She says goodbye to Drag Race, but she is still on the move
Six girls have left their marks on the mirror in the Drag Race dressing room, but Robbie Turner really surprised me. She seems to be keeping herself busy, in fact during out interview it appeared she was doing multiple things at once.
Robbie does have many talents, perhaps more than you would expect only seeing her five weeks on the show.
Naturally all of the contestants are interesting and gifted in some way, but as you get further into the season, you have invested interest in the queens as their backstory and personalities develop. Just as the judges want to see more as far as creativity, we the viewer want to see more about the person under the make-up, something the judges often don't get to experience.
Turner was criticized for her “Wizard of Drag” runway challenge. The task was to work with Christy Gibel, a little person from the reality show Little Women: L.A. to create a couture Oz look for both; their assigned character was the Cowardly Lion.
Mama Ru also asked the players to perform an interpretive dance while waking from a virtual field of onstage poppies. Robbie didn’t impress them with either the costume, or the dance.
“I personally didn’t think I was the worst,” she said. “But at the same time I didn’t get to see the other girl’s interpretive dance, I didn’t get to see anything. I wasn’t sure if I was a complete nut bag, maybe I was the worst. I don’t know.”
I asked her if she thinks people are voted off because they’re the worst, “Um, no I think there’s more that goes into consideration, but they don’t show that, per se.”
The problems for Robbie began backstage with a mechanical difficulty, and that set her back.
“My sewing machine and I were not co-operating,” she said. “And I had it on the proper stitch, but something about it was off, and it was just eating the fabric, truthfully.”
She and Kim Chi tried to fix the hungry appliance, but like the Wicked Witch’s hourglass, time was running out, “Of course the time works against us. But, you do your best in a very short amount of time. Even Bob wasn’t in drag when it was time for us to line up and go to the runway.”
Robbie says she took it as a professional hazard. Murphy’s Law always comes into play doing theater and it’s something she’s used to.
“You know, one minute you could be barfing backstage,” she explains. "When you walk on stage they have no idea. Right when you walk offstage, you’re like…oh, here it comes again. It’s just adrenaline and professionalism.”
For all Robbie’s hard work and troubles, there was one contestant who finished her costume early. Chi Chi DeVayne utilized a hot glue gun to construct her look and made light work in little time. This strategy seemed to irritate the others, even Robbie.
“There was a little bit more than that, and we were working on it for hours.” She recalls. “And to see somebody finish quickly…also what if it wasn’t the fact that she was hot gluing, what if she was like just a really experienced seamstress? And finished early and pulled out something great, we probably still would have been mad.”
Chi Chi is the abrasive personality this season. Some of the contestants are not happy with her attitude this far into the show, but Robbie says things change once you invest the time into really getting to understand from where the queens are working personally.
She says getting close to Chi Chi was difficult at first, she was really defensive and in question of her intentions. This only made Robbie more curious as to why her show-mate was resisting a new friendship.
The answer became clear when Chi Chi opened up about her tumultuous life. The players learn everyone’s personal journey during filming as the viewer does while watching.
“Later on of course we learn about her background,” Robbie said. “We don’t get like a bio of each other before it all starts so you don’t know if someone’s coming in with issues and anger, whatnot. I learned patience for drag queens. Because you really don’t know what’s going on honestly so we all do the professional thing and get on stage; we’re smiling, entertaining the crowd, but the truth is we could be like severely hurting inside.”
Robbie also learned about her challenge-mate reality star Christy Gibel, the little person who would become her muse for the “Oz” challenge.
“She and I got along really, really famously,” said Robbie. “I was surprised to hear that she was the bitchy one on her show. I was like oh really? I don’t even have a television. I had no idea. I loved her, and I actually just tweeted her and was like let’s get tea when I’m in L.A. She was really sweet and easy to work with for me.”
The two bonded quickly and found that they had more in common than they thought.
“As a gay person let alone a drag queen, and as a little person, you go through a lot of the same things. And often times you physically look different and so you think oh well, they’re nothing like me. But the truth is emotionally, we’re quite similar. That was a really interesting homework assignment if you will.” She laughs.
The mini challenge on this week’s show was the “read” segment. I asked Robbie what the difference was between a read and throwing shade and if people get unnecessarily offended.
“You know it’s playful banter,” she said. “It’s all tongue-in-cheek and it’s meant to be a joke. I think people take it a little too seriously because shade and read are not the same thing, and let alone snarkiness – not the same thing. It’s like, I’m just being funny and silly and campy and that’s part of being a drag queen.”
What about shade?
“Shade is something when you’re just being a dick, you know? That’s not how any of the girls were on the show, like no one’s a dick. It’s like we have our little moments, but that’s it.”
Robbie is working on her variety show at the Hard Rock Café in Seattle and hopes to take it around the country; perhaps further.
“It’s a lot like the Carol Burnett Show, and there’s comedy sketches that I write and I have five to six dancers in the show. The plan is to take it on tour. Eventually put it on TV. It’s fabulous.”
Robbie is also an author. Not only did she write the script for her Hard Rock show, she has also penned a book called “I’ll Tell Ya For Free,” and she hopes to have that ready to distribute during Drag Con.
Even though she won't see her castmates or Mama Ru until the reunon show, Robbie is not staying idle. Her sentiments for making the best of a uncooperative sewing machine, may also be the philosphy she carries with her in life:
"It's like, well it's time, so figure it out."