TV

A’keria C. Davenport’s Fondness for Funeral Homes Runs in the Family

"Yes, my grandmother often did hair and makeup for the dead."

A’keria Chanel Davenport, the self-proclaimed “diamond” of Season 11, returned to the workroom knowing how fierce she is, and bringing some absolutely gag-worthy runway looks with her.

On RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 6, A’keria cast a spell with her Frill of it All flower look, her Patterns sewing couture, and her electrifying Prince halftime show tribute. Things got downright spooky when A’keria and the other queens were transformed into “Coven Girls” for this week’s acting challenge.

While A’keria’s critiques from the judges weren’t that bad, this season’s competition is stiff, so in the end, it was A’keria and Ra’Jah O’Hara in the bottom two — just like in Season 11, when the two queens lip-synced against each other, with Ra’Jah ultimately sent packin’. This time, though, it was A’keria’s turn to sashay away.

A’keria spoke with NewNowNext about her experience on All Stars, including where her love for funeral homes came from and if she’s ever had a ghostly encounter herself.
 

On this week’s episode, you talk about how you believe in ghosts and witchcraft. I have to ask, have you ever seen a ghost? Have you ever had a spooky experience? Like, where does that belief come from?

So, my grandfather owned a funeral home, and so it’s just one of those things where I feel like you kind of feel the essence of dead people, of loved ones. As far as witchcraft, that comes from traveling the world and seeing different black magicks and stuff like that, and actually seeing it happen. Like, I had a lady who I knew to be in voodoo, and I won’t get into the details of the spell, but it actually happened. It was really, really creepy. And plus the whole Ouija board situation. It’s just a lot.

So your love for funeral homes came from your grandfather owning one?

Yes, and my grandmother often did hair and makeup for the dead.

You’ve said that one day, you want to own one.

I definitely want a funeral home. I definitely have to have me a funeral home. I’m not even scared of dead bodies, I just like it. Like, I really find it interesting. And then you have to think about it: Doing hair and makeup for a dead person, you don’t have to worry about any complaints. You don’t have to worry about them talking back, you can tell them about your day, tell them about your problems. They won’t push any problems on you.

If your grandmother used to paint for the dead, does that mean your makeup skills run in the family?

Maybe so. She may have taught me a trick or two, or I might have taught her a trick or two.

Going back to the episode, what was it like getting acting advice from Angela Bassett? You all looked so shocked.

Listen, I am a fan of that lady’s body of work. I’m a fan of that lady’s body. I’m a fan of that lady’s face. So to actually be in the moment and talk to her… it was so rewarding just to even have her speak and say my name or even answer a question. It was amazing. And she gave us some great, great advice.

Yeah, she did. You asked her about American Horror Story, but what’s your favorite season of American Horror Story? Do you watch?

Of course I watch. My favorite season is definitely Coven. It’s just something about powerful women that tickled my fancy, honey.

What was it like filming “Coven Girls” on set? What was that whole experience like?

It was stressful as always, because you want to do right. You want to make sure that you’re not in the bottom. But for me, I honestly had fun with it. Like, I had so much fun with them in it. I enjoyed everything about it.

In the episode, your critiques from the judges aren’t actually that harsh. Were you surprised that you were in the bottom?

I was. But then again, honestly, I wasn’t. I was surprised but not surprised.

I loved your runway look so much. What was the inspiration for that?

Alexander McQueen meets Thierry Mugler. Those two inspire so much of my drag.

You were in the bottom with Ra’Jah, and she was really emotional about it. How were you feeling about being up against Ra’Jah again? And did you talk with Ra’Jah about it?

Well, I mean, honestly, I knew it was going to be emotional because me and Ra’Jah are sisters. We grew up together. We’re both from Dallas, Texas, so we already have a love for each other. And we experienced having to battle each other on Season 11 where, luckily in that moment I was successful. So here we are again, reliving this moment. It’s a triggering situation, but it’s kind of like — we think about it in hindsight, the drama of it all — is like, wow.

Yeah, the drama was dialed up. But I loved when you were talking with the other queens back in the workroom. I loved your attitude, how you just seemed really grateful for the experience of being back for All Stars. Is that the attitude you had going into it?

I’m the type of person to where I just like to face reality of situations. And in that moment of being in the bottom, knowing my track record versus Ra’Jah’s track record, knowing the critiques, it was basically me in the moment facing my new reality of going home. So that point just allowed me, instead of begging to stay, it allowed me just to talk about how much I’m grateful for actually being here, and for this experience, and actually growing another sisterhood with a different group of girls.

I also loved how with this week’s look, we got to see more of your tattoos. What is that “Believe” tattoo? What’s the significance of that?

The Believe tattoo comes from if you take the B-E out of Believe and the Y-O-U out of yourself, it also says be you. Meaning to just live your truth and live for you.

Do you have any Drag Race-inspired tattoos, or would you get one after All Stars?

Well, I actually did on the inside of my arm on my left side. I have two… I have the number 11, and the 11 is in diamonds because I feel like I’m the diamond princess. I love to shine. And I have the 11 because, of course, my season. So I’m the diamond of Season 11.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 6 is streaming now on Paramount+.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer