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Help Me Apply To RuPaul's Drag Race
Episode 10
Help Me Apply To RuPaul's Drag Race
Episode 10: RuPaul's Drag Race helped Gerardo come out of the closet and eventually find his love for drag. But is he ready to finally apply to be a contestant on the show? He starts applications, but never finishes them. Gerardo will decide whether this year is the year he hits submit on his application or not.Snooze fans- go to and use code snooze16 for up to 16 free meals AND 3 free gifts!Feals: become a member and get 50% automatically taken off your first order with free shipping. for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Megan Tan 0:04

[ambient TV sounds: ...gymnastics team in high school, and you're married...] There you go.

Megan Tan 0:13

So it's Thanksgiving break, and I'm in Ohio watching one of my dad's favorite TV shows.

Megan Tan 0:20

[TV in background] You want to put your feet up? Put it up here? [Dad: No.] Are you sure? [Dad grunts]

Megan Tan 0:25

[TV in background] Which naturally has become one of my favorite TV shows. Mmm hmm. It's Seinfeld. [laughs] A sitcom from the 90s, about a bunch of New Yorkers who mostly just banter. Y'all know it. It's a classic. It's super smart, fast, quick witted, funny, but that's not why it became one of my favorite TV shows. My dad loves Seinfeld and watching it together has become a bit of a ritual for us. [TV canned laughter; Seinfeld theme music] Every evening after dinner, we sit in front of his TV. Maybe we have a little bit of ice cream. Maybe he has some applesauce. My dad really loves apple sauce. And we watch Jerry, Elaine and George do their thing. But it's not really about what we're watching as much as it is about what we're doing. Together. [TV: about freaks! Oh, come on Jerry! You're wrong. People, they want to watch freaks... Hello, Newman.] [fade out]

Emma Alabaster 0:35

[audio clip]: ...for the season? Oh! It's on!

RuPaul 1:38

[audio clip] [on TV] ...on RuPaul's Drag Race!

Ira 1:38

[audio clip] Yaaay!

Emma Alabaster 1:38

[audio clip] Woo! [laughter]

Megan Tan 1:38

Snooze Squad producer, Emma Alabaster, who also lives in New York City recently had a similar experience watching RuPaul's Drag Race.

Emma Alabaster 1:56

In the height of the pandemic, when a lot of people were binge watching different shows, because we needed an escape, I decided that I would start watching it and I started from season one, episode one.

Megan Tan 2:16

And then some point in 2020-

Emma Alabaster 2:19

I caught up to the present moment.

Megan Tan 2:21


Emma Alabaster 2:22

I like went from [laughs] the early 2000s up to where we were. Yeah.

Megan Tan 2:27

Dedication, dedication.

Emma Alabaster 2:28

So then my friend was like, let's watch this together on Zoom. And it was a way that we could be together in this time when we couldn't physically be together. And it was a Friday night ritual. And then, by the time the season 13 finale came around, we were vaccinated, and we actually got to watch it together in person at my friend's apartment. [TV: audio of RuPaul's Drag Race]

Emma Alabaster 2:57

And I had gotten obsessed with making these floral cocktails. Um, [laughs] it was spring things were in bloom. We're literally drinking flowers. We're together in a room. And we're watching these beautiful queens on television. It was just such a good feeling. [laughs]

Megan Tan 3:17

Wow, that's so beautiful! [audio clip: Oh my God. Oh my God! Ahhhh! Yes! Yes.]

Megan Tan 3:27

TV has this ability to bring us together, for us to create this shared experience without having a lot of words passed between us. And that's special. So special, we build routines around them. Rhythms. Watching TV with my father has become a way for the two of us to get closer, [audio clip of Megan laughing in background] which is a process, but something to enjoy. [audio clip: Megan- Oh, my God.]

Megan Tan 4:01

[theme music] But what happens when watching a show, even the ritual of it isn't enough? What happens when you've spent years actually trying to become one of the characters on TV?

Megan Tan 4:22

When did you know that you are going to apply to RuPaul's Drag Race?

Gerardo Medrano 4:27

Always. [laughter] And I'm also speaking to existence, my time to be on Drag Race.

