RuPaul's Drag Race returns this week with a brand new 'All Stars' season.
The competition reality TV show has been a consistent ratings hit for Logo TV, the Viacom LGBT cable network. The show's season 8 premiere and 100th episode attracted almost 1 million viewers last March.
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Season 2 features 10 of the show's most popular former contestants, including Dallas drag superstar Alyssa Edwards.
Alyssa chatted with GuideLive recently and shared her thoughts on the show, her dance studio, and life as one of the world's most famous drag queens.
Alyssa on: the rule changes
One of the first things we asked Alyssa about was how she felt about the show's surprise rule changes. (The girls vote each other off this season.)
"We found out about the rule changes when we arrived," Alyssa said. "We weren't told about it beforehand, and I didn't know if I really believed it at first!"
The surprise rule change reveal also kept the contestants from forming alliances before filming the show.
"When you're coming back for an All Stars season, all the queens know each other and have worked together," she said. "This is also going to be an interesting season because the queens had different ideas of how the game should be played."
Apparently the rule changes aren't the only surprise this season. "This season is full of twists and turns," Alyssa said. "It's going to be a little colorful."
Alyssa on: her competition
"This season has a little bit of everything," Alyssa said. "We have fashion queens, pageant queens, personality queens, etc."
This season of All Stars also has quite a few contestants from Alyssa's season. Half of the contestants are from season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race.
"Not to be biased, but season five was action packed," Alyssa said.
Alyssa on: growing as a drag performer
Alyssa says that being a Drag Race contestant has really impacted her art form by exposing her to different types of drag.
"Drag Race changed my life," Alyssa said. "I have the opportunity not only to travel, but to see drag from all over the world."
"My life in drag has shaped who I am today and made me come out of my shell," Alyssa said. "I remember going to the Rose Room as a 20-year-old and seeing drag queens for the first time. That opened up a new world for me and taught me how to become a gay man."
Alyssa said that she looks forward to redeeming herself from her season 5 loss, and that she is excited to show her growth as a performer.
"I don't think I've changed," Alyssa said. "I think I've developed. I know my character more."
Alyssa on: 'Alyssa's Secret' and her dance studio, 'Beyond Belief'
After her time on Drag Race, Alyssa began her long-running web series: Alyssa's Secret. Videos in the YouTube series often top 200,000 views.
Alyssa says that although her episode with Bianca Del Rio was a blast, her favorite episode features students from her Mesquite-based dance studio called "Beyond Belief."
"All these kids look up to me in so many different ways, not just as a dance teacher," Alyssa said. She added that this episode was the first time that many of her students have seen her in drag. "Their reactions really brightened up my whole day and made me smile."
Beyond Belief was featured on America's Got Talent and is rumored to be in development talks for its own TV show.
"Stay tuned," Alyssa said.
Alyssa on: the Miss Gay America scandal
One of the running plot lines of Drag Race Season 5 was Alyssa's dethroning as Miss Gay America, one of the most prestigious drag pageant titles in the country.
Alyssa Edwards won Miss Gay America in 2010, but her title was revoked shortly thereafter and given to first alternate Coco Montrese (who was also on Season 5.)
So what really happened? Alyssa says that Coco Montrese did not actually cause the title revocation. According to Alyssa, the former pageant owners felt that she had a conflict of interest because of her dance studio.
"It wasn't really between me and Coco, honestly," Alyssa said. "The owners felt like Beyond Belief was by first priority, and I confirmed that to them."
"I didn't even have a chance to mess up," Alyssa added. "I won on October 31 and was de-crowned by January 1. They wanted a person to devote their whole entire year to Miss Gay America, and they didn't think that I was a good fit."
Alyssa says that the current owners of Miss Gay America share her views on what drag is supposed to be.
"The new owners are amazing and see drag for exactly what it is." Alyssa said. "At the end of the day, it's just drag. When I see a drag queen, I want to see someone glamorous and campy. Drag is a man in big avant-garde clothes and wigs. It's a good time!"
Alyssa on: Coco Montrese
Alyssa says that everything is fine now.
"Coco is a very talented artist and I've always respected that," Alyssa said.
That doesn't mean that everything went completely smoothly on this season of All Stars.
"All of us have a mutual respect for each other and the work," Alyssa said. "But things can get pretty serious when you are in a competitive environment with a cash prize involved."
Alyssa on: presidential drag names
"I would name Hillary Clinton, 'Miss Akasha Edwards," Alyssa said. "Donald didn't make the cut, so she doesn't get a drag name from me."
Alyssa on: being a celebrity drag queen and her Dallas fans
"I feel like I live on an airplane," Alyssa said. "This week alone I was in P-Town, Boston, then Los Angeles for a NYX Cosmetics event. I am back for a few days and then fly to New York."
Although Alyssa's busy schedule keeps her from performing in Dallas often, Alyssa says that her hometown fan base is still very important to her.
"I don't get to be in Dallas enough, but whenever I do get to perform in Dallas, people come out in droves." Alyssa said. "I really appreciate that. The fans in Dallas are the foundation for building Alyssa Edwards. Thank you all for that!"
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Season 2 premieres this Thursday, Aug. 25th at 7 p.m. central time on Logo TV and VH1.