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TELEVISION Original 'Queer Eye' cast member Thom Filicia reveals his 'Secret'
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 712 times since Tue Sep 27, 2022
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RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race debuted in 2020 on VH1 as a spinoff of the Emmy Award-winning RuPaul's Drag Race. For its second season this year, there were more episodes and the celebrities' identities were hidden from the at-home audience until later in the season.

The grand prize in 2022 was $100,000 (donated to charity), with a cast of nine contestants lip-synching in front of a panel of judges and a studio audience.

Thom Filicia, from the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, competed on the show as Jackie Would, lasting for three episodes; he will return for the finale. This accomplished interior designer has written several books over the years and has been nominated for several awards for his work.

The man behind the makeup met up while in Chicago to dish about his experience on RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race.

Windy City Times: What brings you to Chicago and The Geraghty?

Thom Filicia: Design Edge is a trade event created by Lee Hershberg. My partners—such as Vanguard Furniture and Eastern Accents, among others—are all here. I told Lee I wanted to be a part of it since it is such a great idea. I love coming to connect with all of the designers.

WCT: Let's talk about your drag persona, Jackie Would. Where does she come from?

TF: I had to come up with some background information about her for the show. She is from a Chicago suburb and is the kind of person that would steal her father's car and go into town with a fake I.D. and get drunk with her friends.

WCT: Does she still live here?

TF: No, she lives in Aspen after going there to meet some guys to go skiing. She misbehaved on the airplane on the way there and was not allowed to return. She has decided to take up residency in Aspen!

WCT: What does Jackie Would drink?

TF: Just about anything! [Both laugh.]

WCT: How hard was it to keep the secret on RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race?

TF: It was tough. I didn't want Carson Kressley to know I would be on the show. I am good at keeping a secret but there were times when I wanted to tell someone about it.

WCT: How were you cast? Did they contact you?

TF: Yes, they did. They offered to give recognition and resources to a charity of my choice. My brother and I had gone through a bone-marrow transplant, with me as his donor.

WCT: Was that painful?

TF: No, they have really improved everything and it is done through stem cells. I did it for that and to punk Carson!

WCT: He recognized your voice, didn't he?

TF: Yes. it took him a while, but he eventually guessed it was me.

WCT: You could have disguised your voice.

TF: In the first episode, I said very little.

WCT: Were you nervous about wearing drag?

TF: I have never done drag and I am not a very good drag queen, I will tell you that right now, but I am a good sport and I had a lot of fun doing it. I have respect for what you have to go through and the creativity involved.

WCT: What surprised you about the other contestants?

TF: I was surprised every single one of them was a singer or a dancer. There weren't any plumbers, engineers, football players or hairdressers. I was up against people from Glee.

WCT: [Fellow competitor] AJ McLean chased after me one time on a red carpet when I was interviewing the Backstreet Boys to tell me he supports gay people.

TF: He's a great guy and a gay ally.

WCT: How much rehearsal time did you have?

TF: We had one day of rehearsal out of drag and one day partially in drag. The next day we shot the episode. I would be panicking some days, but it was a lot of fun.

WCT: You had the shoot in front of a live audience.

TF: And in front of RuPaul! She can be intimidating. It was kind of like giving Mario Andretti a ride home. RuPaul has defined drag as a category and given recognition to it.

WCT: What did you think of Michelle Visage as a judge?

TF: She's a doll. Her critiques were clear, accurate and kind. She is professional and I appreciate that. Not everyone is good at everything. She is okay with that but wants people to be good at what they are good at. I think that is really important.

WCT: What is one takeaway from being on RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race?

TF: Never say never. It is amazing when you are open to doing things that you never thought you would do. It challenges yourself and hopefully helps others open up about their challenges. You get to walk in someone else's shoes and sometimes it is six inches stilettos!

I'm excited to see who the next group will be. I have a greater appreciation after doing the show for people who are willing to take a risk.

WCT: So Jackie might come back one day?

TF: Jackie is a crazy bitch and might just show up at your house! She wouldn't borrow a stick of butter, but instead maybe a fifth of vodka…

WCT: Did you see your Queer Eye castmate Jai Rodriguez in the movie Bros yet?

TF: Not yet, but I just saw him in New York the other night. I watched him on the Netflix series Uncoupled recently. He is happy to have all this new work. He is feeling his oats and coming into his own. I am happy for his success and taught him everything he needed to know about being a bro. I'm joking, but I treated him like my little brother and hazed him when we were filming Queer Eye.

WCT: What is next for you?

TF: I am going back to New York to work in my office and then travel to LA. This trip to Chicago has been quick and fun!

RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race ru-veals the winner on Friday, Sept. 30. For more adventures with this classic Queer Eye cast member, visit .

This article shared 712 times since Tue Sep 27, 2022
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