Megan Tan 4:37

You're listening to Snooze, a show about things people put off, how they conquer them, but more importantly, how they conquer themselves. And I'm Megan Tan. [theme music out]

Gerardo Medrano 4:48

[music: Gerardo with his dad's band] I am a performer. You know, I was born to be on TV. So I think about it all the time.

Megan Tan 5:14

Gerardo grew up onstage performing alongside his father and playing ranchera music. [music plays]

Megan Tan 5:30

In this video, you can see a 16-year-old Gerardo dressed in cowboy boots and a white tejana hitting a large standing bass drum and a cymbal. The drummer is keeping the beat. Gerardo is keeping the bounce. [music plays] But there was a disconnect between the performer he felt like he had to be and the performer he would grow into. [music plays]

Megan Tan 6:06

In Waukegan, Illinois, you pass Gerardo's childhood home. It's a place where parents used to drop off their kids before they went to work, where you always smelled beans on the stove, ceviche in the fridge, and some of the spiciest salsa in town. It's where there was always noise and always people rushing in and out of the house. [music plays]

Gerardo Medrano 6:35

So there were a lot of Virgin Marys [laughs] everywhere. Um, a lot of flowers, family pictures, a lot out of, you know, pictures up of the Pope, like typical Mexican Catholic family. [music plays]

Megan Tan 6:56

And Gerardo, the youngest in the family, tried to emulate all those around him, especially his older brother.

Gerardo Medrano 7:06

I wore a lot of like, Echo, a lot of like FUBU. You know, kind of that like urban type. I want to say chic. [laughs] I wore Air Force Ones. I had the little rubber bands on my jeans, so the Air Force Ones did not get stained with the blue jeans.

Megan Tan 7:23

Yeah, I remember that look. [laughs]

Gerardo Medrano 7:23

Yes. Yeah, like that was, that was me.

Megan Tan 7:28

But that wasn't him. [music] When he was a junior in high school, he came home one afternoon, opened up his bedroom door, flopped on his bed and turned on the TV. [on TV- RuPaul: Swish on down, honey!... laughter] [duck under]

Gerardo Medrano 7:49

I flipped through the channels, and you know, I saw RuPaul's Drag Race on TV. And I see all these men just in the work room, um just kind of talking about, you know, their challenge or uh, their makeup. And I'm all like, what is goin' on? [laughs] Like, what is this? This is so foreign to me uh, but it was so intriguing, I could not stop watching. And I would hear footsteps and I'm like, oh, crap. I hear someone. So I would automatically grab the remote control, shuffle at it, like drop it so many times because I was so scared. I was like, ah they're gonna catch me! [laughs] So I would just like grab the remote control, change it, so my mom would always just walk in and I'm like, Oh, hey Mom! [Megan laughs] You know, my heart beating so fast. I'm like doo doo, doo doo, like, Tell-Tale Heart over here. Like it was just obvious that I was guilty of something. And later down the road, I've realized that that was more so shame than anything. You know, sadly, it was that shame that I felt of, why am I watching this? This is something that nobody is going to understand in my family because they don't know what it is. So why am I so intrigued by it?

Megan Tan 9:16

And why? Why were you so intrigued?

Gerardo Medrano 9:20

Because it was me. [laughs] That was me. That wa- It took me a while. It took me a while to realize that I was a queer person.

Megan Tan 9:33

So it's almost like you were watching people be you, before you knew that that was you.

Gerardo Medrano 9:39

Yes. Because I feel like deep down, I knew that I was going to end up doing [laughing] drag even though I did not want to because I was scared of the outcome with my family especially. I was really scared that I was gonna love it. And then that I was screwed, and I was in. [laughs] You know, like I wasn't going to be able to go back, and I was right. [laughs]

Megan Tan 10:06

RuPaul gave Gerardo the words, the feelings, the expressions to describe himself in a way he never had before. And after school, he would duck into his room and engage in his TV ritual. [music: Drag Master by Austin] And little by little, his RuPaul ritual would make an appearance in his everyday life. Like in the eyeliner he would eventually wear to high school, in the skirts he would wear in college, in the name he would give himself. [sound clip of announcer: Welcome up to the stage, my good Judy. This is Hiliana Perez! (audience applauds)]

Megan Tan 10:52

As Hiliana Perez, Gerardo created a community where he could fully be himself, a self that he finally took home to his mother.

