Sapphira from Drag Race: ‘I don’t want to beat you when you’re struggling’

Many people thought Sapphira Cristál was going to take the crown for RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16. Judging from this post-finale interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sapphira herself was chief among them! No shade, I loved Sapphira’s poise, presence, talent — she’s a freakin’ opera singer! — and intelligent sense of humor. She tied with fellow finalist Plane Jane for the most number of maxi challenge wins this season at four each. (Although if we’re really spilling the tea here, her win for the DragCon 1980 episode was totally down to Ru loving her runway look, and not how she did in the challenge.) After all these months I feel I know Sapphira a little bit. So the uber-confident, boastful comments she makes to EW are tempered by the personality I’ve come to admire. But yeah, she’s unshakably certain that it was the final lip-sync, and only that performance, that kept her from the ultimate win:

She would’ve won, but for the final lip-sync: If it didn’t come down to that final lip-sync, I won the whole thing. It definitely came down to that final lip-sync, and that final lip-sync only. I could not have done any better on my solo number. It was chef’s kiss, no notes, 100 percent A+, honey. The energy from the room while performing it was an energy I’ve never felt in my life. Everyone was on the tips of their seats… I won three things in a row. I guess the one thing I would do differently is the makeover challenge. It landed me in the bottom, and until then I hadn’t even been in the bottom at all. I was just top or safe.

On how she played the game: I did what I did because I knew it was right, I knew that it was important to be myself and not anyone else. I’m generous and genuine. I lead with compassion, love, and kindness. Especially now, it was important to do that. But, there’s another side. I’m a Libra. I could’ve played the game completely differently and still done well. I tried to help people be their best so that when I beat them, I felt that much better, because I don’t want to beat you when you’re struggling. I want to beat you at your best.

How on earth did she pack up her looks for the show? If you want to know how I packed, follow me on Patreon. Everyone wants to know. We will be putting out a full video on how it was packed and how to pack for life, honestly. I’m the new Marie Kondo of 2024, so don’t you worry. You will learn to pack great big things. Drag ingenuity is what I’d say. We had the best engineers, physicists, we had to make sure it happened. I think there was a 16-person team just figuring out how to pack.

She’s booked and busy: I have a lot coming up. My own tour and The Cristál Ball EP are coming out as well. Also, Monét X Change and I will be singing at Lincoln Center with an orchestra and Soundcake. It’s aural confessions, opera, pop, drag; it’s everything you want. We have a little bit of Thorgy Thor in there as well. All the classical girls are doing the thing. I’m living my absolute best life, and I encourage everyone else to take the bull by the horns and buck it. Ride the river of abundance and keep going toward your dreams. Remember to truly love and accept yourself, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to spread the love that you have inside, out.

[From Entertainment Weekly]

“I’m generous and genuine. I lead with compassion, love, and kindness.” Here’s the thing, I saw all of those traits in Sapphira when watching this season. I don’t think she has a delusional sense of herself here. (Inflated perhaps, but not completely delusional.) But it’s still absolutely hilarious to lay that as a foundation… before getting into how she’s gonna defeat you on your best day. “I’m gonna slay you in the maxi challenge, feel THAT compassion and kindness!!” I’d like to think that Sapphira is a big enough person to be able to laugh at herself; but in case she’s not, I’ll be laughing for her. I’ll also be hot-footing it over to Lincoln Center in June to see Sapphira and Monét X Change at their (free!) presentation of “Aural Confections.” It’s sure to be the best opera-meets-drag show since Bugs Bunny descended a mountain astride a voluptuous pink-haired horse.

PS — I NEED to see this packing video; her comments cracked me up!

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9 Responses to “Sapphira from Drag Race: ‘I don’t want to beat you when you’re struggling’”

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  1. Outoftheshadows says:

    I wouldn’t say those comments were boastful, just supremely confident. I will say this: women are not taught to be supremely confident, and gay men usually have their confidence attacked in our society. I love Sapphira’s warm mother energy and her sense of community. It’s a wonderful thing to have drag offer us all an example of excellence and confidence and care for others.

    That said, I was rooting for Nymphis because she seemed like she needed the win more, for her own sense of self to be supported. She admitted that she never looked at herself in mirrors before drag–she had received too many messages that whiteness was the standard of beauty. Watching her bloom into her talent and self confidence was wonderful.

    You know, sometimes a queen is so strong she doesn’t need the win. Cheddar Gorgeous (PhD) was that way. And I think Sapphira is too. She already knows who she is and what she has to offer and she really believes in herself. I wish we all had that gift, to recognize the power we have.

    Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Lol.

  2. Flamingo says:

    The bonus of not winning the crown is you are a shoe in for an All Stars season. And 100% we will see Sapphira and Plane Jane in a future All Stars.

    And Nymphia Wind in a future Queen of Queens All Stars.

    This was a really strong and fun season. Now I am looking forward to the new season on All Stars on Paramount + starting up next month. It’s for charity and I think it’s a non-elimination season (similar to Queen of Queens AS season).

    I love that Gottmik is back, back, back again!

  3. Jillian says:

    Both Sapphira and Nymphia were in a different league than the rest of the contestants (who were all incredible). Sapphira speaks no lies: she’s fabulous and kind, I can’t wait to see her on an Allstars season

  4. lisa says:

    I started attending Sapphira’s ‘s on line shows during quarantine. I watched a few of this season’s shows with her at her watch parties.she is at all times kind and complementary of other queens and other people in general. im very happy for her. she will do great things with this opportunity.

  5. DeluxeDuckling says:

    That show at the Lincoln center sounds amazing omg….

  6. FancyCatsup says:

    Thank you for posting about Drag Race!