Not My Job: We Quiz 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Winner Symone On Fixing Sinks
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where people who have won big have the chance to win very, very small. It's called Not My Job. For 13 seasons, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has given aspiring drag queens a chance to hit the big time under the tutelage of the greatest supermodel of the world. And aficionados of the show say that no champion matches Symone, winner of the most recent season, for style, beauty, talent and sheer glam. We are delighted to have her with us. Symone, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
SYMONE: Hey, y'all. Thank you for having me.
SAGAL: It is an absolute joy to have you. Congratulations on the big win.
SYMONE: Oh, thank you so much. I'm on cloud nine - still up there (laughter).
SAGAL: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I got to ask first, what has it been like since you won? I mean, I'm assuming it's like Miss America and you have to, like, go places and make appearances.
SYMONE: Yes. Very - everywhere, everyone wants to talk to me. Everyone wants a piece of Symone. It's been great. It's lovely.
SAGAL: That's why you got into this.
SYMONE: Exactly. I've never been so wanted in my life.
SAGAL: I want to get to your origin story first. You grew up in Arkansas. So was there a big drag scene in Arkansas when you were growing up there?
SYMONE: There - yes and no. Like, in Little Rock, there was. There was a pretty good drag scene, but it was very pageant, as you can probably imagine. And so not really my gig, but I learned a lot from the girls. But that wasn't my path.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: What do you mean pageant?
SYMONE: Pageant - it's like, you know, very like - like, there is a Gay Miss America. There is a gay U.S. of A. Like, it's like a pageant, and girls go and they compete. There's swimwear. There is, you know, a Q&A. Like, it's a pageant but with drag queens.
SAGAL: Right. And what was the version that you were more attracted to?
SYMONE: I was just - I wanted to be a model, a woman (laughter).
SAGAL: (Laughter) Sure.
SYMONE: I mean, for lack of a better term, that's what I wanted. I just - it was a lot of money for a 1 out of 50 chance of winning.
SAGAL: Right. You just wanted to skip right to the part when you win...
SAGAL: ...And just be the star.
SYMONE: Yeah, very that.
SAGAL: And tell me about, like, Symone as a character. Where did she come from?
SYMONE: I would say Symone is me. I would say Symone is who I didn't let myself be when I was a kid. You know...
SYMONE: ...Very expressive, very just happy, effervescent, if you will, and just happy to be here, gorgeous, stunning.
SAGAL: Oh, that goes without question. If only all our listeners could be on Zoom with us...
POUNDSTONE: You are gorgeous and stunning.
SYMONE: Thank you.
SAGAL: Did it - was it a process of evolution to find your look and your persona, or is it just there for you?
SYMONE: Oh, God, yes. At first, I kind of was just like, I just want to drag, you know? I don't really care about what I looked like. I just want to be on stage, and I just, you know, want to feel happy. And then I kind of got to a point of like, OK, I had to figure out who I was and really, like, dig down deep and find my passions. And it was definitely a process because, honey, I used to wear tights, and the foundation did not match the tights.
SYMONE: Foundation didn't match the body, so there were three different shade going on, honey.
SAGAL: And, of course, I want to talk about the show, "Drag Race," Which is amazing. It's a competition show, but there are there are various things going on that are unique to it. But the show, if I understand correctly, the show often ended with a lip-sync battle...
SAGAL: ...Between two of the contestants. And the loser had to leave.
SYMONE: Had to leave. She had to go home, pack her bags, get out.
SAGAL: Yeah. And I watched maybe three of them from this last season just in a row. It was unfair. I mean, there was some poor person...
SYMONE: Having to lip-sync against me, the ebony enchantress. It is kind of unfair, isn't it?
SAGAL: It was absolutely unfair. I mean, it's like, this person, this drag queen is lip-syncing this song. And you're over here, and it's like, oh, you're actually singing it. It was just - it was...
SYMONE: You have no idea how many people say that to me. They're like, you know, there's lip-syncing, but it looks like those words are really coming out of your mouth. And I'm like, I don't know what it is. I've always been able to do it. It's a gift, for sure. It is a gift that I do have.
SAGAL: All right. As I think I have made clear, intentionally or not, I'm somewhat new to the world of drag. And I wanted to ask you about some drag lingo that I have no idea what any of this means.
SYMONE: Snatched. That means one of two things, actually. Some girls, they are snatched. You know, like the makeup is good, the makeup is there, your face is beat - another word for beat, really. Or you could be snatched in the sense of, you know, some girls they'll take back your temples for - and you'll snatched. So you - makeup can be snatched, and then you can literally be snatched in the face (laughter).
SAGAL: Right. Oh, I see. so - but snatch is good.
SYMONE: Snatch is good. Snatch is very good.
SAGAL: Just to let you know, when you said snatched is like beat, it helped me not at all. But let's - OK - just so you know who you're dealing with. What does serving face mean?
SYMONE: Serving face - so serving face means kind of like you are beat, and you're giving it to the camera like so. You're just serving face, darling, giving them all the - everything that's here.
POUNDSTONE: You just served Peter so much face that he's going to have to take some of it to-go.
SAGAL: And the last one - and this is a word I know, but I'm told there's a special meaning in your world - which is sickening.
SYMONE: Yeah, sickening - no. It is - it's just so good that I'm literally having a reaction to it. It's so visceral that it's sickening. I'm, like, just so sickened by what you're serving me right now.
SYMONE: You know, we gays, we dramatic, honey. So everything...
