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Peppermint on Call Me Mother, horror films and who she’s backing to win Drag Race SE15

Exclusive: "I don’t have a drag mother, I’m sort of a drag orphan! I didn’t really have any drag children until I was on this TV show."

By Jamie Tabberer

Peppermint joins Attitude for Tea Time (Image: Provided).
Peppermint (Image: Provided).

Forget your All Stars and your vs the Worlds: some RuPaul’s Drag Race stars forge a career with a singular appearance on the show. And Peppermint didn’t even win the damn thing, placing runner-up on season 9 – possibly the best one ever.

“We set a standard on our season, I think,” opines Peppermint. “Also, it was the first season in the States to go to VH1, so it was really polished by the time it opened up for a lot of people. It was also a standout because it was the first lip-sync smackdown as the finale, and the first time they’d had a final four. People seem to really like that format.”

Peppermint has since released two studio albums and, as Pythio in The Go-Go’s-inspired musical Head Over Heels, become the first woman who is publicly trans to originate a lead Broadway role. It’s a privilege to catch up with this fierce talent.

Peppermint – describe yourself in three emojis…

.Dancing lady. The shrugging person. Side eye.

What would your autobiography be called?

Bitch, You Know the Rest!

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Mary J. Blige, just to shake it up!

Which queen would you haunt from the afterlife?

Bob the Drag Queen and Bianca Del Rio. I’d rather haunt them then have them haunt me! They’d turn it into material, set up cameras!

Did you ever hear from Madonna about your ‘Music’ lip-sync?

No. Not as far as I know. I don’t know how much interaction she’s had with Drag Race in general, at least publicly. Privately, I know she’s very close with one of the queens.

What’s your biggest vice?

My dentist would say candy – and I would agree!

How did you end calling yourself Peppermint?

It’s my favourite flavour – my favourite candy. A boy I had a crush on once told me I should name myself Peppermint, and I’d have done anything he asked.

Does he know his role in your origin story?

I’d like to hope so. But I haven’t spoken to him since then! I wonder where he is…

You’ve started a cult – what is it about?

Horror movies!

Who are you backing to win RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15?

Sasha Colby, 100%. She has experience. Which is something people don’t seem to value in the Drag Race world. They look at age and are like: ‘Oh, age. Oh, you’re old.’

Crystal, Peppermint and Barbada on Call Me Mother. (Image: Provided)
Crystal, Peppermint and Barbada on Call Me Mother. (Image: Provided)

Peppermint on Call Me Mother

Everyone loves drag reality TV. Clearly. So, I say, the more the merrier! OutTV and Froot TV have come up with a brand-new twist on the classic drag reality TV show. It’s three drag mothers [Peppermint, Crystal and Barbada] who have three drag houses, with their drag children and competitors. And at the end, there’s one winner. The mother of the house with the lowest score each week must decide which of her children to send home. It gets very dramatic, believe me, darling!

Peppermint on her real-life drag family

It’s interesting. I don’t have a drag mother, I’m sort of a drag orphan! I didn’t really have any drag children until I was on this TV show. A few honorary children, but I don’t have a typical house or family, as you’d call it. There are some people who mostly got familiar with drag through drag reality TV shows and, in that regard, they think every drag queen has a drag house and mother.

I came from the New York 90s nightlife scene where drag houses weren’t really a thing like they are now. Of course, there were always chosen family – the queer people in my life who have made me feel supported, which I return.

Peppermint on being a horror movie buff

My prowess is larger than the average. My favourite genre is zombies. I’m extremely loyal and reverent to the Living Dead series. I love zombie-horror-comedy, for sure. I love The Evil Dead – it’s hilarious. There so many LGBTQ+ horror fans because it’s more than just monsters randomly running around. They’re euphemisms for societal commentary. Classism, rich versus poor, different minority groups.

These horror characters resonate with queer people – the characters who are oftentimes shunned or othered, who turn their weakness into power. [‘Attitude’ suggests we write a drag-themed zombie movie together.] I’ve had these musings before. You’re right on the money!

The podium – Peppermint ranks the drag of three queens from her season

1st – Valentia 

Hers is the drag I relate to the most, because it’s the most classic style. I love all these styles of drag – but I don’t want anybody to get it twisted!

2nd – Eureka

Eureka is a blend of classic and campy.  

3rd – Sasha Velour

I relate to the least, meaning I’d be the least likely to wear or do that style of drag myself… but completely admire and think is genius, fantastic and beautiful! Primarily because she’s usually a bald queen, and you will never see me as a bald queen!

Call Me Mother is available on Froot TV