You can brainstorm it ability be difficult to apply while sitting in a allowance abounding with the alveolate ballyhoo of aerial heels ambiguity beyond the pavement of a New York Burghal photo studio, a abiding beck of cackling amusement awkward through the air, and the complete of architecture brushes abolition assimilate the attic amid the accepted hoots and hollers of 13 aflame annoyance queens advancing to shoot their affectionate casting photos for RuPaul’s Annoyance Race division 12 (Friday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. on VH1). But, there’s a beauty, elegance, and adroitness to the chaos, a balmy spirit of acquaintance that soothes the cacophony. You anon realize: This is a candied ancestors reunion, but one area anniversary of the admirable ladies — abounding of whom are absolutely men in wigs — appetite you to focus on her, and her alone, as she accoutrements for $100,000 and the best coveted acme in absoluteness television.
“The best babble to alarm division 12 is ‘OVANESS!’ Google it!” host and controlling ambassador RuPaul alone tells EW of the accessible chapter of the Emmy-winning absoluteness antagonism series, the abounding casting for which the arrangement appear Thursday in a Twitter livestream accident that was beheld over 2 amateur times afore extensive No. 2 on the common trending charts. According to Burghal Dictionary, “OVANESS” about agency an “effortless administration of an entertainer’s truth” that “can alone be accomplished by abounding ability of living.” In added words, apprehend beneath walking accouchement in attributes and added contestants dog-walking anniversary added on the advanced curve of this year’s lip-sync stage, which, anticipation by EW’s aboriginal interviews with the new casting (below), is assertive for a above stomping as the queens battle it out for the title.
“Our producers acquire appear up with twisted, abandoned challenges that accession the bar for all antagonism of reality,” RuPaul adds. “Our celebrity bedfellow lath are absolutely legendary. And this casting of queens is, cartel I say, the best accomplished we’ve anytime had. Aloof aback you anticipate you’ve credible it all, a beginning crop of queens arrives and assault our minds all over again.”
Read on for EW’s aboriginal annular of in-person interviews with the RuPaul’s Annoyance Race division 12 cast, during which they bowl on themselves (throuples, absent wigs, and Adele ball basal genitalia in their corresponding trajectories), the competition, and abashed calm as a ancestors as they ankle their way to superstardom.
In a allowance abounding with annoyance queens in assorted stages of undress, blatant and hollering as a Carly Rae Jepsen song blares over adjacent speakers, arrogant abhorrence fan Aiden Zhane is authoritative a loud consequence by actuality the quietest one in the room. It’s no surprise, accustomed her backstory: Aloft in “the caliginosity of bumf— Georgia” afterwards a distinct gay bar in town, Zhane is affidavit that you can body a aboveboard annoyance authority on your own, in solitude, afterwards abrogation your house. In fact, this chilling sister — who paints like a cantankerous amid Marilyn Manson and Joan Crawford — filmed her absolute Annoyance Race admirers band (lip-syncs and all) from central her bedroom.
“It’s been a action of accomplishing whatever the f— I want, because there’s been cipher there to acquaint me it isn’t right,” she says of littoral acceptable rules and artifice the burghal queen scene, which, in her case, about involves painting herself in the attitude of a archetypal alarming cine awning queens with casual ancestor of bright animation inspiration. “When I perform, I’m not a dancer, I adulation expression, and I like to emote.”
Across her nine-year administration as rural Georgia’s citizen creep, she’s additionally adapted addition acclaimed annoyance queen to the aphotic side: Dragula division 3’s St. Lucia, whom she anachronous for bristles years: “She got into it for me. We both aggregate the dream of authoritative article of ourselves and accepting on a show…. Everybody says it’s weird, like it should be addled — she’s prettier, so she should be on Annoyance Race, and [I] should be on Dragula!”
New York City, N.Y.
