There are RuPaul’s Drag Race legends and then there are ICONIC RuPaul’s Drag Race SUPERSTAR legends, and Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 is without a doubt in the latter category. It’s been almost nine years since she first walked into the Werk Room on Season 5 and introduced herself with her signature "HIIIIEEEEEE!" and it’s been five years since the alien enchantress won All Stars 2. Since then, Alaska has continued to be one of the hardest working and most successful queens to ever compete on the show. She has done everything from acting and singing to hosting her own comedy special The Alaska Thunderf**k Extra Special Comedy Special and ~cohostressing~ her own hit podcast Race Chaser alongside her fellow Ru Girl, Willam.
And if she wasn’t busy enough, Alaska decided to write her memoir My Name's Yours, What's Alaska? (which is out on Nov. 9), release new music from her upcoming fourth album Red 4 Filth (which is set to be released early next year), and join the Pasadena Playhouse's production of Head Over Heels as Queen Gynecia. Luckily for us, Alaska found some time in her schedule to not only read thirst tweets, but also to talk to BuzzFeed about everything from her book to which queen she would want to compete against in the long-rumored All-Winners All Stars season.
First of all, condragulations on the memoir. I loved it. I was wondering what inspired you to want to write your story right now?
Alaska Thunderfuck 5000: That's the question that everybody keeps asking. And I guess I should have a really good answer for it but I don't. My answer is that it has always been part of my larger plan to do a book, because I always wanted to do a book and a movie and made-for-TV movie. So this is part one of that life goals plan. Then, when it came down to it and Chronicle was like, "Yeah, we want you to do a book," I was like, "Oh, fuck, I have to figure out what kind of book that is."
Ultimately, I was like, "I want it to be a book that you read. And that I write. I don't want it to be just a bunch of pictures and put a joke on each page like that." To be clear, that's fine. I love that for drag books and usually that's what drag books are. But since I wanted to do a book that you actually read, I was like, "Let's tell my life story up until this point and see what that looks like." And so that's what we did!
So, no surprise, you get pretty candid in the book and you spilled a lot of tea. Did you feel any hesitation in being so candid? And did you find it difficult to recount some of the experiences that you went through?
AT5000: Well, yes, it's extremely difficult but I feel like that Lisa Rinna quote: "These lips are famous but they will never gloss over the truth." Basically, what is the point of doing this if we're not going to go there and be truthful about things that have happened. So, yes, inevitably, that means there's going to be difficult times. And so it was like a really long therapy session because I had to keep going over the most difficult, dramatic, traumatic times in my life in order to get it. But that's what we had to do.
Obviously, your relationship with Sharon Needles is a major part of the book. Before you wrote the book, did you talk to her about the fact that you were going to be doing this? And was she okay with you talking about your relationship?
AT5000: Yeah, she and I are really good friends and we talk all the time. So she knows that the book is happening and that, you know, it's largely about our relationship. So, yes, she knows!
Has Sharon read the book?
AT5000: I don't think so. I think we've sent her a copy but I don't think she's read it yet.
Maybe she's waiting for the audiobook.
AT5000: Gurl, I'm the same way [laughs].
Sharon and yourself both became essentially rock stars within the span of a year. And you sort of briefly spoke about this during All Stars 2. There were a lot of crazy times. There was heavy drinking, there was the drugs, the partying, diva behavior — and to top it all off, you were in an unhealthy relationship. What do you think was the biggest thing you learned about yourself from that time period?
AT5000: To not drink so much! I mean, that is really a huge takeaway because that sort of springboarded me into a time of sobriety and figuring out how to do drag without getting wasted, because they've always been hand in hand for me. And so that is a huge blessing that came out of that tumultuous time; I was getting to experience drag for the sake of drag and not for the sake of getting wasted. That's a gift that continues to keep on giving.
Recently, we had Bob, Shangela, and Eureka do interviews with us and so I'm going to ask you two questions that we asked them — because I am very curious how you would respond to these. On your podcast Race Chaser, both you and Willam review both classique and new episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race so you're constantly watching and reliving moments that happened on the show. But my question for you: Is it hard for you to watch the younger version of yourself compete on your original seasons of Drag Race?
AT5000: No. So much time has gone by since Season 5 that it's now like looking at a photo album and it's like, "Awww, look how cute I was back then." Now, as far as All Stars 2 though, I haven't watched it and I have no interest in watching it. I don't know how we're going to cover that on Race Chaser because that's gonna be very difficult to go back and watch. But, Season 5 is so cute! It's vintage now. It's like 10 years old!
It's such a different show, in such a different time. It's crazy to see the evolution of the show since Season 5 and even within the last five years. And in a sort of follow-up on that: If there was one challenge on Drag Race or All Stars 2 that you wish you can go back and redo, which one would it be?