Gerardo Medrano 11:04

When my mom found out that I was gay first, we did not talk for a bit because of that, almost a year. And then after that, I told her about drag. And then something happened within the family that I was kind of helping her, and that that's when she realized that no matter what, my son is always gonna be there for me. So why can't I be there for him? And after that, that's when everything shifted. And we become so close. We talk almost every day. Um and I am 100% me in front of her, and she has no issue with it. And she defends me to other people now.

Megan Tan 11:43

Wow. That's really beautiful, Gerardo.

Gerardo Medrano 11:47


Megan Tan 11:49

Gerardo has watched every episode of RuPaul's Drag Race- six times! Six times! That's over 1000 episodes, over 68,000 minutes of TV, all of this to say Gerardo loves RuPaul's Drag Race. But also, his dream is not to sit in the audience forever. [music] Gerardo wants more than anything to be on RuPaul's Drag Race. So in 2018, he did what about 3000 other people also did- got an application and started filling it out.

Gerardo Medrano 12:32

So I was on the right track. Then, um the boyfriend that I had at the time, him and I broke up. And he, you know, like, there was a whole situation that happened with that. And that kinda like completely took my motivation from this audition. So then I just gave up.

Megan Tan 12:52

Until the following year 2019, Gerardo starts another drag race application. He's in a new relationship. But then-

Gerardo Medrano 13:02

I go through this huge, horrible like, episode of depression. And it was just a spiral. Late 2019 was just the most horrible year ever in my life.

Megan Tan 13:18

And the application just sits there. And then in 2020-

Gerardo Medrano 13:24

I got a message on Tinder [laughs] from this amazing guy named Austin. [laughs] You know, after meeting Austin, things started looking up. You know, I was happier, I was getting out of that depression. And I was feeling you know, more positive and then the pandemic hit. And then my drag had to come to a full stop because of the pandemic. [music out]

Megan Tan 13:58

Every single time that you've um, become very close to applying to RuPaul [Gerardo: Umm hmm.] and have, have not, what do you feel like is the block?

Gerardo Medrano 14:10

[sighs] Me. Myself. Honestly. Because I can be a perfectionist. I would rather be shamed for not doing it, then be shamed for it being bad.

Megan Tan 14:31

[music] But this year, this year, is gonna be different. This is the year Gerardo wants to break through his tendencies.

Gerardo Medrano 14:45

I, I want to be able to just get her done and do it and be okay with the fact that it may not be perfect.

Megan Tan 14:56

Mmm! [claps] [Gerardo laughs] I'm so excited! [music out]

Megan Tan 15:09

It's the end of November. The deadline to submit an application to RuPaul is January 7th. But Gerardo wants to turn it in early, so he chooses [drumroll] January 3rd. But submitting an application to RuPaul-

Gerardo Medrano 15:32

Your video should have three parts: 1- personality, 2- drag lewks, 3- performance.

Megan Tan 15:39

[music] --is daunting.

Gerardo Medrano 15:41

Personality. Please answer these questions sitting down, out of drag. Introduce yourself, drag name, age, hometown... Number two, who is and then insert your drag name. What are words that describe your drag persona? Where does your drag name come from? Number three, what is the drag scene like in your hometown? How long have you been doing drag? Number five, what's the biggest thing you've done in drag to date? Tell us about your life as a drag queen. [music out]

Megan Tan 16:02

Damn! Okay, okay, okay. That's a lot of things.

Gerardo Medrano 16:04

[music] Then we have drag lewks. Show us what kind of Queen you are based on the unique items you have in your drag wardrobe. We want to see what you have created. Do you sew, glue gun, staple, and bedazzle? Model 8 to 14 different lewks- [music out]

Megan Tan 16:14

Oof! I'm starting to feel dizzy!

