Words: Alastair James; pictures: BBC
RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under's latest eliminated contestant Elektra Shock has said the treatment she received from other queens at the beginning of the competition reduced her to tears.
In what was certainly a tense penultimate episode to the series, the queens were asked to showcase their talents in the Talent Show Extravaganza and it was... interesting. We weren't expecting balloon animals. Well, animal (singular).
Speaking to Attitude following her elimination, Elektra Shock opens up about her relationships with some of her fellow contestants, her talent show piece, and who she's backing for the finale. The answer may not surprise you.
What was it like being on the show?
It was life-changing. I really did have to deal with things I probably didn’t think I’d have to deal with while I was there, but I’m glad I did. I’ve come out the other side a different person.
Were you surprised to find out about the talent show challenge?
We have an idea of what might come up. I was as prepared as I could be. It was a hard one as well, right before the finale. We were all in a place where we’re so close to the finish line. Everyone was very tense and very competitive at that point.
How did it go for you? Obviously, we saw how it played out, but how did you feel about it?
For me, that dance became very special as I went through my journey on the show. Originally, I choreographed that dance to open and tell my sob story, for want of a better word. In the end, that dance became a release and I ended up dealing with all those issues through the show and I got to have one last big shake out on the stage and leave all this emotion and stuff I’d been dealing with.
And I left so much lighter. I left feeling like I’d really accomplished something and grown. I could not just see the change in myself, but I could feel it. It made for a really easy exit and like I’d won in my own way.
It was unfortunate everyone said your name on the runway in answer to who should be going home. How did that feel?
It was very difficult to hear, and it was very difficult to hear Kita [Mean] say my name after we’d been so close in the competition. I hadn’t had the most amazing relationship with all those girls. But the love I’ve got from people at home has far surpassed any of the opinions that the girls had of me.
I was lucky enough in my time on the show for the world to meet Elektra, but also James [Luck - her real name] and what informs Elektra. I was blessed to tell my story. The way the episode went, elimination and all, was so dramatic. It was like a storybook ending. Watching it back I was tearing up and it was a beautiful finish, to be honest.
And I guess that lip-sync was especially hard because it was against Kita, who you were close with?
It was hard and I think for the last few weeks, Kita and I had started to get on this buzz of two Aussies and two Kiwis in the final. We were really going to support each other and make sure we got there. Then we were both in the bottom two. It was hard and I think you can see in the lip-sync how hard it is. I’m glad it was her though, I feel like Kita has always been a mentor to me and someone I’ve looked up to.
So, I’d rather go home to someone like that and someone I feel like could genuinely go on to win the crown. I think that was the best thing about it. It was that if Kita wins this, she’s going to win [the finale], and that was made me feel OK about it and is what I continue to tell myself at night. Haha!
You did have some difficult relationships with some of the other queens. Why do you think the others seemed to underestimate you?
I think it was probably just the pressure cooker of Drag Race and I think some of them definitely took it a bit too far. I would go to my hotel room and cry for the first couple of weeks there. It was quite torturous. I thought this was part of it and what I had to deal with. Then it clicked that actually I didn’t. I can stand up for myself and the value I bring. It may not be my wigs or costumes, but I certainly have something I can add and bring to the competition.
And I’m glad I had that change of thought because it’s that that pushed me to where I got. If you don’t back yourself no one else is going to. You’ll only have around you people who support you so much when you’re down. None of us know what we’re up to, we’re all just figuring the world out. I had to go, "f*** them!" I don’t know if I can swear on this or not… But, "f*** them, I’m the s***!"
I had to pretend to be the cocky 19-year-old who didn’t give a s*** what anyone thought. It’s what made me find this inner fire again. I started talking back to girls and that’s when girls started complimenting me. Sometimes you have to make the change and be the catalyst for change. I just hope people take that away from my journey.
It was something I really struggled with but in my darkest moment was able to find [a way through]. Look where I am now! Top five!
Is there anything you feel we didn’t get to see from you?
I don’t know what more I could have shown. I would love to go back and refine my look and show I have a taste level that compliments the performance element of my drag. But I think people got to know me on the show and I couldn’t have asked for more.
So, who are you backing for the finale?
Kita. Team Kita Mean! Kita embodies not just the fabulous polish and kookiness we have down here but she also embodies so much joy, which I think is so important in a winner. I think Kita is going to be the perfect winner, so fingers crossed.
And have you spoken to Raven since the show?
I haven’t and everyone keeps asking that! She’s wonderful, isn’t she? My boyfriend watched that clip back and wondered what I was up to! Raven has taken her time on Drag Race and turned it into a beautiful, illustrious career, and I think that is so cool. If Raven wants to come and teach me a lesson or two, she is more than welcome to.
Watch the Talent Show Extravaganza below:
The finale of RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under will be on BBC iPlayer on Sunday 20 June 2021.
The Attitude Summer issue is out now.