“Tamisha Iman is coming for you.” When the seasoned queen of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 rapped these words in episode 3, fans had no idea how much she meant it. “It was great TV,” Iman tells Billboard with a giggle.
On episode 6, Iman and the other queens of Drag Race were split up into duos and tasked with performing in a disco documentary dance challenge, where they had to boogie down in the spirit of the iconic music movement. The judges weren’t impressed with Iman’s performance and found her runway lacking, thus landing her in the bottom alongside Kandy Muse. Lip-syncing to Blu Cantrell’s 2001 single “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!),” Iman ultimately lost out to Muse, walking down the runway one final time before leaving the competition.
The Atlanta legend has no qualms about her time on Drag Race — she says she came in with nothing to prove, and walked away having shown the world exactly what she was capable of. “I was comfortable with the body of work that I was able to put out there in that short amount of time,” she says. “I walked away a winner. It’s just a contest, you know, I didn’t take it personal.”
That doesn’t mean that things didn’t get personal for Iman — on an episode of Untucked, she and Kandy Muse had a no-holds-barred shouting match after Iman called out what she perceived as Muse’s arrogance. It was a heated moment, but one that Iman was glad they could quickly move on from. “I’m an older entertainer; what happened between Kandy and myself is what happens in pageantry are in our world all the time,” she says. “We’re fine now.”
More than anything else, Iman says she appeared on Drag Race not only to give voice to old-school Georgia drag, but to stand up as a cancer survivor, and show her fellow survivors in the world that they are strong, beautiful and powerful enough to do what makes them happiest in this world. “The challenges of life do not have to define you,” she says. “You don’t have to succumb to them. Some people need motivation — so allow me to be your motivation to keep on going.”
Below, Iman shared a few of her favorite recent songs in an exclusive playlist for Billboard — check out which songs she picked, and why, below:
Chris Brown, Young Thug, “Go Crazy”
“This song really gives me the feeling to just break loose and have fun by living in the moment while enjoying the beats of life.”
Justin Bieber feat. Chance the Rapper, “Holy”
“This song speaks to the person I hope to be, and Justin’s voice is soothing yet mellow and helps [the listener] to receive the message.”
Megan Thee Stallion, “Body”
“This song allows me to be still proud of the body I’m blessed to have, and the beat is all the help I need to get it back in shape by being my motivation.”
Doja Cat, “Streets”
“It reminds me of my past relationship, when it was in that stage where you knew it was good and you knew what you had and was going to protect it at all costs.”
“This song reminds me [how] to whom much is given, much is expected in return — so be mindful of your strength, because too much of anything can be damage.”
Listen to Tamisha Iman’s full elimination playlist on Spotify below: