C.J.
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It’s always wonderful to say “@Hello Ross,” when he’s close enough to hug.

When Ross Mathews was here to perform at Pride in June, I got a few minutes with my longtime pal.

He’s working on a follow-up to his bestseller, “Man Up!: Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence.” “I’m meeting with publishers,” he told me. “It’s being written and I have to say it is great. It’s the book I’d want to read if I wasn’t me.”

Presciently, our interview touched upon fired White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who dominated the news last week with the release of her book “Unhinged.” The last time Omarosa was this much news, she and Ross were making sotto voce music together on CBS’ “Big Brother” as if there weren’t microphones everywhere. We know now that’s a situation with which she is decidedly comfortable.

Q: We are a few months beyond you whispering on “Big Brother” with Omarosa. Are you still frightened?

A: I don’t think it’s gotten any better. Do you feel any better? [Looking into the camera.] I’m just one voter but I love this country. We’ve made amazing strides and we’re a great country. I just want to be OK. When I was asking that question in there, I knew it was going to make news. I wanted to ask someone who was a supporting player in history, the question that parents with kids in college, families with a mortgage, wanted to know. Are we going to be OK? And she said no.

Q: Did you like Omarosa?

A: I appreciated Omarosa. I did. I’ll tell you why. Anyone who is strong, plants their flag and has convictions, I’ll respect. I won’t agree with, but I’ll respect.

Q: What did you think of the “I Really Don’t Care” jacket Melania Trump wore while going to check on captive migrant children?

A: I think every day you want your fashion, your clothes to say something, but they shouldn’t say that. Honestly, I think her intentions were good. Politics is optics and that family should know better than any other family. I have no interest in judging a strong, powerful, smart woman’s fashion when she is going to do something good or help humanity. That being said, you can’t wear something like that when you’re going to something like that. This is too serious of an issue. Listen, she fell in love with someone I don’t respect, so I have to question her but I don’t know enough about her to make a judgment. I’m not going to talk smack about her.

Q: I like Melania.

A: I don’t know enough to even like her. The only thing I’ve heard her say is a Michelle Obama speech. She seems like a good mother.

Q: You’re making a bunch of money off your podcast?

A: Oh! My podcast is about creating something where there is no one between me and the audience. I’ve been doing this 18 years. There have been so many times when a corporation or a boss or an executive, in my opinion, has kind of screwed it up because of the red tape and the speed bumps and the leaps. So at a certain point, I said, “I want to create something that is not always going to be perfect but is going to be REAL. And it’s going to be a direct link between me and the audience.” That’s the podcast. And I tell you, there is such a big loyal fan base for that. I love it. I’ll never stop doing it, I don’t think. But yeah, we make money. A little bit.

Q: Have Ciara and Russell invited you over to meet baby Sienna?

A: No. I’m the biggest Seahawks fan in the entire world. I am sorry to all the Vikings fans; you and I tweet about this during the season. The Vikings are good. Watch out for them. I’ve never meet Russell Wilson. I’ve been within feet of him, but I didn’t bother. I love the Seahawks so much, if he was even slightly dismissive of me, it would have broken my heart.

Q: How are you and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” doing?

A: Season 10 has just been huge. The show last year got, I think, eight Emmy nominations; we won three. Ru has won “Best Host.” I’m so happy to be on a show that’s not just entertaining but contributing to shift the culture in a positive direction. That’s big time.

C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.