Love her or hate her, you can’t deny this queen’s got talent.
Phi Phi O’ Hara may have been the runner up of Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race but she’s our Queen of Cosplay for her on point make up and cosplay game. She has a real deft hand at recreating iconic looks. I mean, have you ever gotten a nostalgia boner while feeling like you just got slapped in the face with fierce? That’s what it’s like going to one of her shows or looking through her Facebook/Instagram.
On her season, she was the definition of polarizing and I’m not going to front but I was not a phan. Even though, in my head, I knew the whole show is the equivalent of a drag queen social psych experiment and harsh editing, you can’t help but develop feelings for the narrative.
But you know what? After the season was over, I heard nothing but good stories about her (which is more than I could say about other queens that season). Any snippets I heard of her were positive and she kept improving her quality of drag.
It takes real class to consistently be a lady in the face of such negativity and public scorn. I eventually developed begrudging respect for her and that turned into full on phan-mode when I saw her perform and I saw her cosplay. You can’t fake that level of nerd. It just comes out of your pores even if you have drag queen levels of make up and I am here for it. I just knew that I had to get a hold of her and ask her some questions for the site.
Phi Phi O’Hara: I was 18, living in San Antonio, TX. I would see all of these performers on stage and I would always say that I could do that. I had plenty of people around me saying I would never win anything or make a name for myself…so I hired someone to do my makeup and I anonymously entered a few shows and won them all. It wasn’t until one show in the back I took my makeup off and they found it was me.
GN: What was the most surprising thing about the experience being on Ru Paul’s Drag Race?
Phi Phi: I would have to say the fans. I have dreamt of being in the spotlight and being able to entertain and share with the world my talents. RPDR has given me a stage to do so and a following that love, appreciates, and respects what I do and I couldn’t be happier!
GN: What is your favorite drag outfit/drag performance that you have done?
Phi Phi: I have so many favorite outfits, I have to say it might sound silly but I do a Popeye’s Chicken mix where I perform in a head to toe outfit haha and perform from the chicken’s point of view about eating them haha. crowd pleaser
Phi Phi: I have had to make a few outfits within hours! I made Yzma within 2 hrs for a Halloween event in NYC, then I had a photoshoot for a magazine where I made a vinyl “Ahh! Real Monsters” inspired dress over night.
GN: What is your favorite part of being a drag queen?
Phi Phi: The transformation is the best part, I love changing from a scruffy hipster to a nerdy, cartoon loving art piece for people to enjoy!
GN: How did you get into cosplay?
Phi Phi: I have done cosplay since I was younger. I would read comic books and hope that I had some unique super power that would show up one day. It wasn’t till Fall of last year that my crossplay was really noticed and kicked off. I am so happy I can bring out the inner nerd in me and share it with everyone! Cosplay and crossplay is cool as hell!
GN: You have an uncanny ability to dissect the main visual elements of a character like with your Lady Gaga look, your Ariana Grande look and all of your cosplay. What’s your creative process in making these looks?
Phi Phi: I play a lot with makeup and I pay attention to contouring and how to really shape your face to capture the essence of the character. Crossplay and cosplay for me I feel is easier since most are animated characters, but when I am trying to portray a living breathing person it is a lot harder to bring their characteristics to life because so many people are familiar with how they really look.
GN: What is your nerdiest indulgence?
Phi Phi: I LOVE POKEMON! I watch old episodes all the time, I play the game on the road all the time, I even downloaded in on my phone so I would have the game with me at all times haha. I am a huge gay nerd.
GN: What is your all time favorite cartoon series?
Phi Phi: XMEN and POKEMON
Phi Phi: MEW – Cute and litte, mysterious but powerful!
GN: If you could live in a fictional world, what world would you choose?
Phi Phi: Oooh never been asked that, I would love to live in a world so far in the future, where we would have machines and technology to sustain life for eternity where we had a cure for everything and powers to create something out of nothing.
GN: What superpower would you want?
Phi Phi: I have always wanted to be Morph from XMEN, to be able to change into anyone for a day and have their powers for a period of time to end up being able to be yourself again.
Phi Phi: Jim Henson, I would love to know how he created certain creautures and monsters and maybe he would let me in on some secrets to creating the perfect creature!….plus the signature stitch! lol
GN: Fuck, Kill, Marry; Ru Paul, Michelle Visage or Santino?
Phi Phi: Mary Ru….she has lots of money, Fuck Michelle Visage, ill bottom for her since she is a power top lol and IDK about Santino…I guess Kill….since I don’t care. Haha
GN: Haha, apparently no one else does either Thank you so much for the interview! You’ve been wonderful
If you want to catch up with Phi Phi, go check her out on social media at: