Creative, dirty and always evolving – that’s how Santana SexMachine describes the Berlin that shaped her. Now she’s the first Queen from Berlin premiering in Drag Race (Sweden).
Swedish born and Berlin based Drag Artist Santana SexMachine - tell us about how you got your drag name?
I got my drag name after years of many failed attempts, but finally I chose Santana because my dad likes the musician Carlos Santana and because of Naya Rivera’s character from Glee Santana Lopez. Then after moving to Berlin I fell in love with disco and house music, so I started listening to the German DJ Purple Disco Machine a lot. And from that you get Santana SexMachine, mean bitch supreme.
You found your drag identity well in Berlin - in what way do you think this city inspired you to evolve into Santana?
Berlin has shaped me tremendously as a performer and a person, the scene here is so unique because of the many different genres of performing. I find inspiration in each and every performer in this city. Berlin is very much like drag, it’s creative, it’s dirty and always evolving.
You’re premiering as one of the Queens in Drag Race Sweden - the premiere season - how did they find you, and how has it been shooting?
They found me because I never left them alone! I asked the production company about auditioning right when the news got released to the world. So it’s crazy to look back and think that after months of auditions, interviews, ‘club, and another club,’ I was finally there. It was beyond my wildest dreams stepping into the Werk Room, but I have honestly never felt more in my element. It’s literally gay heaven for drag-queens!
Can you tell us a bit about the show?
The show is a reality-TV competition where drag artists compete in a series of mini- and maxi-challenges in order to determine who is going to become the next Drag Superstar. I mean, locked up drag-queens in a severe pressured environment? What can go wrong!? It is TV-gold for sure.
You’re the first Berlin based artist to enter the show - in what way do you think the Berlin spirit will make a difference?
I think drag nowadays is so saturated and there is this new standard of what ‘good drag’ is supposed to be like. That’s where the Berlin spirit is so refreshing, it pushes the idea of gender and expression to a whole new level that I personally had never seen before. And it’s done in a way that’s purely for the art and not so much for the money. Believe me, I had to run to Sweden for reality TV to make some. It’s honestly amazing and I do owe most of my drag success and persona to the city.
Tell us about your looks and what inspired them?
I definitely strive to look as beautiful as I possibly can, but I’m also a campy queen by heart. I get so excited when you look at someone and instantly go ‘I get this concept!’, even if it’s held together with silver tape and desperation.
Why is Drag a revolution?
Drag has always been and will most likely continue to be a revolution because of people trying to continuously push back on queer people. Drag is a way to shine light– and sometimes even make fun of what’s happening around the world, and even though we sometimes do it in more lighthearted ways, it’s important to remember why we speak up about things. Especially in today's political climate where people think we groom children into some queer agenda? Pause for laughter. It’s important to be louder and more queer than ever.
Where will we find you in Berlin? You can find me anywhere in the world on WOWPresents Plus from March 5th! Or you can follow @santanasexmachine
Drag Race Sverige will premiere exclusively on the streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus, in the UK and internationally on Saturday 4th March at 8:30pm GMT. Untucked will air at 1:00am GMT on Sunday 5th March. Following the premiere, new episodes will drop every Sunday at 1:00am GMT along with episodes of Untucked.