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Interview with the OG winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, Bebe Zahara Benet

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Jungle Kitty incarnate, Bebe Zahara Benet is renowned as the inaugural winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since appearing on season one, Bebe has toured internationally, produced original music, worked on charitable projects and been an advocate queer African excellence.

Known for her impeccable runway looks and poised confidence, Bebe helped shape and propel the iconic reality TV show at its inception and returned for All Stars 3 to wow fans new and old, reaching the final 4 of the season. In our conversation with Bebe we discuss performance mishaps, All Stars and advice for fans.

Do you ever still get nerves when you’re about to go on stage?

I never get nervous but I do get anxious. I am a ball of energy. When I am ready to go on stage, I just unleash it once the lights hit me.

 

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you or you have seen while performing

Last year, I was performing a Christmas show in Minneapolis. I was performing a soulful, almost gospel-like number and a part of the zipper on my gown popped and began to split in the middle of the song. I felt it, but the show had to go on so I continued to perform without turning my back on the audience. Even as I exited the stage, I did a bit of a side step to ensure that no one caught the malfunction  - and they didn’t!

Do you have a favourite song or number you perform?

I really love performing Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody.” But “He Lives in You” from The Lion King is probably my favourite song to perform. 

 

 

Since being on All Stars, how would you say your style of drag and performance has changed?

I don’t think my style or performance has changed since being on All Stars. From Season 1, however, I’ve learned to take more risks and really have more fun with my style and even the numbers I perform. I don’t take things so seriously and it’s made me a much better entertainer.

If you could describe your fans in one sentence?

My fans are legends, icons and superstars. In one word: everything! They are the reason I am still doing what I do, and I am so grateful for their support.

 

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