The RuPaul’s Drag Race fandom got to fall in love with LaLa Ri during Season 13, so it was natural that many felt a return for her for an All Stars season was “in the bag.”
This Atlanta peach joined All Stars 8 and quickly became the “Greek chorus” of the cast, and despite sudden departures and shocking eliminations her, remained cool, calm and was able to deliver “The LaLa Ri Experience” fully. I sat down with LaLa to chat about her return to the werkroom, some of her favorite All Stars moments and why the big-screen may be the next place we see this captivating queen.
Michael Cook: Your return to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 was absolutely luminous, a glow up in the best possible way.
LaLa Ri: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that!
MC: When you were asked to return to RuPaul’s Drag Race, was there any hesitation to go back into the werkroom in any way at all?
LLR: It was a yes, right away; before they even finished the questions. Yes girl, sign me up I’ll be there, how long so I can pack my bags, yes (laughs)!
MC: Your charisma truly shines right through the screen, and the fandom always hoped we would see you return to an All Stars season eventually. Were you apprehensive about living up to your first season when you returned?
LLR: No, I wasn’t. I told myself this much - don’t even think about all of that, at the end of the day, just have fun. I’m there to have fun and to win the big prize, but if I had fun, I felt like I won anyway.
MC: So the question now can be, did you have fun on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8?
LLR: I had the best time of my life, I can really truly say that. Watching back from the season, I had a few good moments. I had fun with the ball, because had a high placement for the ball as versus me being in the bottom my first time around. Of course with the ‘Sharisha’, the “Eleguance” the ‘Joan Crawford Rusical’, and even on the episode that I went home on. That werkroom moment and we were Kiki-ing, we were up all day, that moment I really really cherished.
MC: This season, you seemed to serve as the Greek Chorus of the cast and seemed to be able to navigate a way to stay somewhat out of the drama for the most part this year. Was that intentional?
LLR: It was, I thought to myself, “Don’t do drama, be the light of the season”. You know that there’s going to be drama, but you need somebody that is gonna be the light and kind of pull it together; to be the comedic relief. That goes into me saying that I was just going to have fun this season too.
MC: We have seen everything from memes to Halloween costumes to viral videos of your now iconic runway during Season 12 of your famous gift bag couture. What is the funnest thing that you have seen using that runway look as inspiration?
LLR: I think the funniest thing for me when they had me arriving to The Met Gala in the bag look on the red carpet on the steps (laughs)!
MC: This season had such a diverse and eclectic group of girls. When you arrived and looked around at your competition, is there anyone that you looked at and specifically thought, I definitely want to work with “them”?
LRR: I looked around and thought that it was definitely a good group, a diverse, group, and the. The group that was needed on All Stars at this moment. There were a lot of people from older casts that I look up to and inspired me to get into drag that I looked up to that inspired me to get into drag.
It was lovely to see the Darienne Lake’s, Naysha Lopez’s and the Jessica Wild’s there. I was really excited, I am the biggest fan of Jimbo. So I was super excited to see Jimbo and be able to work with Jimbo because I really adore Jimbo ad their artistry, creativity and their love for drag.
MC: What is it that lead you to drag in the first place?
LRR: I used to dance backup in the pageant world in Atlanta. I was a backup dancer for pageant drag queens and would always look at them and say “Girl I could do this better than her" no shade (laughs). So I tried it out one day and I did a local talent show in Atlanta and I actually won and they invited me back the next day. I thought that I could actually do it and tested the waters here and there. I didn’t take it really seriously until about five or six years ago. So me being backup for the queens in the pageant world led to me doing my own thing as a drag queen.
MC: The fandom of RuPaul’s Drag Race can be truly outspoken; what was your experience with the fandom this time around?
LLR: Overall, I feel like the response from the fans for me has been amazing. I feel like the fans know more of who I am now because they didn’t really get a good chance to figure me out on Season 13. This time around, they got to see ‘The La La Ri Experience’ that talked so much about on Season 13. Overall, I feel like the response has been amazing, of course you have your trolls through. For the most part though. I feel like I have had a great response from the fans.
MC: What do you have happening in the immediate future and long term in your career?
LLR: I am traveling for quite a while and I am grateful for that. I will be releasing new music soon and we are going to be doing some merch for the ‘Eloguance’! I also will be taking acting classes because I want to get into TV and film. The security film actually inspired me and made me feel like “I can actually do this”! So I am getting into acting classes to take acting more serious. And loving on the fans and really just living in this moment.
Follow La La Ri on Instagram @misslalari.