Daya Betty Werqs the World on Latest 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Tour

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday August 6, 2022
Originally published on August 4, 2022

Daya Betty
Daya Betty  (Source:Instagram)

"If I could turn back time," sang Cher back in the day. And that is exactly what the "RuPaul Drag Race" stars are doing as part of the latest "Werq the World" tour, currently making its way through some 50 cities this summer in the United States and Canada.

In the show, host Asia O'Hara builds a time machine to travel back and right the wrongs of the past — specifically, not being crowned winner of season 10 of "RuPaul's Drag Race." Along the way, she encounters Kameron Michaels, Rose, Jaida Essence Hall, and "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 14 finalists Angeria Paris VanMichaels, Daya Betty, and Jorgeous, each with their own time-tripping drama.

"This is the biggest, most spectacular drag show on earth," says Brandon Voss, the show's producer. "Audiences will be in awe as their favorite queens from past seasons and the newest stars of Season 14 come together on some incredible numbers. The music, sets, fashion, choreography and lighting in the 2022 production are the largest to date, and like nothing fans of drag have ever seen before."

Standing 6' 4", and decked in her spectacular, '80s-inspired looks, Daya Betty makes her presence known on the runway. On the most recent season of "RuPaul's Drag Race," she made the final five for the finale, where she competed against Angeria Paris VanMichaels, Bosco, Lady Camden and Willow Pill, but did not make the final lip synch challenge. (That was Lady Camden and winner Willow Pill.) As for a first, she was the first open openly Type 1 Diabetic contestant on "RuPaul's Drag Race."

Daya made her outrageous presence known throughout Season 14, either through her hilarious remarks such as, "I do sometimes just go by Betty because it's sexy, and sometimes Diarrhea if I'm feeling gross," or by accepting a bet from competitor Kornbread to eat a bug off the Werk Room floor. She did, and Kornbread kept her end by paying Daya $1,000.

But don't expect Daya to evoke pageant queen realness. "To me, drag has never been about glamour and perfection," Daya said about her aesthetic. "The blood, the sweat, the tears; the ability to create something from nothing — that is what the artistry is about to me."

EDGE spoke to Daya Betty about her drag career, backstage on the tour, and where she would go if she could turn back time.

Daya Betty
Daya Betty  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: How did you get your start in drag?

Daya Betty: I'm from Springfield, Missouri, which is a large city in Missouri, but it still feels like a really small town. There were only two gay bars — one was frequented more than the other. Growing up in a small town and then moving to Springfield for college, I was never around gay people. There was no queer nightlife where I was from. When I got to college, I went to a gay bar and I saw drag queens and I instantly fell in love with them. I'd always been a musical theater person. I was one of those kids that did plays and musicals growing up, needing that feeling of escape, and that is what drag felt like to me, especially because you could create whomever you wanted to be.

EDGE: When you were deciding on your drag persona, where did you draw inspiration from?

Daya Betty: I play a lot with like both the whimsical and the dark sides of life. Just like my experiences. A lot of drag artists take things that have happened in their own lives, and build their persona from them. In terms of aesthetics and visuals, I draw a lot of inspiration from the '80s. I have always been a fan of women that don't really go with the societal norms. That is what really fueled and inspired my drag. Growing up in the Midwest, I was surrounded by tough women. Women who didn't mind getting dirty. Women who rode motorcycles and smoked cigarettes outside of the 7-11. I think they're more interesting. It's easy to find glamor, but I think there is something interesting in those types of women. There is always an interesting story behind women like that.

Daya Betty
Daya Betty  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: Tell us about the theme of this year's "Werq the World" Tour?

Daya Betty: This year's theme is Through the Worm Hole. It's a time-traveling theme show and host Asia O'Hara, who was a contestant on Season 10 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," builds a time machine to go back in time to her season's finale and win. However, she ends up stopping in different eras of time. It is a really fun and unpredictable show.

EDGE: What is your role in the show?

Daya Betty: I do an '80s throwback — a throwback to MTV, iconic pop moments, and pop culture. It really ties into to me being inspired by those rock and roll divas: Joan Jett and Blondie. Each girl has their own little piece of time that they get to showcase.

EDGE: If you could travel back in time where would you go, and why?

Daya Betty: Oh God, could I travel forward? I think that is a better option. I do not know if I would ever want to go back in time. If I had to go back in time, I would want to experience the nightlife culture of New York in the '90s. I think that would be super fun.

Daya Betty
Daya Betty  

EDGE: What is it like backstage with all the queens?  

Daya Betty: Chaotic! When you put 10 drag queens together, whom all think they are the absolute cream of the crop, it's bound to get crazy. It's actually like a huge sisterhood. We are family. We all get along with each other, but we are drag queens. We like to get catty every now and again, but it really does feel like you're just on a really long extended camping trip.

EDGE: How has being a contestant on "Drag Race" changed your life?

Daya Betty: It's opened up a lot of opportunities for me. It has not only pushed me into the mainstream, but queer art, too. I think that's what's really cool about any contestant that has been on the show. It has given us a platform to kick off any sort of career we want. There are queens who are models, acting, and doing standup comedy. I think it's really nice that there is this platform for queer individuals to be able to make a name for themselves doing what they love.

EDGE: What are your other career goals for the future?

Daya Betty: Well, first I want to be able to travel, and travel a lot. Now that COVID is basically over — well, almost — I want to get out there and see the world after being locked up for so long.

It's also nice to be able to be with people and perform again in person. I really missed that energy. There is nothing more wonderful than connecting with a room full of people. There's something really powerful about a drag show. You enter the show as complete strangers, but you come out feeling like one big happy family that have experienced something special.

EDGE: What are you hoping your legacy for future drag artists will be?

Daya Betty: If you watched my season of "Drag Race," I was a very outspoken contestant. I was very vocal about my feelings and how I was feeling in the moment. I didn't really edit myself. I want my legacy to never be afraid to speak up and say what's on your mind. Talk about your emotions, whether it's something people want to hear or not. I think being able to express how and you're feeling is a powerful thing. We are not perfect Instagram pictures; we are human beings with feelings that need to be felt. We all make mistakes, and that is okay.

For more information about Daya Betty visit, www.dayabetty.com. Tickets for RuPaul's Drag Race's WERQ the World 2022 are on sale now at www.vossevents.com

Watch Daya Betty perform "Fighter" on "RuPaul Drag Race," Season 11 finale.