entertainment

Naomi Smalls opens up about adoption, politics and her ‘Drag Race’ sisters

It really is a Smalls world after all…

2020-09-15

Naomi Smalls sashayed into the workroom of season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race and she has been putting the “leg” in legendary ever since.

In the Attitude October issue, out now to download and to order globally, we limb-ered up for a chat with the fan favourite as she reflected on post-'Drag Race' life.

Photography: Sarah Crump

“It took me a while to figure out the responsibility you have being someone younger people look up to,” Naomi begins.

But the long-legged queen now relishes the opportunity to be a role model – especially when it comes to being “this cool spokesperson for adoption.”

Adopted by white parents, Naomi grew up as one of 11 siblings and says her upbringing couldn’t have been rosier.

“There is a huge guilt when you hear someone else’s story and it’s not as bright, or they were kicked out of their house when they were 16 years old. I think that the more I can open up people’s brains that your kid can be not the norm and still be a successful, happy individual, [that] inspires families out there to have more of an open mind,” she explains.

“I have so many parental fans. I have a pretty young fan base, but their families really appreciate the confidence that I give their children, and I get to be this cool spokesperson for adoption – which I never really saw happening, and I’m super proud of that.”

Photography: Sarah Crump

Finding her voice during the Black Lives Matter movement, too, Naomi, 27, felt compelled to speak up and use her platform for change.

“If I can do my part and speak up about it, that’s something that’s obviously so important to me, why wouldn’t I do that?” she asks, rhetorically.

“I grew up in a very multicultural, blended family, and I’m really grateful for that, because I got to realise that people are people based on their actions and to judge them on their actions and their personality more than the colour of their skin.”

Photography: Sarah Crump

Counting Kim Chi, Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change as her closest squirrel friends from the show, Naomi was supported by all her “sisters” during the fallout from her gag-tastic decision to give front-runner Manila Luzon the boot on ‘All Stars 4' (the meme of Naomi clutching the spiky blue shell from Mario Kart is genius.)

“During 'All Stars,' we were in Australia and it was after the makeover, and I sent home Manila, and there were people who were very, very, very passionate about it. I remember there was a girl who came to the show and she was booing in the audience,” she recalls.

“I remember the other girls seeing that and that audience member got kicked out in 35 seconds and I just remembered that was so cool – not so cool that she got kicked out, but just so cool that they really had my back in that moment.”

Naomi is currently working on her own TV project, The Smalls World Show, and has also launched a make-up collection with Kim Chi, called 2 Queens in 1 Desert.

See the full shoot and interview in the Attitude October issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe now and get your first three issues for just £3.