‘The Masked Singer’ – Interview with the Unmasked Raven

The Masked Singer The Raven
Raven in the “Touchy Feely Clues” episode of
‘The Masked Singer’ (Photo by Michael Becker © 2019 FOX Broadcasting)

This week, The Masked Singer unmasked The Raven. If you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, spoiler alert because Fox brought the unmasked contestant out to talk to the Television Critics Association this week.

So The Raven was…Ricki Lake. Lake performed “Brave” by Sara Bareilles in her final appearance on The Masked Singer. This week she spoke with the TCA about her experience and her upcoming film Weed the People. The Masked Singer continues Wednesday nights at 9pm ET/PT on Fox.

How did The Masked Singer come to you?

Ricki Lake: “They sent me the links from Korea and I got to see what the show was. I just trust Deena. It’s [casting agent] Deena Katz that got me to do this show.”

How did it compare to Dancing with the Stars?

Ricki Lake: “Oh my God, this is a million times easier. Like, more than a million. That, I worked three and a half months, every single day, seven days a week.”

How did it feel to be anonymous?

Ricki Lake: “So much fun. It’s part of the appeal. It was part of the draw, was the fact that I got to be [anonymous].”

Would you hear people discuss who you could be?

Ricki Lake: “All the time. The past four weeks, it’s crazy how much I’ve been inundated everywhere I go. I go to the airport, I’ve been flying a lot, people, ‘Oh, you’re The Raven, right?’ I have to literally lie and I’m the worst liar.”

What did you take from this whole experience?

Ricki Lake: “It just was a lot of fun. It was really fun to sing again and have this production value. Again, being anonymous and getting to do something that was very public was a thrill. I was also happy to be done because I was in so much pain at the end. I don’t know why I got eliminated. I haven’t seen the show yet. I wasn’t the best singer. I wasn’t the worst, but I love my costume and I love my story. I got to share my story about my husband who passed away. It was a real cathartic experience.”

Was there anything in your life that helped you not take yourself so seriously?

Ricki Lake: “Yes, working with John Waters in Hairspray. He was the guy who picked me and cast me. He also taught me about being humble and being grateful and true to myself through this crazy business.”

The Masked Singer The Raven
Ricki Lake unmasked as The Raven on ‘The Masked Singer’ (Photo by Michael Becker © 2019 FOX Broadcasting)

How long were you in rehearsals for this?

Ricki Lake: “About three weeks I’d say. It was a few weeks. It was working with a vocal coach. He’d come to my house, we’d work on different songs. I did have a lot of choice. The one song I really was dying to do was the one from Dear Evan Hanson. I thought with my story and my message, it would’ve been great.”

You had more songs?

Ricki Lake: “Yeah, there were other songs. In a lot of ways, I had a lot of nerve singing a Lady Gaga song. I even said that many times, like, ‘Oh my God, I have some nerve.’ It was like the best high end karaoke thing ever.”

How did your talk show experience help you with this?

Ricki Lake: “I think I’ve always been super authentic and real and I think that’s why people like me maybe. So this was an extension of that, even though I got to be anonymous until the very end. It was definitely me expressing my story.”

Will you sing more?

Ricki Lake: “I don’t know. I’m not sure the reaction was so great. I’m not getting an album anytime soon, but I’ll be at the local karaoke for sure.”

You were in Hairspray Live, right?

Ricki Lake: “I was. I sang in the second Hairspray movie. I sang on the soundtrack. I am technically a trained singer. I just haven’t trained for a long time. I just read an article that they performed Hairspray at my high school where I grew up. It was an article about the lack of diversity, they had to bring children from other areas which is crazy. But, the fact that they were performing it where I grew up, it’s really surreal. Never thought that it would ever live on in all these different incarnations and be such a catalyst role model character for so many.”

When you heard the comments, “I can tell it’s not a singer,” how did you feel?

Ricki Lake: “You know, I mean, I can carry a tune. I used to have perfect pitch back at Ithaca College. I don’t study as much anymore and I do think my voice is very recognizable. My speaking voice certainly, my singing voice. So I was not the best kept secret after all.”

