Yaaass, queen! It’s been less than a year since drag queen extraordinaire Peppermint finished as first runner-up on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. As fans are well aware, the NYC-based performer was the first openly transgender contestant to compete on the hit VH1 reality series. Now, six months after her groundbreaking stint on RPDR ended, Peppermint’s career is flourishing on all fronts.

The spirited entertainer regularly performs in front of sold-out crowds, is continuing to make dope AF music — do yourself a favor and please check out her 2013 banger “Dolla in My Titty” — and, most importantly, is using her newfound platform to advocate for the trans community. In an exclusive interview with Life & Style, Peppermint opened up about all the strides she’s made since RuPaul helped her become a household name.

“It opened so many doors. It gave me the opportunity to travel even more and basically do everything on steroids,” the recording artist explained at a “Meet the Queens” event for Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. “It gave me the opportunity to travel more, to meet more people, to have a larger platform, and I happen to be one of those queens who believes in entertainment as much as I do in charity for our community — so I think having a larger platform benefits all of us.”

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Though she feels grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the trans community on Drag Race, Peppermint admitted to Life & Style that she was initially anxious. “On the front end of it, it was very scary,” she said, adding that her nerves quickly subsided once she realized the difference she could potentially make in others’ lives. “But afterwards, it was just one of the biggest honors to have an opportunity to be a voice for our community. I think voices in our community, queer and trans, often are not heard and certainly not to the extent I think that they should be.”

The nightlife fixture continued, “It's just really great to have the opportunity to speak with people who usually don't hear those voices. Sometimes, coming through with a shot of something like Drag Race makes it so much easier for people and more palatable for people to understand.”

Of course, Peppermint is still faced with negative opinions from haters who don’t think transgender women should have the opportunity to compete on Drag Race — as some believe drag is an art solely reserved for men to dress up as women. While the “Civil War” songstress does her best to respect those with such a sorely archaic outlook, she explained to Life & Style why drag is meant for everyone — regardless of their gender.

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“I think I can definitely understand where people come from when they feel like drag is for men and drag is dressing up as women — but you know what? There are a lot of people who say marriage is between a man and a woman,” the LGBTQIA activist said. “There are a lot of people who have traditional values and those are valid opinions, but the bottom line is we are moving forward.”

“You can either you can stay behind or you can move forward,” she added. “And women can do anything that men can do. Trans women can do anything that cisgender women can do. We're all equal. Drag is drag.”

For trans queens who are apprehensive about auditioning for Drag Race, Peppermint encourages them to throw caution to the wind. “B—h, do it! Do it, let your titties out — well, maybe don't take your titties out — but do it if you're trans, if you're queer, if you're gender non-binary, if you're gender non-conforming. Show people that you have whatever talents you have!” she told Life & Style of her advice for future participants. “As long as you have that talent, it will speak for itself. I think the fact that I came in first runner-up says all that needs to be said.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race returns to VH1 for Season 3 of All Stars on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. EST.