Since she strutted into the RuPaul’s Drag Race workroom for Season Nine, ready to snatch edges, cosplay darling and New York based queen Aja has been what you could call “buzzed about”. A revamped and recharged Aja returned for Season Three of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 and shocked her fellow competitors with her evolved look and performance style (she also coined the meme “Is She Gonna Jump from There”?). I sat down with this banjee broad to talk about her new EP “In My Feelings”, her thoughts on Drag Con and the fans, and what she thinks is the best advice for the ladies of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11!
Aja your new EP “In My Feelings” is amazing~ I mean who knew you could wrap like that?!
Thank you so much! I took a little break for a while and then I got some motivation to work on my EP and really work on something fun that I wanted to release. It all came together from there.
The whole package of “In My Feelings” gels together really well. If you had to label it with a specific kind of vibe, what would it be?
It would be fun rap I think. You listen to it and it;s fun and easy to comprehend. Unless you’re really dumb, which I doubt anyone that listens to my music is! (laughs)
You worked with producer & DJ Mitch Ferrino again on “In My Feelings”, and you had already done C.L.A.T. You and Mitch are a dream team in the studio; what is it that you think makes this kind of magic?
I really love Mitch. He and I really understand each other and it really is easy to work with him. First of all, he is up for anything. I could say “lets do London Bridge” and he would be up for it. (laughs). He is just a person that genuinely believes in the people he works with and it always willing to help, financially or emotionally, and not a lot of people are like that. So many people are invested in themselves, and Mitch is definitely invested in helping you. I am one of those people who don’t think that all these bitches should come out with music, since some of it can be very questionable. I know Mitch puts his input in and something is going to come out and it will show that he tried his best.
How was your Los Angeles Drag Con experience recently?
Drag Con was amazing, I had so much fun. Last year was my first one in Los Angeles, we didn’t know what we were doing, but we got to meet the fans. This time we were in the groove and it was really easy and it was about me and my team working together, at least I like to think so.
There was some drama this year at LA Drag Con where it seemed that certain girls were having trouble meeting fans and there was some drama between some of the girls even. What do you think a lot of this stems from?
Here’s the thing with that; I look at it from two perspectives. I totally understand that perspective that some of these queens are unprofessional and very “extra” because it is true. However, I also feel that there is this idea that the fans created the queens and I think that that itself is very redundant. Here is the thing; we are not on contract to be at Drag Con for any reason unless it is your current season. At the end of the day, most of us pay out of pocket to be there and want to be there to see the people. When you are paying to be somewhere, you are not obligated to meet anyone.
To see it from both perspectives, you really have to see what goes into it. Yes, some of the girls are rude; but so are some of the fans. No fans made the queens and the queens did not make the fans; it’s a two way street, If you are a fan of the queen, the queen obviously did something that you like. You can’t just brush it off and think she’s a bitch. These people are human; at Drag Con, these people have to work with a team. The team may be pissing the queen off, the queen may only have one lunch break for twenty minutes and maybe the food came late; no one really knows what’s going on. It’s also at a Convention Center, which is the most homophobic lighting in the world. When you go there, you are not just paying for a picture or a shirt; you are paying or an experience with a queen. Some queens do not honor that and shame on them. If the fans cannot understand that the fans are paying for an experience, than they have to think about it more.
So essentially you are saying that some fans feel it’s owed to them for some reason that they get a picture or access to the girls exactly when they want it?
It’s like when the girls are walking around, you know she is trying to get to her booth, don’t ask to take a picture; ask where her booth is so you can go support her. When they say “no” she isn’t a bitch, she has shit to do. I know for sure I wasn’t taking pictures with everyone when I was walking around. That lighting is a mess and I worked really damn hard at putting that booth together. Not to like have people pay for my merch and then to just give photo opps away when I am walking. Eighty percent of the queens you have to pay to see; if you have to pay to see them, the demand is very high. If you don’t put a price on it, there line gets out of control, then the convention center steps in. There is really so much going on and I wish everyone could see it from all points of view. I know other queens have commented on what other girls have done and I don’t do that; I think it’s messy to comment on other queens behavior. I don’t care who was being rude or not, its none of my business. My booth was ran well, I did great, and that’s it. I am not here to present myself as a D- List celebrity off of a tv show; I am an artist, and I am going to handle myself as an artist. If you are bitching about someone else’s unprofessionalism online, you are being unprofessional yourself.
What advice do you have for the girls that are going to be heading into the workroom for Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
My best advice for the girls of Season 11 is just be your full unfiltered self. If you are yourself, people will fall in love with you regardless. No one is naturally just a fucking bitch unless you just really are. If you are yourself, people will love you. I think one of the things that happens is that sometimes, these queens become obsessed with having people fall in love with them and act real extra and grand. I also say that if you want to have a successful Drag Race career, you have to be able to offer something else other than drag. Drag is a medium for television, and I learned that from doing Drag Race. The only money through drag is performing in night clubs. I don’t want to perform in nightclubs forever, you have to do something else. Some people sing, some people dance, some people have other talents. I suggest that the ladies of Season 11 know and understand that you cannot carry yourself to the absolute top by just doing drag. It has to go further
I think a lot of queens start off and then realize that, and then they hear that there are “two years to make your two years last” as soon as they get Drag Race, and I think that is stupid .Frankly, I got off the show two years ago and my booking fees have done nothing but keep going up, even through S10. It is because I have something else to offer besides just doing drag or being from Drag Race. That experience is a really beautiful experience and you cannot let it be in vain. If you let it slip through your fingers, that is a huge opportunity to benefit yourself. It’s not always about money, but not everyone gets to do the show, so you have to take advantage of it. When you think of queens who really set the standard for Drag Race success and turning it into something bigger, you think of Bianca Del Rio, Alaska, Trixie Mattel, and Violet Chachki. These queens who have over a million followers on Instagram and who have shown something. if people are falling in love with these queens it is because people are buying their product. The main thing about being a drag queen is that it is a business. You have to know how to sell and what sells well. I think it sucks to see some of the queens be completely over it when I have worked with them. Some have even said that they weren’t making any money so they were about to quit, and I encourage them to push! If you want things to work out, you have to work hard.
You have done All Stars, Season Nine and now an EP; what else do you wanna do?
I plan on continuing to do music and being featured with major artists. I want to go on tour with my music and be respected as a musical artist. I am trying to follow in the footsteps of the Brazilian drag queen Pablo Vittar. She is literally the most famous drag queen in the entire world right now. She has developed the following of almost everyone on Drag Race and even RuPaul herself. She has been featured on songs with Diplo and Iggy Azalea and that is what I want to do. I want to be like the Pablo Vittar of America.. I want people to know who I am and jam out to my music. I feel like I have always had an ear for music; I can DJ, I can produce music, I know how to listen to music and just sing it. Working in music does not seem foreign to me at all. I would like to expand on that and take it further. I feel like I could do that and feel so motivated right now. I am not really pursuing music as a drag queen right now, I am doing it from a very non binary standpoint. I feel like so much of my music is written from an out of drag perspective also you don’t have drag queens rapping about jerking off, that just sounds stupid (laughs). I am not rapping about lip gloss and high heels, I am talking shit and being me, I think people will eventually understand that. I just want to keep going forward with my music and hope to get signed to a label and be able to produce more content too!
“In My Feelings” is available on iTunes now