The Emmys' Green Goblin Speaks Out

The Emmys' Green Goblin Speaks Out

By Joan SummersJan 16, 2024

Princess Poppy quit drag. That doesn’t mean she had to quit being an icon in the process!

During Monday’s 75th Emmy Awards ceremony, glimpses of a delightfully ridiculous green monstrosity was all anyone could talk about — besides Niecy Nash’s acceptance speech, of course. On Twitter, onlookers and reporters and gossips were puzzled over who it was, exactly, parading around like the Green Goblin among the likes of Jennifer Coolidge and Ayo Edebiri.

Turns out the queen was none other than RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 contestant Princess Poppy, who famously quit drag last April. At the time, she told EW: “I want to fall off the face of the planet. I don't want to be famous, I want to fade into obscurity.” Her re-emergence at the Emmys was at once a spectacular troll and a perfect encapsulation of her humor, creativity and most of all, lasting popularity amongst die-hard Drag Race meme lords.

In the wake of her temporary un-retirement, I was curious about Princess Poppy’s perspective on achieving the dream of Drag Race and walking away from it. Our conversation was nakedly honest — more than most other contestants would dare — and covered everything from civilian life, what Jennifer Coolidge said to her on the red carpet, the TV to OnlyFans pipeline and so much more.

How are you recuperating after last night?

I'm feeling very sticky. Very green.

Still finding green everywhere, I imagine?

I am in places that you wouldn't even expect it to be!

You were pretty much all over the internet last night as the spooky Green Goblin in the back of all the Emmys shots. I'm curious: Where did you get the idea?

Well, when they invited me to the Emmys, I had not done drag since April, when I announced to the world that I was quitting. And I've stayed true to that. I've given up all my material possessions of drag. So I really had actually nothing to wear, and decided that I wanted to literally and figuratively troll the Emmys. People thought I was a goblin, I was going for troll, but I feel like they're in the same in the same family.

Yeah, same genus, definitely.

Same genus.

Did anyone say anything to you at the Emmys? Like, World of Wonder, your handlers, other celebrities.

When I was walking with the other drag queens, I had like, a mob of people following me with cameras, like their phones. I think they were just very confused as to what I even was. But then when I got with my other contestants, people put it together. But the most notable people... Jennifer Coolidge. She was mumbling to herself. Like, “What is that?" And then she reached out and was like, "I absolutely love your look." I said, “I'm one of the mean gays, or one of the evil gays that you were discussing.” She loved that. Daniel Radcliffe. He loved it. And I think it was his wife too, they were just dying. Then Christina Ricci said I was disgusting, but in the most like, endearing and lovely way possible.

I’d love for Christina Ricci to call me disgusting.

It was amazing. And the contestants were living for it because I don't think anybody expected me to show up. I also didn't tell anybody that I was going to show up until like a week before. They were definitely in for a surprise.

What was it like reemerging after all this time at something like the Emmys, no less? It's not like you debuted again at a bar gig! Like this is the Emmys!

Right? Well, I talked to my mom about it, and I was like, I don't think I'll ever be invited to the Emmys again, like this is like, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I think I have to show up, this is such an amazing moment. But it was also really comforting, because nobody recognized me at all, like even my own contestants, until I started speaking. It was, in a weird way, like so freeing because nobody knew Princess Poppy the drag queen. They just thought, “Oh, that's a green goblin.” So I was living for it. Like, it was exactly what I was going for.

I also have to ask: When you show up to these things as a contestant, the show is nominated. RuPaul is nominated. What did they have you do before and after the televised ceremony went down?

We were sitting the majority of the time until we won. And then that's when we went backstage, and took pictures, and met a couple of the other winners, celebrating backstage. I might have had a glass or two of champagne and yes, other people were looking at me with jealousy in their eyes, thinking: “Wow, she's the most beautiful girl here and I'm severely underdressed in comparison to her.”

Some of them showed up in Loewe and you showed up as a troll! I’d be jealous too.

It was probably very difficult for them to be eclipsed by my beauty. Like, I would have been fuming.

I think you really were the best dressed, if “Best Dressed” is the thing that everyone was talking about the next day.

[Laughs] Define best dressed!

I think that also translates to your time on the show, too. I mean, as someone who has "quit drag, "in your own words, people still talk about you! You're still a topic of conversation, and referenced from your time on and off the show. What has it been like transitioning out of that world into what you’re doing now?

Well, it's been very interesting. I felt like I had given so much of my life, almost a decade, to drag. To go from such an extreme to not such an extreme has actually been really meaningful, and really incredible. I feel weirdly, the past year was like the worst year of my life, but also simultaneously the best. And, in part, both because of Drag Race and drag. I mean, you learn so much. But as you know, on Instagram, I mostly just post memes about Drag Race. I'm not currently doing drag, but I'm still in the Drag Race hemisphere. I'm still putting my foot in, but not my whole body, if that makes sense.

Something that I think was really meaningful about your exit is that a lot of the girls say, I've learned so much about myself from seeing myself on TV, and you have the experience of saying, I've learned a lot about this experience and what I want. And I've learned: I don't want this! What are some of those takeaways from that last year?

I believe that we are sort of taught from a very young age that being famous is the pinnacle of success. Just based off of TV shows that we'd watch, like iCarly, Victorious, HannahMontana. It was all about reaching this extreme level of fame. I think that it's okay to not want to be famous, it's okay to not want to be in the spotlight. And it's also okay to like, make your own rules. You can kind of do whatever you want, you do not have to do something that you do not want to do. I think it's really important to listen to yourself 100 percent. If you're not having fun at a thing, get the fuck out and leave like I did. I love Drag Race, and I love drag, but I personally was not having as much fun as I thought I was going to have. I think it was the best decision I've ever made in my life.

I think a lot of girls feel that they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. And I understand that completely. But I would much rather... I mean, I could die tomorrow or today or right now during this interview. I'd much rather be truthful with myself and happy and honest than pretend that I'm something I'm not.

What was it like, as a reality show contestant, going through the hyper-reality of television and Drag Race, then going back to real life? Was it jarring at the time?

Honestly, I was on the show for maybe two minutes and a half. So it wasn't like I was thrust in the spotlight for that long. But I do feel like readjusting to life has been really pleasant. I think a lot of my fellow contestants — I will not say who — enjoy the fame and they enjoy cutting to the front of the line. But I like to stay in line and I like to wait my turn. I just enjoy being a regular person, it brings me immense happiness. And then it also allows me to do something crazy like this. I will maybe never ever get an opportunity like this again. I kind of get my few minutes of fame and then just go plop right back into obscurity again. I love it.

What is it that you're thinking of next? You have so much creativity, it's hard to imagine you might never get invited to the Emmys again!

Thank you. Um, I mean, OnlyFans is definitely not off the table

I think that’s a well-laid pipeline with the Drag Race lineage!

[Laughs] Well, it is a common story with some past contestants, but we won't go there. Like you said, I am creative and I pride myself on my creativity. I would love to write. In what capacity I'm not entirely sure. I'm thinking about either movies or TV, but I really want to tell stories and write and tell jokes. Being funny is the most important thing. I could be ugly, I could be stupid, I can be whatever. I really pride myself on my humor and my sense of humor. So yeah, that's really the goal.

Photos courtesy of Getty and Princess Poppy