Where is the body? No longer on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 6, that’s for sure, as A’Keria C. Davenport — body-ody-ody excellence and the fiercest Ass Almighty to ever grace the Main Stage — sashays her iconic booty away from the competition. But she has a contingency plan in place, with the season 11 alum telling EW she hopes to fulfill her dream of owning a funeral home (yes, really).
Though her spirit departed AS6, her kind soul, refreshingly candid attitude, and gag-worthy runways left behind a resounding imprint (larger than that juicy booty she proudly flaunts!) of excellence on the competition, despite her acting skills landing her in the bottom two against her beloved season 11 sister Ra’Jah O’Hara in one of the most emotional bottom-two pairings on the season so far.
Below, the drag superstar tells EW what went wrong in the challenge, what her reunion with her season 11 sisters was like after the season stopped filming, and why you should send your cadaver to Ms. Davenport for a divine departure into the next life as she moves on to a new chapter in this one.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I love any opportunity to talk with you, even if it’s on your elimination episode.
A’KERIA C. DAVENPORT: Watching it back, of course I wanted to win, but I wanted to show myself in a different light. I feel like I accomplished that. So I feel amazing.
Of any queen who’s been eliminated, you had a remarkably positive attitude when you left. Was that because you already accepted, maybe even before this week, because of the critiques you were getting, that it was your time to go?
Honestly, for the past few weeks I felt like I was critiqued a tad bit harder than others, where I’d see others get praised for mediocrity. It’s not against anybody’s wins or achievements. It was easier for me to accept going home because I kind of saw it from episode 2.
Did you feel validation in knowing that the fans appreciated your incredible runways week after week?
It feels so good, because on season 11 I struggled with the idea of being seen and wanting to be seen so bad. This season, it reversed. On season 11 the judges saw me, but the fans didn’t. Now on All Stars 6 the judges didn’t see me, but the fans see me.
This wasn’t the first time you landed in the bottom, but you did almost go home two weeks ago when Jan revealed that she voted for you. Your face during her explanation told many stories. But let’s put it into words: How did you feel about that moment, despite the group voting for Yara?
[Laughs] I would’ve respected Jan’s decision more had she stood in what she believed in. When the excuses came, “I was only doing this because I felt like the crowd was doing this,” no, sweetie, you’re just Jan, remember? So make that Jan decision!
Silky told me something similar to what Jan said, though: That on her elimination episode, you both felt like you couldn’t go against the group with your votes, and there was an unspoken thing in the air about not voting against the group or you’d be on the chopping block. Did you feel that?
Oh, yes. That episode was a test of our friendship, and in the moment I told Silky to vote for me because if I had to go home and she was lucky enough to stay, I would want her to get a fair turn from the other girls versus them looking at her sideways because she tried to save me and they still sent me home, and now she’s the next target. It can be a dirty game.
Is it weird to say it was powerful watching you guys make that decision together, though? Because the friendship felt like it transcended the competition.
It was empowering, especially watching it back. The show can bring so much greatness to your life, but the fans can bring so much hate and torment. One wrong move, the fans will destroy you. The one thing I cherish from season 11 is my friendship with Silky. If you have a friendship that you can actually trust and confide in, it would be stupid on our behalf if we allowed [the fandom] to destroy it.
What was that reunion like with you, Ra’Jah, and Silky after filming?
[Laughs] Listen! It was a lot of ki-ki-ing, a lot of crab legs, and a lot of reading!
I love the three of you together so much. That sisterhood is so strong, but Ra’Jah did choose your lipstick and you chose hers. I know back in episode 3 you gave Silky permission to vote for her in the bottom four. Did you and Ra’Jah speak to each other and have a similar moment, about giving permission to vote for each other?
No! Going into this elimination, I faced reality. I didn’t beg too much. Of course I let the girls know I wanted to be there, but at this point it is what it is. My journey here is done. I didn’t really need to talk to Ra’Jah about it because I knew what she had to do. Of course [there are no hard feelings]. With Ra’Jah and Silky, we all knew what we were getting ourselves into on this show. The show can sometimes test you, your skills, your mentality, your talent, and your friendships! Our sisterhood goes beyond the show, so [we just said] to make sure that if you go home, you represent for the both of us.
I also noticed in episode 4, when you came back to the Werk Room from the RuDemption runway, it looks like, when you’re de-dragging, you take off your wig and there’s a brief shot of another wig underneath. Did you have a wig reveal ready for that episode that we didn’t see?
