RuPaul’s Drag Race put drag in the spotlight for me back in 2009 as a group of drag queens fiercely battle to win the coveted crown of the next drag superstar and the approval from the queen of queens, RuPaul.
Through the years I have had my ups and downs with the show, but my love of drag artists has never changed. The show introduced me to some amazingly talented artists, who struggled with their sexuality, their art and being accepted into their community. My love of queens such as Raja, Jujubee, Adore Delano, Violet Chachki, Kim Chi and Tatiana has proven my love of fashion forward queens with deep insecurities and difficult past stories. Adore Delano has always spoken to me as a fan, the spirit she has shown through believing in herself and the fans she has won herself through her talent and loveable nature. If you don’t fall in love after hearing her voice, the punk and rocker attitude and style will win you over.
Since watching the show I have gotten increasingly worried about the “rules” of the show, or lack of. On most of these types of shows you will see the host get involved in situations of bullying or isolation. In two or three cases there has been serious situations of bullying that has been blatantly ignored, as an audience member the Phi Phi O’hara and Sharon Needles, “go back to party city” episode was excruciating to watch. The whole Roxxxy Andrews and Jinkx Monsoon relationship put a total dampener on that season for me, making it an awkward and difficult season to enjoy. A lot of the girls explain how they were bullied for being gay or drag queens or transgendered, however when it is queens bullying one another, nothing is said.
I do love RuPaul’s Drag Race for so many other reasons though; it has helped to shine a light on so many challenging situations that are affecting the LGBTQ community. The drag makeover episode every season always chooses to makeover those within the community who have fought against adversity, whether it is older gay men who were there for the first pride parade, or armed forces members who have had to come out in a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ job. To add to this in season one fan favourite Ongina admitted she was HIV+, which caused so many who were HIV+ in the community to feel more comfortable and gave them a voice. Since then multiple queens have come out as transgender with a fan base to support them throughout their transition.
The American programme has introduced me to so many queens I admire in the UK, a main one being Ellis Atlantis, with a killer contour, wigs styled to the heavens and outfits that make your soul leave your body. This is a queen that knows how to work a makeup brush, she is a talented and beautiful queen who I admire and I know if there was a UK version of RuPaul Drag Race she would be one to watch.