We’re halfway through a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and, this year, one of the contestants hails from Chicago. Silky Nutmeg Ganache calls herself “a big girl who is completely comfortable with her body.” Outside of her life as a drag queen, she’s also got a Master’s in Organizational Leadership, and plans to pursue a PhD in Global Leadership.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache joins the Morning Shift for a conversation on drag, body image and her plans for after the show.
(This video contains strong language.)
Origin of the name Silky Nutmeg Ganache
Silky Nutmeg Ganache: When RuPaul’s Drag Race started in 2008, I was a freshman in college, and one of our mentors, our gay mentors, had decided one day he was gonna get all of us, and we were gonna come up with drag names. And he came up with the drag name Lazagna Frozeen for me, and he was just like, “That’s your name.” And then a few years later, when I got older, he took me out to a bar, and we was having cocktails and dancing, and he saw me develop as an individual, and he said to me, “Your name is gonna be Silky. If you ever do drag, you will be Silky, because you’re sometimes ghetto but you’re always classy.” And literally that night — I watch Food Network quite often — that night someone said “Silky ganache.” And I said, “That’s the name, Silky Ganache.”
Why body positivity is central to Silky’s message
Silky: It’s so important because, growing up, I had to be my very own cheerleader. I didn’t have people rooting me on. I only had people telling me, “You need to lose weight,” or, “You need to do this, you need to do that,” when the reality of it is you need to mind your own business. In my opinion, it’s kind of like how the Christian church is at times, pointing out everybody else’s flaws when in reality your household is not fixed. And I feel like, growing up, that’s how it was, you know. I was fat, and yes I may be fat, but I’m also smart, I’m also very active — I played football growing up, soccer growing up, I was in the band growing up….The things that, growing up, especially growing up southern. I was born and raised in Moss Point, Mississippi, and it’s just the southern way of life, you know. Southern people are fat; we like to eat. I don’t discriminate against any food; I don’t have any food allergies — well, I have one, but I don’t even like to think about it, cause I’m still gonna eat it if I want.
Jenn White: You be careful!
What Silky learned from RuPaul’s Drag Race
Silky: I learned from myself, through this competition, that it’s OK to be vulnerable. Again, I’ve had to be my own cheerleader growing up, and, with that being said, throughout life I’ve had to be the strongest. I left Mississippi at the age of 18 and vowed never to move back; I lived in Indiana for 10 years before I moved to Chicago, and I’ve always had to be self-sufficient….I’m learning more and more as I grow up: it’s OK to be vulnerable. I didn’t show that on RuPaul’s Drag Race at all. And I don’t really regret anything, but if I had to do it all over again, I would soften up a little bit. I think a lot of the fights that I got into was mainly because I was a little stubborn of others. You know, when people have opinions about you, is it warranted? I have to find out because, doing drag and other things in life, especially being a person of color, I got to see where your critique’s coming from, where your heart is. And instead of seeing their critiques or accepting the critiques, I was trying to figure out where your heart was in the critiques, before I can even acknowledge your critique. And so I just wish that I was a little bit more vulnerable.
On starting a scholarship
Silky: My grandmother, Theresa Cooper, in Mississippi, is 81 years old and still teaching every day. And she is a woman that — she truly believed in education. So I’m starting the Theresa Cooper scholarship, where, hopefully this September, my goal is to give out five $5000 scholarships, so if anybody out there would like to contribute, I would greatly appreciate it, but I will have merchandising coming out to support that as well.
This interview was edited for clarity and brevity. Click play to hear the full conversation.
GUEST: Silky Nutmeg Ganache, contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race
LEARN MORE: Silky Nutmeg Ganache’s website
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