Gerardo Medrano 16:16

[music] Now, performances. The performance section should include the following: number one- lip syncs, two unedited, one by RuPaul, and one by your all-time favorite artist. Number two- talent. Show us what else you can do, more space performances. Snatch games. Do a minimum of two different performances as a celebrity persona you might play on snatch game. Good luck- [music out]

Megan Tan 16:29

Exclamation point. [laughs]

Gerardo Medrano 16:30

Don't fuck it up!

Megan Tan 16:32

Wow, this is- that's extensive, for sure.

Gerardo Medrano 16:37

Yeah, but I got it.

Megan Tan 16:40

But I have to remember- Gerardo has been here before. He's been so close to submitting this application and then he doesn't. [music] When I call him up a few days later-

Gerardo Medrano 16:58

So I mean, this process is very exciting. It's just at the moment, I'm just a little overwhelmed.

Megan Tan 17:05

Gerardo has a lot on the line. It's been his dream to be on RuPaul's Drag Race. And it's gonna be a battle between what the application represents and the pressure that bubbles up at every requirement. [music out]

Emma Alabaster 17:34

[break music] Snooze will be back after this commercial break.

Emma Alabaster 17:43

[break music] And now back to the show.

Gerardo Medrano 17:51

[music: Snooze Race stinger] Hola todos. I'm Gerardo Medrano, also known as Hiliana Perez. I am 29 years of age, originally from Waukegan, Illinois, but I currently reside in Columbus, Ohio. Hiliana Perez is the ultimate Latinx performer. She's an advocate for her community. And some words to describe Hiliana would be witty, effervescent, versatile and sensational.

Gerardo Medrano 17:57

[music: Snooze Race theme by Emma] Welcome to Snooze Race, where the winner gets a yearlong supply of confidence, podcast fame and the bragging rights to tell everyone they've competed something they've always wanted to do with our coaches, Megan Tan

Megan Tan 18:54

What up, what up, what up?

Emma Alabaster 18:57

and Erick Galindo.

Erick Galindo 18:59

Yo, yo,yo, what's up, what's up?

Emma Alabaster 19:01

Plus, extra special guest judges, generational trauma and perfectionism! RuPaul was a little busy. So I'm Emma Alabaster and I'll be your host on today's episode of Snooze Race, a drag extravaganza like you've never experienced before. You just may have to close your eyes to see the sickening lewks. [music out] Our first contestant is Hiliana Perez.

Gerardo Medrano 19:43

[music] One of my taglines is like hashtag seÒora vibes because like I'm totally, your like old Mexican aunt that's like full-on motherly, and taking care of you but will yell at you and throw the chancla at you whenever you need to, you know. [laughs] Like, that's me. [music out]

Emma Alabaster 20:01

Hiliana Perez is competing against [drumroll] herself. And that means wrestling with an application that she's never completed before. [urgent music] If Hiliana wants to be on RuPaul's Drag Race, she's gotta compete on Snooze Race first. The clock is ticking. Will Hiliana hit submit on her drag race application, or will this seÒora walk away for a fourth time? By January 3rd, [music out] we will know. [music: stinger] It's time for our opening mini challenge. [zany challenge alarm] Contestants, this is your chance to create a photo that shows us your distinct drag personality.

Photographer 20:54

[audio clip] [sounds of photoshoot- camera clicking] The hand that's in front, bring it down. There you go. [camera clicking] These are great. [camera clicking]

Gerardo Medrano 21:00

I wanted to do Frida Kahlo because one- [camera click] She's my idol. Two-[camera click] she's Mexican. Three- we have the same birthday. [camera click] I am the reincarnate of [Emma laughs] Frida Kahlo, just so you know. [camera click]

Emma Alabaster 21:13

We welcome the spirits of our queer ancestors to the show. Frida Kahlo and queering up the ranchera vibes, Chavela Vargas. [camera click]

Gerardo Medrano 21:28

[music: Macorina-Chavela Vargas: ...Ponme la mano aqui Macorina, Ponme la mano aqui...] [duck under] The first Frida, which with the green and the red and white, that is like a living normal Frida. And you know, just kind of hopeful and kind of naive and young and an artist and in love and all of that. [camera click] [music: La Llorona-Chavela Vargas: ...Yo soy como el chile verde, Llorona; Picante, pero sabroso...] [duck under]

