Daya Betty on Following in Crystal Methyd’s “Drag Race” Footsteps
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 might have just started, but the battle has already heated up. Contestants were split into two groups, and on the most recent episode, the second half learned that one queen, Orion Story, was sent packing.
As if that weren’t enough to scare the queens, RuPaul made them swim in a pool of orange Tic-Tacs for their photoshoot before having them show off their skills in a talent show for the judges, including extra-special guest judge Alicia Keys. After strutting their “sickening signature drag” looks on the runway, Angeria Paris VanMichaels was crowned this week’s winner, and Daya Betty and DeJa Skye fell in the bottom two.
Daya and DeJa lip-synced to “Falling” by Keys, but in the end, it was DeJa who prevailed victorious, leaving Daya to sashay away.
Daya spoke with Logo about how her time on Drag Race impacted her drag; if she got any advice from her drag sister, Crystal Methyd; and if she thinks Mother Monster should win an Oscar for House of Gucci.
In your confessional, you talked about how you couldn’t stop looking at Ru when he entered the workroom. It must have been pretty surreal to be there.
Oh my gosh. Well, first of all, the workroom is so vibrant. You’re already anxious as it is, and then you walk into the workroom and there are so many patterns and colors. And you’re like, I’m living in my personal heaven right now but also terrified to my core. And then Ru walks in – you know, you see people online, you see them in shows, and then if you ever get the chance to meet them in person, it might not feel the same way. But with Ru it was 100%. I couldn’t form words correctly. I was just in awe of how gorgeous and warm she was. It was the most incredible experience. Also, the most terrifying.
And then he made you get in a pool of Tic-Tacs…
Yes, which we were finding Tic-Tacs all over the place. Even when I got home, there were some in my bags, in my luggage.
When you were about to audition for Drag Race, did you get any tips from your drag sister, Crystal Methyd?
Yeah, totally. Well, before I even sent in my audition tape, she said, “They’re not looking for America’s next producer. Do not give them what you think they want. Literally, just sit there, act like you’re just talking to a friend during the audition process, and if they relate to it, if they can feel you in that, you’ll be fine.” And then going into the show, she told me, “Do not try to figure things out. Just let them happen as they happen because the moment you start getting in your head and figuring things out, or try to figure things out, you just end up confusing yourself,” which is accurate.
In the episode, Ru tells the judges you are kind of a “Xerox of Crystal.” Were you worried about that going into the show?
Yeah. We’ve gotten that a lot in Springfield [Missouri]. I’d been out to clubs before where I wasn’t even with Crystal and people would come up to me like, “Crystal, oh my god”. So yes, it was something I had thought about, but it wasn’t necessarily a pressure that I felt from Crystal or from myself. It was more like Crystal was just such a well-loved character in her season. There was such a great reception with her. So I think that was really what scared me the most is I got in my head about that. I just knew that I’m not Crystal. I don’t want people thinking I am because she was so well-loved. I have no qualms with people knowing that I’m related or thinking we’re related or thinking we’re alike because I always explain it like a rainbow. I always say she’s like red, orange, yellow, and I’m like purple, violet, pink. And sometimes we’re both green, and that’s okay. That’s part of the family aspect of our drag, you know?
In the talent show, I thought your lip-sync was great, but other queens also chose lip-syncing as their talent. Do you regret your decision? Did you have a back-up talent?
Well, I didn’t regret it in the moment, but I have a lot of talents. Drag combines all of my talents. I can sew, I can do makeup. I can style wigs. I can do a lot of things, but I can’t necessarily do them in the short amount of time we had to do it while filming, you know? In the moment I wasn’t too worried about it. I was just like, you know what, whatever happens, happens. But I think if I knew that was going to happen, I would’ve probably thought a little bit harder about what I could do.
Speaking of lip-syncs, you were in the bottom two. What were you thinking when Ru said you were going to be lip-syncing to “Falling” by Alicia Keys? I feel that would be a tough song.
I was more nervous about lip-syncing in front of Alicia Keys! When I do shows, I don’t generally have a set type of music I do. I kind of like to play around. Whatever I’m feeling, I’m going to do. If I’m feeling sad, I’m going to do a sad song. If I’m feeling sexy, I want try to a sexy song, whatever. I was feeling sad, in the moment, but I wasn’t that nervous to lip-sync to that song because I would’ve much rather done that than having to do some crazy dance song. I’m not a trained dancer, you know? I was happier that at least I was doing more of a valid song that I could feel my oats to.
I was going through your tweets, and it looks like you’re a Little Monster. Is that correct?
Oh yeah. Paws up. The one thing I love the most about Lady Gaga is she’s going to do what she wants to do when she’s going to do it. You know? I think as an artist, that’s how you should be. You shouldn’t put things out for other people. Like, yes, she puts things out for other people, but she doesn’t create content with the thought of who this is going to please. She’s creating content because it’s pulling something from within herself and kind of releasing that emotion or that experience and being able to put them into words, into songs. I could go on and on about Lady Gaga. I talk in circles as it is, but I could really talk in circles about her.
Did you pack any Gaga-inspired looks that you were hoping to display on Drag Race? Were you bringing any Gaga with you?
Listen, I can’t give away all the secrets. Look on my Instagram.
I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of LOVE I have received in the past 12 hours. I woke up flooded with love and positivity, and for that I am so grateful. Remember, if you fall down 99 times, get up 100
– Daya Betty (@daya_betty417) January 15, 2022
I think she’s going to be nominated for an Oscar for House of Gucci. Are you hoping she wins?
I loved her in A Star Is Born. However, watching House of Gucci, I felt like I was watching an actual crazy person. As for A Star is Born, I was like, I feel like I’m watching a character with Lady Gaga sprinkled in it. She’s got to win some sort of award for House of Gucci ’cause her performance was sickening. It was so good.
Going back to Drag Race, on Untucked, you said being there and being in the bottom two was like a nightmare for you. How did being on Drag Race, even for that short stint, impact your drag after you went home?
I think for me, drag is mostly about doing what I want to do when I do it and trusting my instincts. My whole drag journey has been people lifting me up and supporting me, but also people telling me I’m not good enough and that I need to try harder and do different things. So I use both of those as inspirations and add fuel to my fire. This is just another instance of that. Just because you fail at something or don’t do well, you have to remember that is life. Unfortunately, we all experience that in our day-to-day life with random things. This is just another version of that, just on a much larger platform. And you just gotta pick yourself up and keep on chucking along. It’s a 100% positive experience, and I have no qualms about it.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 airs Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.
Orion Story: “‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Was Therapy for Me”