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Gay Times June 12 - Issue 406

Drag Race

If you’ve managed to keep up with the latest happenings on RuPaul’s Drag Race then, firstly, well done you. They haven’t exactly made it easy for us Europeans. Secondly, depending on how far through the season you’ve watched, we feel obligated to warn you: spoiler alert.

If you’re not a dedicated Drag Racer – what exactly have you been watching? – the concept is simple enough. Week by week, a selection of America’s finest female illusionists are put through their paces in a series of tasks confronting the daily challenges of life as a drag queen. You know, simple things like fashioning a dress to wear to the apocalypse or editing their own magazine, that sort of stuff. Incidentally, sign us up for lifetime subscriptions to Sugar Walls, Kitty Cats and Eleganza right now.

Ultimately, think America’s Next Top Model, but with infinitely more style. Plus instead of the standard Cover Girl contract, the lucky queen crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar takes home a cool $100,000, not to mention a lifetime supply of make-up and a huge boost to their career. Well, in America at least, where RuPaul’s Drag Race is well into its fourth season as Logo TV’s flagship show.

Sadly, over this side of the pond it hasn’t fared so well, with E4 dropping it before it had really begun, forcing us hardcore fans into the darkest corners of the internet to endure painfully slow downloads of each new episode on a tedious, week-by-week basis. But God is it worth it.

It’s not difficult to see why Drag Race has been such a stateside success. With this in mind, we thought it was about time that we tracked down our five favourite queens from the current season; Chad, Sharon, Willam, Princess and Latrice, to ask them once and for all: “What’s the T?”

Having been in the business the longest as the only ‘alternate Cher’ worth watching (sorry Delta), Chad Michaels has a wealth of experience to offer. “I think Drag Race has been so well received because it has lifted the veil on drag. So many people have heard of, but have never been exposed to drag, or a competition like this. Drag itself is amazing and captivating and to watch the contestants transform themselves every week into exotic creatures is riveting even to me.”

Although eliminated – prematurely, some might say – in episode three, The Princess elaborates: “The show sheds light on a subject matter that has been, until recently I believe, considered so taboo.”

True enough, it is the first of its kind. Drag queens, although universally considered a staple of gay culture, have never before been offered this level of mainstream exposure. “Most people have experienced drag queens in their culture or in the media,” continues self-styled ‘punk-rock sex clown’ Sharon Needles. “But they never really knew what was behind the wig and make-up.”

To read the full article, pick up the latest copy of GT out in all good retailers, online and downloadable on your iPhone or iPad.

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