Metro Weekly

Embracing the Weird: Yvie Oddly’s Journey from Isolation to Inspiration

The Drag Race winner reflects on her art, activism, and just-published memoir, "All About Yvie: Into The Oddity."

Yvie Oddly
Yvie Oddly

“I think if anyone is familiar with my work on [RuPaul’s] Drag Race — with the character on Drag Race — honesty is very important to me,” says Yvie Oddly. “I wanted to take charge of telling my own story, since I felt like I could do it in a very, very honest way and just to clear the air, clear the board, set the record ‘queer,’ and let people know how I feel,” she says.

So the Denver-based drag queen who won the crown on Season 11 of the Emmy Award-winning reality television show wrote a memoir: All About Yvie: Into The Oddity.

“I know that people seem to relate to my story on Drag Race, so I figured why not let them have the full nitty-gritty chapter by chapter?” Oddly says.

For Oddly, who seized viewers’ attention with her unique fashion sense, boundary-pushing costumes, and rubber band-like flexibility while dancing and lip-syncing on the main stage, being considered “odd” or “weird” has been a “lifestyle,” she told me during a recent Zoom interview.

“When you’re born weird, you don’t have any other choice,” the 30-year-old performer, who was diagnosed with Type 3 Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic tissue condition in which her body doesn’t produce as much collagen. This results in the aforementioned hyper-flexibility, but also places her at higher risk of dislocated joints, bruising, and other injuries that frequently leave her feeling “like a zombie,” she told People magazine in 2019.

“My doctor told me to stop doing my party tricks at the age of six,” she says. “Instead, I turned it into a career.”

Regardless of her condition — which, as she ages, limits her ability to perform the contortionist tricks she’s become known for — Oddly has soldiered on, giving her all with every performance, and even, as documented during her season on Drag Race, pushing through despite hurting her ankle in a challenge.

She now accepts the changes in her body’s flexibility as simply a part of the aging process and has changed the stunts she performs without sacrificing entertainment value for the audiences who come to see her.

Oddly began performing at age 18. She was frequently criticized for lacking “polish,” the pageant-style glamor of more seasoned queens.

“I was doing drag for a couple of years in Colorado,” she recalls, “and I just kept getting called weird, and I realized that this is not only something I’ve been called my whole life, but a way that I naturally was carrying myself in.

“I grew up feeling isolated from the world, from my family, from my peers, and I realized that the only thing that is isolating me, at the end of the day, is me, because everybody is weird. If you break down the barrier of just being who you are, feeling comfortable in your own skin, letting your craziest ideas fly at the wall, you’re going to find that somebody else out there actually doesn’t think it’s that strange. So be weird.”

Yvie Oddly
Yvie Oddly

Now a seasoned queen in her own right, Oddly has largely embraced the role Drag Race played in her life, allowing her to tour North America as part of the Werq the World tour shortly after her victory in 2019, and landing her a residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas as part of RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!

Two years ago, Oddly returned to the small screen when she became one of eight contestants on Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, the franchise’s all-winners season. 

Oddly, who is on a multi-city tour promoting the memoir, including a stopover for a book signing and a performance at the D.C.’s Pitchers on Monday, July 8, is touting the book as not only a more in-depth look at her personal story, but a glimpse behind the scenes of the reality television show that made her a household name.

“[The book] not only obviously explores my early childhood, all of my memories, and my life before Drag Race,” she says. “But for fans of Drag Race, we break down my experience, episode by episode, and…spill a little bit of tea about the Drag Race machine, the man behind the curtain.”

She hopes readers will come away with a greater sense of the human behind the character of Yvie Oddly.

“I’ve always wanted, both on Drag Race and in my art, in my life, for people to see the humanity behind everyone,” she says. “I want you to look at that person who you don’t understand, whose views you don’t get, who you don’t like, and still realize that they’re a human being going through a lot of the same crazy struggles that we all have.

Yvie Oddly
Yvie Oddly

Oddly notes that her style of drag has been placed under scrutiny and subject to criticism — more so than some of her colleagues.

“My drag was always weaponized,” she says. “My drag was a weapon, not only against the greater cis-het world, but also against the queer community itself that still tries to fit into boxes. 

“So in a time where politicians are riling up the masses about drag, because it’s an easy thing to get their votes for,…I don’t want to give too much energy to that, because fuck those guys, fuck all of that. Fuck you for trying to use me as a way to justify the sick power grabs that you want [to make],  to keep a sick system in place, so that only one type of person really gets to succeed in this country, in this world. Politely, fuck you.”

Drag, observes Oddly, is ever-evolving, always pushing the envelope in terms of fashion, gender norms, or political statements.

“Drag is literally the art of life,” she says. “It’s the art of playing dress up and what we do every day, and the point of it is to break the rules.

“In plenty of places, it used to be illegal for men to dress up in women’s clothing, and that was the foundation of drag. So honestly, I don’t think drag has changed. It’s just the more exposure it gets in the mainstream, the more the general public is forced to confront the idea of what ‘normal’ is, or what being alive, being a human — a man, a woman, non-binary, anything in between — is.”

Oddly has found validation through her drag, where her “weirdness” is celebrated and embraced by fans.

“I did all this for the little kid in me who was weird and couldn’t find a way to feel like they belonged,” she says. “And every time I go out, every time I perform, every time I get in drag –- sometimes even when I’m just chilling at the airport –- I have random strangers who let me know that I’ve had an impact on their life.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently: I wish we, as people, were really good at treating the people around us like we treat our celebrities, our idols, that person you saw on TikTok or whatever,” she concludes. “Because I get spoiled with love and appreciation all the time now, and I really hope people are treating everybody else in their lives the same way. That’s what I try to give back when I get in drag. For me, this is the art form of joy and of love, and the only job I have to do is to make somebody’s night a little bit brighter. Even if it’s by freaking them out.”

All About Evie: Into the Oddity ($27.95, Greenleaf Book Group) is available at online booksellers, such as Amazon, and at brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide. To find out if her book tour is stopping in your city, visit

Oddly will appear on Monday, July 8, at 6 p.m., at Little District Books, 737 8th St. SE. in Washington, D.C. Tickets for the book signing can also be purchased via

Oddly is scheduled to appear at Pitchers Bar DC, 2317 18th St. NW, on July 8, for a meet-and-greet at 8 p.m., followed by a performance in the bar’s weekly drag show at 9 p.m. Admission is free, but is limited to those 21 and over. Visit

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!