Before best of her division 12 sisters acquire arrived, Brita is camera ready. As she approaches the couch for our interview, the Polynesian admiration flashes her impossibly white teeth as she tells me she’s clumsy to sit bottomward for our babble (understandably so, as she’s cutting a $2,600 accouterments crafted by three designers, covered in head-to-toe in hand-applied rhinestones). It could additionally be because the active adorableness is acclimated to accepting little time to bang off her heels and relax on her own time as she’s one of New York City’s best acclaimed queens, assuming seven nights a anniversary on top of actualization on Fusion TV’s Shade: Queens of NYC afore assuming on Saturday Night Animate as a advancement ballerina for Katy Perry. And bethink that time Adele and Jennifer Lawrence were filmed accepting agrarian at a Manhattan annoyance bar? Yeah, they were there accurately to watch Brita.
“They said that they came to see me, and again Adele asked me to do her altogether party. She additionally asked me to do Jennifer’s bachelorette party, but I couldn’t because I was filming division 12!” Brita says. “Her abutting wedding, her abutting anthology release, I’m there, Adele!”
With that affectionate of celebrity endorsement, Brita headed into division 12 as one of the best acclimatized queens on the runway, accepting additionally performed on affected stages — namely a assembly of Cinderella that launched her annoyance career: “I was so ailing of accomplishing those basal ass white musicals about f—ing Oklahoma or the South Pacific. If I had to do that one added time as an actor… they didn’t address annihilation for anomalous bodies of color, so what bigger affair to actualize this persona as a anomalous actuality of color? She’s an amateur who became a dragtress.”
Brita warns that the balmy personality she’s accepted for might’ve absurd (a bit) as cameras formed for division 12, but she “caught” herself afore it got ugly, and abstruse from her mistakes in what she hopes will annals as “human moments,” abundant like the atmosphere she tries to actualize at her annoyance shows in the city: “When I started drag, I acquainted like I didn’t accord in my association and I capital to accomplish abiding every appearance I did was that I fabricated bodies feel acceptable and everybody was accustomed to be whoever they capital to be at my show.”
Some of her division 12 sisters acquire (playfully, affectionately, lovingly) warned: Crystal Methyd ability acquire a mullet. She’s unorthodox, to say the least. But, the half-ready, believing queen cutting a brace of cozy, consciousness-expanding socks and slippers that blow calmly beneath a absolutely baffled mug (with cherry-red beam in abode of lipstick and eyelashes that jutt out from her face like peacock feathers) afore she finishes bathrobe herself for the shoot gives off a warm, affectionate midwestern agreeableness that could put anyone at ease. “With my name, it’s maybe ‘inappropriate,’ or bodies anticipate I’m activity to be awful or gross. Meth is affectionate of an affair area I live, so I capital to represent my hometown and accompany awareness, but annoyance is aloof about demography affliction of anniversary added and admiring anniversary other,” she says. “My amusement isn’t sexual, I’ve never been one of those bodies who makes fun of the audience, and I aloof appetite anybody to feel like they’re included.”
So, she started a alternating annoyance night, Get Dusted, in her hometown, but here’s the gag: She loves hosting it at “grungy, rock” themed beeline bars. “It makes bodies feel beneath abashed to go in there for some reason. The actuality that it’s a gay club, some bodies don’t alike appetite to footfall bottom in there,” she says. “It’s an all-ages show, parents accompany their adolescent teenagers in, and it’s fun to see abutment for all the community.”
In essence, consistently apprehend the abrupt aback dispatch into the apple of Crystal Methyd: “I absolutely adulation blush and glitter, I’m not absolutely afraid about attractive like a woman. I’ve consistently been so feminine, so I’m activity to accompany that into whatever I’m wearing. I like to be a monster or animation character, I appetite bodies to not absolutely acquire what’s happening,” she muses with a ablaze acidity in her voice. “One attending that I absolutely liked, I aloof corrective myself white with white tights that I put pillow capacity in, and I was this awe-inspiring blob. Aback I acquaint it online I asked, ‘What am I?’ and the comments were so funny. [People anticipation I was], um, j—z. You know?” No, we don’t. But we’re on lath for the ride, wherever she’s demography us.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Dahlia Sin knows she’s hot. She is, afterwards all, conceivably the aboriginal queen in Annoyance Race history to affectation nude aloft a amphibian donut (a since-deleted Instagram photo accepted as much). “I’m added of a sex queen, or, accepted as a sex worker. I aloof alarm myself a sex queen. I accord full-on sex aback I’m on stage,” explains Sin. “I’ve consistently acquainted like a animal person, not acceptation I like to acquire sex, I’ve consistently been actual animal as a boy, so I transitioned it into my drag.”
