Willow Pill was a fan favourite on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” even before Season 14 began. According to NBC News, the Chicago-based queen was already dominating internet discussions alongside Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté and Kerri Colby after just a few episodes.
The pill is different from the others in that she is still alive and virtually certain to finish in the top three, if not win the programme outright — especially since fellow frontrunner Bosco’s features are raising eyebrows for all the wrong reasons.
Although Pill admitted she wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of adoring admirers who greeted her on the long-running reality show, she also stated that being different definitely means a lot to people watching at home, many of whom feel a special bond with her.
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Pill further endeared herself to viewers when she revealed her gender identity in an emotive Twitter message. Because her condition consumes so much of her time, the Denver native said it has been a difficult trip.
The pill has admitted to being sick on the programme multiple times, and her drag name also references her ailment, so what exactly is the reality star going through on a daily basis?
Willow Pill suffers from a rare disease
Willow Pill revealed in her coming out the article, “My disease has caused me so much physical and emotional suffering that my body has become something I’ve always wanted to get free of.” She also admitted to suffering from “medical PTSD” as a result of years of intensive treatment.
The pill has cystinosis, according to Billboard. The National Kidney Foundation describes the disease as an uncommon yet life-threatening sickness that usually begins in childhood but affects people throughout their lives.
“Cystinosis is a disorder caused by an abnormal buildup of a specific amino acid called cysteine,” they stated, adding that it can damage “many different sections of the body… including the eyes, muscles, brain, heart, white blood cells, thyroid, and pancreas.”
There is a multitude of treatments available, but they can have a significant impact on one’s physical and mental health, as Pill herself has experienced. Pill, for example, admits to taking more than 20 pills each day during her “Meet the Queens” interview (via YouTube).
Given everything her body has been through, the “Drag Race” star noted in her Twitter post that it’s taken her a long time to come to grips with not hating herself. Pill revealed to EW that unpacking her medical trauma helped her discover she’s transgender.
The fan-favourite knows she can’t do drag forever
In an interview with Willow Pill, NBC News mentions that cystinosis can lead to kidney failure. The drag queen received a kidney transplant and dialysis when she was 14 years old, and it’s likely she’ll need it again at some point.
“I wanted to be absolutely honest because we don’t always see people who are disabled and unwell on TV,” Pill said of sharing her story publicly, “but I also wanted it to be a super honest portrayal of how that truly feels,” even if it’s not always the easiest thing to hear or watch.
Drag won’t be her full-time career in the future because it can’t be, so for now, Pill is giving it her all. Even participating in “Drag Race” is challenging, especially given the number of time queens have to prepare, especially since Pill has periodic hand problems.
Although the Chicago-based musician told Outfront magazine that she had never contemplated winning, if she does, Pill plans to use her platform to raise awareness as well as enjoy everything else that comes with being elected queen.
“I honestly think I had to perform drag just to heal myself,” Pill admitted, describing drag as “a significant type of healing.”
According to her popularity, the fan favourite is also curing a lot of people who are watching at home.
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