Latrice Royale: ‘Life Goes On’
April 07, 2023 get tickets and more info here.
She’s “Large and in Charge! Chunky, yet Funky. Bold & Beautiful”, Latrice “Mother Fucking” Royale! Audiences met her on Season Four of RuPaul’s Drag Race! They loved her enough to crown her (by popular vote) Miss Congeniality. She reappeared by popular demand on RuPaul’s All Stars Season(s) One & Four! Now Latrice Royale is making a return engagement to Seattle, at The Neptune Theatre for One Night Only!
Eric Andrews-Katz: Who were your earliest influences in becoming a performer?
Latrice Royale: It was never my intention to do drag. It took off and then I started watching my divas; Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Holiday. Those became the staples because they were the voices that looked good and natural coming out of my body. I literally embodied those divas, and they had a lot to do with my persona and how I developed it.
Andrews-Katz: Who was the first drag queen you saw and what were the circumstances?
Royale: The very first drag queen I saw was Kenny Kerr in Las Vegas. It was a situation where my best, my good ‘Judy’ in high school, John. I was 16 and got my license. My mother would let us take off and go to Vegas. He took me to my first show, “Boy-lesque”. I got to meet Kenny Kerr. They would hang out at Gypsy’s after the show, and so I went there, and met the cast and got to hang out. I was so intrigued how these men could transform. I didn’t believe they were men until I saw them out of costume. That was the real first crash course in drag for me.
Andrews-Katz: You sent in your RuPaul audition on a dare; can you tell us how that happened?
Royale: We were sitting around, watching [RuPaul’s Drag Race] Season Three – The Cup Cake Couture Challenge. Stacy Layne was so awful! I got mad and said ‘I’m sick of these girls crying about being fat on TV, listen! My suggested that I do something about it, and I did. I got my ol’ computer baby and wrote World of Wonders. I didn’t even know if they were casting, literally. I was just talking shit! ‘All these girls crying about being fat. I could show you better than I could tell you. Here’s my name. Here’s my number. Here’s my picture. Give a Bitch a call!’ I was being so sassy. I got a call two days later. Two days later! They called my bluff for sure!
Andrews-Katz: What are the best and worst parts of being a RuPaul’s Drag Race celebrity?
Royale: For me, the best part was being able to connect with so many people. Those who have suffered trauma and made mistakes, or being down on themselves. I was able to give my message about hope, and love, and don’t be so hard on yourself. You can pick yourself up and rebuild your life. That was the best part; connecting with so many people who were wounded and hurt, who need to know there is hope. There is a better tomorrow. The worst part was navigating through the haters and the people who you don’t connect with. Not taking what they say internally as facts. You have to be a strong individual to go on Drag Race and put yourself out there. The public is not always kind. I didn’t enjoy navigating through that. I would say that was about “All Stars 4”, the [social] media was just coming around to being a ‘thing’. It’s so unnecessary. It’s just Drag. It’s just Drag.
Andrews-Katz: Was it RuPaul who gave you the accented ‘La-TREEEECE’, or was that part of your persona? And did she add in the middle part, Latrice “Mother Fucking” Royale”, or was that always part of your drag name?
Royale: She gave me the high note, ‘La-TREEEECE’. The ‘Mother Fucking’ I did. It was episode one of ‘UnTucked’ when I was introducing myself to the world. I was not having it with Willam. And now Willam is my Babe. We had to set the thing straight: “You ain’t the only one on TV. I’m on TV, too. And I’m Latrice “Mother Fucking” Royale!
Andrews-Katz: How often do you have unknown people randomly coming up to you and saying: “Get those balls out of my face”!
Royale: Oh my God! If that is it! In airports, car rental place, restaurants, drive-throughs… They may not know my name, but they know my face and they know that saying! I take it with grace. I never want anyone to feel that they were being ridiculous or inappropriate. I take it with love and adoration. I receive it and we have a good laugh. They are respectful enough to keep it moving and leave it at that.
Andrews-Katz: What are the challenges when identifying as a Christian, gay, African-American drag artist while living in the South?
Royale: Did you hear everything you just asked me? 5 G’s – Please! * [stands for “Good God Girl, Get a Grip”] I mean these are the struggles, the daily struggles. I mean deep-rooted struggles. The biggest thing was me re-engaging and redefining my faith, and getting back to what I know – or call or identify as God – and those things being taught and preached to me, didn’t make sense. For me if it doesn’t make sense – it don’t make dollars. Therefore, it can’t be true. It can’t be real. So once I got out of that mindset of damnation and burning in hell and being called an abomination, and when I started having my own personal relationship with my Higher Power, I saw things clearer. I was able to process and ease through all of the bull crap and fly above it. IT started to become that I was no longer a ‘gay, black, drag queen living in the South’. I became a soul that people could connect with on this plane we are living on. To me, that’s what is important. For me, I had to change how I thought about who I am, and where I am. Knowing that it is important – the work that I do, and the activism that I direct my energy into now, is for what is right and the greater good. I’m glad that I’m not afraid of anybody anymore. I felt that I lost everything. What I built, I built. I have all the power and can do what I want to with my voice.
