Tue. Aug 11th, 2020

Interview: ‘Drag Race All Stars 5’ queen Alexis Mateo reveals tea about India Ferrah and love for Walter Mercado

It had been almost eight years since fans of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” had seen Alexis Mateo walk the runway when she returned for this season of All Stars. While she made a run into the top five, the late stages of her tenure were dominated by an often confusing, always entertaining feud with India Ferrah, who accused Mateo of campaigning to eliminate fan favorite Shea Couleé. 

The lingering effects of Ferrah’s accusations were left even after her elimination and, before we knew it, Alexis Mateo was on her way out the door, too. It’s unclear how she managed to exit the soundstage with a kiddie pool under her dress.

Whatever the case, Daniel Trainor and Sam Stone chatted with Alexis Mateo about the feud™, her iconic Snatch Game performance as Puerto Rican camp legend Walter Mercado and what’s going to happen the next time she runs into India Ferrah.

AwardsWatch: Miss Alexis Mateo, hello! How are you today?

Alexis Mateo: Hi! I am doing great. It’s a gorgeous day here in Vegas. 

AW: We cannot begin this interview without, of course, asking about the India Ferrah drama. We talked to India last week and she would not budge on her accusations against you. Do you still adamantly say that you never conspired to eliminate Shea Couleé?

AM: You know what, after you lie on national television and you cannot back it up, you have to stick with it. I guess that’s her plan right now. We always say, we all have truths and then there’s the truth. I feel like I did not campaign. I didn’t tell nobody to vote against nobody on this show. I don’t think I have to say anything to anyone, including India. Just like she is, I am clear about the situation. I have never lied. I never tried to make sure she tried to vote for somebody. I thought, in my personal opinion, that it was a strategy for her to stay on the show. That’s about it. 

AW: It was interesting to see that India left letters for everybody. What was going through your mind when you heard what she had written to the group, and then to you?

AM: At that point, I was checked out with her. I didn’t give consideration to anything she was saying. I’m a Leo. I’m also Puerto Rican. So, I always give you one chance to be loyal to me. If you’re not loyal as a friend, I check you immediately out of my life. I don’t accept negativity in my life. I’m also 40 years of age, so when you’re here at this time of your life, what other people think of you is none of your business. It was that type of moment in my life. I was like…she’s gone, I’m not going to pay attention to anything else. Now, when I’m watching the whole season, I see how many times she did the same thing to people, especially to Mayhem [Miller] and the other girls. From the beginning, she had issues with Derrick [Barry] and she said Mayhem was being difficult with her. I see how she was highlighting the negativity of everybody else. 

AW: Do you think India wrote those letters to mess with your head, or was it about trying to look good on camera?

AM: I really don’t know. I’m going to be honest with you. Whatever she said, whatever the lies were that she came with, I don’t care. Because honestly, what we went there to do on that show was to shine as drag queens and entertainers. Other than the first challenge, [India] was in the bottom the entire season. It didn’t bother me at all. This is what I do for a living. So, I was just concerned with doing good. Nobody was going to mess with my head. 

AW: You and India both work in Vegas now. What happens if you run into her on the Strip one night?

AM: The sad part about it is that we work together every day! We work at the Señor Frog’s drag brunch here in Las Vegas. When [Drag Race] happened, we were already working together for at least four or five months. When she got eliminated last week, she posted on the Internet that the two of us had talked like four times in six years, which was a lie. We worked together every day and we talked to each other every day. So, the friendship was there, you know? It was disappointing. That’s what I felt. I was a little disappointed. 

I keep it real and I keep it sincere. As long as I don’t have any regrets with what I did, that’s good. I know India and I will cross paths when things open up and we get to work again together. Honestly, I am a professional. I can have a co-worker relationship with somebody. But I know she’s not my friend. Let’s just put it this way. It’s been brought to my attention that she has done even worse things to people around here, so I’m not worried about it. Derrick said it very clearly and now I believe him. Kimora [Blac] has said it, Farrah Moan has said it. Everybody has said it. I’m good with it. As long as everybody knows what’s going on, I’m good. 

AW: Well, the good news is that everybody loves drama.

AM: Right?!

AW: When you were talking to Miz Cracker before her lip sync, what did you hope she knew? And what were you thinking while you were watching her during the actual lip sync itself?

AM: It was really difficult because, in the beginning of the season, you can see me and Cracker having a little bit of a disconnection. What we didn’t get to see was me and Cracker were getting to know each other by this point. So, we were really opening up to each other and we got our relationship down. We call each other and talk about what’s going on in our lives, if we need anything from each other, things like that. I think what happened with me and Cracker at that moment was like a little mother-daughter relationship. 

At that moment, when I was going to get eliminated, I remembered that she was very good friends with Blair [St. Clair]. They had traveled together, they had done their season together. It’s a stronger bond with Blair than with me. At that point, I just wanted to remind them that drag is all I have in my life and, even if I’m older, I wanted them to respect my track record against Blair. 

AW: We cannot let you go before we talk about your Snatch Game performance as Walter Mercado. It’s one of the best moments of the season thus far. Have you seen the new Netflix documentary about him yet?

AM: Yes! Yes, I have. Of course! What do you mean?!

AW: Listen, we didn’t want to assume!

AM: I grew up with Walter Mercado. He’s a legend in my community. The fact that it happened during this time is crazy to me! I got a beautiful gift from the production of “Mucho Mucho Amor.” A lot of people got introduced to Walter Mercado via Snatch Game!

AW: That’s one of the things that makes you so special, the fact that you’re able to incorporate so much of your culture and heritage into your drag. We’re really going to miss you on the show!

AM: Thank you so much, guys!


Daniel Trainor is writer, podcaster, son and friend from Los Angeles, California. Originally from Michigan, his love for all things pop culture started early, once using pancakes to bribe his way onto the Oscars red carpet bleachers with his mother. In addition to writing for AwardsWatch, he is an huge sports fan and hosts the LGBTQ sports podcast “Same Team.” One day, he hopes Jane Krakowski will win an Emmy.


Sam Stone is a writer and actor based in Brooklyn, New York. He writes humor, culture, and travel among other things, and spends his free time reading about all those things. You can find him on twitter @sam_the_stone or on Instagram @samstone000.


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