Katya Zamolodchikova became an instant fan favorite during Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and gained even more popularity in 2016 during All Stars 2. While viewers became obsessed with her quick wit and quirky personality, they also fell in love with her vulnerability after she openly discussed her struggle with substance abuse and mental health.
It’s those struggles that have caused Katya, real name Brian McCook, to take a break from portraying her Russian drag character in order to focus on self-care. She recorded an Instagram video on Tuesday explaining to fans that she needed a hiatus from her busy drag life for the sake of her mental health.
“I’m tired, I’m exhausted, my brain doesn’t work anymore because of the drugs, because of all the gigs,” she said. “I need to take vacations, like a normal person.” (Don’t worry, though.The Trixie & Katya Show will still return to Viceland on January 24.)
Although Katya has since deleted her social media accounts, there’s been an outpouring of support from her fellow queens across all platforms.
Sending out nothing but LOVE today for my baby girl Katya who made the brave decision to put the well-being of herself before that of a fictional character. I am sad that we are not going on tour together, but this is far more important. Kisses, chess & matryoshka…
— Jackie Beat (@JACKIEBEAT) January 17, 2018
I think this is brave. I think we need more people to be honest with us!! Also I will gladly cover for you @katya_zamo as I want to put a down payment on a house this year and need extra work. I love you sister!! Take all the time you need, I stand by you & your mental health!! https://t.co/1uGOiLlaLy
— Laganja Estranja (@LaganjaEstranja) January 16, 2018
Pearl, who appeared on Season 7 alongside Katya, sent her “good vibes” over Instagram, sharing that she can relate to “the deterioration of her mental health.”
“Let me tell you, there’s a long road from home to the stage and it can be dark and bleak and nobody is there to hold your hand through it or at least warn you,” Pearl said. “It’s not just dealing with the death of your hair and skin, relationships, personal space and the lack of sleep…What is a bit harder to explain is why you have to add extra hours to your makeup routine because at some point you’ll need to stop and cry for no particular reason.”
— memes of pearl (@pearlbabee) January 17, 2018
We’re happy Katya is taking the time she needs to take care of herself and wish her the best during her hiatus.