Start your engines! The pit crew is at the ready and the library is open, it’s time to get sickening with RuPaul’s Drag Race. A show you could be excused for not knowing about, but not forgiven for ignoring—no tea, no shade, no pink lemonade, squirrelfriend!
The brainchild of famous drag queen and self-proclaimed “supermodel of the world” RuPaul Charles, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a competition to find America’s next drag superstar and have a hell of a good time along the way. Overloaded with bright colours and double entendres, the show is a camp thrill ride that will surprise you with how deep it can be beneath its contoured exterior. Branded in her image, and with a soundtrack from her discography (available now on iTunes!), the show is a celebration of RuPaul and the path she has paved for young drag queens, but with an appropriate amount of tongue in cheek that holds it back from entering Tyra Banks levels of deranged narcissism. Full of messy queens, Heathers, Boogers, escándalo, hog bodies and back rolls (?!), it’s impossible to fully explain without sitting you down to watch an episode so you can see the romper room fuckery for yourself (and understand what I’m saying).
As a competitive reality show, it combines all the best qualities of reality classics like America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, American Idol, but takes it to the next level and beyond, with every challenge on Drag Race requiring a multitude of talents. Queens often have to sew and design an entire outfit, choreograph a dance, write songs and skits, on top of all the effort required to get into full drag—makeup, wigs, padding, and not least of all tucking—just for one episode. If their outfits and performances don’t leave RuPaul and her panel of judges gagging, the two bottom queens must battle it out in the incredibly epic Lipsync for Your Life (look up “Carmen and Raja lipsync” and thank me later), after which they will either stay or sashay away. Glue that wig down, practice your death drops, and stop relying on that bo-dy lest you end up going back to Party City where you belong.
Currently in its eight season, RuPaul’s Drag Race is going from strength to strength. There is an amazing line up this year, with comedy queens to fishy queens to a Vegas Britney Spears impersonator. The outfits are sickening and the faces are beat for the gawds. Standouts include Kim Chi, a Korean make up artist who beautifully serves anime princess realness; Bob the Drag Queen, a stand up comic from New York quick to read a bitch for filth; and Chi Chi DeVayne, a former gang member from Louisiana who has straight up made me cry with her powerful lipsyncs.
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If you haven’t seen RuPaul’s Drag Race before all I can say is that you have been missing out completely, you have been deprived of pure joy in television form. Drag Race is my happy place. It’s simply the most creative, entertaining, and endearing show on air. It’s hard not to smile at puppet show roasts, or a musical homage to John Waters, or even a runway of drag queen Hello Kitties. Everyone involved puts their all into it in a dazzling display of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Hilarious, inspiring, and frequently moving, Drag Race challenges you to live your life authentically. It preaches self-love and encourages embracing your differences (despite the amount of shade thrown). At the end of the day: if you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen up in here?