RuPaul’s Drag Race star Peppermint on her hopes, fears and feeling fierce

A year ago, I was invited to drag star Peppermint’s London hotel room to chat to her about her music, her live shows, and her short stay in the city. It was a meeting that happened before the whirlwind of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9.

I first met Peppermint almost a decade ago when I worked for LGBT dance radio station GaydarRadio. She came to the studios in Twickenham with her entourage of male dancers to chat about her album, Hardcore Glamour, and the work that she’d so tirelessly been concentrating on since she started performing in bars and clubs such as Tunnel on the New York City nightlife scene.

It was a brilliantly joyous, outrageous first encounter, and I hit it off with her from the start. It was obvious to me, and I am sure others, that Peppermint’s life was on the cusp of even greater, more thrilling adventures. Soon after our radio interview (and her surprise visit to see me DJ at London’s Profile), we enjoyed her Gaga/Beyonce ‘Telephone’ parody (‘Make Me Moan’) with fellow queen Sherry Vine, and her appearances in Ugly Betty and America’s Next Top Model.

What a decade it has been for Peppermint. I for one could not be happier for her.

with Peppermint / Profile, London 2009

I wasn’t surprised when I found out that Peppermint had landed a part as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race – an American reality competition TV series where fierce (and sometimes not-so-fierce) queens ‘lip-sync for their life’ and battle it out to be America’s next drag superstar.

In my mind, Peppermint was already that, but I was intrigued to see how this warm personality was going to compete in the mini challenges, let alone the library! After all, the library is usually open if you can be playful, have fun and not look down on others.

A few days ago, Peppermint returned to London to take on some promo dates in the city, including the Queens Werq The World tour date at Troxy. Once more, I met up with her at her hotel. And yes, I sprawled on her bed again. It’s purely professional you do understand.

During our chat we touched on the importance of her opening up as trans on one of the Drag Race Season 9 episodes, as well as the challenges of truly being herself on the show.

“To some people, it’s so boring if you’re not bitchy,” Peppermint said.

It’s clear that the Drag Race experience so far has been an enjoyable one, but also testing.

“You’re in this fish tank, and it’s closed, and there is no oxygen. And there is no food! And there is no sleep! So your reactions are going to be even more heightened. I might have said some things even more quickly than I would have done normally.

“One of the fears that I had taking on the show was that I would be rejected by all these other queens. I was scared that I wouldn’t get along with these queens, that it would be so catty, and so petty. But it hasn’t been like that.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 – produced by World of Wonder for Logo TV – continues on Netflix and VH1. Watch my 2016 interview with Peppermint below.

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Phil Marriott

The author Phil Marriott

As well as holding the Head of Music position, Phil currently presents the Sunday mid-morning show on Gaydio - the world’s biggest LGBT dance radio station. As a DJ, he has supported Tiesto and played for clubbing brands Fierce Angel and SupermartXe. He is one half of a remix duo with DJ Rich B and also produces the PMKEpodcast with singer Katherine Ellis, the LDN Vegans YouTube channel with Polly Harvey, and produces and presents Boys On Film with Raj Rudolph from EQ Music Blog.