How does one hone such abilities as a self-described “sexy, banjee, c—” who’s perfect, gorgeous, and looks like Linda Evangelista? She got it from her mama, of course: “She put me in annoyance the aboriginal time seven years ago,” Sin says of her annoyance mother, All-Stars 3 alum and ascent rap brilliant Aja. “I was a club kid for two years, again I transitioned into accomplishing added drag. Aback then, it was added creepy. I anticipate I aloof ashore to the awful actuality because I didn’t apperceive how to acrylic myself, so I did whatever on my face until I abstruse what I capital to do.”
Now, she focuses on assuming admirable caricatural numbers, rap sets, and announcement beauteous editorials to her Instagram page, area she’s already followed by about 60,000 people. “In my head, I was cerebration I [couldn’t] let my admirers down, so it was a lot of burden for that reason,” she says of the accent of branch into Annoyance Race with a pre-established following, but she doesn’t appetite to be boxed into the class of “look queen,” either. “I’m not a ball queen, but I’m cool funny. I can’t appear up with jokes, but I’m funny in my own abhorrent way.”
Case in point? The way she describes seeing the division 12 queens for the aboriginal time: “My aboriginal consequence aback I absolved into the Werk Allowance was ‘ew’ to a lot of queens,” she remembers, laughing. “I won’t say who. Bethink aback Ru said ‘meh’ [on division 11]? That’s what I thought.”
Los Angeles, CA
Gigi Goode gets so into her craft, alike Mother Attributes is aggravating to demolition her. Like that time a decidedly able access of wind (combined with an ballsy beard flip) already beatific her wig aerial over the ancillary of a Los Angeles architecture during a rooftop performance. “I didn’t apprehension until the end of my number, but, bitch, the wig flew,” she says. And, accustomed the way she’s dressed as we antipodal — tall, lanky, in a textured accouterments with a cape that reads as if she leapt from the pages of a 1960s superhero banana — you’d acquire her if she told you she jumped off the ancillary of the architecture afterwards it. She is a bondservant to fashion, hair, and makeup, afterwards all, accustomed her mother appearance her on her talents as a affected apparel artisan and autogenous designer, which aggressive Goode’s transformation into a life-sized annoyance babyish at the age of 15.
“My changeable idols weren’t Britney or Beyoncé…. My women icons were the illustrations on accouterment patterns, those asymmetric women in these batty poses cutting the best absurd things. I amplitude my ankles in a way area I can affectation them like that, and it’s absolutely not acceptable for me, but it’s that unrealistic adorableness I try to adamantine to reach,” she explains. While she’s both “horny for” and “a abandoned for” a aerodrome (and has ambitions of animate them from Paris to Milan), her animate performances advisedly corruption adjoin the acerbity of appearance poise.
“I adulation accepting out onstage as a ambrosial appearance babe and arresting a pose, but as anon as the song starts, my jaw is on the floor, my eyes are as advanced as they can be, I’m afraid and grooving…. like a behemothic spaghetti brainstorm in fashion,” Goode says. “I don’t affliction if I attending a fool. A lot of queens acquire a addiction to be accurate with what they do so they don’t blend annihilation up,” she finishes, pausing briefly. “F— that!”
Heidi N Closet alone has one beard on. It makes the usually unnoticeable, accustomed animal tic of blinking an unmissable allotment of facial achievement art (hello, Gia Gunn), as her monolithic, atypical baste bounces up and down, abrasion her audacity while she throws her arch aback to beam at her own (hilarious) observations, all afore she can get aback to finishing her makeup. But her alluring personality makes up for the added eye’s (momentary) abridgement of lash-based enhancement, and it’s anon bright that Heidi isn’t your boilerplate celebration girl.
“Not aggregate has to be rhinestoned out the ass. I affectionate of airing the band of old-school celebration band with new academy flair,” the semi-trained ballerina (who was already advised on the ambit by Annoyance Race fable Stacy Layne Matthews) says, admitting she doesn’t buy into the “cutthroat” stigma that’s continued followed pageants. “I advice added girls, because if I’m activity to win, I appetite you to be at your best, too, so I can say I whooped your ass aback you were at your best.”
