Up Close and Personal with RuPaul’s Ross Mathews

The flamboyant and outspoken television personality has made himself comfortable on the judging panel of Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Declaring himself a ‘super fan’ of the hit series, Ross is not shy of voicing his opinion, and brings his signature sass and quick wit to every episode.

Kristy Johnson chats with Ross about the show and all things celebrity.

Ross, we love watching you on the show….
I’m so glad you’re watching it! It’s just a dream of mine to be on it. I really still can’t believe I’m on it!

Would you describe yourself as a super fan?
Well I had watched all the seasons previously. I’m just like every other super fan, sitting on the couch, yelling my opinion at the TV. A couple of seasons ago they asked me to come on, and I was like, ‘yes I’m already judging it at home, people just don’t hear my opinion, so why not?’ And then this season they asked if I wanted to come on full-time. I told them I’ve never been more qualified for anything in my entire life (laughs). I can judge drag queen!

Has it been what you expected?
It’s been even better than I expected, but I have certainly been surprised. You know it’s one thing to watch it at home or as a guest judge, but to watch the queens, their dedication week after week, I was shocked at how emotionally invested I got. The show means a lot to the queens, it’s a huge opportunity. It’s a worldwide international platform for the business. So how much they invested in it and I how much I invested in it was a real shocker. I was definitely shedding tears!

I can imagine you would get really attached to the queens….
Absolutely. I’m rooting for them. When I’m judging them and giving them a bad critique, it’s not that I don’t like them, I just want so much for them because I’m such a fan.

Is there any particular queen you’re favouring at the moment?
I’m not allowed to say but I will tell you from the very beginning the ones that stood out for me. Max going home early was a shock for me, I thought Trixie (Mattel) going home was a shocker, but I’m really happy that some of the other girls I’ve had my eye on are still in the competition.

Would you say this year’s line-up is better than the last?
Every season is unique. Every year I think how have they not found all the drag queens in the world yet and put them on this show?! Every year there’s a new crop of younger queens coming in, and the ones from this season….some of them have been watching drag since they were a young kid! They’re making some of the older queens step up their game.

What’s it been like to work alongside RuPaul, Michelle (Visage) and Carson (Kressley)?
Oh, terrific. I was so scared of RuPaul the first time I met her. You know it’s frightening, it’s RuPaul! But RuPaul has been so welcoming, kind and supportive, and she really wants you to have an opinion. I’m still free to feel what I feel and say what I say. At the end of the day we’re going to decide who goes home, but RuPaul is really open to our input. The whole panel all really gets along. We laugh so much between takes.


Had you met Carson before?
I have met Carson. I love Carson. We’ve been friendly for many years, but working with him it’s hilarious as you think it might be! Can we bring back Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?! I’m going to start a petition, have a big sale, have a lemonade stand, whatever it takes to bring it back!

If you were to take part in Snatch Game, which celebrity would you impersonate?
I would probably do Rosie O’Donnell. I love her. You have to do someone over the top! A lot of queens make that mistake with Snatch Game. You can’t do someone who’s very subtle. And subtle is not funny.

Surrounded by the craziness of Hollywood, does it take a lot to surprise you these days?
No I’m surprised every day, and that’s why I love it so much! You never know who you’re going to run into, you never know what they’re going to be like, and you never know if they’re going to know who you are.

Who would you say has been your favourite celebrity to interview, to date?
I’ve interviewed just about everyone you can imagine. My favourite interview ever is Gwyneth Paltrow because I asked her to be my best friend and she said yes! We have been for over 10 years now. Lady Gaga is on my wish list. In fact, I think we’re from the same planet. And you know we don’t really know who Lady Gaga is, and I’d really love to crack that!

With your partner Salvador (Camarena) being a fashion stylist, it must make it easy for you to decide what to wear on the show….
Oh he whips me into shape every day! He has much better taste than I do.

Let’s talk red carpet. Who would you say always looks immaculate?
Cate Blanchett just looks perfect! And then I think Gwyneth, I think she always looks perfect. I always look forward to seeing Rihanna, because it’s just always a moment!

Any celebrities you feel are in need of a style makeover?
Yeah, but I would never tell. First you’d have to take me to Happy Hour (laughs).

What about fashion fails. Is there anything that makes you cringe?
When ladies wear flats on the red carpet. To me, a red carpet is not a flats moment! If you’re ever going to wear a heel, this is the day! I always get bummed out when everything’s an A plus up top, and then you get down to the feet and they look like they’re working the night shift. I like a statement when it comes to beauty on the red carpet. I like when people mix it up. Maybe one day with a bold lip, and then the next day a bold eye. I like to be surprised. I don’t like it when people get stuck in a rut with hair, make up or clothing. I like to see people mix it up!

Besides RuPaul’s Drag Race, what are your other guilty pleasures on TV?
All of the housewives (series), Keeping Up with the Kardashians, My Strange Addiction, Intervention, I love it all! I love it! Nothing touches me like a real-life drama!

RuPaul's Drag Race airs Wednesdays @ 9.30pm EST

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