She might be a Willow Pill but she's a big winner!
Season 14 of RuPaul's Drag Race ended with the Denver drag queen snatching the crown and receiving the $150,000 cash prize. From the moment Willow walked into the workroom with her "angle" tanktop and chunky platform sandals, fans knew she was different from the other queens. Willow had a dark and unexpected brand of humor, one that RuPaul loved, so much so that at one point in the competition Ru referred to Willow as part of her "tribe" — kindred spirits.
Willow spoke with Logo about her wild Drag Race ride, how she celebrated after the finale, and why she believes her and Yvie Oddly both winning proves there's a "glitch in the system."
Hi, Willow! I'm super excited to talk to you because you were my favorite from the moment you walked into the workroom. I was so excited when you won, condragulations!
I was watching the reaction video of the top five watching the finale. What was that like watching the finale together?
It was so weird. We're used to watching these episodes in bars full of hundreds of drunk patrons, which is really fun and crazy, and so it was different to have just an intimate experience with the four people that know exactly kind of what's going on in my brain. It was kind of wild. It still doesn't quite feel real, especially because I haven't been to a club or a bar yet to perform and kind of feel the audience recognizing that I've won and I'm still in a little bit of shock, but it felt amazing to be surrounded by the four people that have been with me this whole journey and know all the glamor and difficulty that it takes to get to that level.
And so what went through your head when Ru said you were the winner?
I'd be lying a little bit if I didn't say that I was expecting it a little bit. I felt great about my showcase at the finale and I did walk away from filming being like, "Okay, I think I might have just won Drag Race", but to feel it really come to fruition felt amazing and I honestly would've been happy either way. $50,000 to whoever gets second, is such a great bonus, and Lady Camden is an incredible competitor, who I would've not been disappointed to lose to, but to hear my name from RuPaul as America's Next Drag Superstar is something I've dreamed of since I was 14 or 15 years old, so it felt like kind of a fever dream.
Do you remember what you were thinking as you were standing on stage about to lip-sync to "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"?
They really torture you when you film these things because if anyone's been in production, they know everything lasts 20 times as long, so we were waiting for quite some time. When you're up there, it's terrifying and you feel like you're going to throw up, but then as soon as the music started, I just kind of did the same as Camden, I kind of blacked out.
You go into autopilot mode. And thankfully for both of us, I think we had a pretty killer showcase and really gave them a show and as drag queens, it's what we do on a daily basis so it was just kind of in our muscle memory and in our blood to do it, let my body take over.
I was at the finale party in New York on Friday, and when you were up on stage and you got the $150,000 card and you then... orgasm into the microphone. What was the story behind that?
So Camden and I at the finale filming, we were like, okay, whoever wins, what if we just did like an orgasm as our acceptance speech? And both of us were like, no we can can't do that. Because they'll just cut it out and ask for a new one. But this one was not being filmed for a network. Okay so whoever wins should just do it here. And I'm a woman of my word...
And then at the party, you lip-synced to "Chasing Pavements," which is one of my favorite Adele songs. Why did you choose that song?
Well, first of all, I was in a gown. So I was like, what can I do in a gown? I'm not doing any kicks or splits... well, I can't anyways. But that's a song I've loved for a really long time. And of course, the tone of that song has more to do with romantic love, but it also just has to do with being kicked up and down by life. And not knowing if it's worth it to keep charging forward, but doing it anyways.
Did you go out and celebrate afterwards?
Yeah, Symone did drag me out to a bar for a second, but I left within about five minutes. We had a shot and then I went home and got a Philly cheesesteak and passed out.
Have you heard from [your drag sister/mother] Yvie Oddly?
Well, Yvie posted about it, but I have not talked to her because she's been in Denmark and across Europe right now on her tour and I've been asleep for like the past few days. So I haven't even talked to my mom. I've literally just talked to maybe like two or three people so far and the rest of the time I've been traveling or sleeping.
It's pretty crazy that both of you have won.
I know there are a lot of parallels apparently, I've been seeing over Twitter that it's two girls from Denver that are weirdos who only win one challenge, chronically ill go against a non-U.S. girl. Who's also a ballerina with three challenge wins and ends up winning. And so I don't know what happened in the universe, but there's some sort of glitch.
I love your humor and I love your type of drag, but it's maybe not understood by everyone, so how did it feel to hear Ru say that you were part of his tribe, how did it feel for you to connect with Ru?
You know, Ru understanding me was probably one of the best things about my time on the season. I was really afraid I was going to get in there and just not be understood and not that that's the worst thing. You can be someone who's not quite understood by the judges and still be a fantastic drag queen, but it certainly makes it smoother and easier to have her understand you. And I think a lot of that is due to the fact that I think my humor is off-brand, but the way I deliver is very human or relatable. And that's what I like to do. I like to take humor, that's kind of wild and gross and out there and make it digestible for the average human. And that just felt great to have it be gotten not only by Ru, but then later on social media, having a lot of my moments go viral. And I think also being in a COVID world where everyone's humor has gone a little bit further into the observant side has definitely been helpful.
You said that winning almost seems like a fever dream and not real yet, but have you thought about what you maybe might splurge on with your winnings?
I have no idea what I'm going to buy with my winnings. I've never had to switch money in my life. I'm still kind of cheap and frugal. I've been buying fast food still, even if I could totally go out for a lobster dinner. So I don't know. I mean, I love to travel. I'd love to take a trip to Thailand or to London and just pay for myself. But to be honest, I'm probably going to put all of it in savings.
Smart. And then my last question, when you think of your favorite memory from filming Season 14, what comes to mind?
There's a lot, honestly, I think my favorite memory was just getting breakfast every morning with the girls. This is not on camera of course, but just eating breakfast I would just have a donut and some eggs and hash browns like every morning and we would just shoot the shit for a few hours and it would be kind of the calm before the storm. And that was really my favorite part of being on the show.