What a rough week for lovers of camp. Between the clueless attendees at the Met Gala and the “lovely 5th alternate” placement of beloved camp queen Nina Not-Bonina West, it’s become clear that camp isn’t easily marketed to mainstream audiences. But as Lizzo says “Some of y’all don’t know what that is. Good.” Maybe there are actually pieces of queer culture that aren’t for sale.
That’s what RuPaul’s Drag Race is really about, though - the art of the sale. RuPaul likes drag queens that sell themselves. After all, she rose through ranks, established her brand and through tenacity and some yoga wizard woowoo has held on long enough to get her shot at being the megalomaniac she was born to be. She’s oversold her talent, stolen the mic as often as possible and got by on busted drag more than a handful of times (before she outsmarted us all and created that lower maintenance male public persona). Like all of us, Ru is a Katamari Damacy of shortcomings, but she’s determined, charming and clever enough to spin them into gold.
This gold-spinning potential is what Ru sees in Silky Nutmeg Ganache, alleged PhD candidate. Silky could give lessons on how to be a contestant on the show. She’s a producer’s dream and provides an endless source of content for the editors to work with, even if they sometimes do her a disservice by over-featuring her. She made a huge impression before the show ever aired, made a spectacle of herself early and often (esp when Ru is in the room), gives hilarious reads (esp in her confessionals), doesn’t back down from drama and perhaps most importantly, isn’t censoring herself for the fandom.
Which may not seem “smart” but it’s maximizing her potential for making an impression. In a world with almost 200 RuGirls and Dragula...things, being forgettable is worse than being hated. Let’s be real, there is no timeline where fat, black, loud, confident Silky Nutmeg Ganache doesn’t get a ton of negative backlash from the Drag Race fandom. The fandom has always had a racism problem, and in a world where black people face criticism for trying to be more than one thing, Silky wants to be four at the very least.
Which, love it or hate it, is what makes Silky so compelling. For some, she’s the villain of the season, but for others her provocative charm and humor outweigh her foolishness.
Either way, there’s a level of intentional delusion at play that makes her a lot like baby RuPaul-- part of it is basic survival mechanisms you typically see in outspoken fat people. In a world that would place her at the bottom of the social hierarchy, Silky bends reality and flattens a path for herself like an out-of-control steamroller. Criticisms to put her back in her place are going to fall on deaf ears because she just doesn’t have the time for them.
This week, she had to face some hard facts and sensing weakness, the other birds started pecking. First, Brooklyn paired her with the obvious struggle bus - the adorkably awkward Soju. Then Silky received the real slap of the week during Ru’s walkthrough. By the time we got to Untucked, she had damn near got mean girl whiplash from Cutthroat Hytes shady compliments, and when her confidence crashed hard, it really showed.
So maybe she’s capable of a better lip sync. Or maybe she’s all talk. She’s certainly lucky to have another chance because if the show didn’t need another episode before the finale, that lip sync certainly would have been a double elimination. If Silky’s endgame is to be memorable above all else, this ain’t the Tea, Christine.