If you haven't watched every episode of this season of Logo TV's RuPaul's Drag Race, then you're clearly depriving yourself of the single most entertaining piece of television this year, sorry True Detective. Imagine fourteen glue-gun wielding drag queens creating outfits fit for a Final Fantasy game all the while vying for a grand prize of $100,000 and eternal bragging rights in the drag scene. Every week two of the weakest contestants are pitted against each other in a 'drag-off,' which means they have to impress a panel of judges with their best lip-synch performance while garbed in their own ostentatious creations.
It may be a different world than what you're used to, however Season 6 contestant Laganja Estranja has no problem mashing up the drag scene with our very own marijuana culture. The gender-bending vixen may be the world's first pro-420 drag queen, and it shows in some of the elaborate outfits Laganja constructed over the years.
This week, Laganja Estranja was booted from the show after an unsuccessful drag-off, leading to a rather emotional moment in the show. HIGH TIMES caught up with Laganja Estranja, and throughout the entire interview I referred to him as a girl and her fellow male cast members as sisters. Laganja called me girl (despite me actually being a guy) -- and the Earth continued to spin.
We both grew up in Texas, and personally I hated it. The entire state seemed oppressive. How was growing up in Texas for you?
Growing up in Texas as a little kid was awesome. I was really lucky to have supportive parents. I was doing professional theater by the age of seven, so my whole childhood was spent in the theater and around gay people and those who were more open minded. It wasn't until I got to middle school and high school when I developed issues and definitely had trouble with people, but I thought it was a bigger deal than it actually was. It wasn't as bad as everyone thinks it would be.
Now you live in Van Nuys, California. How's the herb out there?
The herb is pretty good. I have a place literally within walking distance of my house and they always hook it up, they've got great edibles.
Are they fans of Laganja Estranja?
No actually, I have another store I go to in Fillmore, California and they do watch the show, but the [dispensary] in Van Nuys, I don't think they have any idea what RuPaul's Drag Race is.
I just finished watching the show's most recent episode in which you were kicked off and you made an interesting statement before you departed. You said you thought the human race was evil. Can you dive into that?
At that point I was completely broken. I was tired, I haven't been able to smoke in four weeks at that point, so I was going through a detox -- which is really insane. That was a very dark moment for me. I do definitely believe a lot of people are evil, we feed off people and it's something we think makes great TV. Evil is innate in our nature and it's up to us to move past that.
Well on the show it did seem fairly blatant that your fellow sisters backstabbed you.
At the end of the day I think the girls were very threatened by my talent. I think they would do pretty much whatever they had to do to break me down. Backstab is a little harsh, I would just say they chose themselves over the group mentality.
[As I was getting to my next question, I overheard Laganja ask someone for hot peppers as the sound of a cash register jingled in the background.]
What are you eating?
I'm getting a large thin crust pepperoni pizza with ranch!
Are you currently stoned right now?
Of course! I'm not on TV no more girl so I can do what I want. I had to get up at 9am, so I woke up and waked and baked so I can talk my little head off.
How was that entire process of marijuana detox? Wouldn't it have been easier to tell the producers of the show that you're medically legal in California?
My name is Laganja, and I was very up front with them about it that I'm legal and I have a prescription -- it wasn't a joke for me, it's a real medicine. Marijuana is something I use for back pain, sleeping, eating. Detoxing was insane. The last time I've gone that long without marijuana was when I was 18. It was the most intense experience I've had in my life -- there's no other way to say it.
Then it's safe to say if you had herb you would have performed better on the show.
Oh absolutely, and I believe I would have gone all the way [in the show]. If I were able to have my medicine and relax and live my life, I would have won. We filmed for 14 hours a day. I never tucked -- which is basically putting your dick in between your legs in your asshole -- I never tucked without being high. So not having weed took a toil on me. When I finally get kicked off and came home, I was really depressed. Trying to reintegrate marijuana in my life was such a surreal thing. I got too high.
What happened to all of your wild weed-themed outfits that you're known for?
I had them, but you didn't see them did you?
I didn't -- why didn't I see them?
Well, I'll let you take a guess on that. Half of my wardrobe was reduced.
RuPaul's Drag Race airs on Logo TV and is filmed in California, you would think they would be a little more open to marijuana culture.
That's the world we live in.
Do you find it impossible to be pro-marijuana and anti-gay rights since both struggles are so similar?
Yeah, absolutely and that's one of the things I found that's so disappointing. I feel weed culture is very homophobic. Many places that I've been that are marijuana friendly, there's a lot of 'bros' and straight dudes, and they look at me like 'who's this fucking faggot repping our scene?' It's really sad. You would think that our marijuana culture would be open. I was always told that weed was such a bad thing, but then of course when I smoked it I realized that it wasn't. So I wondered how many other things people say is bad that really isn't. I was hoping that I would have all these stoner fans and that it would be an awesome way to bring together the two cultures, but unfortunately I haven't seen that yet.
You've said being in drag 'pays your soul,' what does that mean?
I graduated school with a dance degree, tried working in LA, and nothing worked. I couldn't get hired anywhere. However gay people loved me, so all I had to do was put on a dress and do the same thing. I don't really view drag as being a woman, drag is just a way for me to showcase what I really love, which is dance. I was just in Ireland with my drag mother Alyssa Edwards performing in front of 2,000 people and it was the most moving moment in my life. I get emotional just thinking about it. It didn't matter if I was wearing a wig, a pot smoker, or if I was gay -- I was in Ireland dancing with my best friend, and that's so freeing. Drag has allowed me to be who I've always wanted to be and share what I love with everyone.