By Christopher Rudolph
Gigi Goode is not just good, she’s great. Or as she would say, “I’m not just good, I’m incredible.”
The Los Angeles queen kept the judges and viewers gagging throughout Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race with her candy-colored couture high-fashion runway ensembles, like her orange button extravaganza and ice cream queen looks, but also with her comedy chops. Those combined talents earned her a stellar track record; not once did the 22-year-old performer fall in the bottom two during the competition.
Gigi was a fierce force to be reckoned with, winning Snatch Game, the Madonna Rusical, and the Ball Ball Challenge. She seemed to be all business, keeping her eye on the crown, but she also showed her surprisingly funny side with her portrayal of Sophia the Robot on Snatch Game, and playing a flight attendant on a hellbound flight for her one-queen show.
She made it all the way to the top three, where her lip-sync of “Survivor” featured a Wizard of Oz-inspired costume reveal, but in the end Jaida snatched the crown. Gigi spoke with MTV News about her time on Drag Race, coming out as genderfluid, her dream cosmetics line, and fangirling over Due Lipa’s newest album.
MTV News: How have you been passing the time in quarantine?
Gigi Goode: I am kind of treating this situation like I am a 10-year-old home sick from school. Obviously we all have our responsibilities that we need to attend to, but I’ve been lucky enough to be quarantined with my friends from House of Avalon and we’ve been able to create some really amazing things in general.
MTV News: What was the hardest part about filming a virtual, socially distant finale?
Gigi: The hardest part about filming was knowing that I wasn’t going to have that live audience support, which is really one of my favorite aspects of drag. I love human interaction, a personal connection with an audience member. And there’s a moment where you’re able to lock eyes with an audience member that I just cherish so much. And that was the only aspect that I was not prepared for.
MTV News: We only got to see you lip-sync once on the show, but I have to say my favorite lip-sync of yours was when you performed “Levitating” by Dua Lipa on Werq the World.
Gigi: Oh, thank you.
MTV News: It was so good. Are you a Future Nostalgia fan?
Gigi: Yes. Oh my God. Future Nostalgia is pop music right now. Listen, you can say what you want about whoever you want — be it Gaga, Ariana, whatever — but Dua Lipa, she owns pop music right now.
MTV News: You were always strong throughout the competition, but what was the hardest challenge for you personally?
Gigi: The hardest challenge for me was the one-woman show. That point in the competition was quite the emotional boiling point for me. And on top of having to perform for Whoopi Goldberg, there was a lot of pressure. It was also one of the last challenges and it’s not an easy challenge. So I was like, “If I get sent home right now, I will never forgive myself.”
MTV News: Your looks were so amazing, and I think my personal favorite was your Daphne from Scooby-Doo. Where do the inspirations for your looks come from?
Gigi: Well, all the inspirations for my looks come from things that aren’t really real. I love referencing cartoons. Things that are very intangible. And when I found out that there was going to be a purple runway, I was just thinking about who’s a really iconic figure that wears purple. I knew that nobody else would be doing purple and lime green, and I love wearing red hair. So I just knew that Daphne Blake was the way to go.
MTV News: And you create these looks with your mom. What has the process been like lately?
Gigi: Yeah, she is still in Illinois. It’s funny enough, the process for creating things with her really hasn’t changed very much except that shipping takes a little bit longer. There’s no way to explain how talented she is and how our relationship works so beautifully. It’s just clockwork at this point. And it’s just something that I know every single time will turn out impeccably.
MTV News: What was the reaction from fans when you came out as genderfluid?
Gigi: In the moment, speaking about that, I really had no idea how this was going to go, which direction it was going to take. And I’m still happy to say that there are people who really, really identified with that. There are people who took that as a means of permission, in a sense, to speak to family members, their friends, and come out and be who they authentically are. It’s a kind of a responsibility that holds a lot of pressure, but also I really cherish that. It’s really amazing that I can have that kind of effect on anyone.
MTV News: You have so many followers on social media and you’re so popular with the fans. It must be nice, but there must also be a lot of pressure.
Gigi: Yeah, always. And that’s something that I’ve definitely prepared myself for. I know that not 100 percent of everybody is going to like me or be a fan and that’s completely okay. I’m very good at focusing on the positive rather than the negatives.
MTV News: And when you first moved to L.A. you were doing makeup. Do you think you’ll be like Trixie Mattel and release your own line of cosmetics?
Gigi: I’m not sure. I’ve always been interested in makeup. I think it would be a lot of fun to work and create my own formulas for things. I think if I were to do that, I’m not sure if I would have my very own brand; it might be like a partnership or something like that.
MTV News: And I know that you are obsessed with the ‘80s. Are you still feeling that vibe right now?
Gigi: Absolutely. I mean, the ‘80s are really where my mind sits most of the time. It’s been morphing slowly into the ‘70s and ‘60s, but I’m always keeping an element of the ‘80s with me. I’m enjoying my little time travel.
MTV News: I know you started doing drag when you were a teenager. What was the first drag show you ever went to, or the first drag queen you ever saw?
Gigi: Honestly, the first drag queen I ever saw, I think was my friend Kirby who had done drag for a little mini-talent show for the thespian troupe at my high school. Prior to that, my uncle had shown me RuPaul at a very young age. But I never really connected the dots that was a drag queen. I just thought it was a stunning, gorgeous woman.
MTV News: How did the competition change your drag?
Gigi: I think that the biggest challenge I found in myself, and in my drag, going through the competition was that I was finally able to ask for help, which is something that I never really wanted to do before. Because the only other person that really had any influence on my drag is my mom. But being there and having to let my guard down and say, “Okay, this is something that I’m not super comfortable with. I can ask for help.” And it has worked out in my favor.
MTV News: Usually you would go out on tour after the finale. So what do you have coming up that fans can look forward to?
Gigi: Well, I definitely have some secret projects in the works, which are very, very fun. And obviously who knows when we’ll be able to go back out and perform again. But another thing about this whole situation is that it’s been interesting to see who is making the most of it and who is thinking creatively about how they can continue to entertain and how they can continue to present their platforms. So I’m eager to show you just how I can do all of that.