Who are you?
– My name is Justin Andrew Honard. I’m an artist, entrepreneur, and performer who happens to be the mad scientist behind Drag superstar Alaska Thunderfuck.
What do you think about when you hear the words mental illness?
– Pain, trauma, anxiety.
Do you have any experience when it comes to mental illness?
– Depression has run in my family and has existed in the background and sort of has always been there. Also, alcoholism and addiction.
What tools or strategies do you use to maintain a good well-being? Some tips?
– 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.
How about Alaska.
Do you feel more mentally stronger since Alaska came into the picture? How has drag changed your life?
– 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 me 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 has doing drag affected your perception on masculinity, gender and identity, regarding yourself?
– 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.
To get the opportunity to be one of the queens in Rupaul’s Drag Race and the chance to be All star is both fantastic and a chance to affect people and the society. But at the same time it has to be hard and strenuous, both physically and mentally.
What had been the biggest struggle for you since Rupaul’s Drag Race?
– I have always struggled with not feeling good enough. And that feeling persists. And winning the most prestigious title that exists in the world of Drag proved to me that there is no crown or title that can eradicate that feeling. The only way to move through that persisting feeling is the do my personal best, and run the race with myself without comparing myself to anyone else. I don’t always succeed in this, but I try.
How did your life change after the competition? Did you feel ready mentally for every thing that came after? Did you experience any struggles within yourself?
– When I first got onto Drag Race, it catapulted Sharon and myself into this new world that we had always wanted, but we were in no way ready for. We suddenly had money and opportunity which never really existed for us beforehand. I made a lot of mistakes, and 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.
Mental health is becoming a more talked about subject in media (at least in sweden), Do you feel that the LGBTQ- community is open about mental health issues or is there still a bit of stigma around the subject?
– 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.
Alaska/Justin you are one of the most famous drag queens/lgbtq personas out there,
what advice would you give to someone who struggles in their life and 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.