RuPaul's Drag Race star Robin Fierce on looking Mama Ru 'in the eye' for 'devastating' elimination
If the eyes of Robin Fierce could talk, they'd tell a story of hard-fought battles striving for excellence on RuPaul's Drag Race season 15.
Unfortunately, the Connecticut queen's time on the Emmy-winning show came to a premature end on Friday night's episode, after the internet's favorite former Best Buy employee (who previously told us she "fully sold TVs in drag," with photographic evidence in tow) admittedly played it safe during this year's girl group challenge, and she was sent home. Still, Robin went out doing what she does best: dancing, and she stared down whatever insecurities she had on set — as well as Mama Ru on the panel — before sashaying away.
Below, Robin tells EW why she wanted to bow out with her head held high (and her stare fixated firmly on RuPaul), how she improvised her hip-hop dance moves as part of the Ol' Dirty Bitches challenge group, and reveals the shocking moment she knew her romantic past with fellow season 15 queen Amethyst would be an unrelenting topic for fans.
RuPaul's Drag Race season 15 continues Friday at 8 p.m. on MTV. Read on for our full exit interview with Robin.
MTV/World of Wonder Robin Fierce talks her 'RuPaul's Drag Race' elimination.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I'm so sorry we're talking under these circumstances, but I'm happy that the entire workforce of Best Buys across the globe can now rest easy because their patron Regional Manager is now free to return to her post and run those stores like a navy ship.
ROBIN FIERCE: I loved my post, but I will not be returning.
The most important question for you, has Best Buy reached out for collaboration?
Not a word. It's been radio silence. Maybe they will one day, maybe they're still catching up. Straight people take longer to catch up to the gay things. But, they have not. I was at least expecting a new Sony TV, 60 inches. Is that too much to ask?
I'm shocked that you were in the bottom, given your skillset as a great dancer. Going out on the girl group challenge, were you gagged, and did you agree with your bottom placement?
[In our first EW interview last year] I described the season as the Game of Thrones of drag. I described that mostly because of Irene, because we all expected her to go so much further. She was a front-runner to us, but also for myself. That's no shade to anybody else in the bottom with me, but I didn't expect to be going home so early, especially seeing as how I was safe or high-safe, which, I guess high-safe really doesn't matter unless you win. Until I was in the bottom, and I blew it.
Did it surprise you?
Yeah, a little bit. But, welcome to Drag Race. You never know what's going to happen. Anybody can get it…. At least while I was there, nobody did bad, it just happens that somebody did better in that moment.
When we got to the Ol' Dirty Bitches performance, it looked like you hurt yourself with a very hard death drop.
The intensity was more from the freestyle of the moment. Them circling, and me doing whatever in the center wasn't choreographed, so I wanted it to be a little more chaotic. That's where that came from more than anything…. It's like when you see in those old-school hip-hop things. You hop in the center, it's not planned, you do whatever you feel.
At judging, Michelle Visage told you that you were operating from a "safe" mode, but you weren't in the safe group that got to stay. Ru said, "there's something holding you back and I don't know what it is." You said you've seen people in your life take risks and it doesn't work out for them. What did you mean by that and how did that apply to your performance on the show?
A lot of times, I'd watch somebody and be like, oh, let me try this thing. I'm not saying not to try things, because I wouldn't be doing drag if I didn't…. but, if I know, in a moment, that I'm good at a specific thing, I'm going to try to do that specific thing because I know it will work, especially in a competition setting. On the show, I was operating from a place of wanting to stay as opposed to wanting to win. Of course I wanted to win, but my actions were more, I want to make sure that I'm staying here. And the staying here trumped taking risks so that I could win.
You said in a confessional that there are levels to life, and sometimes you're up high and other times not. What level were you at heading to Drag Race? Was something troubling you or bothering you while filming?