SYMONE: This was sickening, darling. I'm just so sickened by what you're doing.
SAGAL: I wanted to ask you about another element of RuPaul's show, which I was amazed by, which is the Snatch Game.
SYMONE: Yes. The all-time - the challenge, darling, everyone loves.
SAGAL: Right. And this, of course, was meaningful to me because I think I'm RuPaul's generation, and I remember the old "Match Game" that it's based on. But could you describe it?
SYMONE: So Snatch Game is a game on RuPaul's - a challenge on "RuPaul's Drag Race" where you come in, and you do your best celebrity impersonation of - you get to choose, but you have to be in character. You have to make RuPaul laugh. Usually you're trying to be comedic and accurate. That's the goal.
SAGAL: Right. What celebrities did you do?
SYMONE: I did Harriet Tubman.
LUKE BURBANK: Wow.
SYMONE: Right? I did Harriet Tubman. I did. I did. I was like, what can I go in there and do that they are not going to expect?
SAGAL: I - yeah.
SYMONE: Harriet Tubman.
SAGAL: So they're doing - so, like, people are doing, like, celebrities...
SYMONE: Celebrities, yeah.
SAGAL: ...And you come in as Harriet - did you have, like, the whole Civil War era...
SYMONE: I had on the garb. I had on - I drew some lines on my face (laughter). I had the head scarf on. I was giving it to you.
SAGAL: Wow. And were you a funny Harriet Tubman or a serious...
SYMONE: I like to think so.
SYMONE: I was - I mean, I made RuPaul laugh. So that was the challenge, and I succeeded.
SAGAL: It is a delight to talk to you, Symone, but we have, in fact, invited you here to play a game we're calling...
BILL KURTIS: Lip-Sync Meet Fix Sink.
SYMONE: Oh, child.
SAGAL: You are brilliant, as we discussed, at the fine art of lip-syncing. So we thought we'd ask you about kitchen sinks and the people who fix them. That is plumbers.
SYMONE: All right. (Laughter) Let me see what knowledge I got up in this noggin.
SAGAL: There you go. So if you answer two out of three questions correctly about the plumbing arts, you will win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they choose for their voicemail. Bill, who is Symone playing for?
KURTIS: Grace Jansen of San Francisco, Calif.
SAGAL: All right, here's your first question.
SYMONE: All right.
SAGAL: Plumbers are on call 365 days a year, but one South Florida plumber had an emergency call on Thanksgiving. Why? A, a homeowner didn't know what to do with her turkey carcass, so she flushed down the toilet; B, apparently the guy was a hunk, and somebody needed a date for their family's Thanksgiving; or C, as the customer put it, quote, "my brother-in-law is coming over, and I need you on standby."
SYMONE: Oh, I'm going to go with B.
SAGAL: You're going to - because that makes sense that - like, some guy you know, he needed a date.
SYMONE: He needed a date. It was like, huh, I'll call the plumber.
SAGAL: The plumber will come. I like your thinking, but, in fact, it was a that the homeowner had this turkey carcass, didn't know what to do with it...
SYMONE: You're kidding.
SAGAL: ...Flushed down the toilet. This is not a problem. Just like on "RuPaul's Drag Race," you might have screwed up, but still have a chance to win it all. Next question - plumbers sometimes have hidden talents beyond just unclogging your drain, as proven by a plumber in Alaska who did what?
SAGAL: A, invented ranch dressing; B, personally mothered an orphan flock of herons; or C, he was the first and only male soprano at the Juneau Lyric Opera.
SYMONE: Hmm. I'm going to go with C.
SAGAL: You're going to go with - you know, I'm just going to say that's just too straightforward for our show.
BURBANK: The answer has been hidden to you so far, but you may find it.
SYMONE: Hidden Valley - so A. Was it the ranch?
SAGAL: Yes, it was.
SYMONE: It was the ranch.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Yes, he invented ranch dressing.
SYMONE: Oh, my God. Wow.
SAGAL: Last question. If you get this right, you win.
SAGAL: Roy Riegle was the name of a plumber who passed away in 2017. And he so loved his job that he requested what as a tribute? A, that instead of a typical funeral, his body should be fed down a garbage disposal; B, that the Roto-Rooter company changed its name to Roto-Roy Riegle; or C, that his ashes be flushed in the toilets of every Major League Baseball stadium.
SYMONE: (Laughter). I hope it's that one.
SAGAL: Live your dream.
SYMONE: So I am going to say C.
SAGAL: That's exactly right, yes.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SYMONE: That's it?
SAGAL: It's it.
SAGAL: That's what he did. He was a big baseball fan. And according to his best friend, that mission of having some of his ashes flushed in a toilet in every one of the 30 baseball stadiums - Major League - was accomplished.
SYMONE: Wow. Good for him.
SAGAL: Isn't it great? Bill, how did Symone do on our quiz?
KURTIS: What a winner. She got 2 out of 3. And that means you have snatched it away.
SYMONE: Yes, Bill, yes.
SAGAL: Symone is a drag icon, activist and the most recent winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race." Symone, congratulations on everything. You are fabulous and deserving, and thank you so much for being on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
SYMONE: Thank you guys so much for having me. I had such a great time.
SAGAL: Thanks a lot. Take care, Symone.
SYMONE: You guys, too. Have a good day.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONDRAGULATIONS")
RUPAUL: (Singing) Condragulations. You're No. 1. I want to thank you for...
SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill piles up the junk in his trunk in the Listener Limerick Challenge game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.
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