Rani Ko-HE-Nur is the recipient of the GAY TIMES Honour for Drag Hero.
Since making history as the first-ever drag artist to compete on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, India’s longest-running game show, the entertainer has “nama-slayed” her way to international notoriety.
Last year, Rani reached the top five of Queen of the Universe, World of Wonder’s acclaimed singing competition that collects some of the world’s most talented drag vocalists.
Hosted by Graham Norton with Michelle Visage, Trixie Mattel, Leona Lewis and Vanessa Williams as its “pop diva panel”, Rani instantly won legions of followers thanks to her powerhouse vocals, deadpan sense-of-humour and renditions of tracks such as My Heart Will Go On and Bad Romance.
With over 1.5 million followers under their belt, Rani is making it their mission to authentically represent their country, campaign for LGBTQ+ equality and break even more boundaries for Indian performers in mainstream media.
In January, Rani is scheduled to appear at RuPaul’s DragCon UK, making her – again – the first-ever Indian drag queen to do so.
Speaking with GAY TIMES earlier this year, Rani revealed that she also has three films in the works and has her eyes set on hosting the much-rumoured Drag Race India.
“I want it to happen. I can promise you, there’s going to be so much drama! There’s going to be Bollywood music,” she said.
“The costumes? You’re going to die. The jewellery! The opulence! The fashion! The skin! The hair! The diversity! I live, already. In my head, I’m already on that stage. I live for it.”
On representing her home country and marginalised communities, Rani added: “I have to be present. I have to, because how many people have changed their perspective by looking at me on national television?
“I became exactly the person I wanted, urged and craved. I became that. I had to. I didn’t have a choice. I don’t want another generation to go ahead and think they’re not being represented.”
GAY TIMES Honours sponsored by Meta Quest celebrates the individuals and organisations who have had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQ+ people over the past 12 months.
This year’s star-studded line-up of performers included Tove Lo, Cat Burns, Grag Queen, Kai-Isaiah Jamal and Keanan, as well as a DJ set from Princess Julia.
The new digital edition of GAY TIMES magazine spotlights this year’s winners and is available to read now on the GAY TIMES app, Apple News +, Readly and Flipster.