RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality show in where drag queens compete to see who the next drag superstar will be. They get some prizes, but no matter what happens, just to be on the show is enough for most of the queens to feel like they already won. The show has launched the careers of so many queens and the show itself has helped launch drag into mainstream pop culture. Everyone on the show is talented in multiple ways. When it comes to reality TV, even competition shows, not every contestant is always the most talented person. If they are, it might just be one skill like cooking or sewing.
All of these queens excel in all aspects of performing arts. They are makeup artists, singers, dancers, writers, and musicians and are talented in so many other ways. The show might not have gotten the chance it has now to succeed and thrive 20 years ago. This show really destroys gender boundaries and opens new doors for the LGBTQA community in countless ways. If something you see on the list or in this category upsets you, maybe you should take some time to try and understand a culture different from what you may know. These are all talented people and the show is an incredible platform for them to express themselves. Here are 15 Secrets You Didn’t Know About RuPaul’s Drag Race!
15. RuPaul Got The Show Approved On The First Pitch With Logo
If you have a passion for writing, directing, producing, or anything involved in the entertainment industry, you already know that you could go your entire life without ever being a part of one legitimate production. Even some people who seem insanely creative might never get any of their projects produced. For RuPaul, all it took was one pitch meeting and he was able to get his show produced. Ru stated they had pitched it to four networks before finally making it to Logo and they jumped on it way quicker than he expected. Not a lot of networks were ready for a drag queen show at the time, but after the extreme success of Drag Race, we’re sure they regret not taking the show when they had the chance. Ru also had some fame before the premiere of the show, so that helped to get the pitch approved, but it still shows how persistence pays off.
14. Over 100 Queens Have Been On The Show
Ru’s show has helped launch the career of over 100 drag queens. It has also helped to bring drag queens to the spotlight when before, people had more misunderstood perceptions of what a drag-queen world. The culture surrounding the show has grown to mass audiences, and even the queens who don’t win the drag race still find success in their careers. When it comes to certain other reality competition shows, sometimes, the people who go home first or second or third might become forgotten and lose their following. Fortunately, everyone on Drag Race finds their audience, and because of social media, the queens are able to continue on and grow their fanbase. Without the show, who knows what these talented queens might be doing! Ru really opened the door for so many talented people, regardless if they win the grand prize or not.
13. The Starting Prize Was $20K And Is Now Up To $100K
In the beginning of Drag Race, the grand prize was only $20,000. We know, $20,000 is a lot of money so “only” is a bit of an understatement. However, when you compare it to the current grand prize winnings of $100,000, “only” seems like the right word! It’s crazy to see how much the show has grown and what these queens have to look forward to now. Ru has talked about doing an all-winner’s season where everyone who has ever won competes against each other to see who is the winner of the winners. It would surely be an intense competition and a chance for the original winners to get some prize money they deserve.
12. The Queens Are Very Secluded While Filming
When it comes to shows like America’s Next Top Model, The Real World, and some other reality TV shows, you sometimes get a peek at the living situation of the contestants during filming. For certain competition shows, that’s more entertaining than the actual competition. The girls on Drag Race aren’t forced to live together, however. They all go back to separate hotel rooms, and what goes on when they’re not in the workroom or on the runway isn’t filmed. The girls are actually kept pretty secluded and aren’t allowed to use their phones or have outside contact while filming. The producers even put tape on their doors after hours to make sure the queens aren’t sneaking into each other’s rooms after filming! It can get pretty lonely, but it only gives them all the more time to focus on the competition, making this an entertaining show to watch.
11. It Takes Ru 6 Hours To Get Ready
RuPaul has stated that he only does drag when he’s getting paid to do so. On the show, the only time we see Ru in drag is when he’s sitting at the judge’s panel waiting for the girls to walk the runway. What we don’t see before, however, is the six hours it apparently takes her to put her face on! It doesn’t surprise us that it takes her that long, however. Look how gorgeous and stunning she is every time she walks the runway herself! The girls are responsible for doing their own makeup and having their own clothes every challenge. Of course, since it’s Ru’s show, she has people who help her. With all the binding and contouring, we’re not surprised it takes her a long time to get all dressed up. It still seems like 6 hours — a quarter of one’s day — is a bit long to take to get ready!
10. The Finale Is Filmed As If All Three Finalists Won
The show now does a live finale in which all of the queens are invited back, as well as a live audience to see the queens get crowned. Of course, it’s not live when it airs, but taped usually a week before. In order to make sure that there’s no way that anyone can leak the winner, the show is taped as if all three of the winners won. They each take turns getting crowned in order to make sure no one can say for certain who the winner is. It’s then edited to only show the real winner to make sure that there’s no way anyone can know before the premiere date who gets to take home the crown. It has to be hard for the queens to pretend like they just won the crown when they really have no idea if they lost or not!
9. All Winners Have Released Music With The Exception Of Bianca Del Rio
Drag queens are known for lip-syncing popular songs, however, a lot of them have their own musical abilities and have released their own albums and songs. The only winner to not have at least a single is Bianca Del Rio. If you’re a fan of Bianca, however, you know that she’s more of a comedy queen and actually has her own movie on Netflix! Many of the queens have multiple albums and others are working on their own shows. Not only do the winners get a good cash prize, they get an entire following that will continue to buy their music and go to their shows long after the television series is over.
