‘Drag Race’ runner-up Sapphira Cristál on season 16 journey, learning to trust herself

TheGrio caught up with Cristál, the stellar "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant, at the official finale viewing party Friday night in New York City.

Sapphira Cristál, a contender on Season 16 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," poses at its finale screening event at The Edge at Hudson Yards on Friday, April 19, in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for MTV)

Sapphira Cristál is “riding the river of abundance.” TheGrio attended the finale viewing party for the latest iteration of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” catching up with this season’s runner-up and breaking down her experience on the show, what set this season apart from others, and her biggest takeaway from filming the popular series as a whole.

On Friday night at The Edge at Hudson Yards, the top three contestants of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 16 reunited. Cristál, Nymphia Wind and Plane Jane, alongside press and fans alike, came together to see who would be crowned “America’s next drag superstar.”

Typically, “Drag Race” films their finales before airing. For the eventual top two contestants, however, they do not find out who officially takes the crown until it airs live. Hours later, the queens and the rest of the world would learn that Wind earned the coveted title, but before then, the finalists hit the red carpet to look back on their experience.

Speaking to us moments before the screening began, Cristál expressed her gratitude for her entire time on the show, saying she was just “so excited” to make it to this season’s top three.

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“It’s hard to keep it a secret,” she shared. “I’ve known that I was here this whole time. You just have to be yourself, love yourself, and just continue to be on the journey. Ride the river of abundance, as we always say.”

While some queens who go through “Drag Race” speak of being surprised by the “edit” and various aspects of reality television, Cristál tells us she “wasn’t surprised by anything.”

“I loved the edit!” she gushed. “It was entertaining. We said it while we were there, but this cast harkens back to old school ‘Drag Race.’ It brings back the excitement, it brings back the fashion, the fun reads, the fun cattiness … it brings back the fun to ‘Drag Race.'”

Competing on the world’s biggest stage for drag teaches many lessons along the way, Cristál says, and she claims her biggest lesson was learning to “continue to trust herself.”

“I have always trusted myself, which is why I have gotten as far as I have,” she admitted. “I want to invite everyone else to remember to trust your gut, and trust your heart.”