DeJa Skye on Serving "Stank Face" and Sharing the Stage With Charli XCX
From her workroom entrance line — "Alright, Season 14, let's get thickening!" — we knew DeJa Skye would be a comedy queen to keep our eye on.
The fierce fashionista from Fresno brought her colorful couture and quick wit to Season 14 of RuPaul's Drag Race, but even though she won a maxi challenge and found herself in the bottom two only twice, it felt as if DeJa was viewed as an underdog, slept on by the other queens and the viewers. DeJa was consistent throughout the competition, serving high concept looks on the runway, and reading her fellow contestants in the workroom.
Eventually, this past episode she found herself in the bottom, along with Jorgeous, and Daya Betty, and after an Olivia Rodrigo lip-sync, she was sent packin' along with her good Judy, Jorgeous.
DeJa spoke with Logo about how being on Drag Race changed her drag, why she thinks she was seen as an underdog, what was behind her "stank face" meme, and what it was like sharing the stage with Charli XCX.
Hi, DeJa! So okay, first off, your "stank face" picture. I've been laughing about it all day.
Oh my God. It's my favorite thing.
Do you remember what was going through your mind at that moment?
No. I just remember Daya, because Daya has a smell fetish, and so I just remember walking by and seeing Daya smell this thing that has been in Bosco's I don't know what. And I'm like, "Oh, what's going on, sister? What's happening here?"
Okay, so let's talk about the Ross Mathews roast. How were you feeling going into it? Because there have been some rough roasts in the past. What was it like being on stage and actually doing the roast?
Going into it, I was like, "I've never done a roast before." We see them on TV, okay. But I've never done a roast before. And the one thing that I was having in the back of my mind at all times was, "Don't be a fucking cunt, don't be rude." Because whenever I see a roast and it's just mean, I don't want to root for that queen, and I also don't want to hear it. I mean, I know they say in a roast you should cut, but there's a way to be sassy as opposed to just being mean. So I didn't feel the most confident, especially knowing that I knew that [Lady] Camden, Bosco, and Willow are amazing joke writers. I was like, "Okay, let me just go in, do my best. At least hopefully, I'll get a couple of laughs." And when you're on stage, I mean, Ru was giggling the entire time. So I was like, "Okay, I at least have Ru kind of." But seeing Michelle and [guest judge] Dulcé [Sloan] just blank-faced, except for my last joke. My last joke, they cut up. But just seeing their blank faces... that can really get into your head. It's kind of just like Snatch Game in the sense of, if one joke doesn't land, you can definitely go down a dark road of just giving up... so I was like, "I have to get through this, let me try to get through this, and it is what it is."
So you land in the bottom, what was going through your mind when Ru said, "It's going to be a three-way lip-sync?"
I was more or less upset because I was going against my best friend in the competition and one of the people that I was closest to as well. And so my mentality, and I think it showed on my face, at first, I was shocked. But then I was just like, "It is what it is," only because I said, "All three of us are going to do our thing in the lip-sync. It's literally just coming down to who Ru wants to stay." And so it was pretty much out of our control. "Ru's going to make his decision. Let's just give him a damn show."
And are you a fan of Olivia Rodrigo?
Because that song seems like it'd be a hard one to lip-sync to.
I will say this. So obviously, me and Jorgeous have been called lip-sync assassins, but we are dancers. But I do more ballads, I have old-school moments. None of us are rock stars, except for Daya, none of us. We are not rockers, we are not punk girls. So that song was right up Daya's alley. So I was like, "Okay, well, she's obviously going to excel. Let me at least do something." And also, I was in a froufrou, pastel, cotton candy prom dress. These things, are not the same parts. They don't go in the same realm. So I was just like, "All right. Well, scratch one, scratch two. Let me just try to get through this lip-sync."
So you weren't surprised when you were asked to sashay away?
I was happy that it was with, if anyone, it was with my best friend from the competition. I was happy that, "You know what? I think we both left our mark, we both did the damn thing. I stayed consistent the entire competition." So if I was to leave with anyone, I was happy that it was her. And Daya kind of got a little bit of revenge from the time that I sent her home. Because even in the letter that I wrote her after, I said, "Don't think that you don't deserve to be here because you absolutely deserve to be here." It was just, it was what it was. Our time came. And I can't be mad that I didn't make, what, one episode. I've been on plenty of episodes. So I can't be mad at it."
You talk about your friendship with Jorgeous, and then I was re-watching your "Meet the Queens" video, and you said how you were just excited to make friends. You could just tell how close you all were, especially these seven. It seemed like you were having so much fun in the workroom. Is that what it was really like?
Oh, absolutely. You know what? They don't show enough of the workroom banter. We are cracking jokes, I'm freaking making everyone laugh. They don't show enough of that. There's so much stuff that hasn't been seen, I wish they could do an extended version of each episode because it's so fun. We are cutting up, we are laughing, we are reading each other. That really is a sign of, we all have a connection and seven of us genuinely want each other to succeed. So I just wish they showed more of that. I get it, they want the drama, but I wish that they would show more of the fun, the banter, and the things that I personally will remember and cherish.
You were really consistent throughout the season, but I still felt like you were kind of seen as an underdog, like you were being slept on.
What do you think that's about?
So on set, I never felt like that. I never felt like I wasn't seen, or I wasn't a competitor, or I wasn't doing the damn thing. I felt like I was consistent the entire season. And so I think in the fan base, I feel like primarily in the fan base, I'm underestimated. I just don't necessarily feel like I was underestimated by the judges or anything, or even the girls. I don't think the girls necessarily underestimated me. I think that if they did, it was an easy thing only because I was so nice to everyone, I was so congenial to everyone, I got along with everyone. So maybe they thought, "Well, she's not a threat." But I think in the fan base, primarily, they just, I think, I don't know what it is about me. I do not know because I'm like, "I'm killing almost every challenge, I'm doing the damn thing. I just don't understand why you guys are not seeing me as a competitor." Even when I won Snatch Game, they were still just like, "Well, you know..." I'm like, "Guys, I won!"
How did being on Drag Race change your drag?
I think I became more aware of my capabilities because there were a lot of things that I had never done before. I had never recorded a song or even more or less sung. I had never acted before. So I think it was eye-opening. I'm so much more capable of more things as opposed to just performing and hosting. I mean, obviously, that's where my strength lies, but why not look through other opportunities and other doors, and see where that lands me? So I definitely think it made me step it up in that facet. But I will say this, watching myself on TV, I will never change my makeup. My makeup is gorgeous. I'm like, "Hello, stunner. How are you doing?"
Okay, so I have to ask: You were onstage with Charli XCX?
Did you perform with her at Heaven [in London]? What was going on there?
So I had done a competition called Porn Idol, and the owner [of Heaven nightclub] said, "Do you want to have a lip-sync battle behind Charli XCX? Her album drops the next day." So I was like, "Yes, oh my God." And Krystal Versace was there too as well. It just so happened that she decided not to do the lip-sync battle, but I was still in the background, lip-syncing to her stuff, and doing the damn thing. I got a picture with her. She's the sweetest person. And her album, oh my God.
Her album is so freaking good. It's literally on constant repeat. I'm like, "This is just fire." I literally was like, "What is my life right now? I get to meet someone so iconic, and the night before she drops her album." That's crazy!
RuPaul's Drag Race airs Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.