Audiences across America first met the over-the-top Yara Sofia when she appeared last year as a contestant on Logo’s smash hit RuPaul’s Drag Race. It was on the show where we had the chance to get to know what the Puerto Rico native was really all about. Yara came close to claiming the coveted prize, but as fate would have it, the stress of the show took its toll and she broke down during a dramatic elimination round. The show proved to be a wise choice for Yara as she quickly found herself traveling the globe for appearances. I recently chatted with the 27-year-old who filled me in on that famous last scene, life in L.A. and where her name came from.
How has life changed after RuPaul’s Drag Race?
It’s been an interesting journey. I think I have changed a lot—in a good way. I’ve learned so much, met tons of people, my English is better. It’s been wonderful. Little kids stop me in the mall and tell me that they love me.
Tell me something about RuPaul that would surprise people.
She is a short, fat white woman. [Laughs] She’s always giving you advice, smart and very cool.
You’re known for having big hair. What inspires those looks?
It’s like RuPaul says, “Everything is big,” and I like big hair. Everyone knows that I’m wearing a wig. I don’t like the “fish” look, which is soft and wavy hair. If it was up to me and I didn’t have to pay fees at the airport, I would travel with the biggest hair ever. I love Maila Nurmi, who was so dark, feminine, but yet so soft inside. I like those type of looks. It’s not like an extravaganza club kid.
Take me back to your famous last scene on the show when you had to lip-synch for your life.
In the beginning I regretted it, but it was so hard that I could not stop. I was holding in all of these emotions behind the scenes. I missed my friends and family. The whole competition and the process took its toll. It was so stressful and I broke down. I’m a human being and I have feelings. I’m not a robot. Bad things happen to make you appreciate the good things.
When did you realize that you wanted to do drag?
I’m 27 now, and I started when I was 20—during Halloween. I was dressed up as Dorothy. However, I used to wear my mom’s heels and clothes when I was 9 years old. I used to wear those heels and walk around the house.
Where does the name Yara Sofia come from?
There was this comedic pageant where I was representing Cuba. Someone told me that I needed a tropical Latin name and that it was going to be Yara Sofia Carrasquillo. It was a funny name because I was talking with this Cuban accent. Yara was the name of a dancer friend of mine who had some beautiful legs. All my friends would tell me that when I was in heels, my legs looked like hers, which was a huge compliment.
How’s life in Los Angeles?
I love it. I moved to L.A. six months ago, but for the first two months, I was never here. I was paying rent for no reason. Thursday in Miami, Friday in Ohio, Saturday in North Carolina and some other place on Sunday. It was like that. I’ve stopped that and have scaled back to three appearances a week. It was a lot. My life was in an airport.