No, not really. When we did our initial interview, you asked me what advice I would've given myself, I gave a lengthy quote from Kirate Kid. The blade of grass in the wind blows, but still stands firm in what it is, it is that blade of grass, but it's able to move with the changes. I'm good at adapting, but if I say in my mind how a scenario is going to go, sometimes it's hard for me to readjust the expectations of myself when how it plays out in my head doesn't go in real life like that. From day one, we all had this image of what it's going to be like to be on Drag Race, how we're going to be, how the other queens are going to be, what the challenges are going to be like, and getting thrown into it and things not being how they go in my head, it shifted my center a little bit.
Are you proud of what you did on the show?
I definitely see where I could've pushed in certain areas a little bit more. I feel like I would've done a great job if I was able to move forward. I can take critique if it's a helpful critique. My elimination episode is the first time that I really got critiques from the judges, and I was very ready to apply those and try not to play it safe and go out of what I thought my comfort zone was. If I were to stay, it wouldn't have been like, why are the judges saying this?
Whenever Ru finally told you that you were eliminated, what was the first thought that came to mind?
It was a devastating moment. I didn't live for being in the bottom, which, nobody does. I didn't necessarily think I'd be the one going home, but Ru saw something a little different in Jax in that moment and decided to keep her. What I do remember is, before they tell you you're going home, there's a good minute pause, and I remember saying to myself, this whole season I could barely make eye contact with RuPaul because it's RuPaul! That moment was the first real time that I made eye contact with her. It was a staring contest by myself, but it was a staring contest with Ru. I was like, if you're going to send me home, you're going to look me in the eye, and I'm going to look you in the eye, and it will be what it is, whatever it is.
You stood in your confidence on the stage. If you're going to go out, you're going to go out looking RuPaul in the eye. It's a sign of respect and dignity.
It's only an opportunity for growth. I'm happy that it wasn't my drag that was questioned. The only real critique I got was that I'm a lady and I was playing it safe. One, thanks, I'm glad you appreciate the drag that I do, and also thank you for showing it to me that I was playing it safe so now, no matter what it is I do in life, whether it's other performances or may or may not be doing the show again or other career paths that I might take, it's something I can take with me and make sure I'm continuing to push myself.
We also have to talk about Amethyst, who told me it was a mutual decision to end things, but you took issue with what was said on the show. Can you clarify what bothered you?
I don't like when people say a mistruth or not a whole truth about me…. who broke up with who, that wasn't my issue. I'm fine with that, but in this case, it wasn't that. When she said it in the confessional, it came off as if it was her that was like, "Okay, I'm done with you, goodbye," which is not a true representation of what happened. Sometimes, me and Amethyst might remember things a little differently.
She said at Roscoe's that one person wanted more than the other and that it was never a relationship. Can you clarify?
I remember this specific conversation she was talking about, and she brought it up to you in an interview, but I did read [that she said] I specifically asked her what it is that she wanted, and she told you she didn't want anything serious. She told me she didn't know, and we continued to hang out after that conversation. So, maybe in that moment I will give her grace, and in that moment maybe she wanted to say was she didn't want anything serious because she might have felt from me that I wanted something more serious…. When we had our entanglement, I did enjoy her, and it was one of the times that a relationship of mine didn't just start with sex, it was friendship. In that moment, I was fine with either or, whether it was just having fun or making it more than what it was, but I wanted to be clear what it is that she wanted in that moment.
We've closed the loop on this and gotten your side of the story!
You wouldn't be doing your job if you didn't ask me…. It lasted for barely a blip. I don't think we would've talked about it on the show if we had the choice. The only reason it was brought up was because I was talking to Spice off-camera, she asked us how we knew everybody. I told Spice about this off-camera, and then in Untucked she brought it up. I was like, bitch, this is not something I wanted to talk about right now. I love Spice, it's no shade, so all you Spicy babies out there, don't come for me! That's my little niece.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
Subscribe to EW's Quick Drag podcast for recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including reactions with the cast, special guests, and more.