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'RuPaul's Drag Race' winner Aquaria talks Melania Trump: 'She's out of touch with people who are crying out for help'

Lyndsey Parker
Aquaria as Melania Trump. (Photo: VH1)

Newly crowned RuPaul’s Drag Race champion Aquaria truly broke out in Season 10 when she won the “Snatch Game” challenge with her SNL-level impression of Melania Trump — thus proving that she has comedic chops behind her stunningly Instagrammable, lookbook-ready ensembles. (“Any hole is a goal” has now officially entered the Drag Race lexicon alongside other popular catchphrases like “halleloo,” “water off a duck’s back,” “purse first,” and “hieeeeee!”)

But it turns out the 22-year-old former NYC club kid (real name: Giovanni Palandrani) thought the first lady was much better comedy fodder a couple of pre-election years ago — when Aquaria first choreographed a lip-sync medley of favorite Melania quotes, set to a backdrop of Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey songs, to “fittingly exemplify Melania’s means of making her way to the top.”

“I made that mix before 45 was elected into office. It was one of the things that was a lot more funny at the time,” Aquaria tells Yahoo Entertainment the morning after her Drag Race victory. “And then, once things got too real, it became a lot less funny. But then, once I became Melania Trump on TV, it became a lot more funny — and a lot more profitable!”

While Aquaria’s first lady shtick continues to generate laughs (she’s even re-created some of ex-model Melania’s famous GQ and Vanity Fair photo shoots on Instagram), it’s still a bold political statement, and Aquaria becomes dead serious when discussing the current situation in the White House.

“We have a rotten, clown-ass pig in the office right now, with a complacent person standing beside him who clearly is out of touch with the needs of the American people and the people of the world who are crying out for help,” Aquaria states bluntly. “So, I think any opportunity to make an ass of them is more than welcomed in 2018. I think there’s a lot of respect that comes with the presidency and with the first lady-ency, or whatever the f*** it is called. But when it comes to those two awful dirtbags, I think any hole is a goal, and f*** them up wherever you can.”

Aquaria’s favorite artist is Gaga (with “Venus,” which she calls the ultimate “showstopper,” being her go-to Gaga track), but another politically charged selection in her repertoire is Green Day’s Bush-era blockbuster “Jesus of Suburbia.”

“I’m a huge fan of Green Day’s album American Idiot; it was just a whole, very thorough experience,” says Aquaria. The alt-rock song may not seem like an obvious choice for a drag review, but she explains: “For me, drag is not about being a woman — or being anything, specifically. For me, drag is about just expressing myself in whatever crazy-ass costume I want to wear, or whatever lack of crazy-ass costume I want to wear. ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ is such a dynamic song from start to finish; it’s nine minutes of craziness and hectic-ness and emotion. … It’s one of those songs where I know that for the next couple of days, I don’t have to go to the gym, because I got my workout running around the stage and thrashing to Green Day.”

When asked if she has any other overly political performances planned in the future, Aquaria says frankly, “I think any time we do drag, especially in 2018, it’s a political statement. Because we’re living in a world where people don’t see drag queens as equal. They don’t see queer people as equal. They don’t see people of any minority as equal. So, if I go onstage and I perform [Britney Spears’s] ‘Baby One More Time,’ that’s a political statement. So, I will definitely continue to perform — and maybe, sometimes, it’ll be political.”

In the meantime, an online petition is circulating to get Aquaria’s Melania Trump impression on Saturday Night Live — so we may see this club-kid-turned-comedy-queen on television again, perhaps next to Alec Baldwin, very soon.


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