Chicago is lucky and talented enough to have three contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race for the fourth season on the Logo Channel. One of them, Phi Phi O'Hara, may be gone with the Windy City; however, we learned that she is originally from the Lone Star State, among other fun facts, in this interview before the show premiered. (Incidentally, the other two Chicago entries are The Princess and DiDa Ritz.)
Windy City Times: Hey, Phi Phi. You have been performing at Spin Nightclub for a while now.
Phi Phi O'Hara: Yes, since I moved here. It has been three years now.
WCT: I just went to one of your shows recently and you were amazing.
O'Hara: Well, I try. Thank you.
WCT: You host as well as perform?
O'Hara: I host and have this Dollhouse Review. I switch every other Thursday.
WCT: You just went to Florida, I saw on your Facebook.
O'Hara: I did. I was there on Saturday. It was my first gig outside of Chicago as an official contestant. It was insane. I didn't expect it but they were very loving. I didn't realize how many Phi Phi Phanatics there are out there!
WCT: After the show starts you will be all over the place.
O'Hara: I know. I can't believe it already. It still hasn't sunk in yet. I feel like I am a real performer now and will be on TV.
WCT: What made you want to do RuPaul's Drag Race?
O'Hara: I have been a fan of the show since it first came out. I always wanted to audition but just didn't feel like it was my time yet. I still wanted to grow and learn more. I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to it this season. I feel like I am up to par for this competition so I did it.
WCT: Was it difficult to audition or easy?
O'Hara: You don't know what to expect. I just tried to be myself and hoped that they liked me. The good thing is that each of the girls is completely different this season. I think that helped us all because we were all unique and I got to stand out.
WCT: They just announced the guest judges. Was there one that you particularly liked?
O'Hara: Kelly Osbourne was, ironically, my favorite. You meet all of these celebrities and think they will be something else but actually she was so down to earth. She was just one of the girls.
WCT: She hugged me after an interview recently, and that doesn't happen every day.
O'Hara: [That] is cool, because there is a stigma with celebrities that they don't want to be around everyday people sometimes, but she wasn't like that.
WCT: Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Modern Family is going to be a judge, also.
O'Hara: There are a lot of amazing people on there this season.
WCT: It looks like RuPaul has more of a budget now.
O'Hara: [Laughs] I have noticed that! I couldn't believe it when I saw the commercial alone. I was there, of course, but didn't know what they were going to do with it. When it came out, it beat any reality-television show commercial that I have seen in a while. I am excited.
WCT: The Worlds of Wonder team told me it had been shot a while ago. I didn't realize this was shot so far in advance.
O'Hara: Yes, there is a lot of preparation.
WCT: Then you can't tell anyone about it until the cat is out of the bag.
O'Hara: That is probably one of the hardest things.
WCT: I can imagine. Are you doing a big party for the premiere?
O'Hara: The Chicago girls are going to get together. The Princess and I will be performing at Spin that night as well as host. I am excited because there are so many of us from Chicago this season.
WCT: Isn't that the best?
O'Hara: It is. The stress level is very high. Like I said everyone is very strong this season. You have to be on top of your game on everything. It was nice having the Chicago sisters there to rely on each other for moral support.
WCT: There hasn't been that on the show before.
O'Hara: Rightthey will have one friend, then they kicked off. So we had a great time.
WCT: We had Jade on the first season and Mystique, who was from the suburbs. Where are you from originally?
O'Hara: I am from San Antonio, Texas. Prior to the show I was friends with [former contestants] Sahara Davenport and Shangela. We are all from Texas and worked for the same people.
WCT: Did they give you any advice?
O'Hara: They all gave me advice to help me with my career and what to do. They have been extremely helpful with information. I didn't expect it even though people say we are in a sisterhood and didn't know how true everyone would be to each other.
WCT: Instead of it being all competitive and catty, like some people can be…
O'Hara: We all love each other.
WCT: You have a lot of different looks and I don't even recognize you out on the town sometimes. You are the chameleon.
O'Hara: For me, the point of drag is to look different. I get that some people have one look that they want to stay with and it works for them. That is good but for me I wanted to have different looks. I wanted to change and I like the fact that some people can't recognize me. I feel like my whole job is doing an illusion.
WCT: Who is a favorite artist you like to portray?
O'Hara: I do Nicki Minaj because it gets requested a lot. I will say I don't like the pictures that are taken during it because I make the ugliest booger face!
WCT: That's hilarious. Looks like 2012 will be a big year for you.
O'Hara: I have been given so many opportunities already I can't even imagine what will come.
Catch the premiere party at Spin Nightclub, 800 W. Belmont Ave., on Monday, Jan. 30, at 9 p.m. with a live performance by Phi Phi at midnight. Visit www.spin-nightclub.com for details. For listings on season four try www.logotv.com .