AS one of the world’s most popular drag queens, Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 owes her fame to her stint on RuPaul’s Drag Race where she was runner-up on the TV show’s fifth season.
Known for being able to turn a plastic sheet into a couture gown, there’s no doubt the 30-year-old is intelligent and creative.
[showads ad=MREC] Alaska recognised early on the potential Drag Race held and wanted to get in on the action, but not necessarily to boost her career.
“I saw what it was doing for the girls who were on it… social media was just starting to be a thing and I was like, ‘damn Raven has so many followers on Facebook’,” she says.
“I was so jealous, I was like: ‘I want to go to there’.”
The fate of Alaska’s drag career seems to be forever destined to be intertwined with RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The Pennsylvania-native started her drag career at the same time as the reality show and she was spotted as a potential contestant by the show’s producers.
“One of my first shows I ever did ever, there was a casting person from season one and girl, we were a mess… it was one of the worst performances,” she recalls.
She was invited to audition by the casting director, which she remembers was a disaster she was thankful for as it allowed her time to develop as a performer.
“When I started out I was definitely really rebellious, when I was first starting out, so getting rejected from Drag Race was an impetus for me to be more rebellious,” she says.
“So I made this audition tape for season two which was completely ridiculous, it was a complete mockery of the guideline sheet.
“Everybody loved it… but there was no way they were going to put me on fucking TV for it.”
Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 — a name derived from a type of marijuana — would go on to audition for each subsequent season but didn’t make it on the show until the fifth season.
She may have finished runner-up to Jinxk Monsoon in her season, but she has left the show as one of the most popular contestants ever in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race and is a hot favourite to feature in the second instalment of the show’s Drag Race All-Stars series.
“I love being an artist. Drag is one of those open ended artforms. You can do whatever you want with it,” she says.
“That’s what I love about it. I get to make all my own content. I get to have my fingers in all these things.”
As one of the busiest RuPaul girls, Alaska has her hands in a lot of pies. Her debut album, Anus, hit number three on the US Billboard Dance charts and she tours the world almost non-stop riding out the wave of success on Drag Race.
She was chosen along with fellow Drag Race alumni, William and Australia’s Courtney Act, to be the face of American Apparel and the trio — better known as the #AAAgirls — formed a girl group and have released a series of catchy pop tunes.
The constant touring and busy schedule can take its toll, but Alaska knows she is still grateful for the opportunities.
“You’re in a hotel and you’re by yourself and then you’re onstage and you have people cheering for you. It’s this stark and really jarring for your system. And then you’re in an airplane and you’re not sleeping and you’re not eating right,” she says.
“I mean, it’s hard and it has its challenges, but I can’t complain about it because it’s the best job ever and I’m really lucky to be doing it.”
Alaska Thunderfuck Australian tour dates:
Melbourne | Thursday, December 31 (NYE) at Crazy Sorry Grandma Club
Sydney | Friday, January 1 (NYD) at The Shift Club Upstairs
Adelaide | Saturday, January 2 at Apple Bar
**This article was first published in the January edition of the Star Observer, which is available now. Click here to find out where you can grab a copy in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.
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