Gerardo Medrano 22:02

Then the Frida on the left with the red and the green- She is more of like the adult Frida that's kind of broken down and kind of just like slowly dying internally. [camera click] [music: Aquel Amor-Chavela Vargas: ...Aquel amor, Que marchito mi vida...] [duck under]

Gerardo Medrano 22:30

And then, the middle Frida is the final Frida. She is the death Frida, basically. And in my opinion what I think really killed her and drove her truth um, to the ground, was her marriage with Diego Rivera. And that is why I incorporated like a wedding dress into that middle one. And then there's like a sugar skull mask type of thing, to kind of signify that like death uh, feeling, with Dia de los Muertos. And so that's what that all signifies. [music out]

Emma Alabaster 23:13

[music: Get Er Done] Hiliana edits her photos, chooses one to submit with the application and shows it to coach Megan.

Megan Tan 23:19

Oh my god, it is gorgeous. Like-- I am truly blown away. I'm genuinely speechless. [music fades out]

Emma Alabaster 23:30

The winner of the mini challenge is [drumroll] Hiliana Perez!

Megan Tan 23:40

[music-celebratory] Congratulations!

Gerardo Medrano 23:41

Aww, thank you.

Megan Tan 23:41

Yay! Oh my god...

Gerardo Medrano 23:43

You really made me feel so good. I've been having, honestly I've been having a really really really rough last couple of days like- [Megan: Mmm] So, that just really made me smile. [music out]

Megan Tan 23:57

[music: Get Er Done] I want you to know that you are going to face so many of these inner challenges as you get closer to these deadlines. You made these costumes. You did your makeup. You had this vision. You made this photograph come into existence. This photograph is an absolute reflection of you. Right? [music out]

Gerardo Medrano 24:24

It really is.

Emma Alabaster 24:31

[music-urgent] Hiliana aced the mini challenge, but the main challenge is up next. And it's going to require everything she has. Hiliana is about to dive headfirst into her future and her past. Is our queen ready? [music out]

Gerardo Medrano 24:50

[music: Party in the Streets] So my dad- he is a musician. So he formed his own band, and I was part of that right up until high school. So I was constantly on gigs, on stage, and dancing and just having that attention on me. I loved it. I learned how to get ready quickly, and how to deal with crowds, how to deal with people that are drunk, how to do television interviews, because we did that. You know, we did all of that. So I am very thankful for that experience. It helps me so much in drag, and my dad doesn't even really know that. [music out]

Megan Tan 25:25

Have you ever told him?

Gerardo Medrano 25:26

[laughs] No. So my dad doesn't officially know. But I know he knows. We have never had a conversation about it.

Megan Tan 25:38

How do you feel about your father possibly seeing you on national television?

Gerardo Medrano 25:46

That is so scary. Um, I think about it all the time, actually. I love my father. But I understand and I have accepted that it is okay to not have the same relationship that I used to have with him. So when that moment comes, I will feel scared. But I will be okay with it.

Emma Alabaster 26:16

[music: stinger] [zany challenge alarm] We've made it to the main challenge. Are you a look queen? Show us a minimum of eight different lewks on the runway. We want to see versatility. The coaches will be here to support as you get ready. [music out]

Gerardo Medrano 26:39

[music: nightlife stems] So I'm, I'm like shy of eight.

Megan Tan 26:42


Gerardo Medrano 26:42

So I'm shy of eight. So I could do eight for this deadline, but I really want to push myself to do 15.

Megan Tan 26:49

But that's twice as much, [Gerardo: I know.] you know? So I would say okay, this is what I would say. Let's write down the priorities. So write down the lewks that you have. I'm just gonna put down you have three Frida lewks, shot and done. Okay. And then what's next- for lewks?

Gerardo Medrano 27:06

A ruffled Selena thing.

Megan Tan 27:09

All right. And then what's next?

Gerardo Medrano 27:11

And then I have a Chola inspired outfit.

Megan Tan 27:15

Right, Chola.

