By Christopher Rudolph
Ra’Jah O’Hara is part of the legendary House of Davenport, so she had a lot to live up to when she sashayed into the workroom on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was known as the lip-sync assassin, but after being in the bottom multiple times, Ra’Jah was finally sent home by her Davenport sister, A’Keria.
MTV News spoke with Ra’Jah about lip syncing for her life, listening to her inner saboteur, and if she agreed with judge Michelle Visage that her farm-to-runway look was serving Groot realness.
MTV News: Can we talk about the drama on Untucked? Because tensions were running high backstage! What was going through your mind as the girls were arguing with each other?
Ra’Jah O’Hara: Well, at that moment, I was a bottle of emotions. When I actually walked backstage I had an emotional moment where I told the girls I loved them, and this was probably going to be my last time with them. And then the next thing I know, the girls start popping off! It was kind of hard to get in the right headspace to prepare for my lip sync. There was so much emotion and energy in the room it was overwhelming.
MTV News: I know it wasn’t fun to be in the bottom three times, but as a viewer it was great because we got to see the lip-sync assassin slay that stage!
O’Hara: Thank you! I appreciated that! I’m just doing what I try to do. If I couldn’t show the judges who I was, and show them why I was great in the challenges, at least they got to see what I do as an entertainer, and why I am a dynamic performer.
MTV News: What was it like going up against A’Keria?
O’Hara: That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Mainly because I know her, we had a relationship prior to the show. I don’t want to do the song against her. When I first got the song, I hated it! [Laughs] But the lip sync was hard because of the emotional connection I have with A’Keria.
MTV News: Did you feel pressure going into Drag Race because you had to live up to the House of Davenport name?
O’Hara: I didn’t feel any pressure because I felt the legacy that Sahara and Kennedy [Davenport] led with was so great, that I had nowhere else to go but up. When I even considered auditioning, Kennedy was the first person to tell me, “You definitely have a shot. So do it.” I didn’t have any expectations except going to the show and representing myself, even though I was coming from the House of Davenport.
MTV News: What was it like having Yanis Marshall as a dance teacher? It looked intense.
O’Hara: When we first got there and found out Yanis was the guest, I was so excited because I was such a fan of his work. Dancing in front of him was super fun, but then midway it just got harder and harder. It was very intense. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. We’ll just leave it at that.
MTV News: As you were leaving the workroom, you said you had been “overthinking” everything during the competition. Do you think you got in your own head too much?
O’Hara: For sure. I 100 percent I got in my own head. That inner saboteur Ru speaks about is definitely real. There are things that create that self saboteur, too. Like being in the bottom three times, being overlooked. It’s hard to stand out in a group of girls that have so much personality. I know now what I have could have done differently.
MTV News: Who are you placing bets on to make it to the final four?
O’Hara: We gotta throw A’Keria in that mix since she sent the lip-sync assassin home, and I know she is a fierce competitor. I’m hoping my sister brings it home for the Big D and the House of Davenport. We want and need that crown. Then Silky and Vanjie are my home girls, and then I’ll throw Yvie in there as well because I love Yvie.
MTV News: What happened to your burlap runway look? Do you still have it?
O’Hara: Part of it is in the trash. As soon as I took those pants off, I threw them in the trash. Those pants were the death of me. But I have reworked that particular look onto a different creation, and I still have the top and the bark pieces, so I’m really excited for everyone to see what it looks like now.
MTV News: Do you see now how Michelle [Visage] thought it looked like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy?
O’Hara: You know, I had actually never seen that movie until I got back from the show. What is Groot? A little tree root. So it works because my runway story was I’m a tree that has always been strong, but is being uprooted to a different terrain. And now I am deeply rooted in my drag, in my art, and I am fully blossoming.