Andrews-Katz: How do you react to the new political threats of banning drag shows?
Royale: This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve seen in a while. I say, ‘time and time again when we were in the bars, clubs and we had to go to a special place at a special time to see Us, it was cool. Now that we are on your televisions, in your commercials, on the Emmys, in the movies, we are at the table! We are visible to the world and now it’s become a problem. How do we get rid of a problem? They create their false narratives. Talk about things they don’t even know. The people that are making these bills and legislations have either never even met a drag queen, or have ever been to a drag show. So how can they continue to have such an opinion about something they have never seen, or know anything about?! I Invite the entire Senate to sit in ‘Life Goes On’ for an hour! I guarantee you their lives will be changed!
Andrews-Katz: The advertisements for your new Seattle show boasts that you are “spilling all the Tea’. What can we expect from the crowned Ms. Congeniality?
Royale: Obviously it is a story of perseverance and overcoming many, many obstacles on my road of success. (Or how I define success) I want everyone to leave their feeling uplifted and inspired. I want them to know they can accomplish and set their minds to do anything they want to do. We go on to some Drag Race ‘T’ – that has NEVER been discussed. Some behind the scenes ‘T’, the editing shit we haven’t talked about yet. Gawd, we are going to be talking about some things – because I ain’t scared of nobody – and we are going to be telling the ‘T’!
Andrews-Katz: You’ve performed live, on film, in reality shows, recorded albums, and have done voice-overs for an animated series. Which platform challenges you the most?
Royale: Ooooh! You know what’s funny, I feel like voiceover acting is not as easy as people think it might be. You are literally creating this mood and the entire tone of this character based on a drawing or sketch. You have to delve into who this little character is, and what is their motive and how they go through life. For me, I found out when I was on the West End, I don’t have a problem knowing lines – I’ll know my lines. I always like to have receipts for some bitch that is saying something, so I’ll always know who said it. I can play it back to you verbatim. I am getting into more voiceover acting. I feel like I’m stretching my wings to new things.
Andrews-Katz: What new platforms would you like to take on and experience?
Royale: I still haven’t been on the Big Screen like I want to. I’ve been on TV here and TV there, but I’m talking a full action, big budget, get me on screen, Large and in Charge! People don’t write for people that look or sound like me. It’s just not the usual thing. Unless there is a character written for my type, it’s hard for me to get cast or to even think about auditioning. There’s always some 33-year-old, Latino boy named Jose… and I think…’hmmmm – this ain’t for me’.
Andrews-Katz: You married your husband in 2018. How would you describe your courtship?
Royale: Oh my God. We did it over FaceTime. It was really romantic. We really dated for nine months over FaceTime – and saw each other at least every 2-6 weeks. He’d either fly to me, or me to him. We did that for nine months – and then his lease was up. He came to live with me in Florida. We’ve been together for 10 years now, it’s been wild. He swept me off my feet. One time we were meeting each other and he got to the hotel before me. This was here in Seattle for Pride, several years ago. I got in to find champagne, balloons and cupcakes and the room was all done up. Nobody ever did that – nobody has ever wooed me before, and he thought he was being cute because he saw a video of me when I said that, for my birthday, all I wanted was something to drink and something to eat, and that was it. I was talking shit. He saw the video and thought he was being cute. I was all wooed and thought ‘awww, he loves me’ and so that evening we changed our status from “it’s complicated” to “We’re in a Relationship”. He has amplified my life. I can go out and do this show because of his support. It’s a full circle moment because I never thought I’d get this.
Andrews-Katz: If you could play any role – on stage or screen – regardless of any limitation, what would it be and why that role?
Royale: Audrey II of Little Shop of Horrors. Oh my God, I mean “Feed Me” [he says in his natural deep baritone], Come on – that’s me! I love Little Shop. I’ve watched it I don’t know how many times. I can sing all the parts. It’s one of my favorite musical movies, bar none. I would love to be this over-the-top, dragged-out plant from outer space. Come on!
Latrice “M.F.” Royale hosts her own YouTube show. She does the voice over for “Drag Tots”, and has several recordings available on iTunes.
Latrice Royale: ‘Life Goes On’
April 07, 2023 get tickets and more info here.