Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raja Interview



This year my favorite show 'Rupaul's Drag Show' was elevated to new heights with the best talent so far. Queens like Manila Luzon, Yara Sofia & Carmen Carrera all stole the show but there was one queen who stole the public's hearts,got them racing and had them pulsing in the fantastic Finale where she then stole the crown ... Raja. Raja is the alter ego of the brilliant make up artist Sutan Amrull, already familar to the public for being the make up artist on America's Next Top and personal make up artist to Adam Lambert.

Stepping fully into the spotlight, Raja entered Rupaul's Drag Race and with his gender fuck performances, avant garde outfits and heartwarming personality he became America's Next Drag Superstar. I was lucky enough to talk to Raja this week and get to know more about the star . . .


1 - Raja - Condragulations on everything so far! How are you feeling?

Amazing!! I'm a little overwhelmed, sort of like waiting in line for a roller coaster!

2 - You have been in the buisness for over ten years creating amazing looks for Tyra,Adam Lambert,the girls on America's Next Top Model etc ... but when exactly did you create Raja?

Raja happened in the early 90's when i was an attention starved teenager!

3 - Growing up, what inspired you and were you always fascinated with dressing up and creating looks and characters?

I've been fascinated with clothing and costume for as long as I can remember. I was the kid who constantly got in trouble in school for daydreaming.

All I could think about was how to wear seemingly non wearable things like a globe or a chalkboard. I often fantisized about making over my teachers and wanted to see them in more glamorous things.


4 - Tell me about the first time you stepped out as Raja and your first performance . . .

I was about 16 years old at a summer art program for freaky teens in Oakland California and I joined a talent show. I looked like a pile of boogers, but you couldn't tell me otherwise.

5 - How did you get involved in Rupaul's Drag Race and what was it like being part of the show?

It was something I had to really do a lot of soul searching about. I really wanted to show people what it is I do as an artist, to expose people to the drag that I knew, and to share my experiences.

I knew from my experience with ANTM that the process of being on reality TV would be painful and gruelling. Before i could even doubt myself any further, the ball was rapidly rolling. It was one of the most difficult and most rewarding things I had ever done in my life.



6 - Your alter ego Raja is a much more avant garde hybrid type of drag than people are used to - being surrounded by 'mainstream' drag did you ever feel nervous or that you stood out?

I knew that I would definitely stand out. I've always been drawn to things that were brilliant and strange. I actually thought that I may not have lasted as long as I did in the competition because of my philosophies.

I knew what had always worked for me is my willingness to be open to new ideas and concepts, clearly it helped.




7 - What were your favorite moments on the show and which moments had you freaking out inside?

Ironically the moments I loved, where we had to create and invent things by hand, were those moments where I was ready to pull out my hair out.

9 - What are your plans now for the rest of the year and are there more things that you want to achieve?

This year is all about traveling and performing around the US and the world if all goes according to plan. I have so many fun experimentations in music and video.

My song "Diamond Crowned Queen" can be bought on Itunes, and the video by director/photographer Austin Young is available online for your viewing pleasure. I have so many cool ideas, I can't wait to show off and share!

10 - For people creating drag characters or strange alter egos etc - do you have advice?

Own it, do it with a look, and believe it!

11 - Finally, you have so many fans worldwide - Is there anything you would like to tell them?

Thank you from the deepest depths of my soul. I am a lucky ladyboy, and I hope we can make art together!!

Quick Fire Round :
1 - Favorite Song To Perform To : Thru the fire by Chaka Khan
2 - Favorite Make Up Products : Elmers glue stick to cover my brows
3 - Favorite Drink : champagne (in all price ranges)
4 - Fashion Icons : Isabela blow, Bianca Jagger, Liberace, and Nomi Malone of "Showgirls"
5 - What items can you not go without? False eyelashes and contact lenses (I'm an old blind lady)




A huge thank you to Raja and Manager Diana. Raja's single 'Diamond Crowned Queen' is now available on Itunes and you can keep up with Raj'as upcoming shows on www.artofraja.com

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