Alaska Thunderfk Tackles Gender, Drag Race and Catwoman in New Memoir My Names Yours, Whats Alaska?
Writing a book has always been a goal for Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. In fact, she’s got a rather ambitious three-step plan for herself: “The big things are the book, the movie and then the made-for-TV movie.”
The “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” winner swears to tell “the T, the whole T and nothing but the T” in her new memoir out Nov. 9, “My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska?”
While the book brings a fair share of belly laughs, Alaska is also unafraid to face her past head-on with a candid account of her upbringing, her relationship (and public breakup) with fellow “Drag Race” winner Sharon Needles and her drag journey.
“I want to be able to talk about things in a real way, because I think that it was a way for me to learn from my past and my journey. And hopefully other people can too,” she tells Variety.
“An important thing to take away from it is that it’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to not always get it right, so long as you’re able to learn from those things and be better because of them,” she adds. “I learned that I’m really lucky that I’m still alive with some of the dumb shit that I did in my youth.”
But the process wasn’t easy.
“It was horribly painful,” Alaska says of reliving her most difficult moments, including a salient memory illustrating her struggle conforming to gender norms as a child.
Just as a young Alaska was discovering her love for Catwoman and Barbie, she was told by her mother, “You’re a boy, so you have to act like a boy. Don’t play like a girl.”
“Gender is such a pain in the ass to me,” she says when reflecting on the exchange. “I still hate getting called ‘sir.’ I don’t want to be called ‘ma’am,’ either. I just think it’s so unnecessary, these strict structural gender things that just are based in the tradition of, ‘Well, that’s the way it’s been for a really long time, so that’s why it’s there.’”
“It’s really exciting to be alive right now where we’re dissecting that, taking it apart and looking at it from a different way, being like, ‘Are these things useful, or are these things trash?’” she continues.
As the drag scene has exploded in recent years, Alaska is ready to invite more perspectives to the table. “When I first started, it was very underground. And kind of like a secret fucking society. And now there’s so many more people invited to the party, which is great,” she says. “I think drag queens are able to connect on a really deep level no matter where we’re from.”
While her memoir traces a colorful journey through those underground drag scenes in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Alaska says it’s her fellow queens that make her feel most comfortable. “Drag has this magic power. Whenever I’m on the road and I don’t know where I am or what time zone I’m in, as soon as I end up in the dressing room with other drag queens, I feel instantly at home.”
While she’s perennially on the road, a new opportunity has Alaska spending a rare month in one place. She’s gearing up to star as Queen Gynecia in the Go-Go’s-scored musical comedy “Head Over Heels” at the Pasadena Playhouse.
“My heart resides in the theater, so this is such a good fit for me because they’re reimagining the show like a dance party, and like a concert. It really couldn’t be a better combination of things that I love,” she says.
Of course, Alaska can’t keep away from her fans across the country for long. In 2022, she will embark on her first-ever headlining tour of North America as she performs songs from her upcoming album “Red 4 Filth.”
She promises the record will explore attraction, friendships and sisterhood, tied together with a throwback sound: “The time in my life when I really started to fall in love with music was the ’90s and the early 2000s. I got my first tape, and it was Ace of Base. I listened to it over and over and over, and that began my love affair with music. So we’re fully diving into this ’90s and early 2000s sound.”
And she’s got no plans of stopping there. While her repertoire already includes singing, acting and podcasting, Alaska is open to whatever new opportunities come her way.
“Part of what I love about drag is that there’s not really one set path that you have to follow. You can kind of dip your toes in everything, so I can write a book and then I can be in a play and then I can put my face on vodka bottle and sell that too,” she says. “I see myself in the future as being 90 years old and being propped up in the doorway like Mae West and still being in drag.”
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