'Drag Race' Winner Sasha Colby Feels the Love
Sasha Colby was the frontrunner on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 15 even before she first walked into the workroom.
Known as "your favorite drag queen's favorite drag queen," the L.A.-based queen had high expectations to live up to as she put up a fierce fight to be crowned America's next drag superstar. And after winning four maxi challenges over the course of the season, and never landing in the bottom, Sasha sashayed to the grand finale, where she made it to the top two along with Anetra.
After Anetra and Sasha lit the Ace Hotel theater ablaze with a dynamic performance of the disco classic, "Knock on Wood" by Amii Stewart, Ru crowned Sasha the winner of Season 15.
In her victory speech, she said her win was for “every trans person past, present, and future, because we are not going anywhere.”
Sasha spoke with Logo about being crowned the winner of Drag Race Season 15, the inspiration behind her finale lip-sync look, her upcoming projects, and what advice she has for anyone who dreams of auditioning for Drag Race.
Hi Sasha! Condragulations on your win. Has it sunk in yet? How are you feeling after this weekend?
It comes in waves. You just look at your messages or something, you get really excited or emotional, but I didn't go on social media at all, I was barely looking at my texts. I just wanted to be present in the moment the past few days. I was just so relieved on Friday, it just felt like a big relief, an accomplishment, a job well done.
I saw the video where you were watching the finale with Anetra, Luxx, and Mistress. What went through your mind when Ru said you were the winner?
Relief, I think. It just felt like a job well done, it felt like recognition, it felt surreal. When you want something so bad and you manifest it, and I left no room for me to even entertain the thought of not winning, so it just felt a little like, "Ah, okay." I was really wondering how I was going to react, genuinely, I was thinking about it the days before. I'm like, "I wonder what it could actually be like? What is the emotion that comes up?" And, of course, I was just a crybaby.
I thought you held it together pretty well in the moment, did you let it out later?
We filmed the reaction and then we all went on our way to the dressing room to get ready for the after party, but I stayed there for a second. I was just like, "Can I just have one second?" I turned away from the cameras, which weren't rolling anyway, and I just had a good sob. I think that's when the ugly tears started coming out.
What was the inspiration for your final lip-sync look?
It's just wild to actually try to make all this happen on a "what if," like if I made the top two. All that hard work and all these people, I had all my friends stoning that purple and pink dress, in shifts. Somehow we got it done. I knew most of the time you're just wearing a leotard, and I just wanted to take up as much space, because we had such a huge theater and stage, and really just bring my own set with me, and plop back down on it. Actually, me and my best friend, Preston, we've been sitting on this idea since 2016 or '15. I saw it in a fashion show, it was a YouTube deep cut, and it was after going down a wormhole of this amazing burlesque star from Europe, her name is Immodesty Blaize, and she actually did that bone-in corset trick, which is an old school burlesque trick if you find the long boning. I wanted to be shocking, I wanted a way to reveal my transness, and it just felt very erotic in a way, very burlesque old school, and that's where I took that, of being fully clothed to absolutely bare.
Going back to the episode for the "Blame It on the Edit" music video, Ru said in the critiques that she was "amazed by you." What was it like hearing RuPaul say that?
It was wild because I felt that I was crying so much in that episode with the Tic Tac chit-chat. It's very emotional and I was just like, "Try to hold it together for this last roll." Just try not to cry too much, and I already was tearing up and holding back, in talking about my chosen family. Honestly, I blanked out when she was talking to me, because she screamed it about five or six times. And I was like, "Just don't fucking break down." And then she went, "I'm the motherfucking queen of drag and I'm amazed by you." I mean, it's the new "You were born for drag." I just felt her seal of approval and I'm glad the world gets to see it.
The past four winners of Drag Race, have been trans. What do you think that says about the show or the direction of drag?
I think it's a direct commentary on what drag has always been and maybe we weren't allowed to participate in the conversation in the beginning years, there wasn't much trans representation, but now into the 15th year, our impact has definitely been showcased a lot more with the history of drag and so many documentaries coming out showing transness, and what we've done for the community. It just seems proper and really right that trans girls are doing it.
