Drag Race Fan Favourite Katya Announces Break From Drag

Brian McCook aka Katya Zamolodchikova has announced on Instagram that he needs to take a break from the limelight to concentrate on his mental health.

Katya portrait

On Monday evening, Brian hosted an Instagram live to talk about his mental health. He spoke in French, his reason being that he needed to speak slowly and correctly.

Katya first appeared on Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag-Race and came back for Season 2 of All-Stars, where the club hit “Read U Wrote U” was born. Katya has starred alongside Trixie Mattel in the hit web series UNHhhh, which was picked up by Viceland last year.


A Redditor has translated the video. Here are some of the main points Brian makes in the broadcast:

“In French, I’m going to talk about David Lynch, and also about my health.

“I needed to take a little break. It was time to take a vacation, because my health, the drugs, my brain, that wasn’t good.

“I’m always busy, I’m always working. I work a lot.

“But I am not crazy, you understand of course. I’m a language student first, an artist second, a drag queen third. Health is the most important thing for me.”

“In the future, I need to take more vacations, I’m a person, I’m a human. You need to hear me.

“Right now, this is not a crisis. I’m taking a vacation for me. I need to take a vacation. The sun is there, I’m happy. My health is here, I’m happy.

“I’m a drug addict, but I’m sober. Today, and yesterday. And before. But I need to take a vacation, because I want to survive, like Gloria Gaynor.

“I don’t have a drug crisis right now, because I’m sober. I’m taking care of myself today. And that is the reason why I’m happy. But I need to choose carefully the projects that will not … you understand.

“But I need to take a vacation because I’m tired, I’m exhausted, my brain doesn’t work anymore, because of the drugs, because of all the gigs, I believe you understand. We’ll see, and I wish you a good day. Bye bye.”


Katya getting into drag
IMAGE: Justin Saglio

Earlier this month, in an interview with The Gay Times, Brian spoke about how the core purpose of Drag is seemingly lost on younger fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

He said “People are not having fun with it anymore which is very strange. And also, people are thinking it’s some legit profession like being a docent at a museum. People are confusing it for a legitimate career path which it absolutely isn’t.”

Brian has been very candid about his struggle with drugs. On RuPaul’s podcast, he revealed to Ru and Michelle that he “latched” onto drugs to pull him through a nervous breakdown and depression, which he suffered in college.

McCook stated: “I’ve been through hell on meth, but I’ve also been up in the clouds, and that’s why you do it.”

Fans on Reddit and Instagram have posted their support for the UNHhhh co-host:

“I really hope he gets better, being Katya must be really hard when you are dealing with addiction and anxiety…” Redditor_analien_ said in a comment. “And I wish Katya’s fans let her take this deserved time for himself without turning it into a personal drama.”

There has been no confirmation from Dragworld as to whether Katya’s upcoming gig in the Olympia will still go ahead.

We at GCN wish Brian the absolute best and hope that he feels better soon.


UPDATE 17/1 @ 12.30PM:

Dragworld has announced that all “Help Me I’m Dying” UK and Ireland Tour Dates have been postponed and will be rescheduled for Spring 2019.

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