I started my love affair with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” late, simply to annoy the purists reading this list who have been into the show since the beginning. Season five was my first and that year introduced me to every element that makes great reality TV: creative challenges, interesting characters, and shady, shady bitches.
My love of the show reached an apex when me and 30 of my best friends dressed in drag for a night in Soho. I expected to be transformed into a beautiful swan but wound up looking like a rugby player in a dress who lost the feeling in his toes for six months.
Another story. Another time.
A fellow Drag Race fan reviewed my list and pointed out a number of controversies so, before we begin, I thought it wise to address these head on.
- Why have you chosen the order you have? I try to explain why I love these queens below but why this particular order? Don’t try and have me explain madness. I can just feel it in my waters.
- Why is my favourite drag queen not on your list? I simply didn’t ‘feel’ some of the queens – Chad Michaels is a great example of that. She’s quite simply amazing but I never rooted for her.
- No one from season one? I hungrily ate through all the seasons I could find except Season 1, which Netflix still hasn’t negotiated the rights to. Judging by the non-existent production values, I can see why the team isn’t chasing that win.
- Where’s Ru? No judges! Besides, I think I like Michelle more.
20. Ginger Minj. I really wanted her to beat Violet Chachki, who just seemed like a creative but bitchy clothes horse. In season seven, Ginger was everything Violet wasn’t – toadish, funny and likeable.
19. BenDeLaCreme. I hate terminally delightful people generally but her Snatch Game won the world.
18. Acid Betty. Sure, she’s a terrible person, but her runway is just extraordinary, and aren’t those two things worth a few extra weeks on the show? Gone too soon.
17. Carmen Carrera. Fishy doesn’t even begin to cut it with Carmen. She was gorgeous and lovely, which don’t often go together on Drag Race.
16. Adore. Adore would have made it WAY higher on this list but I’m still angry that she dropped out of All Stars. She adorkably does her own thing though, so leaving is really in line with why I liked her in the first place.
15. Gia Gunn. I loved Gia from the moment she joined the show. So stupid and yet so much shade thrown, I thought I’d get way more laughs out of her but her time on the show was cut way too short. Like Acid Betty, the other bitch on this list who is stunning to look at but otherwise irredeemable, Gia went way too soon.
14. Raja. Raja was one of the first queens to make me realise how drag brutally challenges creativity and fashion sensibility.
13. Raven. I didn’t like Raven to begin with because I couldn’t work out if she’s mean or not. I now realise she’s totally mean but she’s smart with it. Watching her Tooting and Booting with Raja on YouTube is a joy.
12. Chi Chi. By episode two, I either love or hate the different queens in RuPaul’s cast. By episode two of season four, I hated Chi Chi and her drag on a shoe string. Everyone likes a fighter though and by the end I was rooting for her to have a top spot. No other queen in the history of the show has managed to win me over.
11. Detox. I loved her on both seasons of Drag Race, particularly on All Stars where she slayed the catwalk but, frankly, she’d probably be on this list for rapping in DWV alone. This girl is a bottom.
10. Tatianna. No girl has had more of a RuDemption than Tati and I love her for it. By All Stars she was everything she wasn’t in season 2: refined, funny and balanced. She has always been hot as hell though.
9. Manila Luzon. Creative. Pretty. Funny. Everything I want in a Drag Race contestant.
8. Kim Chi. I gave Violet stick for being a clothes horse (Holy shit, that finale dress was epic) but being a nice person goes a long way with me and Kim Chi is exactly that. Plus, have you ever seen better constructed garments on ANY show?
7. Katya. It’s rare that I watch this show and think: “I could hang out with her”. I don’t just think I could hang out with Katya OR Brian, I really, really want to. Please.
6. Alaska. She took a hit after her All Stars tantrum but still came out on top, mostly because she’s way smarter and funnier than her accent lets on. Hiyeee.
5. Sharon Needles. Top 5, bitches. Sharon’s horror drag helped me to realise that the entire genre didn’t need to be cruise ship ready and that non-traditional drag can also be pretty.
4. Bob the Drag Queen. A didn’t warm to Bob on the show because she played way too smart to be lovable, but she’s legit funny and with something interesting to say.
3. Willam. How does a non-finalist make this list? By being amazing. Willam is smart, quick, acerbic and just stunning – beard or not. Add to that her singing ability and acting resume and you have a fully fledged drag superstar.
2. Latrice Royale. Just big, black perfection in my eyes. Latrice’s personality won me over on Drag Race but her turn as Aretha won me over in life.
1. Bianca Del Rio. Seems almost pointless writing a summary about Bianca at this point. I could tell you why she’s amazing but you’ve probably already heard it from Bianca herself. She’s a winner, baby.