RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 competitor Kenya Michaels, now known as Kenya Olivera, certainly made her mark on the drag race leg. Many fans of drag competition credit Season 4 for most of the drama and some of the most popular queens like Latrice Royale, Willam, and of course Michaels himself. When Season 4 premiered in 2012, Michaels was an early standout due to her never-ending energy supply and infectious laugh.
To the dismay of fans everywhere, Michaels was sent home after her unrecognizable impersonation of Beyonce during the Snatch Game episode. But in a surprising turn of events, the ever-changing RuPaul decided to bring Michaels back to the competition a few episodes later. Unfortunately, she was finally eliminated in 5th place in the same episode she returned. But it seems like Michaels was still positive about “Drag Race” and her future career.
“The experience changed my life a lot for the better,” Michaels told Hotspots Magazine after she left the show. “This experience helped me grow up as an artist. I learned a lot! It also helped me learn a lot more English.” So what did Michaels do after Drag Race and what is she doing now?
Kenya decided to make a complete changeover after the drag race
We knew her on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as Kenya Michaels, but now she calls herself Kenya Olivera. Accounts vary as to when Olivera first started taking hormones, but it was sometime around the time she was taking part in Drag Race. According to a Reddit post, while Olivera’s gender identity wasn’t a secret, it definitely wasn’t discussed on set. Unfortunately, Drag Race used to exclude trans people from competition until fans of the show fought back against the unspoken rule. Since then, several trans queens have competed on the show, and a trans woman named Sonique won Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars. But in the early days of the program in Season 4, Olivera most likely kept quiet about her hormone use so she could stay competitive. But after that, she changed her name to Olivera and continued on her gender identity journey.
Judging by the beautiful pictures of her on her Instagram, Olivera is currently living her best life as a trans woman in Puerto Rico and continues to post glamorous looks. Business-wise, Olivera had a swimsuit brand called Flamingoes Swimwear, but now she seems to be becoming a professional stylist. Olivera’s styling clients have included Puerto Rican television personalities Juliana Ortiz and Andrea Rivera. Olivera was also an ambassador for Aldo Shoes and has continued her passion for fashion.
Kenya was present at a tragedy
After RuPaul’s Drag Race, Kenya Olivera continued to entertain clubs and venues worldwide. Tragically, Olivera performed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on the night of the club’s 2016 mass shooting. Although luckily Olivera survived, she knew many of the 49 people who died.
Olivera happened to snap a photo of her performance on stage just before filming began and later posted it to her Instagram — the post has since been removed (via Gay Star News). “How to forget this night,” whimpered Olivera. “Just a few minutes before the shooting. My last performance, my best [friends] they were in [the] first row, everyone’s gone now.”
It’s unclear when she stopped performing in clubs, but it was certainly a traumatic and tragic event for Olivera. But between her trans identity and her business acumen, Olivera had many dreams beyond drag dressing, and she’s now realizing those dreams. Many fans wanted Olivera to return for a future season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars, but it looks like that ship has sailed.