Alaska is one of the most memorable and beloved drag queens to ever compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, so much so that she was brought back for All Stars 2 and ended up snatching the crown. After the show, Alaska led an incredibly successful career, being featured on shows like Scared Famous and @midnight, and even in the film The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.
But even with so much Alaska content available out there, there are still quite a few things that most Drag Race fans may not realize about the queen of snakes. There are several curious tidbits that certainly inform who the character of Alaska is, and even coincidences that fans may have never noticed before.
10 ALASKA IS A MIXTURE OF BRITNEY SPEARS AND DIVINE
It may be hard for RuPaul’s Drag Race fans to describe Alaska to the average passerby, but the queen certainly has no problem explaining who her visual references are.
During an interview with the Philadelphia Magazine, Alaska revealed that she has always seen her herself as “a mixture of Britney Spears and Divine.” Divine is, of course, the drag queen who reached mainstream fame for her work with writer and director John Waters. Most notably, the pair worked together in 1972’s Pink Flamingos, which went on to became a cult hit.
9 SHE HAS BEEN ATTACHED TO SEVERAL GROUPS
Over the years, Alaska has demonstrated that she likes being in group settings quite a lot. Before RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alaska founded Haus of Haunt alongside Cherri Baum and then-boyfriend Sharon Needles. According to the queen, this was “a Pittsburgh-based collective of artists, freaks, drag performers, and all-around weirdos.” Then, while on Drag Race, Alaska started the group Ro-Laska-Tox with fellow season 5 contestants Roxxxy Andrews and Detox.
After winning All Stars 2 – where Ro-Laska-Tox was reunited – Alaska went on to form the AAA Girls with former Drag Race contestants Willam (season 4) and Courtney Act (season 6). Together, the AAA Girls headlined national tours and released quite a few singles. But if you think that Alaska was done with partnering up, you are very wrong. As recent as 2018, this queen formed the duo Alaska & Jeremy, which released the folk album “Amethyst Journey.”
8 ALASKA’S AUDITIONING HISTORY ON DRAG RACE
When thinking about Alaska’s trajectory before, during, and after Drag Race, it is hard to think of any other queen – other than RuPaul himself – that has had a deeper connection with this franchise.
According to Alaska, she sent an audition tape to be on Drag Race every single year until season 5, when she finally made it on the show. However, Alaska was already featured in the season 4 finale due to the fact that her boyfriend, Sharon Needles, was competing for the crown. According to RuPaul during an episode of his What’s The Tee podcast with Michelle Visage, the reason that it took so long for Alaska to be on the show is because the queen was “too smart, too high-brow, and too intellectual” for audiences during the early Drag Race seasons.
After appearing on season 5, Alaska released the “Ru Girl” single that eternalized this label for Drag Race contestants, was the first-ever drag queen to be interviewed by RuPaul on his What’s the Tee podcast, and entered the franchise’s Hall of Fame for winning All Stars 2.
7 SHARON NEEDLES AND ALASKA ARE VERY GOOD FRIENDS
The romantic relationship between Sharon Needles and Alaska became very public when the former queen competed on season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Not only did Sharon mention Alaska by name quite a few times while on the show, but Justin (out-of-drag Alaska) was also present and shown during the season 4 finale that crowned Sharon as the winner. However, after Alaska’s time on season 5 of Drag Race, the couple’s relationship went sour, and they eventually broke up.
With that said, it is a common misconception that Alaska and Sharon Needles are in bad terms. Actually, the two became the best of friends over time, often posting pictures featuring one another and sharing inside jokes whenever they happen to be seen together in public.
6 ALASKA’S DRAG FAMILY TREE
The ins and outs of certain drag families can be quite complicated for Drag Race fans to understand. However, that is not entirely the case for Alaska, who has a pretty straightforward lineage in drag. Plain and simple, Alaska is the drag daughter of Jer Ber Jones, who began the “tranimal” art movement in Los Angeles in the 2000s.
