Dawn Brings Brooklyn Drag Excellence To 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 16

Dawn. Courtesy of World of Wonder/MTV.

Brooklyn, New York is known to be bringing some dynamic drag performers to the "RuPaul's Drag Race" main stage, and Season 16 superstar Dawn is definitely in a class of her own.

Dawn's unique perspective, eye for visuals and raw talents helped her soar to the top 5 of Season 16. While her Drag Race run has come to an end, Dawn looks back on the experience with reverence, fondness, and a sense of pride. I sat down to dish with Dawn on her Drag Race experience, her love for the Brooklyn drag scene, and the Drag Race All -Star that she holds a special place in her heart for.

Michael Cook: First of all, it is essential that we pronounce your name correctly, complete with New York City accent; Dawn!

Dawn: (laughs) You can even throw a “Z” on it!

MC: Condragulations on an amazing season! How do you look back on your whole "RuPaul's Drag Race" journey?

D: Honestly, I feel incredible right now I can't lie. It's funny, because in the meat of the season, in episodes four through eight, I feel like that is when I was struggling emotionally, when I was doing a fine job. I knew that we had so many more episodes left and I knew that I would be there for the long haul. That was really when I was feeling so anxious, but now that it has come to a close and has ended, I just feel so grateful and happy. Even getting to watch the preview for the episode from last week, knowing that it was top six and seeing it come to fruition, it just feels so incredible that I achieved that. No wins at all (laughs)!

MC: Speaking of, you will probably go down in herstory as one of the most popular and talented queens who made it to the Top 6, yet didn't have a win.

D: Yeah! Being there, I feel like it was so funny, episode after episode goes by and I'm not super competitive, but I knew where I was. I wanted a win because I wanted to make Top 4 and I wanted to be there; I knew to get there I needed to have a win. I was always trying and trying and honestly, my posts and schemes probably got delusional in my journals, but I never gave up. Even going into this Bathroom Hunties challenge, I was like, “Yeah me and Nymphia are gonna take it!” It didn't happen for me but listen, twelve episodes ain't bad!

MC: Did you really keep a journal of your time on "Drag Race?"

D: Yes, I journaled throughout my entire time on the show. Obviously it's all being documented on camera which is amazing, but you don't have your phone and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't forgetting how I was feeling during these really intense moments. I journaled my entire way through the season; on some of the late nights I might not have, but most days I did. Keeping track of how I was doing, how I was feeling, making drawings of my design challenge looks or that girl group challenge look that I made. I made that in my hotel room and it was great.

MC: That is a brilliant idea, and someone is going to want to pick that up as a book idea. Most of the cast might be shook about what you wrote during your time on the show I would think...

D: Honestly, maybe. We’re actually putting together a Dawn on Drag Race scrap book. Nothing that is going to reveal anything crazy about the show, but a conglomeration of my looks, some of the journal entries that I made about how I was feeling, some of my original sketches. If anyone wants to know more about that, definitely be on the lookout for that.

MC: I’ve seen you in person numerous times, and coming into Brooklyn and getting to see the drag scene is truly like seeing a scene like no other, and it is truly separate from the drag world in Manhattan itself.

D: I love Brooklyn drag and I am so excited that it is where I decided to kind of make my roots. I think it worked out for me because I have such a community there. I think part of what makes Brooklyn so good and so desirable is probably its proximity to Manhattan. Drag in Manhattan is absolutely incredible but it is very kind of, in my opinion, stuck in its ways at times. It is a lot of people kind of fighting to do the same thing better than other people. I don’t mean that in a shady way, that is just my interpretation of it.

The thing about Brooklyn is that it is the exact opposite of how we do things. It's more so everyone trying to out-innovate each other. Whether it produces good quality shows or bad quality shows, no one really cares. It's just trying to break the mold in whatever way you can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and I just appreciate Brooklyn for that.

MC: What are your rose and thorn of your "RuPaul’s Drag Race" Season 16 experience?

D: I’d say my thorn of the whole show is me getting in my own way in a little bit of a capacity, and I don't mean on the show. I think on the show I was very in my element, having a great time, really giving myself to everything that I was doing. Watching it back, reading too many of the comments, I really spent a lot of the early episodes kind of just wanting it to be over and wanting it to be done.

Not really giving myself to the opportunity and to the experience and I would say that that was the worst part of it, just getting in my own head. I would say that the rose has to be the friendships that I have made, which sounds so corny and so cliche. Honestly, so many of the queens from this season are some of my best friends and I have relationships and a closeness with them that I have not found in people in years. I am so happy and grateful for that.

MC: New Yorkers are going to be New Yorkers, but it also was very clear that when Plane Jane came for you last week, you most definitely had no issue pushing right back during that interaction you had with her.

D: No, I'm gonna rile that bitch up (laughs)! At that point me and Plane (Jane) had been together in that workroom for weeks on week on end. I just have the spirit of a younger brother running through my blood. I have one older brother that is two years older than me and I spent my childhood just poking and prodding, that is how I am, I am a little annoying.

So I meet someone like Plane who is so easily agitated, I just had to take the opportunity. She just bit the line and she did not have to bite it in the way that she did, but she did!  It's all fun and games, it's all TV. I actually do think watching it back think that she was a little bit more pissed at me in that moment than I thought that she actually was (laughs)!

MC: As the unofficial President of the Roxxy Andrews Fan Club, what is actually in the fan club fan packet?

D: (laughs) You get a full merch set of "Thick and Juicy" stickers, t-shirts, you get business cards to hand out to other young twinks who also want to get thick and juicy with it. And you get one VIP meet and greet pass for a show of your choice.

MC: You absolutely live for the icon that is Roxxy Andrews. Have you gotten to meet her yet?

D: I have not gotten to meet Roxxy Andrews in the flesh, we have spoken over the phone. I cannot wait to experience all that Miss R-O-X-X-X-Y has to offer, Not quite but I'm working on it.

MC: It’s so inspiring that you are influenced by someone who is such a different queen from you aesthetically, but you gravitate towards the talent itself.

D: I think that is the best part of drag. Just because we are doing different shticks and different things, it doesn't mean that we can't up show up and support each other.

Follow Dawn on Instagram @upuntil.dawn


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