RuPaul’s Drag Race star Tatianna, née Joey Santolini, was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in Atlanta on October 13.
Law enforcement told TMZ that Tatianna was taken into custody after she followed a nightclub employee to enter through the back door which was specifically for members of staff only. According to the police, the employee asked Tatianna for a photo before heading to the employee door around back. The 30-year-old drag performer followed, even though the employee explained to her that she needed to enter in through the front door.
When Tatianna refused, the cops were called to the scene, according to TMZ. And after she refused to leave peacefully, officers escorted her out in handcuffs. In Tatianna’s mugshot, she’s in full drag make-up and appears to be crying, which caused many of her fans to worry about how she was treated while in custody.
Tatianna, originally from Falls Church, Virginia, made a name for herself as one of the youngest contestants to ever compete on Drag Race during its second season, and solidified her presence in the drag community after returning to compete during Drag Race: All Stars 2. The make-up artist, performer, and hairstylist, who famously coined the term “Choices,” promptly took to Twitter to explain her mug shot and her side of the arrest.
She tweeted, “im fine! It was a dumb situation that I wish didn’t happen but shit happens and people make mistakes. There was no violence or ridiculousness. I’m crying in the picture because I was scared and had never been in that position before. wish I would have just smiled.”
Fans tweeted with messages of compassion and relief. One person wrote, “I’m so glad you’re okay,” while another encouraged her to capitalize on her arrest tweeting, “Put that mug shot on t shirts!!!” And while Tatianna was bummed she didn’t smile in her photo, her followers online dubbed the mugshot “iconic” and “beautiful.”
Tatianna was in Atlanta for the city’s famed FOX Theatre for a Gay Pride event. Her arrest took place after she took hosted the View’s parade rooftop viewing party during the day.
Tatianna Starred in Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need to Calm Down’ Music Video
The former Drag Race contestant recently appeared in Swift’s star-studded, LGBTQ-empowered music video alongside included Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Lambert, Ryan Reynolds, Laverne Cox, Dexter Mayfield, Ciara, RuPaul, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Tan France, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Justin Mikita, Billy Porter, Todrick Hall, Hayley Kiyoko, Chester Lockhart, Adam Rippon, Hannah Hart.
Other Drag Race alums included Trinity Taylor, Delta Work, Trinity K. Bonet, Jade Jolie, Riley Knoxx, Adore Delano and A’keria Chanel Davenport. Tatianna performed alongside Swift during 2019 VMAs and accompanied her on stage when the singer went up to accept her Moon Man trophy.
Tatianna also started releasing her own music. On July 12, she dropped the single and music video for the song, “Hurt My Feelings.”