No! I recently cut my hair off. On season 11, I had hair. I wanted my hair to sit up high, because I love hair. So I put a lace front on and put a mound to make the other wig sit up higher.
I was thinking you had a wig-reveal stunt planned if you got eliminated!
Yeah, it was just drag! [Laughs]
You also had people talking about your experience with trans identity, which you revealed on Pink Table Talk. Only if you’re comfortable, can you clarify what your experience was, and what made you initially realize that you were trans, and then what made you realize you weren’t?
I started doing shows as A’Keria, and I struggled with feeling love and acceptance. When I’d get on stage as A’Keria, it made me feel so much love and acceptance. I asked myself, “What if I did this all the time? Will I feel the same love and acceptance, 24/7?” When I started transitioning and living my day-to-day life as a trans woman, I started seeing the experiences they go through — especially trans women of color. The struggles on top of dealing with my religious background, it started to all conflict. I don’t like to live with regret, so I had to ask myself if I was doing it for me and all the right reasons? Being a trans person starts in your mind, and I wasn’t that person yet. I was only making myself that person to get some type of authentic love and acceptance.
It’s important that you talk about that because identity is not a rigid thing, it’s a constantly evolving process. But either way, no matter how you identify, are we comfortable saying that — under the newer fandom’s somewhat inaccurate definition of “trade” — that you’re the trade of the season right now? Is that matter settled?
[Laughs] We still haven’t settled that matter! I don’t believe in trade anymore. I consider myself more “trish,” meaning “trade with a slash of fish.” I don’t want to be trade. For years I struggled with hiding who I really was and to embrace my femininity, because it was looked down on in my community. Now we glorify the idea of trade. That person may be struggling with an identity crisis themselves. They’re probably hiding! You never know. Now that I embrace who [I am fully], he’s gay, but he’s also masculine at times and may put on a wig, if it doesn’t fall into the guidelines of what trade is, by all means, call me trish!
Fans of the show have taken that word and far removed it from its original meaning.
The fans have made it a situation where it’s just a cute boy. In that case, of course I’m trade!
Speaking of attraction — this episode, you clocked Eureka and Trinity having a “bromance,” as they called it, in the Werk Room. I always thought it was hilarious that, back on season 11, the camera would cut to you every time Vanjie and Brooke were going at it and you’d look so confused. What was going on there with Trinity and Eureka?
[Laughs] I was confused! We’d hear Eureka saying stuff about Trinity being trade and she’d always come to Trinity’s defense for being trade, and I was like, girl, what’s really going on!? I’m nosy. I doubt [it’s a real romance], but I wouldn’t put it past them under the right influence. Anything is possible!
We just have to speak an AS6 reunion into existence so we can get an answer.
An All Stars 6 reunion? A’Keria is fully on board!
You also revealed a passion for funeral homes. Where did this start?
I did hair and makeup on the dead many years ago. I can’t pinpoint why I found it interesting, but I did! Researching how to do it, I realized you have to take an entire course to be a mortician, even if you just want to do hair and makeup. If I’m going to take the whole course, I might as well have the whole shebang. I want my own funeral home. I saw for years that people don’t attend services because they feel like their loved one won’t look the way they did when they were alive, so I want to give that experience to people where they come in and people look like they knew them. In our community, the LGBTQIA+ community, a lot of us don’t have life insurance, so we don’t get the pleasure of having that celebration homegoing, so I want to meet those clients halfway, financially, even if it’s just getting them the basics, but still a grand service.
It’s an actual plan, you really want to buy one?
Yes, I want my own funeral home! I’m quirky, too, so what other job can you have where you deal with clients that don’t complain, don’t talk back, you can tell them about your day, free range! Business-wise, it’s the one job that will never go out of business. People die every day. I’d never be out of work!
Can we call it A’Keria Coffin Davenport? One of my co-workers suggested A’Keria C’adavenport, like cadaver.
I haven’t thought of a name yet. It could be Death Becomes Her. Unless it’s copyrighted.
I love this venture and will support it. Hopefully I won’t be sending you my personal business.
Now, listen, I don’t need the business that bad right now! Don’t come across my table!
Outside the funeral home, what’s next?
I want to get more into TV, despite the acting challenge. I’m working on some music, I’m writing a book called Memoirs of a Broken Beauty. It’s a story of the like of A’Keria and Greg. I’m traveling, making sure my adopted son is amazing and off to school. I have my hands full!
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