Making the transition from the werkroom to a spinoff TV show is a dream for every Drag Race contestant — and Season 14's Kerri Colby is the latest to take centre stage. Coming in 9th place, Colby won the hearts and minds of fans across the world, bringing an entirely new perception of trans representation to the runway. FILMHOUNDS caught up with her to find out more about her new show, Kerri Kares.
It's almost been a year since your season of Drag Race — what has life looked like since and has it been what you expected?
You never know what to expect, right? Has it been so amazing and eventful and so many things that were way out of my perception or control happened? Yes. And it's been such a blessing. I know it's cliche to say that I'm living the dream, but I really do get to see and live who I always hoped and prayed that I would be when I wake up in this reality. So it's been a very, very amazing experience just to get to that point. I also think personally it gives me a lot of responsibility because to whom much is given, much is required. It makes me feel very invigorated to continue to do the work. I always say I identify as a seat giver, and, to quote the amazing Gia Gunn, I'm a door opener as well. I want to make more space for more people because if you can see her, you can be her. If you can see him you can be him. And if you can see them, you can be them, and that's what we need right now.
Trans representation on the show has really changed, thanks to people like you and Gottmik. Are you pleased with the change you've seen, and what needs to come next?
You know, I'm very, very proud of the network. I know that this was a different choice from a lot of things they had done in the past to fully just authentically let people come through the door 100% themselves, but I'm very appreciative that they took that opportunity. And I think that what we've proved is that we deserve a space to be able to compete and to be able to show our art and share our stories. I'm very proud of where we've gone so far, and we've continued that. We have Sasha on Season 15, we've had more trans representation throughout the other franchises globally as well. So I love the fact that we're making it authentic. My challenge to the network, ultimately, really is to never confuse being trans with a trend. We are not just a trend. We're not just a way to get some extra clips and some extra time. We are a literal life lived and we are a story and yes, we're always going to bring it to every ball, darling! But my challenge is to make sure that everyone in power and making the decisions keeps in mind that trans people really do deserve a seat at the table. And I would love to always see some amazing trans representation and different trans representation. There are so many ways to be transgender and to be amazing, and I want to continue to see that going forward.
Speaking of Sasha, what is that like to be the Colby on the other side of the experience, watching her go through it?
For me personally, it's a dream come true. I always have rooting for Sasha. She has always been one of my biggest inspirations, and I think really will always be one of my biggest inspirations. Part of why I found myself as a trans woman and had the courage to come out was because of my encounters meeting her throughout the years. Even just being a part of her family made me feel like I had a place to identify, and it gave me the ability to feel that once again, if you can see her, you can be her. Now I don't think I'll ever be Sasha Colby, but it definitely made me more comfortable and more competent to be myself and to be myself more authentically. So seeing her get her flowers and just really slay the hell out of this competition is so well deserved, and it really makes me feel just like very proud to have that relation.
Do you ever get your head around the fact that there are all these people coming to see you? You go to a DragCon or shows and there are people that have been queuing up for hours to talk to you. Does it ever feel surreal?
There's definitely a bit of surrealism because there was once upon a time where I was that person that would go and want to see my favourite person. I didn't think or know that was going to be me. But to feel that love? There's just nothing that compares to it. It is amazing and I'm all about my goal as a person to be the person that I always hoped and wish I would have been able to engage with growing up. I would have been more comfortable making some of the decisions I should have made a long time ago. I would have done that sooner because I would have felt more encouraged knowing that I'm able to be that person and to see the approval of people who feel more liberated and comfortable to be themselves. We all go through some sort of transition in our lives. It doesn't have to be gender but it can be you know, a transition from a relationship, a transition from being an adolescent to an adult, a transition from being single to now bringing kids into this world. There are so many transitions we go through and I think that seeing that people relate to living a transitional lifestyle. It's just it's really amazing.
So, Kerri Kares — is this a dream for you? Tell us what we can expect from the show.
Absolutely. It's no secret or surprise that I love being in front of a camera. The thing that I love the most about Kerri Kares is that not only is it keeping me busy, but I am literally flipping the script honestly, on how we do media. I was very appreciative when World Of Wonder wanted to see more Kerri, and I think everyone that we have observed is unanimous in feeling that they want to see more Kerri as well. So I definitely was excited and happy to have the opportunity. But my biggest challenge and my biggest point to make is that I didn't want to put out some vapid, self-gloating piece to talk about nothing or myself. Number one, that gives me anxiety. And number two, I don't think it really will help much of anything. So I literally told them that my challenge is I wanted to make a show based around the Kare Bears and based around the community, people who you know, have seen me and have been touched and affected by me.
I get a lot of DMs and a lot of messages throughout the day, all the time. And there are amazing questions. Unfortunately with me being so busy, I can't get to them all. But I wanted to make a show where we actually open that door and give people the ability to create their own TV show, and I'm kind of like the base and the narrator of it all. Every concept on Kerri Kares was birthed from our Kare Bears. From the questions to the themes to the funny little skits and things. We're giving people an opportunity to participate in the world of multimedia. And I think that it's so fun. It also is very inspirational for me because it made me feel more excited because I'm not just doing it for myself. I'm actually doing it for somebody and participating in answering questions.
Kerri Kares will be available on Wow Presents Plus.