Over time, Alaska went on to have two drag daughters: Nebraska and Nevada. RuPaul’s Drag Race fans will remember that Nebraska first came to be during the season 5 makeover challenge, where Alaska made up Mackenzie Claude into a drag queen. After the show, Nebraska kept on doing drag, and also entered a trouple relationship with Derrick Barry (season 8 contestant) and visual artist Nick San Pedro.
5 SHE IS ONE OF THE FEW DRAG QUEENS TURNED INTO A FUNKO POP
For fans of mainstream franchises such as Harry Potter, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the DC Extended Universe, collecting Pop! Vinyl figurines has become second nature. However, that was not always the case for RuPaul’s Drag Race fans, who only saw some of their favorite queens become collectible items as recently as 2018.
The three very first Drag Race-themed Pop! Vinyl figurines released by Funko were RuPaul himself, Trixie Mattel, and Alaska. Meaning, these were the three queens that – according to the company – fans had the highest demand for. Later, other queens were added to the collection, such as Jinkx, Sharon Needles, and Katya.
4 ALASKA HAS ONE OF THE BEST NUMBERS IN DRAG RACE HISTORY
Alaska has one of the most impressive numbers in the history of the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise. Between season 5 and All Stars 2, the queen won six Maxi Challenges and only landed in the Bottom Two once. Tied with Alaska is Angele Anang, who won six Maxi Challenges during the second season of Drag Race Thailand.
Then, we have BenDeLaCreme, Manila Luzon, and Trinity the Tuck in the lead, all of whom have won seven Maxi Challenges between their original seasons and their time on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.
3 LIL’ POUNDCAKE WAS AVAILABLE FOR SALE
During the Mini Challenge on the third episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5, the queens were asked to create a life-sized doll that encapsulated their personalities. Alaska, who was teamed up with fellow contestant Lineysha Sparx, created a doll called Lil’ Poundcake (real name Gertrude Poundcakenstein). After the episode aired, the doll went on to become a viral success among Drag Race fans, and Alaska – the marketing mastermind that she’s always been – decided to capitalize on the doll’s success.
In 2017, the Lil’ Poundcake doll went on sale on Alaska’s official website. The doll, which was 13.5 inches tall and retailed for $50, was featured during an episode of All Stars 2 and inspired the title of Alaska’s second studio album, “Poundcake.”
2 HER “HIEEEE” WAS COINED BY OTHER DRAG QUEENS
Alaska has several popular sayings that have become part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race vernacular, but it is hard to compete with the queen’s high-pitched greeting, “hieee,” that even RuPaul himself repeats on occasion.
Well, as the story goes, Alaska’s “hieee” was actually coined by two drag queens in the United Kingdom. While some claim that Alaska stole it from them, these queens are actually friendly. Moreover, whenever she was given the change, Alaska has referenced the two queens as the originators of the greeting.
We’re not Roxxxy Andrews, but we’re here to make it clear. According to Alaska, the iconic “hieee” was created by U.K. drag queens Coco Ferocha and Isis Mirage.
1 MICHELLE VISAGE AND ALASKA DEVELOPED A GREAT FRIENDSHIP
Many Drag Race fans and former contestants refer to Michelle Visage as a judge who is often mean and critical of certain queens. However, it is safe to say that this has not been Alaska’s experience with the judge.
After appearing on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alaska and Michelle Visage went on to star in a stage production of The Rocky Horror Show in San Antonio, Texas. In it, Michelle played Magenta and Alaska portrayed Dr. Frank-N-Furter. But as the story goes, the friendship between Alaska and Michelle only grew off the stage as well.
As a matter of fact, during the production of The Rocky Horror Show, Michelle Visage and Alaska lived together in San Antonio, TX. According to Alaska, Michelle was instrumental in leading her to sobriety and even served as a liaison between Sharon Needles and Alaska for the queens to be able to process their breakup.