My top 10 RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants of all time
I am a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and when I say huge fan, I mean it. I’ve watched every season, featured full episodes on the Trashwire blog and gone to see some of the girls live when they pass through Denver. As such an avid Drag Race watcher, I decided to compile this list of my favorite contestants of all time. These queens are artists and entertainers, serving true Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.
10. Pandora Boxx
Pandora makes the list for her fun, creative style. Her sense of humor shined through in all of her looks and performances. Despite all that, the judges constantly gave her unwarranted negative critiques on the runway. Pandora had the last laugh, though. Her Absolut commercial is the most memorable of the bunch and she was the stand out Drag Professor on RuPaul’s Drag U. Her most memorable moment came from her hilarious impression of Carol Channing on the “Snatch Game” episode.
Ongina may have been on of the smallest contestants, but she left on of the largest imprints on the show. She was high-energy and fun, like a little pixie, but it was her Viva Glam video that stood out as one of the most touching moments in all of Drag Race. After a joyful video about celebrating life, Ongina revealed that she was HIV positive, bringing pretty much everyone to tears. Ongina was a shining example of someone who always had a good attitude, even through tragedy.
Who could possibly forget Shannel?! This season one stand-out was a true entertainer, a Las Vegas showgirl with a larger-than-life personality. Her outfits were creative, often showing off a lot of skin and bitch knew how to work a room. Shannel’s look, combined with her talent, commanded the attention of both the judges and the fans. Best moment: when her headpiece “accidentally” came off during her lip sync performance against Akashia, who is most definitely NOT on this list.
Juju was memorable for her incredible sense of humor. She was like a tiny, extra fierce Kimora Lee, whom she portrayed in the “Snatch Game” episode. She and Raven were the perfect duo and most of the funniest moments from season two came from their interactions. Juju’s best moment was the reading mini-challenge where she stole the show by throwing shade at the other girls.
6. Delta Work
Delta is on the list in the sixth position mostly because I wanted to avoid having all Heathers in the top four, even though they deserve it. Delta was one of the smartest and wittiest contestants on the show, often teaming up with Raja to throw shade about the other girls backstage during Untucked. Best moment: Delta was on fire during the QNN Untucked episode, but my favorite moment was when she and Raja were discussing Manila’s Asian reporter character and Delta referred to her as “dollar Chinese menu”, perfectly (and humorously) summarizing her performance.
Raven scores just a bit higher than Juju because she was the runner up on her season. Raven did dark and wicked beauty like no other, like the drag Angelina Jolie. Where most contestants froze up, her red carpet interview on the “Diva Awards” episode proved that she could work the media better than most Hollywood starlets. Still, Raven could out-shade the Heathers, at least when it came to fellow contestant Nicole Paige Brooks and her acrylic toenails.
4. Manila Luzon
I’m sure placing Manila at number four will be a little controversial, considering she was the runner up on the most popular season. Manila was an artist with the ability to create themed outfits. Manila’s pineapple dress was one of the most creative pieces I’ve ever seen on Drag Race and the way she made over her burly athlete in the “Jocks in Frocks” episode made her one to remember. As far as Manila’s best moment, two words: MacArthur Park.
3. Carmen Carrera
The Original Body Queen is one of the most unforgettable contestants in Drag Race HERstory, a RuPaul would say. Carmen’s outfits were so skimpy that it was amazing they stayed on and her tucking skills are mind-boggling. She said it herself, “Carmen is nudity.” She was one of the only queens that didn’t get into a huge fight with someone, often brushing off all the Booger nonsense like she was Jay-Z. The ultimate Carmen Carrera moment came in the “Jocks and Frocks” episode when she faced off with Raja in one of the steamiest lip syncs ever.
2. Nina Flowers
Nina is a legend! Her look is completely unique and she’s also one of the sweetest human beings to ever grace reality TV. Nina was the runner up in the first season, and no disrespect to Bebe, but I think she should have been the winner. Nina wasn’t your typical drag queen. Her style showcased more artistry than female “illusion” and she was instantly memorable. In the news challenge, Nina proved that, despite her ultra fierce exterior, she could be funny too. She kept making mistakes with the teleprompter, but she kept a good attitude and was able to laugh at herself. Werk Loca!
Some people love her, some people despise her, but there’s no denying that Raja is the fiercest of the fierce. No one can walk the runway like her, and that includes supermodels like Naomi Campbell. Her creativity was unparalleled and her looks were the most fashionable and memorable, occasionally outshining RuPaul herself. No one else could pull off the tribal warrior outfit, the blood-drenched Carrie dress or the high fashion Marie Antoinette look. This Diamond Crowned Queen was a winner from day one, and not for all the made up reasons the pro-Shangela conspiracy theorists throw around. She won because she was the best, plain and simple.
So there you have it, my RuPaul’s Drag Race top 10. Do you agree with my picks or is there someone I’ve unjustly left out?
Stay tuned for clips from RuPaul’s Drag Race season four in January on the Trashwire blog and view the trailer below!