Getting to know our favorite girl from this season’s Drag Race
How Peppermint Learned to Camp
When asked to lip-sync for her life on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Peppermint’s weapon of choice was always camp.
The New York entertainer –who came a close second to Sasha Velour –kept her coup de grâce hidden beneath the folds of fabric flowing from her corsets, ready to brandish it when going in for the kill. There was, perhaps, no better example of this than in her lip sync to Madonna’s “Music” against Cynthia Lee Fontaine, in which she mimed cocking a shotgun and Old Yeller’ing her opponent in time to the drop. There were also smaller moments thrown into her tightly choreographed routines like tacks onto asphalt: her limp-wristed prancing to “Macho Man,” the unshakeable sincerity she brought to “Stronger,” the literal glitter bomb midway through “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay,” the probably Sontag-approved “dress made of three million feathers” she wore in that Whitney number. The way Peppermint invoked camp on the show always felt so natural, so it surprised me to learn that this wasn’t always the case.
“Camp used to be something I was afraid of,” Peppermint told me over the phone. “I was afraid to venture too far into the more heightened style of campy drag when I first started out. Drag, for me, meant creating the most beautiful and maybe even believable female version of myself that I could. It wasn’t until I came to terms with myself [as a transgender woman] that I stopped being afraid of all that makeup and hair.”
I recently had the chance to speak with Peppermint about camp, drag, and how she learned to stop worrying and love the quintuple lash. We also talked about what it’s like to not be sure which camp you belong to and where she hopes conversations around drag and gender expression go next.