Emma Alabaster 27:16

[music: urgent] Tick tock tick tock. It's more than just an app folks. The main challenge fast approaches. Let's see what the coaches think about Hiliana's progress.

Megan Tan 27:27

So I see Hiliana wants to do the most. She's a natural overachiever.

Erick Galindo 27:35

Yeah. Hiliana wants every look to be perfect. And that can be overwhelming. Especially since we don't really have that kind of time. Her perfectionism may get the best of her. [music out]

Gerardo Medrano 27:47

[music: Party in the Streets] My mom was the one pointing out every single little detail that was wrong about anything that I did. Um, in high school, I did a lot of competitions. And whenever I would lose, instead of my mom coming up to me and saying good job, she would say, well, if you did this better, you would have won. I'm conditioned to look at the bad things first. And I'm starting to be like that with other people now. So I'm starting to like catch myself do that. And I reel it back, because I don't, I never liked when that happened to me as a child. So why would other people like that right now? [music fades out]

Erick Galindo 28:24

As you're realizing that, like how you, you want to not do that to other people, right? [music out] [Gerardo: Mmm hmm.] Do you think about like, I don't want to do that to myself either? Now? Like even as an adult?

Gerardo Medrano 28:35

No, the reason being because I always have to keep myself in check. I am the one that's going to make myself better by telling myself what's wrong. It's counterproductive, to be honest. But at the same time, I've been able to really put out a lot of great product of my drag because of that.

Emma Alabaster 29:00

[music: Get Er Done] [zany challenge alarm] Let's put that drag to the test. Welcome to the runway challenge. Category is- application eleganza. Hiliana, stomp that runway.

Gerardo Medrano 29:22

[music: Drag Master by Austin] Hola todos, let's do some runway. First look is inspired by Drag Race, of course.

Megan Tan 29:30

So we have a checkered leotard that opens up and illustrates beautiful bosoms, and then we have a red leather jacket with red gloves.

Erick Galindo 29:45

I love the hair- this like, Mexican greased lightning look she's got going.

Gerardo Medrano 29:51

This is one of my favorites, red carpet glamour. You know, you gotta give the old Hollywood style.

Erick Galindo 29:57

Oh yeah, this is like Dynasty vibes for sure. Like rich rich rich,

Emma Alabaster 30:04

They call it rich bitch.

Erick Galindo 30:05

[Megan laughs] Rich bitch? Okay, yeah. I wouldn't ever rhyme those two words. [Megan and Emma laugh] In fact, I usually don't say, I don't say one of those words really, because I'm not rich. I mean, it's like a real boss look.

Emma Alabaster 30:16

I own 51% of this company.

Gerardo Medrano 30:19

Now, this is your favorite drunk tia at the Christmas party.

Megan Tan 30:19

Merry Christmas.

Erick Galindo 30:20

80s hot mom vibes.

Emma Alabaster 30:25

You're saying you would call Hiliana a MILF?

Erick Galindo 30:28

Yeah, Hiliana is MILF-ing hard in this look. [Megan laughs]

Emma Alabaster 30:32

The higher the hair, the closer to God. That's Dolly Parton.

Erick Galindo 30:35

This reminds me of that Charles Bukowski quote, which is like, she was always high, high in heels, high on alcohol. She looks like a Charles Bukowski poem.

Gerardo Medrano 30:47

Now I am from Waukegan, Illinois, so you know, I'm a little bit from the hood. So this is the urban bitch. She got her little doggie. She's a little bougie...

Erick Galindo 30:54

Love these, this this like, frayed jeans look that like, I just took some scissors to these jeans [Megan laughs] that anyone who grew up in LA Cholo culture, Chola culture has seen and done and lived and breathed. [Megan laughs]

Gerardo Medrano 31:11

Ruffles! Ruffles for your nerves! This is actually a Selena inspired outfit.

Erick Galindo 31:16

Como la flor, como la flor. Con tanto amor. Con tanto amor.

Megan Tan 31:20

I love the blue vibrant hair.

Gerardo Medrano 31:22

This is a Marie Antoinette inspired outfit. I designed it.