You said that you weren't looking at social media much this weekend, but did Kerri Colby or Kylie Sonique reach out to you?
Yes, absolutely. I swear, both of them were just voice memoing me: "G-O-D-D-E-S-S" [laughs]. I've got a million people singing it to me, which is amazing.
It's a good song.
I'm really happy with it. When I got it, I had no notes, it was perfect. I was like, "Let's do it." They were like, "Are you sure? Everything's good?" I'm like, "Yeah, I'll kill it."
I was watching some videos from your performance at 3 Dollar Bill this past weekend, and I could feel the love through the screen. What was that like, your first performance after being crowned America's Next Drag Superstar?
It was so wonderful to share, especially with a place like Brooklyn, even though my current hometown is L.A. Brooklyn has really been a place that I've been to a lot in the past few years, working with Sasha Velour. They've really taken me as one of theirs and I think that's so amazing to be able to share this moment with such an amazing, queer-positive, "everyone's drag is valid" kind of city. Then, to bring pageant to not even just Brooklyn, but to bring pageant to Drag Race, and stand there in a gown and crown, it felt so Continental. They are eating up what I've loved since I've started watching drag.
After RuPaul announced you as the winner, you pointed at your scepter, like you did to your award when you won Miss Continental. Was that planned?
Yeah, that was an "if you know, you know," for the ones that have been with me since before Continental. It's just a little callback. When I did it the first time, I was screaming "You!," which is something that we always say in my Hawaiian chosen Colby family. It was just kind of being like, "You, I knew I would get you. I've been waiting for you."
Do you have anything that you'd like to say to Team Sasha, those who have been rooting for you this entire time?
Thank you, Team Sasha, for all your love and support. I can feel it. Even before I won, just going to gigs in different cities these past couple of months already, the amount of love that comes to you, it's overwhelming in the best way. It's so beautiful to feel and it just feels really nice to get all kinds of people that are on Team Sasha. There are moms in suburbia, there are little kids that are just trying to figure out their transness, there's the poly girl that's in the Pacific Islands trying to figure out how to tell her parents about these kinds of things, and there's something they can all see in me. I think it's definitely a testament to my vulnerability, and I saw so many videos of people crying when I won. This is my little dream, that everyone gets to get happiness and joy, and it's really wild to share that energy.
It's like they won when you won.
That's amazing. In the finale you told Ru that you wanted to act, you want to do music; can you tease any upcoming projects?
Definitely. I'm starting in music, where I'm working with some amazing producers, and just writing my own material. Always looking out for acting. With being newly crowned, the schedule is jam-packed with live performances, and I'm definitely going to do this reign in this year, really seeing all my of fans, seeing Team Sasha all over the world, while simultaneously trying to make music and keep my acting chops going, so when it's time to audition or create, or maybe even write my own stories that we can... because we've got to tell more queer stories, by queer people.
When you think back to filming Season 15, is there a particular memory that makes you smile?
I just think the things that we [the viewers] didn't see, like how goofy Loosey and I would act. There were just moments of delirium because we're working so hard, especially the sewing challenge days. They're long days and you're really trying to focus and work. At the end of the day, we're all just goofy, delirious, and it's amazing to know that there are just a few handfuls of girls that we can all share this crazy experience with.
Then, my last question: If there are any drag artists that are inspired by your win, and they want to audition for Drag Race, do you have any advice?
Oh my goodness, yes. To anyone, not just inspired by this time, but anyone even trying for many years, I would say really learn how to sell yourself. You're a brand that you're selling on a show and this is a brand that you're going to want to have to make a career out of. Any advertiser they know, you have to know what are the benefits and the deficits of your brand, you have to know its strengths and its weaknesses, and know how to market for it. I don't think a lot of people sit down enough to do the hard work to really know themselves well enough to really sell themselves enough. Really take time, do the inside work, and make your mental health strong, so then you can go in there and really have your point of view being seen. There's a reason why no other winner has ever been a replica of another winner; they won because of being themselves.
That's great advice. Sasha, condragulations again, you've earned it.
Thank you. We did it, Joe!