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Sasha Colby on her one woman show and her past year as reigning Drag Race champion

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Exactly one year after winning RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 in 2023, Sasha Colby refuses to slow down. 

A former Miss Continental winner, she’ll be the first to tell you she was made for this. The 39-year-old is the star of the moment but is standing on a career decades in the making. 

Behind Colby’s platform is a legion of fans seeing themselves for the first time, celebrating the first-ever Native Hawaiian to be cast in the reality competition and the first winner of Polynesian descent. A mainstream press tour hasn’t deterred her from what matters.

So.Gay heard rumors on the gay streets that Colby plans to unleash her art like fans have never seen before. We tracked her down at a hair salon in Los Angeles, where she exclusively confirmed she’ll be taking a medley of stages for her first North American solo tour, STRIPPED, where her pageantry, drag, and dancing will merge into one.

The Drag Race winner reflects she got her start where it’s not uncommon to see queens doing a triple cartwheel landing in a split or hanging from the ceiling singing Cher.

“I lived in Florida for a few years, working my way up and down. I used to do the Palace in Miami! Twist! So many places,” said Colby, “I’m excited to see all my drag sisters [while touring].”  

Colby quipped her time in Miami gave her firsthand experience with Latin hotties and navigating their fiery personalities. “I haven’t been burned by any, but I have definitely been heated up by many,” said Colby, “I was actually married to a Venezuelan.”

As a trans Hawaiian drag pageant queen who was raised in the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Colby’s layered visibility is perfect for a community that thrives on being different. Miami is ubiquitous for a majority Latino demographic, and countless local queer folks must cope with the conservative religious roots that come with the territory. 

The drag superstar carries multiple torches, but Colby doesn’t worry about fumbling any of them. “Just being a native Hawaiian to speak on Native Hawaiian culture and issues is important to me,” said Colby, “And no one can take that from me because I’m Native Hawaiian. And no one can take me being trans out of any context because it’s my experience. It just gets increasingly exciting to feel like I can be my most authentic self on a global stage and receive a lot of positive reinforcement from all these communities.”

No drag queen fights for the crown on RuPaul’s stage without hoping – expecting – their life to change. But Colby prioritized staying humble and remembering why she does drag. “When I was understanding my queerness and my transness and transitioning, it all kind of coincided to just dive headfirst into drag and competitions and drag pageants,” said Colby.  “It was a way for me to continue being creative and using my dance ability while, you know, hopefully paying the bills.”

The bills seem to be the last stressor on the booked and busy performer’s mind nowadays. She focuses on evolving her artistry while staying true to her fans. Regarding how she has changed as a person, Colby feels less like a metamorphosis has taken place and more like she’s “unblossomed.” 

A perfect weekend for the self-described introvert involves “a lot of weed.” She’s a homebody who enjoys having friends over on her time off from the hustle’s glitz and glamor. “I’ve been traveling so much, so I look forward to coming home to the little goddess lair that I love,” said Colby. 

Naturally, So.Gay needed details on this goddess lair, described as “maximalist decor” and the aesthetic as “dark tropics,” channeling tropical vibes with florals in dark colors. The space represents what makes her happy and is an extension of herself and her artistry. “I am my own walking art installation,” said Colby, “And I think that’s the whole thing about being an introvert who is also an artist. I need to do this, like I must get it out. It’s a reflex.”

Unlike other drag queens, Sasha Colby is not her stage name. It’s who she is all the time. But she confessed there are two hats, and beyond the fierceness, those closest to her see an “utter goofball who knows the weirdest facts.” However, art imitates life, so whatever Colby goes through in real life, good or bad, she’s wielding as a performer. 

And that will soon be at stages across America and beyond, in major cities barricading themselves from anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. This year, the queer community is once again marching and partying for LGBTQ+ rights. But as a Presidential election looms over freedom, waving the rainbow flag should not be taken for granted. Over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced within the first month of 2024, with a Republican bullseye on drag queens and trans people. 

“When you are disenfranchised and left without a voice, I think you understand how important that little vote is,” said Colby. “ You know, people are fighting all over the world to have the free will that we get to have. Those little votes can mean a lot collectively, and I don’t think people should give up on that.”

American politics might not be ready for Colby’s stardom, but her taking the stage has never been more necessary. 

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