Running an outdoor camp in the middle of the wilderness is not where you’d expect to find glamazon drag queen, Alyssa Edwards. But that’s exactly where she’ll be for her next exciting project.
Alyssa is arguably one of the most popular drag queens to come out of the RuPaul’s Drag Race. After competing on season five and All Stars 2 seasons of the drag reality show, Alyssa’s career has gone from strength to strength.
‘I’m so very grateful for everything that is my life. Each and every day, I think there’s so many exciting things on the horizon and I can’t wait to share with you all,’ Alyssa told Gay Star News.
‘I think 2019 is looking to be a very bright year and I hope work hard and push myself and motivate, you know, grow my dance company, grow tighter with my family.’
She’s toured the world, hosted her own webseries called Alyssa’s Secret and now even has her on docuseries on Netflix – Dancing Queen.
So, you wouldn’t have guessed her next job would be as a camp counselor in the middle of nowhere. But I caught up with her to find out more.
- Alyssa Edwards, the camp counselor | Photo: TAZO tea
Alyssa the camp camper
For Alyssa, the best hiking gear is a pair of heeled boots and a big ol’ pageant wig.
Alyssa, (Justin Johnson), tells me that as a little boy her favourite part of the summer was going to church camp.
But now she’s all grown up , she plans to be the most fabulous camp counselor ever for her new project.
She’s teamed up with tea company TAZO, who have asked her to host Camp TAZO. The camp is an outdoor camping experience designed for adults to ‘get out of their comfort zone’.
‘In a new survey, TAZO uncovered that three out of four people want to get out of their comfort zones but are unsure of where to begin. More than 70% regret not trying something new versus trying and failing.
Camp TAZO in the US will feature a full schedule of classic camp activities, curated by Alyssa, complete with unexpected twists to help guests embrace their unexpected sides. This includes anything from axe throwing to dancing on stage in a number choreographed by Miss Edwards herself.
To prepare for her camp leader role, Alyssa bravely ventured out of the drag queens’ natural habitat and onto the water.
‘I mean, girl, I went canoeing. and, I don’t know if you can picture this but picture me in big size wig, nails, lashes,’ she said.
‘Girl, what am I gonna do if get in this canoe and the canoe tips over and… then an alligator jumps me.
‘I don’t know how to canoe, I’ve never done this and I’m in full drag, my wig might save me.’
It is lucky that no wigs were used as a flotation device that day. The amount of hairspray that would enter the water table is surely considered to be pollution.
Get out of your comfort zone
After her time in the wilderness, Alyssa had a lot to say about being put out of your comfort zone.
‘I remember going onstage at nine years old in a solo performance and the amount anxiety I felt was unreal but I faced my fears and the exhilaration I felt afterwards was so incredible that it gave me that “you can do it, you can do it Justin, never doubt yourself”’,’ she said.
If Alyssa has started working with a tea company, it obviously this begs the question: ‘If Alyssa was a type of tea, which would she be?’
‘Oh, definitely the passion flavor, 100%,’ Alyssa said. ‘It’s passion, it’s me! That describes my life, in one word!’
But Alyssa also gives a delicious scoop on another special project she’s working on.
‘I can tell you that I am working with TAZO on maybe creating an Alyssa Edwards recipe blend,’ she said.
‘There’s so many I’ve tried that.. I grew up drinking tea, being here in the south, you know, we have tea and water, that’s it.’
- Alyssa Edwards at Camp Tazo | Photo: TAZO Tea
Believe in yourself
Passion is a must if you want to be as prolific as Alyssa.
As well as an international drag career, she also runs the Beyond Belief dance studios in Mesquite, Texas. The highs and lows of the studio are featured on a new docuseries, Dancing Queen. The eight-part show debuted on Netflix earlier this month.
The 38-year-old drag queen couldn’t be happier with the fans’ response to the show.
‘When this whole series came about I was very, very honest and upfront that I was not interested really in a scripted, produced reality series,’ she said.
‘I wanted something very natural and when Netflix came back and were like “we love that idea and we want to shoot this like a documentary, like a docustyle series”. I thought that’s it, it perfect, it makes sense.
‘That you turn the cameras on, stand in the corner, don’t talk. Let the magic happen and they get that and they respected my wishes.’
Alyssa explained filming some very ‘real’ and ‘raw’ moments on the show were her favorites.
‘There are so many like, beautiful memories that I’ll take from the experience but ultimately, sharing with my siblings, I mean if you’ve seen the series you’ll totally understand, it was difficult because its real and it was raw,’ she says.
Alyssa’s ability to talk about her life in a way that is incredibly earnest, grateful and optimistic was very striking.
‘I mean we are seeing drag all around the world. I was waiting on the world to change and now I’m very grateful that I’m part of that change. So stay tuned folks, it’s getting good,’ she said.
To find out more about Camp TAZO, click here.