What advice would you give someone going into season two of The Masked Singer?

Ricki Lake: “Oh my God, it’s just a blast. This is so fun. It’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to really do something that is really bringing a lot of joy to a lot of people. You get to stretch different muscles and try new things and the costume is really fun. You get to really be a part of the design of it. I picked my costume and I wanted to. First of all, black is slimming, hopefully, although I was really large back then. For me, The Raven and what it represented with the loss of my husband, so much of my last year and a half has been about getting over my darkest, terrible loss. It’s coming alive again so it really resonated with me.”

This is a big way to say “I’m back,” so what’s next for you?

Ricki Lake: “Is this a big way to say I’m back? I hope so. I have a lot more to say. I‘ve had this career that’s been so many twists and turns, and a lot of pivots. I’m grateful that the audience still really cares about me and roots for me. I’ve always been the underdog way back when. The work I do now is more documentary work that really pushes the envelope and asks a lot of questions and so I love that I get to do this really important work and still do a lot of fluff. There’s more in the tank for me. I just turned 50 but I look forward to more opportunities. And I found love again, you guys. I can’t believe it. My husband who passed from mental illness and suicide, it’ll be two years on February 11 next week, and I just recently found a beautiful new love. He’s making me really happy.”

Did you keep The Masked Singer a secret from him too?

Ricki Lake: “We’ve been together for three and a half months so it’s new.”

How did you meet?

Ricki Lake: “Through a mutual friend.”

Is he in the industry?

Ricki Lake: “No, but he has a beautiful clothing line, an eco-friendly clothing line called One Golden Thread. Jeffery Scult.”

What’s the best thing about turning 50?

Ricki Lake: “Jennifer Aniston is this month and she’s an old friend of mine. I knew her since high school. I think 50 is the new 30. I certainly don’t look 50. I haven’t done anything to myself and what’s the alternative, guys? I’ve been around for a long time and I wouldn’t change a thing. The guy I’m dating is 53 so it’s healthy age-appropriate.”

Have you stayed in touch with John Waters?

Ricki Lake: “Of course, I see him all the time. He was at my 50th birthday. That’s the last time I saw him. I had a 50th birthday party. It’s a beautiful friendship that I’ve had for 30+ years. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Was it a fabulous party?

Ricki Lake: “I’ve had three parties. One at Burning Man. I’m getting better with age, you guys. One in L.A., one in New York.”

What are you working on now?

Ricki Lake: “This week, you guys, the reason I’m promoting this and I’m happy to be here but also Weed the People is a documentary I just finished and is out this week on digital, on Amazon and iTunes. It’s about pediatric cancer and cannabis oil. It’s a super important film that I think a lot of people need to be educated about. That’s what I’m working on. I have a new documentary coming out about birth control, called Sweetening the Pill. You guys have to see the film. I made a documentary 10 years ago called The Business of Being Born about the birth industry. This is about cannabis and children with cancer. It’s pretty provocative, important material that I think everyone should know about.”

The benefits of cannabis to cancer patients?

Ricki Lake: “Yes, cannabis oil, for everything but our focus is children with cancer. So you take away the stigma when you focus on kids who are sick and dying. It’s not about getting high. It’s about medicine. When you see what happened after we followed children for five and a half years, it’s pretty remarkable. It just came out February 5 on iTunes and then it’s on Netflix on 4/20.”

So it’s about cannabinoids?

Ricki Lake: “Cannabinoids, yeah, it’s cannabidiol, cannabinoids, yeah, it’s about CBD but it’s really whole plants. They definitely are consuming THC. It’s the synergistic effect of the whole plant that helps to not only alleviate symptoms of chemotherapy and lots of things from the cancer, but also shrink tumors.”

What do you think about New York’s ban?

Ricki Lake: “I just read that yesterday. I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s about money. I think they’re trying to raise money in tax. I do so that’ll be rectified. This plant needs to be legal and available to anyone and everyone who needs it for however they need it.”