In 2018, Drag Race fans were gutted to hear that popular entertainer Aja said they no longer identified as a drag performer.
Previously, the drag artist competed in season nine of Drag Race and season three of All Stars, where she placed ninth and seventh, respectively.
At the time, Aja explained to Them that they “let go of the idea of being a drag queen” because they weren’t interested in doing the “stereotypical drag queen lip syncs and performs.”
What is draggy about my music......? Also drag? I don’t even consider myself a “drag queen” anymore - I’m a queer artist. And lacks professionalism? I’m a rapper. ART GOD is literally ART. This EP was my heart and soul. It had nothing to do with drag. This EP was me as a person. https://t.co/1L0FeTePvo— AJA LABEIJA 🍯👑 (@ajaoxum) July 2, 2018
“It’s me, it’s just an extension of my gender identity, and it’s my expression,” Aja said in a 2018 statement.
However, after spending some time (nearly three years) focusing on their music and performing in legendary ballrooms, Aja shared on Monday that she is returning to drag, realizing “trans is who I am and drag is what I do.”
The All-Stars 3 star penned a message to fans and revealed that they have “battled a very intense sense of gender dysphoria since 2018.”
In the post, Aja explained that they struggled with their identity “from an artistic standpoint” because they felt they were “embodying my trans identity and not an art form” every time they “dressed up.”
“I felt like I was beginning to understand who I was at the core and it was no longer a performance but my reality,” she wrote.
After coming out as non-binary, Aja said,” things started to make more sense to me from a gender standpoint however things became more difficult for me from an artistic standpoint because I started to feel like every time I dressed up I was embodying my trans identity and not an art form.”
Additionally, the drag race star revealed that watching Kylie Sonique Love win RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 6 was an inspiring moment for her.
Continuing she said, “I have been a big fan of @xosonique for a very long time and I don’t know. Watching her win made me realize that, that could be me."
“Not necessarily winning Drag Race, but being able to embody my own gender and identity and still be an artist with neither of them conflicting each other."
“It really hit me at that moment that Trans is who I am and drag is what I do. That me doing Drag has never taken away from who I am as a person and that as a public figure I should have navigated that journey and situation better.”
According to Aja, she “is now comfortable to say that I am a drag artist again” and shared that her pronouns out of drag will continue to be “she/they.”
Since 2018 she has released two albums and gained an army of fans since her debut.