Emma Alabaster 31:26

Oh, we've got a lilac sparkle. And it's almost like a bikini that then has a side bustle and a sash. How can something with so much fabric be so revealing? I love that. [Megan laughs]

Erick Galindo 31:41

Let them eat cake, Emma. Let them eat cake.

Emma Alabaster 31:44

Yes! [music out]

Emma Alabaster 31:49

The winner of the runway challenge [drumroll] Hiliana Perez! [music] But wait, there's more. The Snooze Race isn't over until our contestant completes her audition tape and hits submit. That means lewks, runway, but also personality, snatch game and lip syncs. It's the New Year and [music stops] the time has come [sound of a storm] for you to unsnooze for your life!

Voicemail Recording 32:45

[phone rings] At the tone, please record your message. When you've finished recording, you may hang up or press one for more options. [beep]

Erick Galindo 32:52

Hey, Gerardo. Uh, saw on the calendar that today's January 3rd, which is the agreed upon deadline to hit submit. If you need anything from us, please let us know.

Emma Alabaster 33:05

[beep] Three days later...

Voicemail Recording 33:09

[phone rings] At the tone, please record your message. [beep]

Erick Galindo 33:17

Hey, Gerardo. Uh, just wanted to check in and see how you're doing. I know the uh, deadline to apply to RuPaul's Drag Race is tomorrow, so just wanted to make sure you got what you need. Hope you were able to hit that deadline.

Emma Alabaster 33:34

[rattlesnake sound effect] Did Hiliana give up right before the finish line? What would Chavela say now? [music: La Llorona by Chavela] Find out after the break. [music out] [break]

Emma Alabaster 34:03

Welcome back to Snooze Race. [music: Snooze Race theme] Before the break, the deadline had passed. And our contestant, Hiliana Perez, was nowhere to be found. [music out] The coaches are stumped.

Megan Tan 34:24

So Erick, you call up Hiliana and she doesn't answer the phone and what's going through your head?

Erick Galindo 34:31

I'm starting to wonder if she quit again. [Megan: Mmm!] If she's bowing out of the show and not trying to win anymore. [rattlesnake sound effect]

Gerardo Medrano 34:44

Oh, my goodness. [laughs]

Emma Alabaster 34:47

It's January 7th, 11:40pm. And the absolute final deadline to apply for season 15 of RuPaul's Drag Race is at midnight. [music-suspenseful] If you listen closely, you can hear people all over the country clicking submit. And in Ohio-- the winner of Snooze Race is-- [drumroll]

Gerardo Medrano 35:32

I finally fucking submitted my audition for RuPaul's [music] motherfuckin' Drag Race! Season quince.

Emma Alabaster 35:43

Hiliana Perez! [celebration music]

Erick Galindo 35:47

Oh my god! Congrats! Congrats, congrats, congrats, congrats!

Megan Tan 35:55

Wow! [laughs] I'm so happy for you. I hope that no matter what the results are, that this just shows you what perseverance you have inside of your heart. Always, that no matter what happens, you have a goal, no matter how long it takes, that you do it.

Gerardo Medrano 36:24

It has been such a hard journey. So I low key was scared that I was not going to be able to pull through and get this done. It's been three years in the making. Three fucking years in the making. [big sigh] Now, all we do is wait. [music out]

Emma Alabaster 36:53

Hiliana Perez, you're a winner, baby! And remember, if you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else? [Snooze Race music plays]

Gerardo Medrano 37:22

Ok. Oh, I like this. ASMR. Ok. Megan-ator, the Tan-inator. How are you doing today?

Megan Tan 37:29

I'm doing great. Yeah, I'm sitting on this incredible couch bed. And I have 1000 cats around me and they're so sweet.

Megan Tan 37:38

This is now three months after Gerardo submitted his application, and I'm at his house. I want you to show me your application.

Gerardo Medrano 37:50


Megan Tan 37:50


Gerardo Medrano 37:51

It's minutes long.

Megan Tan 37:52

That's okay. Let's go.

Megan Tan 37:54

As we sit on his beautiful comfy L shaped couch in a house that he owns, with a man he's gonna marry. He pushes play on a video that has taken him nearly five years to make.

