By Christopher Rudolph
Crystal Methyd might not be America’s next drag superstar, but she was definitely crowned the kookiest queen of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12.
The Missouri girl wowed Ru and the judges with her imaginative runway looks; somehow, she transformed Freddy Kreuger into a fashion icon. But Ru was also obsessed with her look out of drag, specifically her luscious mullet, which served major El DeBarge realness. Crystal cruised through the competition, never winning a maxi challenge — that is, until the one-queen show, when she seductively slayed the audience as male exotic dancer Phenomenal Phil.
If you can count on Crystal for one thing, it’s thinking outside the box; just look at her “I’m Like a Bird” number from the Season 12 finale, where she craftily transformed into a pair of colorful birds and regurgitated into her own mouth. MTV News spoke with Crystal about making it to the finale, if she’s sick of the mullet comparisons, and why Chromatica makes her cry.
MTV News: Hi, Crystal, where are you right now?
Crystal Methyd: I am in my home in fabulous Springfield, Missouri.
MTV News: And how’s it going there?
Crystal: So far, so good. It has been raining a lot. Ever since “Rain On Me” dropped, it rains pretty much every day.
MTV News: Well, I guess we have to talk about it. Have you listened to Chromatica?
Crystal: I did. I listened to it twice the night it came out, and I am excited to listen to it many more times.
MTV News: It’s so good, right?
Crystal: I really love it. That Elton John song — I started crying. I don’t know what was happening, but I just started crying uncontrollably. It was so fun.
MTV News: What was the toughest part about filming this remote finale?
Crystal: There were so many elements that piled up together that made it so tricky and interesting. It was sad that we weren’t going to do it in person, but I thought the reunion came together pretty cute. It was so much fun and to be able to see inside everyone’s homes and everyone still looked so amazing and had their own moment. I just feel like Drag Race is such a magical show. It’s been so magical to watch it in quarantine. And for so many people, this is how they keep track of when it’s Friday.
MTV News: I loved your piñata look.
Crystal: Well, my entrance line was, “Who’s ready to party and play?” So what’s a party without a piñata?
MTV News: Where do the ideas for your looks come from?
Crystal: I smoke a lot of weed and the ideas just kind of come. And then a lot of the stuff that I did on the show I made myself, but I did work with a very young designer, a drag king friend that I know. And I just talked through how we wanted to do it. But a lot of the other stuff, it was just like, “What can I get at the thrift store that is going to meet this theme?” Because girls spend a lot of money to prepare for the show. I spent less than $4,000 on everything to get ready, but that felt like a lot of money to me. I’ve always been kind of a thrifty person. That’s just been my way of life of finding that bargain.
MTV News: Are there good thrift stores in Springfield?
Crystal: I’m obsessed with Goodwill. That’s my favorite one. Just because everything is priced the same. Like, all jeans are $4, all dresses are $5, all T-shirts are $3. And that’s where I get a lot of my jewelry too.
MTV News: And was your drag always kooky, or did it start off more beauty pageant and then transformed?
Crystal: In the beginning, I tried to be more “female illusion,” I guess. I wouldn’t say I looked like a woman, but that’s what I was trying to do. But then I started to have fun just doing out of the box, club kid looks, painting my face the same pattern as the shirt I was wearing or little things like that. And every time I did my makeup, even before the show, I always liked to do it differently every time. And that’s kind of how I got to my signature base. It took me four years to figure out that’s how I liked to look. So that’s why, when initially the judges were thrown off by the big makeup, it worried me at first. But I love switching it up, so I just went back to my room and re-sketched out faces for all of it. That was also why, when we only had 30 minutes to change and I was like, “I’m just going to paint myself blue now.” It was always really stressful and hard, but I feel like it paid off in the end.
MTV News: Your Freddy Krueger look was just so amazing. Are you a horror movie fan?
Crystal: I am. And that’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. Although it’s very interesting to wear because it’s a sweater. It’s very warm, but then all of the safety pins are cold as ice, and sometimes you get poked every now and then.
MTV News: We have to talk about the mullet. Have mullet lovers been coming out of the woodwork? Have you been contacted by mullet enthusiasts?
Crystal: It’s quarantine and people can’t go get their haircuts and I feel like everyone is starting to grow their own mullet. But I can’t take full credit for that because Joe Exotic also created mullet representation for a whole different kind of viewer.
MTV News: Are you going to keep growing even after quarantine is over?
Crystal: I think so. My plan with my mullet is that I want it to grow to my butt — just a mane of hair — and then I want to dye it all kinds of fun colors. And then I’m going to just buzz my head. I know that when I do that, Ru will cry.
MTV News: Are you sick of “Rhythm of the Night” or have you embraced it?
Crystal: I don’t think I could ever be sick of it. I feel honored that I was given a theme song. I love it when fans send me videos of themselves just rocking out in the car to El DeBarge.
MTV News: Was there one challenge that was especially difficult for you?
Crystal: Especially difficult for me was obviously Snatch Game. I was having a hard time with that one. It’s the challenge that you all know is coming, and I don’t think that I prepared myself enough. Whatever you bring, all three options or whatever, they should all be good no matter what. That way you can always fall back on something. And you’re in your mind, because you know the fans have really high expectations of it. You’ve got to be able to joke with Ru, and the other contestants, but everyone’s different characters and maybe you don’t know who they are. I feel like I made myself a robot and what Ru worried would happen to Gigi [Goode] happened to me. I got really in my head and wasn’t able to make jokes. It was also hard because Ru didn’t know who Poppy was.
MTV News: How did doing Drag Race change your drag?
Crystal: I feel like Crystal is really what made me confident and I was fully prepared to be confident, but I think my nerves started hitting me the second I got to the airport. You’re like, “The survival pack that I packed, did I get everything? And did I forget something? What’s going on?” And then you meet everyone. I definitely was comparing myself to the other girls, which is foolish because we were all brought to give the aesthetic that we presented in our tapes. When there are a lot of girls there you’re like, “Oh my gosh, one slip-up and I could go home.” The idea of going home and going home early is such a scary, scary thing to think about. I was psyching myself out and I wish I could just go back and be like, “Snap out of it. What’s going on with you? Just have fun and have confidence in what you’re wearing.”
MTV News: It almost felt like watching an All Stars season, because all the girls were so good.
Crystal: Oh yeah. For sure. Which was another reason why I was like, “What’s going on? Am I okay to be here?” And then, as girls kept going home and I just was still there, I was like, “Wait, am I a legend? Am I one of the best drag queens that’s ever lived?” So I’m just super incredible now.
MTV News: I thought you had the perfect choice for Enlightened Madonna in the Rusical, but what is your favorite Madonna album or era?
Crystal: I really like “Hung Up.” That’s when I figured out who Madonna was, because I didn’t really listen to a lot of music. The first music video I ever saw was “Hey Ya.”
MTV News: Since no one’s going out on tour anytime soon, what’s coming up next for you?
Crystal: I have my show. It used to be a monthly show called “Get Dusted” that I do with my house; we call ourselves “Just to Get Dusted Girls.” But we’ve been creating movies of drag performances. We try and make it kind of as real as a show could be. It’s been fun because now we’re able to get special guests that we maybe normally wouldn’t have been able to fly in or afford. I’m looking forward to creating more of those and just seeing how digital drag continues to evolve. I’ve loved watching it. I haven’t been able to get as involved as I want to because I have really high expectations of the kinds of content that I put out. And it takes me forever to edit these things together. But I really enjoyed the fact that you’re able to portray a story in a way different way than what you would do on stage.