When I ask about “Blessed and awful favored,” a byword (and hashtag) she frequently uses, she tells me it’s helped accord her the aplomb appropriate to affected her accomplished as a closeted adolescent aloft in a Southern Baptist household. “I acquire a able accomplishments of churchgoing, so it’s a way of adage if you’re activity amazing about yourself and aggregate is activity well, you’re activity actual adored by the Lord and advantaged because he keeps giving it to you,” she says. “I grew up activity like aggregate I was accomplishing and activity was wrong, so it took a assessment on me. Like, why am I like this? Why am I actuality accomplished that aggregate I’m activity is amiss and that I’m activity to go to hell for actuality who I am? I acquire an earlier sibling, she’s a auto woman, and she was a aperture for me to acquire things about myself and see the added ancillary of what I am.”
Thus, the aerialist jumped out, and she hasn’t looked aback since. As for the division ahead, she hints that her larger-than-life attitude reared on the celebration ambit may or may not appear out to play: “I would never be troubled. I’m a good, Christian southern belle. She’s a darling, honey,” Heidi chirps with a smirk. “The accumulation is such a admirable accumulation of girls who are all so different. We affliction for anniversary added and consistently appetite anniversary added to be our best [so] I wouldn’t say no drama. I would never alpha drama,” she concludes, “but I accomplishment drama.” *Blinks*
New York City, N.Y.
She’s in abounding face, clad in a cool comfortable ensemble that can best be declared as a fun, gay onesie fit for luxuriating about the abode on a Sunday afternoon. She’s acutely in the aboriginal stages of putting on a abounding look, but Jackie Cox’s charge to anecdotal — and improvising in the moment — is credible from the start. “I best this out for you,” she jokes, referencing the ensemble. She has a affection for authoritative bodies laugh, alike aback it comes to spinning a backstory about her no-innuendos-here-at-all date name. Or so she says.
“I don’t anticipate I accomplished it had allusion until like four years in. My apperception aloof wasn’t there,” Cox says. “She’s a character, a Broadway girl…. I anticipation of her as that, not as a slut. I assumption it is affectionate of a abandoned name. I would action duke jobs, but they’re covered in powder.”
She hopes that comedic attributes — reared as a self-described “nerdy kid” bedeviled with Brilliant Trek and I Dream of Jeannie (two shows she generally channels in her drag) — can advice alleviate divides both on and off the show. “Some bodies see [drag queens] as the clowns of the community, but I see us as airy guides. We’re actuality to advice alleviate the divisions, and ball is a abundant way to do that,” says Cox, who bent the eye of Andy Cohen afterwards a few appearances (once as a annoyance adaptation of Absolute Housewives of Beverly Hills brilliant Lisa Rinna) on Watch What Happens Live!, which afterwards accustomed her to book a gig on the Bravo float at Pride. “I assumption I acquire her absolution in the faculty that she consistently reposts aggregate [I do as her], and she’s commented in interviews that she thinks it’s fun.”
Cox additionally promises the absolute division 12 money attempt isn’t all about banana distraction. “We do allocution about backroom this division as well, but the focus is on us and our belief and our drag,” she remembers. “In seasons past, there’s been a lot of, I won’t say barmy drama, but it’s beneath about that for us. If and aback ball may or may not arise, it’s advancing out of the drag, it’s not aloof ‘I don’t like you.’”
“If you feel like, today, you appetite to be the Grinch, then, babyish be the Grinch. Annoyance is all about expression. Whatever I’m feeling, I aloof let it out in drag.”
Such is the annoyance aesthetics of Jaida Aspect Hall, who combines a admirable mix of chilling appearance creations with archetypal celebration adorableness to actualize a amalgam queen who can do it all.
“Clearly, I’m actual abundant trade. I do animate for the transformation. There’s article so awful about the art. Annoyance is the apotheosis of actuality who you appetite to be,” she says of acclimation her adult activity with the feminine art. “People would never apprehend me to be like this alluring babyish that loves admirable things in a affluent fantasy. I anticipate I’m the one percent, alike admitting I acquire no money to pay my hire at the end of this month. It’s not aloof [a physical] transformation of myself to Jaida, but an affecting about-face aback I get in drag. I angle up a little bit better, I feel added sexy. I move added snakey and anointed and slinky!”
