RuPaul’s Drag Race competition for the Logo Channel just crossed the finish line and the best woman may have won. Sutan Amrull, or better known as Raja Gemini, kept her eye on the prize since the first episode.
This Los Angeles native is no stranger to reality television having appeared on America’s Next Top Model as the show’s principal make-up artist. Having served as Adam Lambert’s face painter for his tour has proved that Raja knows glam and glitter on the road.
After winning a close race, Raj was crowned the winner and rose early the day after to chat about his experience on the show.
Jerry Nunn: Hello, Raja. How do you feel now that the experience is over?
Raja Gemini: I don’t think it has really hit me. I have been keeping the secret since August. It feels great. I have been keeping the secret for a long time, even from my parents. I didn’t even talk to my mom about it. She seems to have known though. She said, “A mother always knows…”
JN: Was it hard to not tell people?
RG: Yes, that is really hard to do.
JN: How tall are you?
RG: I am 6’3.
JN: I met you at Spin Nightclub and you were just a little taller than me. What is your nationality?
RG: I am part Dutch and part Indonesian.
JN: How old were you when you first did drag?
RG: Experimenting with it, probably about 15 years old. I have been doing drag all of my life. I was that kid that played dress up all the time, wearing different sheets and dishtowels. I made costumes. I was really getting into it by 16 years old.
JN: Where is your home base?
RG: I am from LA.
JN: People are saying you have been friends with RuPaul before the show.
RG: Right. People have made it a lot more severe than it really is. I have been a make-up artist for a very long time and worked within the industry. I have crossed paths with a lot of people. Ru at one point lived in LA and was a big fan of the LA drag scene. She went to all of the shows and I would see her quite often. We weren’t friends where we would call each other up and talk about boy, financial or family problems. We were just aware of each other’s presence. That’s inevitable when you work within an industry of entertainment and fashion. I wouldn’t even say that Ru and I were acquaintances.
JN: Thanks for explaining because there has been a lot of talk about it.
RG: I think the people that make a big deal of it are people that don’t exist in that type of world and environment. It is very foreign to them and they assume that just because people are aware of each other makes them best friends. I have been around a lot of celebrities so it inevitable that our paths would cross.
JN: Did you go to school for make-up before doing it for the Top Model show?
RG: I was actually an art student and went to University of Orange County in California. I tried to be a student and hated it. I decided to be a make-up artist and then a female impersonator (laughs).
JN: Are you single?
RG: I am single.
JN: Now that you are the winner of this season, what are your plans for the money?
RG: Actually, I am going to spend it wisely. How about that? I am going to pay off all of my bills number one and clean my plate. I will be able to focus on working now. I will be elaborating and creating a brand, if you will.
JN: Some of the money must go back into your act and the latest outfit.
RG: You know it really does. It is very true when they say, “You have to spend money to make money.” Drag is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. I am a pretty frugal drag queen and I love a bargain. I am definitely a thrift shopper. I love going to flea markets. It doesn’t always have to be that expensive.
JN: Do you regret fighting with Shangella on the show?
RG: No, I love it. I love watching Drag Race and love, love, love watching Untucked as well. That’s my favorite thing! I watch it with all of my friends. We totally laugh and cackled at everything Shangella says. She is brilliant and super smart. She is a really great person. She has a bright future ahead of her.
JN: So you don’t have beef with anyone on the show then?
RG: Not at all, not that I can think of… (laughs)
JN: Do you think the judges were fair? What happened to Santino Rice? He disappears during the run and then appears at the end.
RG: From what I understand Santino has a separate show that he is working on. He had his own gig for a minute that took him away from Drag Race. I think that’s what happened.
I think for the most part the judges were fair. I think Delta Work should have stayed longer. I don’t think they really understood her humor.
JN: Did you have a favorite celebrity judge?
RG: Vanessa Williams. There were a few of them. I couldn’t believe that the season that I was on I had two of my greatest idols on there. That was Vanessa Williams and Jody Watley. Jody Watley was a style icon for me since I was a boy in junior high. I wanted to wear giant earrings when I saw her. For her to be there as one of the judges and Vanessa Williams as well was a really huge deal for me.
JN: So now you are going on an Absolut tour and will be all over the United States.
RG: Oh my god, I can’t wait! I will come back to Chicago. I love it there. It will be summer and we can all get naked on the lake!
JN: Congratulations on being named “Champion!”