Big Freedia: "When straight guys come up to me to tell me they like the show, I know things are changing"

GLAAD's Claire Pires spoke with musician, television personality, and GLAAD Media Award-recipient Big Freedia ahead of the season three premiere of Fuse's Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, premiering Wednesday, February 25 at 11/10c on Fuse. Take a look!

GLAAD: What can we expect from the new season of Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce?

Big Freedia: Lots and lots of drama. Lots of emotional roller coasters. You'll get to see me in different forms. My team and I go through every emotional roller coaster.

And you also go on your first ever album tour this season. What was that like?

It was very amazing. There was a lot of love in all of the different cities that we visited. Lots of energy. It was just…it was an awesome tour. I had a really good time.

Your tour is dedicated to your mother right?

Yes, my mother passed away last year and I was working on the album during all of that, you know, at the same time. So, the tour was in memory of my mom and trying to be strong to be able to travel and go on tour after losing my mom. It's something that she would've wanted me to continue to do. So, her spirit was with us throughout the whole tour. She made it happen. She made us shine.

Your album, Just Be Free, was named one of the 20 best electronic and dance albums of 2014 in Rolling Stone. What did you want listeners to take away from the album?

I wanted people to be free. That's the title of the album. 'Just Be Free.' I wanted them to enjoy the music, enjoy life, enjoy whatever you do, you know? Just be free and be who you are and live life and a lot of people supported the title of the album. They did exactly that.

Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce is the most popular series ever in Fuse's history. What reactions do you receive from viewers?

Well, everywhere I go now all over the world, people are saying "You already know," (laughs) and it's really cute, and it shows that my signature that I've been doing for such a long time has grown to a wider audience. And I just really appreciate World of Wonder for taking a chance on my career and on this reality show. We've all been working really hard on giving our all and keeping it real. My show is one of the realest reality shows out there and that's why the ratings and everything out there is going in the direction it's going.

What is it like to identify within the LGBT community in the South and do you feel you're seeing any progress in the South?

The world is definitely changing. People are being more open-minded. People are being more accepting. You know, a lot of things have happened with marriage equality, so I see progression in every direction and I'm excited about that. So, I support the new generations in the movement. We still need time to grow but for the most part, things are good. I feel things are changing in the world for sure. New Orleans is very accepting of it. I don't think it is like it was when I was younger.

I also wanted to congratulate you on being nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program. Can you make an impact through the media?

When straight guys come up to me and tell me they love the show, and that they love what I'm doing and to keep up the good work, I know that things are changing. I know things are changing when I have the gay community behind me telling me 'you're putting us up on the map. You're representing us, you're speaking for us, you're a voice, you're inspiring'—the whole nine yards. I get it on my DMs, I get it on Facebook, Instagram, everything I have, Twitter. People send me some type of message telling me how I have helped their life or changed their life or made them feel more comfortable about themselves or their situation. Even when I lost my mom, people who have went through that said they could relate to what I went through and feel my pain. So my fans are really connected to me. They understand that I am trying to put New Orleans on the map. So sometimes when I'm doing the show, it's just everyday life and people can relate to it because you know we never know what's going to happen in our everyday situation. That's why we feel so connected with the fans and with the LGBT community and the heterosexual community that supports it because, out of my team, I am the only gay one, so everybody can relate to somebody on the show.

I read that you're working on a memoir with Gallery Books. What can you tell us about it?

It starts from when I was a kid up to where I am now. So there's a lot of details. Things that you don't see on the show, things you don't know about me, things about my growing up experience and my upbringing and my parents and my lover. It's just a whole big, interesting book that will give people an understanding of me and where I came from.

How has the experience of doing the series affected you personally?

I have learned to work with so many different people and learned so much stuff from the show and from the network and from all of the people in my camp. Everyday I'm learning new things. I'm improving myself, and I'm now a business owner, and I run multiple businesses. So, I definitely am changing. I am elevating to a new height and being more creative and thinking of ways to get my message across, and I definitely am different. I work even harder now, and I put a lot of effort into what I do and I try to make the best out of all of my situations and to make sure that my legacy will be remembered forever.

Do you have advice for LGBT youth?

Live. Just be free. Be inspired. Be confident. Be aware. Be all that you can be. Be the best at it. Life is when I put something in front of me that I will do my best with and give it my all. Be consistent and be loyal to your craft with whatever you believe in or whatever you do. And it will pay off. Just be real with yourself is the main message. And life will treat you a lot better.