8. A Lot Of The Drama Is Real And The Queens Know Each Other Before The Show
Drag has existed long before Drag Race ever premiered on TV, and the queens’ drama did as well. There are definitely some very heated moments between some of the queens who knew each other before going on the show. The queens have no idea who they’re competing against until they get to the workroom on the first day, meaning they could be competing against their best friend or their nemesis. That’s what happened to Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese in season 5 of Drag Race. They had some beef before they made it on the show and carried on with the drama on TV. It made for a good storyline for both of them, but what we might have thought was a fight for the show was legitimate problems between the two. They’ve moved past it now, but it’s interesting how much their personal lives were dragged onto the show.
7. The Show Has Rumors Of Some Big Moments Being Scripted
Although some of the drama in the show is very real, the show definitely has its fair share scripted scenes. Because of the queens’ use of social media, some have experienced cyberbullying with people hating on them through Twitter and Instagram after a dispute on TV. Some of the queens have had to admit that their spats were scripted, or at least planned out with each other behind the scenes. These queens know that drama sells, and a fight could keep them relevant, so they do what they have to do to make good TV. Sometimes, it gets them hate after the show, so queens like Phi Phi and Aja have taken to Twitter to let people know that their fights or comments were edited or scripted to make them look worse than what actually happened in real life.
6. Not All Of The Drag Queens Are Men
Drag is typically known as being men who dress up as women. Drag supposedly means Dress Resembling A Girl, but the specifics are argued among different people. Either way, drag is no longer just for men to dress up like women. It’s really about destroying the boundaries of gender in the first place. There have been several trans women to have appeared on the show since it aired, like Peppermint pictured above. Drag is really about expressing yourself and using creativity to destroy gender norms and expectations. It goes beyond gender and s*x. It’s important to identify people the way they wish, and some people do have pronoun restrictions that we need to respect. However, the limits of drag are endless when it comes to exploring gender and s*xuality.
5. Ru Thinks Lip Sync Battle Is A Ripoff
Ru has stated that he believes the popular show Lip Sync Battle is a cheap rip off of his show. Drag queens have always been known to perform shows in where they lip sync popular songs. In the past, they have been called names and looked down upon for doing what they do best, but once a couple of straight people think of a similar idea and use attractive people to host the show, they can get away with what drag queens were once shamed for. There is a long history of people appropriating queer culture, but it’s okay because Drag Race does it better! Drag is so much more than just people lip-syncing songs anyways. These queens are unique and talented individuals who come up with their own ideas and create art on the stage daily. They do say imitation is a form of flattery!
4. The Runway Puns Are Added In After Or Are Fed To Ru Through An Earpiece
When you watch the final runway show of each episode, it seems like the judges are always so quick to come up with witty puns about what the queens are wearing. Apparently, this is actually filmed twice, once with music and once with the judge’s commentary. This gives them a little extra time to come up with the clever things that they say sometimes. Some of the guest judges have claimed that Ru’s puns aren’t original, and she gets lines fed through an earpiece. Either way, the judges’ comments are hilarious and the runway scenes would be the same without them. Without it, who knows how different the show might be! It’s just another thing about this series that makes every bit of it so unique and creative.
3. Jinkx Was Rumored To Have Been Chosen Early And The Producers Asked The Other Queens To Help Her With Her Makeup
There is another rumor surrounding season 5 about Jinkx Monsoon. Apparently, the producers picked her to win early on and knew that she would probably take home the prize. They were worried, however, that her makeup wasn’t the best and it might hurt her chances of winning the crown. They allegedly asked some of the other queens to help her do her makeup throughout the series so that she always kept up a winner’s appearance! We wonder whether the other queens would still have helped her with her makeup if they knew she was already picked to be the winner. Jinkx is still a talented queen, regardless, and we’re sure that if she didn’t have any outside help with her makeup that she still would have had everything it takes to win the prize.
2. The Queens Know What They’re Getting Into For The Most Part
If you didn’t know that much about Drag Race and started watching knowing very little, you might be surprised at how prepared the queens are for all of the challenges and the lip sync battles. This is because they’re given some information before going on the show to help them make their outfits and memorize lyrics. They’re given a list of all of the lip syncing songs that will be on that season and are told again the night before the battle which two songs they’ll be doing. They’re also told about certain challenges so that they can bring appropriate outfits, although they do have sewing challenges every once in a while. This is unfortunate for any queen who goes home early, though. It also means no queen can ever use the excuse of a surprise as to why they didn’t do their best in a challenge or lip sync battle.
1. The Show Is More Popular Than Ever
The premiere of the most recent season of Drag Race was the most watched so far. After all of these seasons, for TV history, it’s crazy how far it’s come. When you watch the show, however, you realize that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon and is only going to get bigger and more popular! Ru has stated that as long as she keeps getting paid, the show will keep going. Not only is the show getting bigger, but the world of drag is too. The queens above are Trixie and Katya and they just landed their own Vice show! They were both contestants in the same season and started a YouTube series after the show was over. They both ended up getting millions of followers and their own show. Like we discussed, Bianca has her own movie and a ton of the queens have their own music. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for all these beautiful and talented queens!
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