The second episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race’s fifth season delighted us with a quirky, unexpected challenge: The 13 remaining queens were tasked with reenacting classic moments from the past four seasons of Drag Race. The challenge called for precise lip-sync skills and dramatic acting chops from everyone, and it’s clear whose pantomime was worthier of kudos from guest judges Kristen Johnston and Juliette Lewis: Lineysha Sparx walked off with the title for her dead-on, hilarious impersonation of Tyra Sanchez (though it helped that the resemblance was uncanny), and beleaguered Panamanian queen Serena ChaCha, a.k.a. Myron Morgan, ended up in the bottom two thanks to her uninspired take on Raja. After surviving last week’s survival lip-sync, Serena lost to Monica Beverly Hillz in a final performance of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World).”
We caught up with Serena to discuss her rapport with the other queens, being the youngest competitor, and the queen she’s rooting for now.
AfterElton: Going into this week’s challenge, you were coming off a big lip-sync victory against Penny Tration and a fine performance in the lip-sync mini challenge. Were you riding high on that validation?
Serena ChaCha: Yeah! It was great to at least have had a little bit of a lip-sync extravaganza, I thought. For that challenge, we couldn’t use anything but our mouths — that’s some tight lip-syncing!
AE: You were assigned to be team captain for the big challenge. Were you confident in your abilities as a team leader?
SC: I was! I was. But I think I had a lot of strong characters on my team, so it made it a little bit of a stretch, I think, to meet them. But I think I did a good job to make sure I was authoritative enough. [Laughs.]
AE: What was it like to portray Raja? She’s certainly one of the greatest talents and most memorable performers from her season.
SC: I think that on the contrary, her character is really difficult to play. There’s not much craziness involved in playing her. I think that’s the one thing that was very difficult for me. I found it difficult to portray because she’s more of a poised, elegant character. Being so little, I wouldn’t even know how to channel that yet.
AE: If you had it your way, which queen would you have preferred to portray?
SC: Oh my God, Miss Shangela! Please! Had I known? But I got Raja and I went a little bit overboard.
AE: You’re a surrealist painter. That’s a distinct and cool skill. Did you feel your background set you apart from your competitors?
SC: I think what it rather did was it gave me an over-confidence that was channeled the wrong way. You know? It definitely made me admire where the other queens were coming from, actually.
AE: You’re also the youngest competitor of the season. Did you notice that difference during the show?
SC: Yeah, definitely. I came in with all five bags packed, thinking, “I have everything I need here.” But I realized that we’re all titans, but there’s always bigger titans than yourself, you know? You could definitely notice the difference in age, I think.
AE: Kristen Johnston hammered you for wielding a small flag on the runway. Were you shocked to be criticized for showing national pride?
SC: I was surprised by that comment, yes. I really just wanted to make a statement about my country that would be appreciated, so I didn’t think it would be criticized at all. But I have to say, it was a good criticism! “Show yourself off! Be bigger than that!” That was good!
AE: In Untucked, the other queens ganged up on you. Was that tough?
SC: That aspect of the show really speaks to more of the scandalous, controversial side of [the queens], and certain things that will arouse and certain people will get very argumentative. That’s the beauty of it, you know? That’s you seeing us as real people. We have strong opinions. We’re vulnerable. That’s not to say that the audience doesn’t make it too personal, but the thing is, we talk it through. It’s very raw.
AE: Overall, would you say that show has been a positive or negative experience?
SC: I would say overall it’s been a blessing. I mean, are you kidding? I’m Serena ChaCha from RuPaul’s Drag Race season five at the end of the day! The only sad thing is the audience and their negative bullying in social media. Being a fan of the show myself, it’s strange to see the audience respond in such a negative way. As a fan of the show, I never even dared to make negative comments about anyone, you know? I’m the opposite. I might congratulate my favorite girl. I think that’s the sad point of it. We’re the founding queens of the drag revolution that’s happening, you know? To have that judgment is really sad, and I think in a community where we’re so against bullying, to me it’s sad to see that people take the time to bully us in social media. That is the only concern I have.
AE: And finally, which remaining queen gets your vote for victory?
SC: My queen who I’d give my support to is Coco Montrese. I learned from her! I don’t even think I remembered everything that happened until I saw her on TV, but her [way of speaking] is very impressive. I think somebody like her should be crowned ultimate queen so that everyone can venerate her!