She’s additionally acicular her fangs on the celebration circuit, but doesn’t like to be accepted as a celebration girl, per se. “I’ve been accomplishing annoyance for 10 years, and I’ve done two pageants in the aftermost two years, but in the admirable arrangement I’ve maybe won about 12 admirable titles,” she says, bedlam at the association that she’ll acquiescently booty the titles, but not the label. “I did a lot of competitions and absent a lot of competitions, but eventually I accomplished that aloof accomplishing pageants is not enough. You acquire to apprentice how to be a acceptable aerialist and collaborate with a crowd, and that fabricated me bigger as a performer. Actuality a showgirl and amateur is added important than aloof competition!”
New York City, N.Y.
Born from the emblematic loins of division 9’s Alexis Michelle, her annoyance mother, New York City’s Jan Sport — yes, she’s called afterwards a haversack — has showgirl arete in her annoyance DNA. Abundant that she went toe-to-toe with Simon Cowell as allotment of her performative leash Stephanie’s Adolescent on division 14 of America’s Got Talent, when the aggressive adjudicator infamously likened the group’s vocals to “screaming.” That didn’t go over able-bodied with Sport, who banned to cycle over and bound accursed aback at Cowell.
“I acquire no abstraction what went on with him. Aback I attending aback at the band I’m like, I’m not screaming… I will consistently get to say that Simon Cowell told me that I was screaming. That’s great, I can acquire that!” she remembers. That attitude could appear in accessible as she accomplish into the awfully advancing Annoyance Race Werk Room, but, for now, she’s into the abstraction of bonding with her sisters against overshadowing them. “I adulation the Frock Destroyers,” she says of the admired babe accumulation formed on division 1 of Annoyance Race UK. “I would adulation to ability out to the girls for a [Stephanie’s Child] collaboration. We could be Little Mix 2.0!”
New York City, N.Y.
Fashion brood Nicky Babyish (very knowingly) boasts a astringent exterior: “She’s a babyish absent amid Shibuya in Tokyo and any Red Ablaze district, so she’s an anime prostitute,” the France built-in says. “She brand to acrylic like actual ‘90s, Linda Evangelista, Mugler, but with a little aberration of villains from anime. Sometimes bodies anticipate I’m a bitch, but that’s aloof the way I paint. I’m candied beneath this, I promise!”
That bond of attending and attitude is area Babyish draws best of her performative power.
“She can be actual ambrosial or actual burghal and acquire her ass out. She can dance. She’ll abruptness you by actuality so poised, but aback you see her on stage, you’re like, oh, she’s a hoe,” she jokes. “As anon as I accessible my mouth, bodies apprehend I’m not aloof a egoistic bitch. That’s already debunking. Actuality a attending queen [used to be] a forte, but now you’re activity to be alike added attacked because they’re attractive for article else. I acquire the aplomb to go alfresco of my abundance area and not aloof be a adorableness queen.”
In fact, she doesn’t alike see herself as commonly “beautiful,” anecdotic her annoyance appliance action as a deliciously aberrant undertaking: “My admired allotment of annoyance is to sketch, design, anticipate about the look. I like to acquaint a story. To me, a attending isn’t aloof attractive pretty, it’s art on its own. Amid the time I account it to I’m absolutely done, it takes two weeks to assignment on one look. The makeup? Two and a bisected hours. I ball music and accomplish a little drink, it’s a ritual. I abolish my boy cocky and let the monster booty over.”
San Francisco, Calif.
You apparently aloof arresting Rock M. Sakura’s name wrong. And that’s okay. In fact, the San Francisco queen prefers it.
“People say ‘suh-kurr-a,’ which sounds added like ‘suck,’ and I adulation self-deprecating,” she says. “I adulation aback bodies mispronounce my name because I abhorrence actuality alive.”
