RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Symone Has Learned to Say No

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In How I Got Here, Black and brown creatives explore how they worked their way to the top of the fashion industry. In conversation with Vogue, these editors, social media stars, and more reveal the unforgettable moment that would change their careers completely. How I Got Here offers (stylish) life lessons, in the artists’ own words.

Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Symone has wholly embraced being the reigning queen. Symone’s drag is an ode to Blackness, telling stories of both beauty and tragedy within the Black community. Her all-white gown embellished with the words “Say Their Names” in red, a powerful statement on police brutality, will always be remembered in Drag Race history. The self-proclaimed “Ebony Enchantress” has not only captured hearts with brilliant messages of social justice, but also with exquisite taste in fashion from her own intentional POV. Since Symone’s win in April 2021 she has worked with mega-star Rihanna, modeled in campaigns including Calvin Klein, and became a cover star for magazines Plastik and Out. Here Symone tells Vogue what happened after she had her big break on Season 13.

I remember getting the call hearing the words “congratulations you’ve been invited to compete on Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race” and then just screaming at the top of my lungs in my apartment. After the show ended, I gained a greater sense of confidence. I was quite a shy kid so going through [Drag Race] allowed certain people to see a little bit of themselves in me and that helped. Over the years I taught myself that [insecurities] are a story I tell myself; they aren’t true. So to see people see me has been a great way for me to put all of my insecurities away. The biggest change for me was definitely my belief in me and the opportunities that I’ve been able to have. Not just for me, but the people around me and working to help push me forward. I didn’t necessarily strategize anything, but I did tell myself that no matter what happens I was going to stay true to who I [am] and bring everything I [have] to the table.

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