Ever since its premiere in 2009, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ has been a significant part of the entertainment industry. This Emmy Award-winning reality series – hosted, mentored, and judged by RuPaul Charles – is nothing but a competition amongst America’s most glamorous drag queens. They go head to head in fashion and performance challenges in the hopes of eventually snatching the crown and earning the title of the nation’s next drag superstar. So now, as 2021 kicks of with season 13 of this enchanting series, let’s revisit the fierce winners of the previous seasons and find out what they’re up to now, shall we?
Season 1 – BeBe Zahara Benet
BeBe Zahara Benet is a Cameroonian-American drag performer, television personality, and musician. After winning the first season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ the artist was invited back as a surprise contestant for the third season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars,’ placing in the top four. Since then, she has continued working on her music, releasing a total of eight singles and two EPs, entitled ‘Kisses & Feathers’ and ‘Broken English.’ In 2020, BeBe also co-created, produced, and headlined the Nubia national tour, a live Drag Show that celebrated Black drag queens.
Season 2 – Tyra Sanchez
James William Ross, formerly known by his stage name Tyra Sanchez, has completely pulled away from the drag community, even going as far as to announce his retirement from it. Some reports suggest that this came to be after he was involved in a DragCon controversy in 2018. “For those asking, Tyra Sanchez has fulfilled her purpose in my life. I, James Ross, no longer want to be referred to as Tyra, Tyra Sanchez, her, she, girl, or queen,” he announced on a since-deleted IG post in March 2020.
Season 3 – Raja Gemini
Raja Gemini, who has always taken pride in her constant evolution, continues to evolve as an artist as each day goes by. The make-up artist, who worked on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ from season 4 to 12 and on Adam Lambert, now hosts the weekly YouTube series ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Fashion Photo RuView.’ With how active she is on social media, she can often be seen on her Facebook, enlightening her followers with candid essays. Raja also works as a musician and an actor from time to time.
Season 4 – Sharon Needles
After quickly becoming a fan favorite and subsequently getting crowned on Season 4 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ Sharon Needles released her debut album ‘PG-13’ in January 2013. Since then, she has released two more albums, ‘Taxidermy’ in October 2015 and ‘Battle Axe’ in October 2017, along with one EP, ‘Snoopy,’ which premiered on October 11, 2019. Her official YouTube channel has accumulated around eleven million views, with four of her videos surpassing a million views each.
Season 5 – Jinkx Monsoon
Jerick Hoffer’s drag persona, Jinkx Monsoon, inspired by their mother and a handful of female comedians, has been active since 2011. Apart from Jinkx, whose last name has been directly derived from the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ character Edina Monsoon, Hoffer sometimes also takes on the persona of Deirdre A. Irwin, a Southern medium. Now, Jinkx works as an actor and musician, having released two studio albums, along with a soundtrack one, and appearing on the hit horror-comedy show ‘Capitol Hill.’
Season 6 – Bianca Del Rio
Bianca Del Rio’s post-winning success is one that truly embodies her confidence and brand. She might call herself a “professional clown” in her Instagram bio, but she has proven her worth by extensively touring all around the nation (and world), doing several sold-old stand-up comedy shows. Apart from that, she has also done two ‘Hurricane Bianca’ movies and distributed her book ‘Blame It On Bianca Del Rio: The Expert On Nothing With An Opinion On Everything’ under a major publisher.
Season 7 – Violet Chachki
Since being crowned a drag superstar, Violet Chachki has done wonders in the industry. She has walked the runway for Moschino at Milan Fashion Week, appeared in music videos for various artists, and put out three singles and one EP of her own. And she did this all the while balancing her career as a successful lingerie model and a touring burlesque dancer. Her being placed at #16 on New York magazine’s 2019 list of “the most powerful drag queens in America” was just the cherry on top for her.
Season 8 – Bob the Drag Queen
Bob / Caldwell Tidicue, a non-binary Black drag queen, pursued acting after winning ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ landing roles in shows like ‘High Maintenance’ (2016), ‘Tales of the City’ (2019), and ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ (2019). Most recently, though, in 2020, alongside fellow Drag Race contestants Shangela and Eureka O’Hara, Bob began hosting ‘We’re Here’ on HBO. Over the years, Bob has also released four music singles.
Season 9 – Sasha Velour
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Sasha Velour or Alexander “Sasha” Hedges Steinberg is a drag performer, producer, and entrepreneur who uses her platform as a form of activism. Her zine, Velour, The Drag Magazine (originally named Vym), features the writing and art pieces of queer artists. And her production of Nightgowns, a monthly variety showcase of underground talent from around the world in Brooklyn, does the same. In 2020, Sasha even transformed ‘Nightgowns’ into her own Quibi show.
Season 10 – Aquaria
After appearing in Vogue Italia in 2018, modeling for the likes of Moschino and H&M, and receiving a contract from IMG Models, Aquaria was named the Entertainment Editor for Dazed magazine. She then went on to become the first drag queen to walk down the red carpet of the Met Gala in 2019 and released a make-up palette in collaboration with NYX Cosmetics. Aquaria even performed as a part of Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Beauty Fashion Show during the Fall of 2019 before being cast as one of the rotating drag queens in RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! in Las Vegas.
Season 11 – Yvie Oddly
Yvie Oddly is a drag queen, performer, fashion designer, rapper, and recording artist. She was a part of the North American leg of the Werq the World tour in 2019, featuring ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ alumni, which was hosted by Michelle Visage. Along with that, apart from her eight singles and one studio album, ‘Drag Trap,’ released through Voss Music in 2020, Yvie is also the star of her own reality series, ‘Yvie Oddly’s Oddities,’ which is available on WOW Presents Plus.
Season 12 – Jaida Essence Hall
After winning ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ in mid-2020, Jaida Essence Hall went on tour with Drive ‘N Drag, a drive-in drag show held in outdoor spaces so as to abide by the social distancing rules and restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus. The exposure from both of these helped her land a feature on the cover of Attitude magazine (September issue), which further transformed into an opportunity to be a part of Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Fashion Show Volume 2.
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