"RuPaul's Drag Race" has undeniably set an important trend and pushed forth a very meaningful advocacy as soon as it started airing, way back in 2009.
From its humble beginnings as a talent-focused reality-show competition airing on the very niche LGBT-focused Logo TV channel, it surprisingly caught on and was thrust into the mainstream of things—mainstream pop culture, mainstream entertainment business and all things media. RuPaul even transferred the show to VH1 for wider accessibility and reach, starting with Season 9 in 2017. Since then, practically everyone's gotten to know what a drag queen is and what they do.
RuPaul himself is a drag queen who gained popularity by donning a glamorous feminine-presenting persona while singing hit dance tunes. When he started the Drag Race show, it was no surprise that many drag queens literally came out and auditioned. Drag queen performers have been out there for as long as the LGBT community has also been out there but hiding within the confines of safe spaces. When RuPaul decided to shine the spotlight on drag queens, American pop culture didn't know what hit them! And later, the show saw positive global reception as well. Undeniably, the show gave a voice and a much-needed platform for people who have been typically included in marginalized sectors.
And now, here we are! With over a hundred drag queens who "sashayed and shantayed" their way into our TV screens over the past seasons, can you identify the most memorable ones? Take a peek at our lookbook and see!
Ever since becoming the Season 6 winner of the show, Bianca Del Rio has been displaying her wit and talent in many platforms. She has been touring the world doing stand-up acts, and she has also made films on Netflix like "Hurricane Bianca."
Alyssa Edwards is touted as one of the most successful queens to come out of RuPaul's show, as she garnered more success even if she didn't take the crown as winner. Fans love her web series called "Alyssa's Secret."
Many were upset when Manila Luzon didn't come out as the winner on Season 3, but being the runner-up never stopped this queen from soaring to superstardom. She honors her part-Filipino heritage by adopting her mother's birthplace for her name. A toy company even made a doll that looks like her.
Katya won Miss Congeniality in Season 7, and she also appeared on the "All Stars" Season 2 run where she came out as the runner-up. Together with Trixie Mattel, Katya started a popular YouTube series called "UNHhhh," which was later halted to give way to the funny duo's new show on Viceland.
Trixie Mattel has already released not just one, but two country-music albums to her name. The first was released in 2017 and entitled "Two Birds," and the 2018 release was called "One Stone." Yep, she writes her own songs, girl!
Season 9 winner Sasha Velour might be a beauty onstage, but offstage, her background is as impressive as her stage persona. She was once a Fulbright Scholar and holds a BA in Modern Literature and an MFA degree in Cartooning. When not in drag persona, Sasha identifies as genderqueer.
Raja holds the distinction of being the very first winner in the series who is of Asian-American descent, since her dad is of Indonesian descent. She worked as the head make-up artist on "America's Next Top Model" before competing in "Drag Race."
Sharon Needles was born in Iowa but currently resides in Pennsylvania, where she was actually honored by the city of Pittsburgh when they named June 12, 2012 as "Sharon Needles Day." She was the winner of Season 4 and has three music albums to her name.
A mononymous person is someone popularly and/or professionally known just by one name, without using a second name or dropping the last name, just like Alaska. She was the runner-up of Season 5, but she went on to become the winner in season 2 of the spin-off show "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars."
If you have the neurological disorder narcolepsy, that means you sometimes fall asleep uncontrollably, any given time. Jinkx Monsoon revealed that she suffers from it, and she sometimes got bullied because of it. But hey, she still turned out to be the winner, so sashay, shantay, sleep!
Originally from Queensland, Courtney Act is also the top winner of the 2018 "Celebrity Big Brother" in the U.K. She also appeared in the first season of "Australian Idol" in 2003, and in doing so, she became one of the earliest openly out member of the LGBT community to join a talent-focused reality TV show.
This lovely queen is actually a great musical artist aside from being a fierce drag queen performer. As Danny Noriega, he was a contestant in the 2008 season of "American Idol" and reached the semi-finals stage. But as drag performer Adore Delano, she released various EDM albums and songs.
Carmen Carrera has had an illustrious career since being a contestant in Season 3. She is an active AIDS-awareness advocate and an out-and-proud trans advocate who's not afraid to call out instances of transphobia and trans-misogyny in the media, even if it's done by RuPaul.
Prior to joining the show in Season 4, Willam Belli—or Willam, to "Drag Race" fans—was already been performing as an actor, appearing in various television shows like "Criminal Minds" and "CSI." Willam even had a recurring role in "Nip/Tuck." Willam also appeared in the film "A Star is Born."
Halleloo! It's Shangela, the queen who graced Season 2, Season 3 and also Season 3 of the "All Stars" show. Even if she didn't take home any titles, her personality still shone, and her various talents were recognized by many, making her one of the most successful queens to come out of the series.
With around 1.7 million Instagram followers to date, Kim Chi is actually one of the top 3 most-followed "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant on this platform. She created her own line of make-up products when she teamed up with Sugarpill Cosmetics, like the Kim Chi Pressed Eyeshadow.
Detox won so many Mini-Challenges in a single season of the show, and no one has beaten that record yet. She brings out her vibrant personality in different media endeavors, like when she appeared in the music videos with Rihanna, Ke$ha and Lady Gaga, too.
BenDeLaCreme was voted as the Season 6 Miss Congeniality title holder. She was also included in Season 3 of "All Stars," but she was eliminated, which actually upset many fans and even started a social-media campaign to bring her back. She now has nearly 840,000 followers on Instagram!