AT5000: Oh, it's always the makeover for me. The makeover is always so gutter...but you know what? I am the only person who did makeover on Drag Race who is still out there doing drag and is a working drag queen now. Because Nebraska is out there and she is Nebraska and she's doing drag. She's fucking stunning and very entertaining, and I love her very much. So as square and fucked up as her hip pads were on that day, I would go back for that purpose. But ultimately, I'm very glad that she's still out there and doing it.
You're so far the only queen who gave birth on the show.
AT5000: I knooow!
I have to ask because fans are eager to see the long rumored and wished-for All-Winners All Stars. You've been on the record saying you'd participate. Now my question for you: I'm interested to know which queens you would want to compete against, whether it's because they're your friends or you're just obsessed with them?
AT5000: Oh my gosh, an all-winners season. I love, love Bob so much and I feel like I would immediately be like, "Bob we're in an alliance! We're in. We're going to act like this is Survivor and we're going to be in an alliance."
Well, can I tell you something? A little tea. So this didn't make the final cut of the interview we did with her but Bob said she would eliminate you first.
AT5000: [Laughs] Ahhh, why?!
Well, the question was who would be your biggest competition on All-Winners All Stars season and she said you and she would eliminate you first.
AT5000: Well, that's not gonna work for me! Okay, fine, fine. I'll eliminate her first double. No, I would love to see Bob there, even if she does send me home. It would still be amazing to see her there. I would love to see Aquaria. I think she's so fabulous. Violet Chachki, because she is so sickening. BeBe Zahara Benet, bring her back again, please.
What about the international queens, like Envy Peru from Drag Race Holland?
AT5000: No, I'm too scared. She's too pretty. Don't bring Envy Peru. She's too gorgeous.
I have to ask another big question that your fans would want to know and that's whether or not there's going to be a AAA Girls reunion anytime soon?
AT5000: I don't know. We're all really busy. I mean, right now I'm in New York, Willam is in the UK, and I don't know what continent Courtney Act is on. So it's very difficult getting the stars to align for the three of us to do it. But, I don't know, if someone pays us a whole shit ton of money, I'm sure we could clear out our schedules.
You have to get one of those private gigs. That's the deal. They'll pay for everything, they'll fly you, they'll put you up, and then they give you a big check.
AT5000: If anyone's listening [laughs]. In all honesty, we all talk all the time, we have a group chat, and we talk constantly. It's just our schedules are really crazy. But who knows. Anus-thing is possible!
Well, you're also a little too busy to reunite with them right now because starting in November, you're actually going to be going back to your theater roots and starring in the Pasadena Playhouse's production of Head Over Heels. Is theater something you want to do more of?
AT5000: Yes! I'm such a theater kid and theater was my gateway drug to drag for sure. So, like, my heart resides in the theater. I love the tradition of it. I love the ritual of it: the rehearsing, the call times, and the curtains. I love it so much. Also, this is a really cool production. They're imagining it as, like, a dance party and, like, a concert, and also we get to do this really fun music. The cast is awesome. And I get to go do it a whole bunch of times!
Let's shift to your music. You recently released "Red," which is the first single from your upcoming fourth album Red 4 Filth, which, by the way, great callback. And I read that your new music is inspired by songs of the late 1990s and early 2000s. And now I want to know what albums or songs did you revisit to get inspired for this album? Or just what your favorite artists are from that era?
AT5000: Well, that is the era when I started listening to the radio constantly. And I started to fall in love with music in a really intense way. The '90s was the first time I got to own music — I got an Ace of Base tape and I listened to it constantly. And I think it was formative and is how my brain formed. I'm just so obsessed with the way that music sounds from that time period. So we are drawing on everything, like J.Lo, Ace of Base, Britney Spears, NSYNC, Toni Braxton, Spice Girls, and even No Doubt — a little bit. We're really inspired by those artists and I really love the music. It's really fun and really good.
And with this era, are you going to be bringing back the oh-so-early-2000s fashion staple, the whale tail?
AT5000: Um, hell yes! Yes, yes! I'm actually wearing a fake tramp stamp right now. Because I've been wearing low-rise, fucking red pleather pants in shows and so I was like, "I need a tramp stamp." So I put on a fake one.
So as part of your new album, you're going to tour early next year, which also happens to be your first solo tour. How excited are you to be going back and performing in front of people again?
AT5000: Oh my god, there's nothing like it. As much as I loved shaking my ass in front of a webcam — and I did really enjoy that — there's nothing that can simulate the feeling for the audience or the performer of being in a room with people and seeing something real happening onstage. There's nothing like it. I'm absolutely ready. I'm galvanized. I'm very excited about it.