When Thotyssey last interviewed this sweet queen way back in 2017, she had recently entered the nightlife world as a later-in-life career changer and was just starting to pick up some cute gigs. Thanks to her professionalism, kindness, vibrant looks and dynamic stage presence, she’d soon rise to be one of NYC’s most popular show hostesses… and then naturally, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 11 came a-calling. Now having achieved global fame, Miss Shuga Cain is ready to conquer our streams with a hot new song and video!
Thotyssey: Shuga, hello! So happy to be able to catch up! So, how is your crazy quarantine summer going… I know you were stranded away from home for a bit.
Shuga Cain: HIYYEE! It’s amazing to be able to catch up, it’s been some time! The summer has been eventful! Yes, I was stuck in Mexico for a hot minute at the beginning of the pandemic, and decided it was safer to travel to my brother’s place in Arizona than NYC. I stayed in the desert for a few months, which was beautiful… and once I felt safe enough, I went to California and visited my parents for another month. Now I’m back in NYC!
We’re glad to have you! So, let’s just take a moment to reflect on your time on Drag Race. It was a crazy season of highs and lows, but you did your NYC fans proud with some fierce looks and lip syncs, and just that very kind, professional demeanor that we know you for.
Aw, Thank you!
Is it crazy how much your life has changed since the show?
Yes, it’s been a wild ride! My life completely changed; traveling the globe and meeting all of the kids has been incredible. I’ve gotten a chance to do some amazing projects, it’s been a dream.
Do you have any particular favorite moment from your time there… either something that was aired, or an unseen moment?
There were so many moments that I loved. I’d say that one of my favorites was during the Draglympics episode. The set was so epic, and it felt legit like we were at the Olympics… HA! I remember rehearsing the dance right before we shot, and Travis Wall and Adam Rippon kept screaming my name! I was so hyped for the live taping. I wish the camera would have shown more of my performance, cuz I was LIVING, SERVING and I did my first deathdrop! haha!
Were you able to watch the recent Trolls World Tour animated movie, or was it too traumatizing, lol?
LMAO! I have steered clear of this movie for obvious reasons! hahaha!
There was such a sweet, moving moment we saw when your fiance Gilbert Gaona appeared via recording on the show to celebrate you. Are you two enjoying the life of a Hollywood Celebrity Power Couple now?
It was such a surprise to see his message on the show. I remember being a wreck hearing his voice. He’s incredible, I couldn’t do what I do without his support. We keep each other grounded and thanks to the gigs, we’ve had some amazing trips this past year.
I love that you got to meet your idol Charo on your web show, especially after your hilarious take on her for “Snatch Game.” Was meeting with her like a Top 5 of All Time Life Moment?
ABSOLUTELY! It’s been a dream to befriend Charo. I grew up watching her and loving her, and it’s surreal to just pop over to her house for a visit whenever I’m in LA. She’s one of the most loving, hilarious, talented, and kind-hearted people I’ve ever known. And did I say hilarious? She always has me in tears! She’s amazing!
I watched a bit of the grim RNC last week, and was weirdly hoping to see you strut through in your Cheeto Trump drag! Can you believe how much worse he’s gotten as a president and a person since you did that runway look?
The Cheeto Trump look! I remember being so nervous about how that would go! This presidency, if you can call it that, has been a literal nightmare for our country. I’m gutted on a daily basis on how many rights have been violated by this administration. Our country has worked so hard to get to where we are, and we’ve taken so many steps back because of Trump. I can’t wait to get them out of the White House! So make sure that you kids are registered and that you vote this November. Our lives depend on it!
It’s hard to believe that since your season, there’s been a whole other season of the flagship U.S. show… plus an All-Stars season, plus the UK and Canada debut seasons! And now there’s Vegas Revue. Have you been able to keep up with it all?
YAASS! It has been wild! It’s so incredible to see drag thrive in this way! I know the kids say it’s too much, but I’m obsessed and I love it! It’s definitely gotten me through Miss Rona. Now that being said, I have yet to start the Vegas Revue, but the clips I’ve seen have me gagged!
One talent of yours that was relatively unexplored on Drag Race… you’re a singer! Your New York fans have definitely heard you belt out a few, but how long have you been musical?
I have a Master’s Degree in Applied Voice from DePaul University in Chicago. OOOH Girl, my last musical was, like, 9 years ago? I came to NYC with a corporate gig, and that’s all I did. When I started out as Shuga, I sang live all the time… and then I put singing on the back burner again. So, I’m excited to refocus and get back to it!
In fact, we have new single from you now: “Sweet Love!” Lots of RuGirls put out those rapping bitch tracks, but here is a glorious, fully sung house anthem! Tell us about your experience recording this song with your team!
I am so excited about this track! I have been wanting to do music for a while, but I just wasn’t ready. I knew that when I was ready, that I wanted to do something nostalgic, and I’m obsessed with 90’s vocal house. We wrote the song pre-Covid. I was in LA and met up with my co-writers Darren Burgos and Paulo Ramirez, and we just started messing around with beats and stuff. I remember saying that I wanted to invoke a feeling of love and freedom… and where better to experience all of those vibes than on the dance floor? And it just so happens that that’s how I met Gilbert… so the night we first met was very much the inspiration for the lyrics of the song!
Aw! Tthe “Sweet Love” single premieres today, along with the music video! Are you ready to be a video vixen?
YAS! I was born ready! I’ve just seen the recent cut, and I’m so excited! I’ve had an incredible team of people working on this, and they are top notch talent in the industry!
I do have to give a special shout out to Julian Roca Chow, Honey Davenport and Preston Burford for pulling this together during a pandemic! So much care and attention went into making sure that we filmed this safely and that the end product was something stunning! So I’m very proud of the effort, and hope the kids love what we’ve done!
Anything else in the works for you?
Yes! I’ve just launched a new project called “Baking Queen” on Patreon. It’s all things drag and baking! I’m baking my way through the BBC’s Great British Bake Off bakes, sharing secret family recipes that I grew up with, tips and tricks, and just acting a fool in the kitchen! Now that I’m stuck at home due to Miss Rona, I have more time in the kitchen–which I love–and I am looking forward to sharing more of that with the kids!
Finally: What has been the song of the Summer 2020 for you?
Uh, “Sweet Love,” duh! HAHAHA!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Shuga Cain’s upcoming area appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and her website. Buy or stream her new single “Sweet Love” on all related platforms.