ER You had some family at the recorded show in Boston, right?
KZ Yes! My Aunt Cathy drove down and scammed her way into the show and I’m so glad we caught it on tape. She is hysterical, and I swear to god, if I had her come on stage she would have done a 30-minute set right on the spot. She’s just so funny. It’s wonderful to have a family that’s so supportive.
ER In the comedy special, you put your own spin on a famous scene from Mulholland Drive. Why were you inspired by this film?
KZ Mulholland Drive was my favourite movie theatre experience ever. I’ll never forget it: It was 2001 and I was in my first year of art school and a bunch of us went. It was electrifying. We went to a diner afterwards and talked about the movie for like, two hours. And funny enough, there’s another scene in that movie that I didn’t have budget to parody or recreate. It’s the scene in Club Silencio when Rebecca del Rio, the singer, comes out and does this acapella version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying in Spanish,” and it’s so gorgeous and haunting, and then she collapses halfway through and you realize she’s been lip syncing. That scene was literally the reason that I do drag.
ER What do you like to watch when you fly?
KZ I like sad stuff. I want to cry in an airplane. I think because I work in comedy, it’s tough for me to watch it. If something’s really funny, I’ll nod, or say to myself, “Oh, that was funny,” but I won’t laugh. But if something is really sad, I’ll just cry. And I love crying on an airplane because you make people around you uncomfortable. And that’s fun.
ER What makes you cry?
KZ The other day I was watching YouTube clips of Simone Biles, the American gymnast. I watch compilations of her floor routines and I literally sob because she’s perfect. It’s like getting to see the Mona Lisa or a legendary work of art – she’s a modern-day Michelangelo when it comes to sports.
ER How would you describe the journey Katya has taken from your first appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race to the Katya of today?
KZ It would be a transition from the nervous, plucky young intern who transformed into a grizzled old-hag veteran.
*From the song “Read U Wrote U,” performed by Katya and her fellow queens during season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.