In this special four-episode event, three different RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favorite celebrities are challenged with being given a drag transformation. Their drag mothers, played by previous Drag Race stars, teach them the basics of getting into drag and owning the stage. Then the celebrities battle it out in classic competitions (known as “maxi challenges”) for the title of America’s Next Celebrity Drag Superstar as well as win $30,000 in prize money for a charity of their choice.
Episode 101 – The Snatch Game Episode
In this first episode, Queen Supremes – Trixie Mattel, Bob The Drag Queen and Monet X Change make over Nico Tortorella, Jordan Connor and Jermaine Fowler before the celebs compete in Snatch Game, a game where the contestants have to give their best celebrity impersonations using their skills in performative drag, acting and comedy.
The first celebrity to enter the Drag Race work room is Nico Tortorella. He is excited to be on the show and has been dressed in drag before this episode. He says that his experience in drag gave him the freedom and liberation to be himself. The second celebrity to enter is Jordan Connor. He’s never been dressed in drag before. The reason he is on the show is because people are used to him portraying a “tough guy” character which creates this persona of masculine energy. Jordan’s goal is to show another side of himself and learn something new. The last celebrity to enter is Jermaine Fowler. He says that by doing drag he’s doing something that he wouldn’t expect to do. He appreciates that Drag Race is all about breaking through to your true self and being different. He’s never done drag before but he’s confident and excited to be on the show.
The fellas are introduced to RuPaul and the Queen Supremes. The mini challenge is getting into quick drag. The gentlemen are given breast plates, butt pads, stockings, and makeup. Then they must go through an obstacle course that gives them an opportunity to put on clothing and heels, grab a wig and put on a quick lip sync performance at the finish line set up as a stage. Jordan wins the challenge and gets to assign the Queen Supremes with the contestants, here are the results – Jordan with Trixie Mattel, Nico with Monet X Change and Jermaine with Bob the Drag Queen.
During the next few scenes, the contestants are coached by their Queen Supreme to walk in heels, prepare a look for their performance, talk about any ideas and/or concerns, and even get a tip from a Drag Race guest, Shannel. The next day is show time, these gentlemen finish getting transformed into beautiful women and are ready for debut on the Snatch Game.
Last but not least, our secret celebs complete their transformation with a strut down the runway. Category is “Supermodel of the World” (video below).
In the end, Nico gives a very heartfelt monologue about his favorite part of being on the show. He says, “the fact that these two straight boys came made it so much more special. Because so much of my work is about the collapsing of binaries and divisions, right? And to see them find this, validates everything that I do, you know?” This brief speech is the reason for this show existing. It is to show that you can be whatever you want, how you want and that no one will judge you for being yourself. It creates a safe space to be vulnerable in accepting your own confidence and learning parts of yourself that you may not even know exist until they’re explored. Watch the full episode, on VH1.
Episode 102 – The Rusical Episode
Loni Love is the first to enter the work room in this episode. She explains her meaning of drag, “Drag represents confidence. It doesn’t matter the size or skin tone. Anyone can be in drag.” Her reason for being on the show is to step outside of her boundaries and be someone other than a talk show host. The second celebrity to enter is Tami Roman. She believes that drag will give her the strength to be able to hold on to the image that people already view her as with confidence and femininity. The last secret celebrity to enter the work room is Vanessa Williams. She mentions in her introduction commentary that she was exposed to the LGBT community at a young age and she is proud to see where the community is today. She appreciates the world of inclusion that has been created.
In the mini challenge, the women are tasked with doing masculine drag and acting in a PSA that uses voting as a metaphor for erectile dysfunction that they have to make funny. The winner of this challenge is Loni Love. They are given the prompt for the maxi challenge and their roles, then they are paired with their Queen Supreme – Loni with Trinity the Tuck, Tami with Alyssa Edwards and Vanessa Williams with Asia O’Hara.
During their preparation time, the ladies warm up their nerves with a soul train dance line, free-styling their best moves. They spend time getting to know their Queen Supreme, memorizing their lines and learning and practicing the choreography for the live performance of Twerkin’ 5 to 9. Also note, they were visited by drag star, Raven, during a quick Just the Tip advice session (video below).
In their live performance, we see all the women come alive and perform in their high drag with a burst of confidence. Afterwards, they strut their stuff on the runway. Category is “Eleganza Extravaganza.” Then, when the ladies go back stage they are visited by their loved ones and get the chance to share their experience in drag with that person. Loni gets to show her beauty to her boyfriend. Tami facetimes with her husband and shows off her complete look giving him all the glamour. Vanessa shares the moment with her daughter on facetime. Her daughter is shocked but she is also in love and awe of her mother. The lip sync battle is performed and RuPaul announces the winner.
Episode 103 – The Comedy Queens Episode
The first celebrity contestant to enter the work room is Alex Newell. Alex is excited to be on the show, stating that he wears corsets and gowns on a regular so he’s in drag every day. He is on the show because Drag Race is a platform where he can be unabashedly himself. The second celebrity to enter is Dustin Milligan. He shares a brief drag experience with Alex saying that he dressed up as a girl for Halloween and won the costume competition. The last secret celebrity to enter is Matt Iseman. In his introduction commentary he mentions that he has always been himself in life and that drag queens are able to step into something bigger then themselves and that’s what he wants to do in this competition.