This pretty queen is Violet Chachki, winner of Season 7, and she is of Ecuadorian descent. She calls Atlanta, Georgia home whenever she's not away for her various engagements, like performing as a burlesque dancer. In 2017, she also became a brand ambassador for Betty Page Lingerie.
Other trans contestants have come out after they joined the show, but it was Peppermint who came out prior to joining the show, so that makes her unique in that sense. She's also the first openly out trans woman to play a major role on a Broadway musical when she appeared in "Head Over Heels."
Even if she holds the distinction of being the very first contestant to be eliminated, ever, in the history of the show, Victoria Parker still became one of the most successful queens of the series. Prior to joining, though, she'd already won many titles in various pageants all over the U.S.
Being a Cher impersonator and a RuPaul Drag Queen to boot certainly made things spicier for Chad Michaels. She got the chance to appear in TV shows like "2 Broke Girls" and "Jane The Virgin." She was the runner-up in Season 4 and was the "All Stars" Season 1 winner.
Jujubee was a great fan favorite during Season 2. Her latest TV engagement will be for TLC in a new show called "Drag Me Down The Aisle," a reality TV series where drag queens will help upcoming brides solve some of their pre-wedding dilemmas. Jujubee will be joined on the show by three other past Ru queens.
Miss Fame definitely got a lot of fame after she appeared as a Season 7 contestant. For one, she became part of the IMG Paris model company in 2016. She also became a L'Oreal Paris model and appeared in Vogue Germany, and she prefers to do more fashion modeling work rather than performing in clubs.
Bob the Drag Queen remains unforgettable for being the only contestant, so far, to have done two celebrity impersonations at the same time in Snatch Game. She was very memorable as Crazy Eyes, Uzo Aduba's character in "Orange is the New Black," and as Carol Channing later on.
Aside from performing hilarious numbers in front of an audience, Miz Cracker also shines when she's not in front of a crowd. She does that by being a writer, specifically a columnist for "Slate" magazine. She was even honored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist's Association for it in 2016.
Pearl, the Season 7 runner-up, went on to have much more success than her stint on the show. Aside from producing music albums, she's the very first RuPaul queen to have her own perfume line: It's called Flazéda, and it's made by Los Angeles-based perfume company Xyrena.
Latrice Royale, Season 4's Miss Congeniality title holder, is actually an ordained minister who can perform wedding ceremonies. Outside of drag, Latrice is known as Timothy Wilcots; he married his longtime partner and executive personal assistant, Christopher Hamblin, in 2018.
"Diva" might very well apply to Monét X Change, and (SPOILER ALERT) not just because she tied with Trinity the Tuck to win the 4th season of All-Stars: She is also classically trained to sing opera! She studied opera performance and music education in Westminster Choir College, but she started her classical-singing training as early as high school.
Raven was the Season 2 and the "All Stars" Season 1 runner-up as well. But this talented queen came back to work in the show as a make-up artist starting Season 9. It was her work in Season 10 that got an Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special category.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, the Season 10 (and 11) contestant, made "being eliminated in style" her own brand. As she was exiting, she uttered the now-iconic "Miss Vanjie, Miss Vanjie, Miss Vaaaaaaanjie," which cracked up the judges, went viral and became a popular meme.
Chicago-born queen Shea Couleé was a contestant during Season 9, where she impersonated Naomi Campbell to a T in the Snatch Game portion. A proud gay-identifying person, she did a video recording for Billboard Pride where she introduced an LGBT hero in celebration of Pride Month.
Phi Phi O'Hara is the unforgettable drama queen the other contestants had nasty exchanges with in Season 4. Outside of being a drag performer, this queen goes by his real name of Jaremi Carey, a gay-identified singer who has released songs under both his real name and drag name.
The New York-based queen, Aja, is one of the youngest contestants ever to join the show. In 2018, H&M launched a Pride Out Loud campaign in support of LGBT Pride Month, and Aja was included as the face of that advocacy-brand marketing campaign.
Naomi Smalls is the California native who ended up as the Season 8 runner-up, but she's been such a winner in many of her endeavors after the show. In 2018, Cosmopolitan magazine let her interview Cardi B, where the drag queen dressed just like Cardi B did in her "Bodak Yellow" video.
Season 6 contestant Milk, a New York native, was indeed a champion skater who was even part of the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, using his real name of Daniel Donigan. He became the New York City merchandising manager of Marc Jacobs when he joined the company in 2009.
Valentina, a Season 9 contestant, was the recipient of the Miss Congeniality title after that season. She recently played the major role of HIV+ Angel Dumott Shunard, the drummer-drag artist who falls in love with Tom Collins, in the equally iconic musical live version of "Rent" ("Rent: Live").
BeBe Zahara Benet holds the distinction of being the very first winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race" back in Season 1 (2009). She has released several singles and also works as a live-events producer. She launched her own event-planning agency back in 2016.
Season 5 runner-up Roxxxy Andrews was actually inside Orlando's Pulse nightclub when the deadly shooting happened in 2016, since she's performed there for years. Fellow Ru queen Kenya Michaels was there, too. Roxxxy got a tattoo to honor her friends and the others who died in that tragedy.
Aquaria is of Italian descent, and her real name is Giovanni Palandrani. Born in Pennsylvania, Aquaria currently calls New York home. In her website, she declares that she is someone who's like "between Lady Gaga and Madonna," and Aquarius is indeed her sign.