Justin Andrew Honard, more known as the drag superstar Alaska Thunderfuck which has become the one of the most well-known queens after her participation and second place in season 5 of the Americans tv-show RuPaul’s Drag Race.
She returned later to the AllStar 2 of the same reality-show to get her crown, which she also got in the big finally of the program.
It’s was a great honor to have the opportunity to talk with Justin about his thoughts and experience around mental health and issues, how the competition affected him during the seasons and how Alaska has helped him over the years.
- Drag was necessary for me.
I had a lot of anger as a young Queer person, and I felt first hand the discrimination that goes along with being Queer or standing out in American society. Drag was a way to harness all of those things that made me different and the things that caused my pain and turn them into something that gave me power. It still does this for me, and luckily it empowers other people as well.
How would you say drag has affected yourself and your perception on masculinity, gender and identity?
– My journey with gender has been ongoing.
As a young child I wanted to be a girl, and I looked forward to a future where I could wear girl’s clothes. Now, I have come to enjoy and respect the entire spectrum of gender. I don’t think I’m Trans, and I don’t think I’m a woman or a man. But I’m something in between.
Justin stepped in to the work-room in season 5 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, as the funny and fierce queen Alaska Thunderfuck with a big self-confidence and ond goal; To slay the competitions and win the crown and the title “Americans Next Drag Superstar”.
During the show, we get the opportunity to follow Alaska and the other queens and get to see a little more vulnerable person with beautiful emotions. . . She finished in second place this season, but came back later on in the other show All Star 2 of RDR to take revanche and get her crown.
To get the opportunity to be one of the queens in Rupaul’s Drag Race and later the chance to be All star is a great thing for a drag-queen performer.
They get the chance to affect people, the society and the community and at the same time do what you love but all this can be hard and strenuous.
The whole thing it’s a big change. Even for Justin and Alaska. . .
- I has made a lot of mistakes, but luckily I’ve learned from them and come through the other side. It’s still a lot, but ultimately, I’m grateful that I get to make art and music, and perform on a stage, which is really what my passion is in life.
When I first got out from Drag Race, it catapulted and Sharon and myself entered this new world that we had always wanted, but there we were in no way ready for and suddenly we had money and opportunities which never really existed for us beforehand.
The whole world is more positive and fantastic but of course it has more negative and bad sides to, which can affected our own mental health.
About that. Do you have any specific experience when it comes to mental health and illness?
– Depression has run in my family and has existed in the background and sort of has always been there. Also, alcoholism and addiction.
And what do you think about when you hear the words mental illness?
– I think about pain, trauma and anxiety.
Over the years, Justin has begun to get to know himself. He knows what his psyche and body needs to feel good.
– I know I’m at my best when I’m resting and not drinking too much.
I don’t always succeed in achieving these things. I also like to meditate and fill my well as far as spirituality and a perspective on the bigger picture.
What advice would you give to those who’s struggling with mental health issues?
– I would say that there are resources out there to help you– more now than ever. Don’t run away from these feelings of pain, but move toward them, and recognize that at the same moment there are hundreds and thousands of people feeling the identical feeling you are. Have compassion for them, and for yourself. You’re not alone in your struggle.
Before Justin and I ended our conversation we talked a little about the subject and how it’s doing in the LGBTQ-community.
Is mental health something people talks open about in your community or is it still a stigma around it.
– There is definitely a stigma.
But these conversations are important and help people to have more compassion not just toward people with mental illness, but to everyone on this planet.