The first time “RuPaul’s Drag Race” competitor Sasha Colby heard the track “Goddess,” she knew it was the vehicle that would propel her to the crown and the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”
“They hit it right on the mark,” the Season 15 winner told TheWrap in a recent interview. “It was everything that I wanted. We could have given notes if we wanted to change or add anything. I was like, ‘No notes! This is great as is! This is a bop.”
All four semifinalists — Colby, Anetra, Luxx Noir London and Mistress Isabelle Brooks — were each given an original song to perform to during the live finale, which taped in April and aired two weeks later on MTV. The two best performances would advance to the final. For Colby, a former winner of Miss Continental (the premiere drag beauty pageant), the key was staying on her personal brand.
“Each time I presented something, it was a different form of a goddess, from the “My Fair Lady” goddess [on the red carpet] to the burlesque goddess [in the final lipsync]. This mythological snake moment I was inspired by was Medusa [the Greek gorgon with a head of snakes]. My best friend Preston — who is the other half of Sasha Colby — and I work together and make these moments. We wanted a Sasha Colby Continental Challenge 2.0, or what it looks like in 2023.”
Nailing the look was just as important as nailing the choreography; it is a drag competition, after all. For her performance, Colby would don six long braids to represent snakes. She would start the performance with both legs sheathed to resemble Medusa’s serpentine lower half before slipping out of the tail to dance. Colby (and the other semifinalists) worked closely with choreographer Miguel Zarate to executive their visions.
“Having six braids for six dancers was important, so we did great choreography with my actual head, which was definitely something that I wanted to put in,” Colby said. “I had to figure out with Miguel how to get out of this tail. Let’s try and carry me on and get it off early so I can dance. I just really wanted to dance so I told him to make the choreography [hard] and don’t be easy on me.”
“She wanted a pop star moment,” Zarate recalled. “And that’s what I excelled at the most, which is what we don’t really get to see on the show a lot because it’s more catered to drag queens. But Sasha has a very pop element to her. I knew she was going to have a tail, so I was like, “Okay, we’re gonna do a side entrance.” And then I knew I had to capitalize on [the lyric] ‘G-O-D-D-E-S-S (Crack!)’
“I was in the studio by myself in my hometown that weekend, before we started rehearsals, and it took me an hour just to choreograph and conceptualize ‘G-O-D-D-E-S-S’ because it’s so fast. But I had to do something. And to be honest, I was going to go at 1,000% and make Sasha pull up even though it was quite easy for her. But I was unwilling to bring my choreography ability down for that performance because I think she deserved it. And I knew ultimately she’d be able to pull it off.”
The truly challenging part was figuring out the braids, as Colby had to walk the red carpet before without revealing the Medusa look, and, with luck, perform in the top two afterward.
“I had my hair braided the day before, while we were rehearsing,” Colby explained. “So [on finale day] in that red outfit when we’re doing the first walk of the queens and we did press, I had all my braids up in that red hat. Nobody noticed!”
The performance presented a different hair challenge altogether, as it was only shot once in front of a live audience.
“I told each guy to grab my bun, the base of the braid, and then pull out so that they wouldn’t get tangled like just looking for a dangling braid and which was theirs. And then we literally cut the braids off of me so I could put my hair in a ponytail [for the final lip sync]. You have to have a plan!” she recalled.
As she took the stage for her performance on stage before the curtain raised, legs wrapped, all Colby wanted was to get going.
“It was all blacked out. We hear everybody cheering and they know I’m about to come on. And I was okay, jump up. And I got five guys holding me and I’m just hoping I’m not breaking their arms. But that energy was so palpable! I wouldn’t say shaking, but I was vibrating with energy, and it was just ready to explode.”
In the exclusive video above, Colby walks us through her each step of her winning “Goddess” performance.
After she finished, Zarate knew she nailed it. “It’s not that hard to win with a song like that. And a queen like that. And dancers like that.”
So did Colby.
“I did take a moment to hug all the dancers and just was so excited. I was really happy that it was clean,” she recalled. “I actually had a little hiccup during the dress rehearsal that day. So I was actually a little nervous. And but in the dance world, they always say, ‘Bad rehearsal, great performance!’”
All episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 15 are available on MTV.com.
This interview was lightly edited for clarity and length.