Written by Victor Barreiro Wednesday, 07 March 2012 00:00
Audiences across America first met the over the top Yara Sofia when she appeared last year as a contestant on Logo's smash hit, RuPaul's Drag Race. It was on the show where we had the chance to get to know what the Puerto Rico native was really all about. Yara came close to claiming the coveted prize, but as fate would have it, the stress of the show took its toll and she broke down during a dramatic elimination round. The show proved to be a wise choice for Yara as she quickly found herself traveling the globe for appearances. I recently chatted with the 27 year old who filled me in on that famous last scene, life in L.A. and her degree in theatre.
How has life changed after RuPaul's Drag Race?
It's been an interesting journey. I think I have changed a lot in a good way. I've learned so much, met tons of people my English is better. It's been wonderful. Little kids stop me in the mall and tell me that they love me. They're like 6 or 7 years old.
Tell me something about RuPaul that would surprise people.
She is a short, fat, white woman. (Laughs) She's always giving you advice, smart and very cool.
Has anyone tried to impersonate you in drag?
Yes. I have an album on Facebook which showcases several pictures of others whom I've inspired. People take pictures with their blue contacts, the big hair, the nails and all these crazy looks that I like. There are more than 90 pictures. I love how people take the time and I appreciate it.
Speaking of your hair. What inspires those looks?
It's like RuPaul says, “everything is big” and I like big hair. Everyone knows that I'm wearing a wig. I don't like the “fish” look, which is soft and wavy hair. If it was up to me and I didn't have to pay fees at the airport, I would travel with the biggest hair ever. I love Maila Nurmi, who was so dark, feminine, but yet so soft inside. I like those types of looks.
Is there a fan moment that stands out as your favorite?
There are too many. People stop me all of the time and tell me that they can only imagine how difficult the show was and that they love me.
Take me back to your famous last scene on the show when you had to lip synch for your life.
In the beginning I regretted it, but it was so hard that I could not stop. I was holding in all of these emotions behind the scenes. I missed my friends and family. The whole competition and the process took its toll. It was so stressful and I broke down. I'm a human being and I have feelings. I'm not a robot. Bad things happen to make you appreciate the good things.
When did you realize that you wanted to do drag?
I started when I was 20, during Halloween. I was dressed up as Dorothy. However, I used to wear my mom's heels and clothes when I was 9 years old. I used to wear those heels and walk around the house.
Where does the name Yara Sofia come from?
There was this comedic pageant where I was representing Cuba. Someone told me that I needed a tropical Latin name and that it was going to be Yara Sofia Carrasquillo. It was a funny name because I was talking with this Cuban accent. Yara was the name of a dancer friend of mine who had some beautiful legs. All my friends would tell me that when I was in heels, my legs looked like hers, which was a huge compliment.
Something most people probably don't know about you is that you have a degree in theatre.
I decided to do RuPaul's Drag Race because I wanted to move and I love doing drag. But, aside from doing drag, I love to make costumes. I was doing costumes for plays at Sacred Heart University in Puerto Rico where I studied drama and costume design. I love fashion, but not the commercial type. You can go to Forever 21 for that. I used to have my own studio in Puerto Rico where I made costumes for queens. Now that I live in L.A., I'd love to take classes at FIDM.
Do you hope to one day have your own line?
Yes. I want to have my studio and boutique. I like creative runway.