Gerardo Medrano 38:12

Okay, it says Hiliana Perez RPDRS 15 audition. Are we ready?

Megan Tan 38:18

I'm ready.

Gerardo Medrano 38:18

[application audio clip] Hola todos. I'm Gerardo Medrano, also known as Hiliana Perez. I am 29 years of age. I'm originally... [duck under]

Megan Tan 38:18

Oh my god, your makeup looks incredible though.

Gerardo Medrano 38:29

Thank you. [application clip continues: ...some words to describe Hiliana would be...]

Megan Tan 38:32

I mean, you're really beautiful.

Gerardo Medrano 38:34

I know. [Megan laughs]

Megan Tan 38:37

In this video, you see Gerardo as Gerardo.

Gerardo Medrano 38:41

[application clip] ...some parts of Columbus, the drag scenes a little whitewashed. And that's exactly how I stand out because being a very proud Mexican American entertainer, I make my mark here.

Megan Tan 38:53

You see Gerardo as Hiliana Perez.

Gerardo Medrano 38:56

[application clip] That's exactly why I am the next drag superstar. [laughs]

Megan Tan 39:00

[music: Drag Master] You see him in his hallway, walking back and forth in a Marie Antoinette gown that he's designed, created and made himself. You seen him in a Frida Kahlo dress that embodies the woman he admires, and also shares the same birthday with. [music out]

Gerardo Medrano 39:24

[audition clip] Hola, RuPaul. It's me, Frida Kahlo, everyone's muse, especially mine. [video music]

Megan Tan 39:32

But mostly, you see him being completely himself. Gerardo and Hiliana in one tape. [music out] When I leave Gerardo's house, we don't know if he'll be chosen for the next season of RuPaul's Drag Race. [Snooze Race music begins] But he did get on a show. [music out]

Erick Galindo 39:59

[credits music] If you have something that you've been putting off, call us. 323-591-8159 That's 323-591-8159. Leave us a message. And you could be on an episode of Snooze. Don't put it off. I'm talking to you.

Emma Alabaster 40:39

This episode of Snooze was written and produced by me, Emma Alabaster. I also did the sound design and created some original music. It was also written and edited by Megan Tan and Erick Galindo. Erick also did the fact checking. It was mixed and engineered by Donald Paz. Jessica Pilate is our talent producer. Erick Galindo is our showrunner. Megan Tan is our host. Our producers are Marina PeÒa, Kyle Chang, Anjuli Sastry Krbechek, and me, Emma Alabaster. Antonia Cereijido and Leo G are the executive producers. Our theme song is by Wayan Dopeman. Andrew Eapen wrote and composed the original music for the show. The original artwork for Snooze was created by Seonna Hong. Additional music by Austin Fehrenbach, aka Augie Stacks, and by Enlace de la Sierra. Special thanks to Gab Chabr·n, Laura UbatÈ, Ira Khonen Temple and Chanell Crichlow. Make sure you hit follow, like, and subscribe to Snooze wherever you get your podcasts. You can follow Megan on Twitter or Instagram @meganleetan and the show @snoozepodcast. Our website on is designed by Andy Cheatwood and the digital and marketing team, who also created our branding. Snooze is a production of LAist Studios. Thanks to the team over there, including Taylor Coffman, Kristen Hayford, Sabir Brara, Kristen Muller, Andy Orozco, Michael Cosentino and Leo G.

Erick Galindo 42:09

Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Emma Alabaster 42:25

If you like Snooze, rate and review us on Apple podcasts, because it really helps us out and we'd love to know what you think. And if you love the show for real, become a sustaining member of KPCC and LAist Studios. Go to Support the place that makes this work possible and supports people like me. I'm Emma Alabaster, and thanks for listening. [music out]

Megan Tan 42:59

[music] On the next episode of Snooze...

Margaret Cho 43:04

I tend to catastrophize things. Like, whatever it is in my life like, I always like worry about it so much that it becomes a catastrophe so that I can almost like pre-feel the bad feelings before I possibly feel 'em.

Megan Tan 43:21

I'm Megan Tan and thanks for listening. [music out]

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