Coming from the island that brought us Jessica Wild and Yara Sofia, Drag Race “queen-testant” Kenya Michaels brought the caliente for season 4. This gorgeous pocket-sized powerhouse looked like a frontrunner to take the crown, but some questionable acting choices and a lip sync for her life against sent her packing. Before he had to sashay away, this Puerto Rican wonder shared a little bit about himself, his Drag Race experience and personal style. Once you read our exclusive interview, you’ll discover that the old saying is true – good things do come in small packages!
Socialite Life: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Kenya Michaels: My real name is Omar Olivera. I was born on May 8, 1990. I live in Dorado, Puerto Rico but right now I’m having plans to move to the States. I was part of the San Juan Ballet Group. I used to be a backup dancer for reggaeton singers: Miguelito, Glory, Zion and Lenox. Actually I work for the municipality of Dorado giving dance lessons.
SL: How did you get started drag?
Kenya: I started when I was 15 years old (laughs). I know I was too young but I always felt attracted to fashion and glamour.
SL: Who are your biggest influences or inspirations?
Kenya: When I started it was Beyoncé , Mia Michaels, Naomi Campbell and lately Nicki Minaj and Li’l Kim.
Check out more from Kenya after the jump!
SL: How would you describe your look?
Kenya: I can describe my look as “ghetto glamorous”. I also have a big influence in “girly funk”.
SL: What do you enjoy most about performing?
Kenya: My favorite part about performing is to be able to entertain and give high-energy performances to the crowd. I also love doing characters so I always give something different.
SL: Where is your favorite place to perform?
Kenya: I don’t have a specific favorite place since all the public and crowd is different everywhere I go. So the experience in each club is unique and one of a kind.
SL: What can people expect to see when they come to see you perform?
Kenya: You can expect dance, choreography, glamour, runway and tons of energy.
SL: Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
Kenya: Thank God I haven’t had a really embarrassing moment but once I got a broken zipper.
SL: What do you think separates you from the other queens?
Kenya: I think one of the things that separates me from other queens is my size, I’m a poly pocket (laugh) and that I have my own and unique style.
SL: Do you think being a dance instructor gives you an advantage in performing on stage?
Kenya: I definitely think it does. Since I’m used to dancing in front of thousands of people at concerts and I always get on stage, I’m very secure about myself.
SL: You’re going to draw parallels to some of Ru’s other Puerto Rican queens (like Yara and Jessica Wild). What do you think makes you stand out among them?
Kenya: Well, people always compare Jessica, Yara and me. I think it’s because we come from the same drag house so we know each other before we all did the Drag Race. But all of us have our own style of drag. We might look alike a bit but when you see each of us performing we are very different and that’s why I stand among them. Because I have my own trademark.
SL: Yara introduced “Echa pa’lante”- do you have a unique catch phrase?
Kenya: I use a lot “Its not what you say its what you do” and “perra”!
SL: What was it like working with RuPaul?
Kenya: RuPaul is an icon for the gay community. I think every drag performer sees him as a role model. Working with her, besides being a dream come true, was an honor.
SL: What was it like working with the other queens?
Kenya: For me it was a privilege working with all my new sisters. Each and everyone of them has a special quality. I know we were inside a competition but we ended up being a family. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to get to know these amazing queens.
SL: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Kenya: That I’m 21 years old (laughs) since people always think I’m 15. Also that I choose the name Michaels because I’m a huge fan of the choreographer Mia Michaels.
SL: What do you hope people will learn about you from the show?
Kenya: That we are characters – sometimes our attitudes are part of our character and not a style of life.
SL: What song would be your dream song to “lip sync for your life”?
Kenya: Any song by Nicki Minaj or Beyoncé .
SL: What word of wisdom do you live by?
Kenya: Live, laugh and love and also live each day as if it was your last.
SL: Could you share one of your beauty tips with us?
Kenya: Two important beauty tips are: Don’t be afraid of makeup and use moisturizer day and night. But for me the important tip for beauty is to be confident about yourself. When you believe you are beautiful and then portray that you are, believe me that people will see it too. There is nothing better that to project security in the person you are.
SL: What are you hoping to gain from your experiences on the show?
Kenya: After the show I’m hoping that my work can be recognize around the world, be a model for any famous designer and probably meet the people that has inspired me though my career.
SL: You said in your introductory video that you’d like to use some of your prize money, if you win, to address AIDS in Puerto Rico. It is a big problem down there? Are you currently involved with any AIDS charities?
Kenya: Well the AIDS problem in Puerto Rico is a problem like it is in the rest of the world. I always try to be a spokesperson since we don’t have charities in PR. That’s why I said if I had the money I will start working with AIDS. We have centers where people can go and get tested or oriented but not charities.
SL: Any upcoming news, future projects, events you’d like to share with us?
Kenya: Well right now I’m working on some bookings. Please check my fan page and website for dates!
Who will be the next queen to sashay away? Find out on an all-new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race tonight at 9pm EST on Logo (and don’t forget to stick around for Untucked at 10pm.) Catch up with any episodes you may have missed and get a sneak peek at next week’s episode at LogoTV.com. And, if you want to see Kenya work the runway again on the upcoming Drag Race All-Stars, vote for him before March 31st!