‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Star Dawn Breaks Down That Iconic ‘Body’ Lip Sync: ‘It’s a Wrap for Me, Sis!’

With only a few episodes left until the grand finale, RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 needed to take a short bathroom break.


On last week’s episode (March 22), the top six contestants were paired off into duos and asked to makeover gender-neutral bathrooms for an HGTV-style renovation comedy challenge. Designing a space rather than their outfits, the girls needed to come up with cohesive themes and larger-than-life presentations to make the judges laugh.

Thanks to their 1920s speakeasy-inspired bathroom — and a pair of well-crafted characters — Sapphira Cristál and Plane Jane nabbed a dual win, making them the two most-winning queens of the season so far (Sapphira with four wins, while Plane follows with three). Meanwhile, Dawn’s performance in the Museum of Modern Fart fell short of the judges’ high expectations, while Morphine Love Dion couldn’t find her spark in her her hellish commode.

Finding themselves in the bottom, Morphine and Dawn lip-synched to Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song “Body.” Weaponizing her curvy figure and slick dance moves, Morphine owned every second of the booty-bouncing track, earning her spot in the hotly contested top five. That meant Dawn turned to dusk, and the Brooklyn queen was sent packing.

Below, Dawn chats with Billboard about her time on the show, becoming the unofficial narrator of the season through her confessional clips, her explosive “doo doo clown” fight with Plane Jane, and why she thinks she never stood a chance against Morphine in that Lip Sync for Your Life.

Dawn, you made it to top six! How do you feel about your run on the show?

Thank you, my greatest accomplishment! Looking back on the whole run, I have nothing but gratitude and happiness. I feel incredible, I could not be happier about how it all happened. Obviously, I didn’t get any wins, I guess I didn’t “make my mark” in that capacity. Like, there was no moment that was “about Dawn,” but even through that, I made it to top six on an incredibly stacked season! I have watched every single episode and been so happy and satisfied with what I was able to provide for the audience.

I hear you, but I wholeheartedly disagree on you not “making your mark” — because not only were killing a lot of these challenges, but your confessionals were maybe the most entertaining parts of every episode. 

[Laughs.] I guess that’s my win — do they give out challenge wins for best confessionals? 

You were the narrator of the season without a doubt, because you were simply unafraid to be unfiltered and occasionally unhinged in those clips. What was the energy you were trying to bring to those sessions?

OK, the keyword there is trying — because let me tell you, I was not trying to do anything! I rolled into that confessional chair and I was just excited, happy to be there, ready to cut up and shoot the s–t. Sometimes, I was definitely a little too comfortable in that confessional chair. But, it worked out for me, because what you are seeing is deeply authentic to me as a person. That’s how I talk to my friends and the people I love. I’m not sitting there timid, scared to say how I feel. 

I mean you really came after us theater gays in that one episode. 

I’m sorry! [Laughs.] There’s one specific moment of that particular confessional that happened — when I was about to start talking s–t, there is a twinkle in my eye, and then suddenly I go, “No, wait, I shouldn’t say that.” It was so funny. 

You also did one of my favorite things that queens do on this show, where you would walk into a scene, ask the other girls a very pointed question, and then slink back into the background to watch the drama unfold—

That was crazy, because I straight up didn’t even realize I was doing that until I watched the season back! What I like to say is, “I will never start drama, but I will make sure as hell that it never ends.” 

But there was one exception to this trend, which was the now iconic “doo doo clown mess” moment between you and Plane Jane. You really just called her dress boring and she cracked. What was that legendary reading session like in person?

That might have been my favorite moment on this season, just the way that I said something so … benign, honestly! I just said “the dress is ugly,” and I figured she would just say, “Okay, I hate you,” and move on. She cracked so effortlessly! She stands up like a vulture and circles me, and I’m just sitting there cackling, like, “Yeah, girl, keep going!”

What’s so funny is she kept “reading” me, but ultimately she was just stating facts. She said I was dressed like a clown — correct, I was. You’re saying I’m wearing children’s fabric — also correct, and exactly the point of the outfit, thank you, girl. She was not saying anything that hurt my feelings, because I was like, “You understand the concept behind the outfit, amazing! Now please sit down!”

When this latest episode started, you and Morphine were the only girls without wins — how does that factor into your state of mind, especially this far into the competition?

Interesting. One thing I was feeling a lot around that time, probably like episode 11 to 12, was that … I don’t mean this in a pessimistic way, but I’d kind of given up on winning a challenge. My main goal, at that point, was just to have as much fun as I possibly could. In my experience, that is what would translate to the judges and to the audience. I remember thinking that I wasn’t letting go enough. In episode 11, I wanted to let go more, but then I got paired with Mhi’ya, so I said, “We will try again in episode 12.” And then I made it to the next week, and “Body” happened — so what’s a girl to do?

Oh we are going to discuss the “Body” of it all, but before we do, I just want your take on this challenge. I think this bathroom makeover HGTV parody might be one of the strangest main challenges Drag Race has done in a while — do you like it when the show gets a little unhinged with its challenges?

Girl, I haven’t been able to enter a public bathroom since this challenge, the trauma. I mean, I had Nymphia to reign in, who wanted to, like, paint poop on the walls! But there’s something about this show, where they’re sometimes telling us, “Please, let’s not do fart jokes, let’s not do piss jokes,” and then they ask us to decorate a bathroom and make it funny — we’re gonna make fart jokes, girl!

But all of this is to say: As absurd as it was, and as frustrating as it was to go home on this challenge, I also think that one of my favorite aspects of Drag Race is the absurdity of it all! When we get into these kind of challenges, it’s actually iconic.

Which brings us to the lip sync. Once you were in the bottom, in that tight dress, against Morphine lip synching to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Body,” was there any part of you that thought, “I can win this?”

No! [laughs] Are you kidding? What was going through my head was, “Which wig am I going to put in which suitcase?” Like, as much as I want to think and I want to say … actually, no, I won’t even say that! I am never going to beat Morphine to “Body” by Megan Thee Stallion! The BBL queen of Miami? It’s a wrap for me, sis! She could’ve been on her sixth lip sync with a broken leg, and I still would have gone home. I just have to be at peace with that!

Before I let you go, I’d love to know — what music have you been listening to lately?

I have been streaming Eternal Sunshine on repeat, no skips, over and over. It is crazy. My favorite songs are definitely “Supernatural” and “We Can’t Be Friends.” But other than that, I’ve also been listening to a lot of Beabadoobee, and I’ve been getting very into this first new song from Rainbow Kitten Surprise in six years. That’s been my playlist, lately. 

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