When she first started performing in drag, Alaska Thunderfuck did it as a means of survival — after leaving her home state of Pennsylvania for Los Angeles, the star says she turned to drag in order to find purpose. “I was doing drag to feed my soul because I was directionless,” she says. “Then I ended up, you know, meeting people and getting jobs, doing drag. And so I was like, ‘Maybe this is something I can pursue.’”
That’s what started Alaska on her journey toward becoming one of the preeminent drag stars of today, and winning the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, as she tells singer-songwriter and host Shea Diamond on the latest episode of Billboard’s Pridecast.
Especially today, the 35-year-old drag queen says that her drag still sustains her as it did back then, especially as she continues performing digital shows from home in the COVID-19 pandemic. “Drag, for me, has been like sort of the savior in all of this,” she tells Diamond. “Yes, we’re all isolated, but for a brief amount of time, for 30 minutes, we all get to like be in the same place and sort of sharing the same thing.”
Along with becoming one of the biggest drag names currently working, Alaska has also managed to create a career in the music industry, creating often hilarious music specifically for her fans and fans of Drag Race.
When it comes to her music, Alaska makes clear that “the goal is not to be mainstream,” but rather to have fun with the people who helped get her to where she is now. “I’m not trying to appeal to some mysterious demographic that’s out there. Like, I, I just, I want to create content that my people will like. And so if other people catch on and join the party, then like love. But it’s not like trying to appease some like mass mysterious audience.”
While there are plenty of artists who have inspired Alaska’s work, the one she finds herself going back to constantly is Lady Gaga, who Alaska has met a number of times. “We’ve taken three selfies together, so yeah, we are really good friends,” she says with a laugh. “No, but like I’ve met her and she’s lovely and, and really cool and works really hard and is really talented and just has given so much to me and to like a lot of people.”
As for new music, Alaska gives fans a little bit of a tease for what’s to come: “There might be a new song coming out,” she says. “It’s kind of a perfect song for this like quarantine a– moment that we’re all going through. Stay tuned.”
Check out Alaska Thunderfuck’s full conversation with Shea Diamond on Billboard’s Pridecast below:
Pride 2020 isn’t canceled. Join Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit & Pride Prom on Saturday (June 13) starting at 12:30 p.m. ET for performances, queer conversation, drag, artist cameos, glam sessions, DJs, dancing and more.