Pearl is an enigma. Fans love the RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant’s runway looks, but they might love her even more out of drag. Her catchphrases — “Is there something on my face?” or the endlessly hashtag-able “flazéda” — are more faux-pas than bons mots. But since clawing her way into the final three, the 24-year-old from St Petersburg, Florida hasn’t slowed down. She danced with Miley Cyrus at the VMAs, her EDM album Pleasure debuted at #4 on iTunes, and she’s been touring non-stop.
Daily Xtra caught up with Pearl to talk Drag Race, her new fragrance and her upcoming performance in Toronto.
Daily Xtra: What was it like doing the VMAs with Miley?
Pearl: I had to reschedule some other gigs, but it was basically really cool and a little bit weird. I don’t mean weird in a bad way, but just to kinda see what that lifestyle is; that world in LA; that industry. I like going to LA — everything is just like a fantasyland out there.
Did you grow up watching the VMAs every year?
I always remember those special VMA performances, like Madonna and Britney kissing, or Britney with the fucking snake. You know, it’s iconic. And I think this will be the same thing.
So, you’re coming to Toronto soon . . .
Oh! Cool! I forgot that I’m going to Toronto. Is that what this interview is for?
That is what this interview is for.
They don’t tell me anything! They say “Call this number at this time.”
Your gig is at Fly 2.0 . . .
Uh . . . I think so?
That’s what the info sheet says. And it’s the day before Halloween.
So, can we expect a spooky kind of performance?
I didn’t really know when it was . . . I hadn’t really thought about it.
It’s Oct 30. Your show may be Halloween-themed whether you like it or not.
What was your favourite challenge on Drag Race?
It would probably be the Shakespeare challenge. Just because I was such an idiot and I was so bad that you wouldn’t change a thing. I also liked the whole beard challenge thing.
You’ve been a busy queen since Season 7 wrapped. How long did it take to make Pleasure?
Maybe four months? Five months? I started pretty much like immediately after the show.
Have you always been interested in music?
When you finish Drag Race, you immediately start thinking about what’s next. You can’t just go gigging in bars and performing on stages. You can’t do that forever. So, I thought a lot about my future, and I’ve just always loved music so much. And I had Pearl as a platform to sort of get me out there. So, it was really new and different for me, but I worked hard and it’s been doing really well, which is exciting.
Why did you choose to pose out of drag for the album cover?
You’ve gotta kinda figure out what’s going to come after drag. And I didn’t really wanna associate my talent in music with my drag. I do other things than drag. So, I think it was smart for the future to market myself as me, as Matt. Even though it’s by Pearl . . . I don’t know, I just don’t wanna always be Pearl all the time.
You’ve also got a perfume coming out . . .
And it’s called Flazéda! You’re owning it!
Yeah, I guess. I thought it was like really embarrassing for me when I said that. I was so exhausted and I was just making up words and I thought it was just stupid, but people seemed to really like that moment.
And what does “flazéda” mean to you now? Do you have your own definition?
It’s a perfume.
Yeah. I don’t ever really use the word. It’s still kind of embarrassing. When I watch the show, it makes me kinda cringe a little.
What does it smell like?
It smells amazing! It’s actually a very high quality perfume. There’s no water added. There’s like sandalwood and it’s just so clean smelling.
And do you have anything else on the docket?
I’m just trying to finish up the year and my schedule for performing. Just taking it as it comes.
Friday, Oct 30, 2015, 10:30pm
Fly 2.0, 6 Gloucester St, Toronto