Their mini challenge is to get in quick cheerleader drag. The guys are given hair, makeup, and a cheerleading outfit with pom poms. The point of this mini challenge is to have fun and show that you can laugh at yourself. Their guest for the mini challenge is Love Connie. The challenge is to perform a high energy cheerleading routine using only their torso and arms to make movements while straddling one of the Pit Crew members who will be kicking their legs around for fun. The winner of this mini challenge is Dustin. Yay! Go, Dustin! Wooh!
The Queen Supremes are paired with their secret celebrities in preparation for the maxi challenge, a RuPaul Roast – Dustin is with Nina West, Matt is with Kim Chi and Alex is with Bob the Drag Queen. They spend the rest of the day getting to know each other, putting together their skit with punchlines, picking out wardrobe and practicing walking in heels and building their confidence to go on stage.
The next day, their drag looks are finalized and they are transformed. They perform their funniest stand up comedy in the RuPaul Roast and the episode finishes with their runway looks. Category is “Best Drag” and these secret celebrity glamazons are absolutely stunning! (see video below). The lip sync battle, by the way, was magnificent. These guys were ready to tear down the stage and give it their all. This is the best charity event with a message that I’ve ever seen televised. Thank you mother Ru.
Episode 104 – The Girl Band Episode
The first secret celeb to enter the work room is Phoebe Robinson. She is a stand-up comedian who has never done drag but she loves watching it. The reason she is on the show is because she wants to own all of her quirkiness and stop hiding behind the jokes she makes. She wants to embrace herself more. The second to enter is Madison Beer. She is a gorgeous singer who has a strong connection to drag. She loves everything that it represents and stands for. You can tell that she is ready to be glammed up. The last celeb to enter is Hayley Kiyoko who is also a singer and actress. Her style is more laid back and somewhat tom boyish. She is looking forward to being in drag because she wants to do something she is not comfortable with and that she doesn’t normally do.
Their mini challenge is to get into quick old lady drag and do an improv skit based on the scenario they’re given individually. And they are absolutely hilarious! They turn it out with old people jokes, props like canes and walkers, and they have so much fun dancing and being silly. The person who had the most fun was Phoebe. She won the mini challenge. She picks Alyssa Edwards for herself then pairs Madison with Monique Heart and Hayley with Miss Vanjie.
They begin to prepare for their maxi challenge, performing as a glam rock girl group. Two out of three of the girls have difficulty walking in platform heels and then the rehearsal doesn’t go completely as hoped for by the Queen Supremes or the contestants. The girls have a hard time putting the choreography together and memorizing the song lyrics because their nerves are starting to get the best of them. However, as soon as they come back in to the work room the next day and complete their high drag transformation, the nerves go out the window and their confidence returns. The Queen Supremes are proud of their drag daughters (Miss Vanjie even cries in the behind the scene commentary). The contestants are ready for the World Debut of Dragzilla (video below).
Why I Love Drag and What It Means to Me
I started watching Drag Race in 2016; the first season I watched was Season 8 where Bob the Drag Queen was the winner. I was instantly in love with the show. I had no judgment or curiosity about what drag was because I had studied literature my whole life and one of my favorite playwrights growing up was Shakespeare. During the Elizabethan time in England, women were not allowed to perform on stage so any female characters were played by men who dressed, talked and acted like women. So, when I found this show all about drag queens hosted by the most popular drag queen, RuPaul herself, I was glued to the TV screen. The glamour, the comedy, the fun, the music, the drama, everything. I love everything about drag. One of my favorite things about drag that I appreciate is the heart and courage these queens have to embrace their femininity and be the best versions of themselves as members of the LGBT community. It is an inspiration message for anyone, that says, you are beautiful inside and outside and “unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind.”
The transformation that drag requires a person to undergo made me reevaluate my own value as a bisexual cisgender woman. I have been playing with gender my whole life. I was a tomboy for a long time: I used to hate dresses, I wore my hair in a low ponytail or braids and I wanted to play football with the boys. Then in high school I had a very feminine phase where I started wearing heels and lip gloss every day and I started styling my hair more frequently. By the time I went away to college I had the opportunity to do both whenever I wanted to without any fears of being judged. I could be myself and that was the best feeling ever. As I’m getting older, I continue to learn new things about myself all the time. My body has changed a lot, my mind set is so different and I’m always trying to give the best of myself to others. Some days when I’m down and I feel discouraged, I watch reruns of Drag Race. It’s a perfect reminder to myself that I can be anything, do anything, I can be beautiful while I do it, I can have fun while I do and I don’t have to take myself so seriously all the time. I love drag and I think if I had the opportunity to do high drag and completely glam myself up, hunty there would be no question or doubt in my mind, Yes! #SheReady
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and get to know me a little bit better. Pride has been an amazing month full of intersectionality and informative content. I have one more blog for Pride that will be published tomorrow, here. Feel free to reach out to me via social media: Instagram or LinkedIn. I’m so excited for the next month of content. Stay tuned and make sure to like, comment and share!
Other RuPaul TV Series & Appearances (2020):
- RuPaul’s Drag Race, Seasons 1-12
- RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Seasons 1-5
- Drag Race Thailand, Season 1-2
- RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Season 1 (Season 2 Coming Soon!)
- RuPaul Talk Show, featured on YouTube for playback
- AJ and the Queen, Netflix series, Season 1
- Celebrity Family Feud: Season 6 Episode 3 – Latrice Royale, Michelle Visage, RuPaul, Carson Kressley and Raven.