, right?
Nicky Doll: Yes. I will be performing on April 3 at 7 p.m. PST.
MTV News: And do you think you're going to do other digital performances until things go back to normal?
Nicky Doll: Well, I created my own episode [of Drag Race] for my Instagram live. It's great because now I'm my own channel. I am doing this make a theme challenge where I invite girls from my season and other artists that I love. We give each other themes, and we just challenge ourselves to do the best makeup possible. So I do that three times a week on my Instagram.
MTV News: Let’s talk about this week’s episode. You were saying how you felt there was more pressure on you because you were a French queen against all these American girls on an American show. Do you still feel that way? Did that ever change?
Nicky Doll: Well, I think that the pressure that I was talking about I was putting on myself, and it took me a month of therapy and me watching myself on TV to realize that I was actually the one putting an enormous amount of pressure on myself. Now, when it comes to fashion, of course being French we have this sense of being the capital of the world. So I wanted to make sure that I'm really bringing my own take on fashion, my own take on drag fashion and also bringing my French touch to American culture. I'm really proud of the looks.
MTV News: Yes, you did. And the judges said they wanted to see more of your quirky side. Is that something you've been conscious of since you left the show, to bring out your quirky side more?
Nicky Doll: No. You know, that's why I was frustrated every time on the runway. I am quirky, and sometimes I am too quirky for people to take it. I'm just a goofball, you know? And so it was very frustrating because usually that's one of the first things that you see of me. And so being on that main stage and having the judges really struggling to see this or misinterpreting me being shy as me not being quirky was the most frustrating thing I have experienced on the show — and probably ever, because you feel like you're just hitting a wall.
MTV News: Did you take a break from drag after you left the show?
Nicky Doll: Yes, I really needed a few weeks to process everything. The competition really sucks all of the creativity out of you because you're really putting everything out there. So I needed some time to just figure out what the hell happened. And after a few weeks I was just ready to get back into drag. I was inspired again, and I had work to do and bills to pay.
MTV News: When you were up on the main stage and RuPaul asked everyone who they thought should go home, it was surprising when you said yourself. Why did you say that? And do you have any regrets, saying that?
Nicky Doll: It’s hard when other contestants say your name in a row. I think that's probably one of the toughest positions you can ever be in on Drag Race, aside from losing, of course. Having people say my name and realizing that I was clearly not able to have the judges see the full extent of who I am, both as a performer and as a person, I almost gave up. It was just too hard for me. The pressure was just too intense. I was really struggling with the language and I was really going through it. So I don't regret it because I kept my integrity and I stayed authentic for the viewers, and for myself, and for the judges. And also, having to process the fact that I said my own name really put the light under my ass to really work twice as hard and just be ready for another round, if there is another round. If you put me back there, now I've managed to realize what went wrong, and I can definitely fix that. And the fashion is already sick. So I can just focus on that, now.
MTV News: And this was like the first episode of Untucked this season where things got really heated. What was going through your mind when the girls went in on Aiden backstage?
Nicky Doll: Well, I jumped in also. Back then it felt like Aiden was not really working as hard as we were. And so, it's like a big family of sisters and there's someone that feels like is the favorite, and you want your mom to love everyone. TWe were just jealous of the fact that Aiden was being understood by the judges instead of me or Brita. It's part of the show as well. We're drag queens, we have big egos, big personalities. It was good TV, I think.
MTV News: Who are some other French drag queens that fans should check out?
Nicky Doll: There's a lot of other drag queens from France that are very talented, like Mika Holly White who is from Nice, in the South of France. She's a great performer, she's a DJ. And Cookie Kunty, who is also amazing.
MTV News: What was most surprising to you about being on Drag Race, when you were filming it?
Nicky Doll: The pressure and how hard it is to do those shifts, because you're really in drag for almost 12 hours a day. In our everyday life when you work that hard, you’ve already built your whole career. You know your performances, so you can turn off your brain and still be good. On the show, none of that is possible. You have to be fully aware nonstop and give it all and you've got to have a big bank of content to give because they're going to suck the life out of you. And that's what makes the show so good.
MTV News: Since everything is canceled, what's the best way that fans can support you right now?
Nicky Doll: I think the best way to support me is really to buy my merch. Do not Venmo me. And follow me on Instagram, too.