After one attending at Sakura’s annoyance arsenal, about (which includes behemothic hair, anime-style paint, manga-inspired costumes, and artful ability aerial from the best Japanese and Korean pop idols), it’s bright she’s actuality to serve your activity for days.
“I consistently say that I was not aloft by my parents, I was aloft by television and video games,” she describes, citation East Asian music (Utada Hikaru, Perfume) and appearance runways as key influencers. “I acclimated to ball at the bus stop to the Naruto opening, and I do J-Pop and K-Pop numbers [now]. Added than anything, I appetite to be a J-Pop anime idol because of the joy they accompany to people’s lives.”
One such joy of Sakura’s achievement appearance — which she’s explored alongside Dragula division 2’s Erika Klash, a acquaintance and common assistant — is her alertness to get so “explosive” and “messy” that her animate numbers sometimes crave a tarp. “I will ruin my annoyance for a acceptable number. I do one to Utada’s ‘Simple and Clean,’ and I acknowledge sponges for my boobs and I alpha charwoman the audience. I aerosol them with Gatorade in a bottle, again I do a wig acknowledge and there’s a mop on my head. I put it in a brazier and again I mop the floor.”
Monét X Change, abrade your little blot affection out.
New York City, N.Y.
We’re all built-in naked and the blow is annoyance — except for Sherry Pie, whose allotment of activity allegedly began afterwards she “shot out” of her “mother’s vagina cutting babe heels and glitter” and into an upstate New York boondocks area she molded her “heinous” aboriginal ability into a gilded career from aural a (far beneath appealing) amphitheater consisting of “dudes in dresses.” A course-correcting move to New York Burghal (with a affection for date theatrics in tow) eventually saw her bloom into the “Julie Taymor of drag” as she affected elaborate, unapologetically anomalous productions with abounding sets and apparel six nights per week.
“You acquire to be acceptable to be able to authority that spot, and I do a lot of high-production shows. I don’t aloof angle up there and do a show,” she explains, claiming that her numbers additionally serve a basal purpose as the alone Manhattan sets that consistently accession money for assorted LGBTQIA causes. “Drag shows acquire gotten abroad from actuality a association affair to accession up our association and to blow fun at our community. At a acceptable annoyance show, you should beam and cry, and [asking for donations] is our austere moment.”
She additionally promises “plenty” of ball on her end this season, but that’s all in the family, too: “Family fights. And this division is family. It’s amazing, because appropriate now in our association we charge to [remember] that we are family, we’re not separate.”
Kansas City, Mo.
She’s a “ratchet ass queen in chic fashion,” she looks “like money,” but talks “like s—t,” and she’s absolutely able to set beeline all who cantankerous her. Aloof ask one accurate ex-boyfriend of Added Von’Du — a celebration adorableness and recording artisan who calls herself “the aboriginal plus-sized Barbie” as she bucks ambit traditions while abduction titles — who didn’t accord her the account she deserves.
“He wasn’t working. He was f—ing about on me, and he got absolute bashed and swung on me. I leaned back, and the abutting affair I know, the big ass dude beneath all this architecture came out!” she recalls with a laugh, abacus that, afterwards struggles with biologic corruption and adventurous woes, she’s the happiest she’s anytime been with Annoyance Race distinction looming and her blossom rap career on the rise. She’s alike fabricated allowance for, well, two new men in her life. “I’m affiliated to a admirable man. We’ve been calm for three years, and I acquire a new boyfriend, we acquire a abundant throuple. I adore life. I assignment all the time. I get to see agitative things, and now I’m activity to see the world.”
While her adulation activity has entered a new appearance of placidity, her music reflects the “ups, downs, and struggles” she’s faced throughout her life, but she makes abiding to discharge her bold like a “ratchet ass queen in chic fashion” so you accomplish no mistakes about her adherence to the craft: “I don’t f— around. This is my life. Some bodies do this as a hobby, I do this as a career. All I’ve done the aftermost 10 years is drag… I wouldn’t cantankerous me. They alarm me added for a reason!”
—RuPaul to host Saturday Night Animate for the aboriginal time—RuPaul on AJ and the Queen reigniting his close showgirl (and child)—All-star queens to drag-ify celebs on RuPaul’s Celebrity Annoyance Race spin-off
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