Orion Story: “‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Was Therapy for Me”
Spoilers ahead for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14
Clear some space on the Pork Chop loading dock because we have our first eliminated queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14.
This past weekend’s premiere introduced seven queens – only half of the contestants for this season – but that didn’t stop Ru from sending someone packing. That someone was Orion Story, the first Michigan-based queen to compete on the show.
Orion’s time might have been short, but she made a memorable first impression with her Juno-inspired entrance look and talent show offering. Orion spoke with Logo about the stress of competing on Drag Race, her love for Jim Henson, and how she planned to show off her handmade puppets.
You mentioned on the show how you were stressed when you were leaving for Drag Race because you were moving and your cat was sick. So, how are you now? How’s your cat?
Good, good. When I moved out of my apartment, literally right as I was getting ready for Drag Race, I went to Drag Race homeless with my severely diabetic cat. I was dealing with substance abuse issues and all this stuff, so when I got there, I think I was really wrapped up in that still. I’m in a way better place now. I think the show was therapy for me. I really feel like I got a lot out of it and I really learned a lot about myself. Then there are a lot of things that you don’t really think about when you get on the show. The judges are really good at picking up on how you’re feeling, or if something’s off, and they try to pry it out of you.
So you saw a change in yourself even in your short time there?
Absolutely. Back home, all the girls always tell you how sickening you are, or, “You’re so amazing.” Then you get on the show and the judges are like, “You can work on this, this, and this,” or whatever. They point it out and you’re like, I didn’t really think about it that way. It changes your view on your drag. You leave Drag Race thinking about your drag differently.
Speaking of home, I can’t believe you’re the first queen from Michigan. There hasn’t been a queen from Michigan?
There have been a few who are originally from Michigan, but they weren’t living in Michigan when they got on the show.
Gotcha. How many times had you auditioned?
Were you surprised when you got the call then?
Why weren’t you surprised?
I had made a practice tape the year before. I just wanted to get familiar with the audition process, but I knew when I submitted my tape that I was going to get on, just because I’ve always really believed in myself. I feel like I have a great story to tell. I feel like I have a unique style and a unique viewpoint on everything. I’m always just myself. I feel like I’ve always been a star, and I knew that they would see that. That was the one thing that I really wanted coming off the show, just to show the world what I have always seen in myself.
First off, your entrance with the hamburger phone. Where did the idea come from?
The burger was a Juno reference. It’s one of my favorite movies. I didn’t really have an entrance line prepared. I figured every girl’s going to come in and just be like, “Pose, my entrance line, or my catchphrase,” and I wanted to do something totally opposite from that. I wanted to come in and just be crazy and ridiculous. I wanted to come in and look absolutely stunning and then just be so crazy that the girls would want to hate me, but they can’t because everything’s just right.
You also mentioned how you love puppets. Do you do puppets? Were you going to bring your love of puppets to the show?
Yeah, I actually brought some puppets with me. It’s funny – for my talent show, I originally was going to do a puppet show. I was going to do an original song and do all that, but I made a lot of my stuff for the show, so I just didn’t have a whole lot of time to get it ready. My talent show was improv, everything was on the spot, last minute, not rehearsed, but yeah, I have always loved puppets. I’ve been a huge Jim Henson fan. My license plate says Kermit. I have always been really like enamored by The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and that kind of stuff. The really weird, colorful puppets. It’s always been something that’s really inspired me and I’ve always wanted to incorporate that in my drag. I do a lot of stuff with puppets and that was one of the things I was sad I didn’t get to share. I was sad I didn’t get show more of that side of me.
You said you brought the puppets, but then you didn’t do it for the talent show. Was it too last minute?
The puppets that I brought were not the ones that I was going to use for the talent show. I was going to make a RuPaul puppet and a Michelle puppet. I was doing this song about fucking puppets. It would’ve been great if I had time to flesh it all out, but they don’t give you a whole lot of time to get ready for Drag Race. They threw the challenge show thing at us last minute, so I was like, what can I do?
Were you surprised when you were in the bottom two?
I wasn’t really surprised just because I knew my talent show was so thrown together. It was just last minute, so I was expecting it. I was like, yeah, it wasn’t as prepared as it could have been, so I wasn’t really surprised. It was definitely a risk, but I thought it was funny regardless. I was happy with it for what it was, I thought it was funny.
For the lip-sync, was that your first time performing Lizzo?
I have never performed Lizzo before. I’ve heard the song before, but I didn’t really know it. I didn’t really know the words, so I was in that workroom listening to it. I was like, just in case. I originally didn’t have the wig reveal planned, that was all done last minute, because I was like, it’s going to be me and June [Jambayala] in the bottom. It’s going to be hard for my little white ass to beat June in this Lizzo lip-sync, so I’m going to pull out all the stops. I’m not going down without a fight.
Speaking of June, what about June’s sleeves? It looked like you got caught in them at one point.
It’s funny because those actually… it was not a reveal. They were actually attached to her costume, and they ripped off. Everyone thought it was a reveal, but it wasn’t. It was a wardrobe malfunction.
Yeah, I saw your heel got caught in them at one point.
Honestly, I don’t remember that happening. When you are standing there and Ru is telling you you’re about to lip-sync, you just go on autopilot. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I don’t remember any of it; I wasn’t looking at June or anything. I was just like, let’s do this. Just went in and did it. I didn’t even know that her sleeves came off until after the lip sync when everyone was talking about it. I was like, “I didn’t even see it.”
You’re the first one out, and that has its own legacy now. So many great queens are first out, and if they do the Pork Chop loading dock again, you’ll be on that wall. How does that feel?
I’m definitely sad that I didn’t get to show more, but just being on the show is a win in itself. I feel like I made a really big impact in that first episode. I have so much stuff that I was sad I didn’t get to share, but I’m ready for my redemption.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 airs Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.
Meet the Queens of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 14