We all freaking love RuPaul’s Drag Race, and if you don’t you should be ashamed of yourself. The best reality show on television just finished an amazing 2016 with their 2nd edition of All Stars and a phenomenal 8th season that rebounded from a devastatingly boring 7th season. Earlier this year in March, I did a highly debated article on who I thought were the top 10 queens of all time on RuPaul’s Drag Race, however with the addition of the stellar season 8 queens and the re-emergence of the All Stars 2 cast, it has changed my mind on who currently sits not only in my top 10, but my top 20 as well.
Based on the overall effect the show has had on each queen, and where they stand right now in the public light, is how I have determined the top 20 best queens this show has ever had. What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Sound off and let me know!
20. Ongina, Season 1
Ongina to me was one of the two best queens to come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race original season (the other being the amazing Nina Flowers). While Ru was shiny with her Barbara Walters lens, Ongina’s true talents were crystal clear each week as she dominated early on and won the Mac Viva Glam challenge while bravely admitting her HIV status. I was shocked that she did not appear on All Stars 2 (or 1, quite frankly), and am hopeful that she is able to make a return at some point as her beauty and talents are incredibly unique.
19. BenDeLaCreme, Season 6
With a personality as effervescent and giddyish as all get out, BenDeLaCreme made quite the splash in Season 6 that led her to being one of the true frontrunners against an incredibly difficult group of girls to beat. The show has a tendency of eliminating the true fan favorite in 4th or 5th place, so it was a true shocker to see Ben go home against Darienne Lake in the final five, as I personally thought she slayed the last challenge she was in and did a great lip sync as well. She had a great personal back story about her mother and growing up being bullied to get to where she is now, and is a big reason why Season 6 is seen as the best season ever by many Drag Race fans.
18. Trixie Mattel, Season 7
As previously discussed, season 7 just didn’t live up to the other seasons as it was primarily dull and lackluster. That cannot be said, however, about Trixie Mattel, who was so beloved that her elimination caused the biggest social media uproar the show has ever seen. Inspiring the hashtag #justicefortrixie, Trixie’s one of a kind makeup skills and hilarious personality propelled her back into the competition when she won the right to return a couple of episodes later. Breaking the spell of returning queens who go home right after they come back, Trixie fought tooth and bedazzled nail to get to the top 6 and become one of the two most liked drag queens from her season (more on that later). Her YouTube clips are hysterical and I hope we see more from her in Drag Race’s big future.
17. Kim Chi- Season 8
Kim Chi’s unbelievably gorgeous aesthetic and lovable personality made her an easy person to potentially win the crown on Season 8. After winning the first challenge, she continued to find her stride (not so much with her walk, hehe), in the group and acting challenges while keeping a friendly and fun demeanor throughout. With the exception of one other queen (more of that to come, as well), she hands down is the best makeup artist the show has ever seen and was a joy to just watch. Word to the wise: Donut come for her.
16. Willam- Season 4
I said it before in my previous article, but I love and admire Willam. For so much of what she did on season 4 with being unapologetically brash, bold and herself, I don’t think we have ever seen someone with her type of personality and had the fashion and acting skills to back it up. I’m not sure why they won’t bring her back on All Stars or any of the Drag Race related events, but I do hope there is an emergence of Willam on the show sometime in the future. She has a crown that was stolen from her that I think she needs back.
15. Manila Luzon- Season 3 and All Stars 1
Manila’s drag personality was dressed in colors, funny faces and hilarious moments throughout Season 3 that made her a surefire contender to win it all. Every outfit that she wore stood out for all the right reasons, and her version of Imelda Marcos still rings as one of the best Snatch Game impersonations the show has ever seen. Also, and I know I discussed this before, but her lip sync to Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” brought the house down, the city down, and the country down. Boots.
14. Ginger Minj- Season 7 and All Stars 2
Ginger to me was brutally robbed of the crown in season 7. It still amazes me how she didn’t win. It’s not that I think she should’ve been the first big girl to win, but everything she did in her season (minus dancing) was superb. She reminds me of a modern day Divine with her amazing acting abilities to her campy but sometimes glamorous outfits and a lovely personality. I was glad that she got to showcase that again in All Stars 2, even though she left early, but it was a big reminder of why she should’ve won the crown over someone who simply excelled in corset training.
13. Raven- Season 2 and All Stars 2
The definitive second place girl from RuPauls Drag Race, but at the same time… that doesn’t mean its a bad thing. When it is universally known that she should’ve been the winner of season 2, and even All Stars 1 for the most part, it shows that you don’t have to win the show for people to think you are an actual winner. And that Raven is, in so many different ways.
12. Raja- Season 3
Raja, who costars with Raven on the hit YouTube series “Fashion Photo Ruview”, was already known for anyone who watched “America’s Next Top Model” prior to her being on season 3. To me, Raja is the best runway walker the show has ever had, as well as the best makeup artist. Those two things were key in her winning in season 3, and her outfits were to die for. She also had a brash and cool edge to her that drew people to her both in her original series and what her weekly series on FPR.
11. Tatianna- Season 2 and All Stars 2
Tatianna is proof that you can introduce yourself to a brand new audience and become incredibly loved and rooted for compared to the newer line up of girls have. She was a true underdog in her original season years ago, and was a surprise choice by many to be part of All Stars 2. She truly showcased why she belonged there in the first episode with her genius spoken word showing of “The Same Parts”. She was eliminated the episode after, but came back strong when she returned to the competition a couple episodes later and showed what an amazing force she is. Gorgeous, keen, quotable and so much more, Tatianna has now entered in a new realm of Drag Race superstardom and I am thrilled the show brought her back to prove all of that.
10. Jujubee- Season 2 and All Stars 1
Jujubee is interesting because she is the only queen to ever make it to the top three in her original season and never wining a challenge. That didn’t matter though, as her quirky funny, hilarious reads, face that was beat the house down and fun style made her a true contender against Raven and Tyra Sanchez to win in Season 2, which she continued to prove when she appeared on All Stars 1. Sure she loves Big Dick and Fried Chicken, but we love her for so much more than just that.
9. Detox- Season 5 and All Stars 2
When Detox walked through the doors of season 5, I figured she would be the winner as her whole look was quite mesmerizing. With the best catch phrase the show has ever had (I’VE HAD IT, OFFICIALLY), and a killer style that evolved even further with her appearance on All Stars 2, Detox truly showcased what a wonderful talent she is not only aesthetically but as a great actress and comedian in both season. Just like Raven, you don’t need to win a title to prove what a force you are on the show and in drag culture.
8. Bob the Drag Queen- Season 8
As a fellow New Yorker, it didn’t surprise me that Bob easily took home the crown in season 8. Her bold and honest take on drag was quite appealing to the masses and catapulted her to the final three without ever really having a misstep. Her acting abilities were hysterical in everything from the political ad to the parody of the show “Empire”. Purse first indeed.
7. Jinkx Monsoon- Season 5
Jinkx was another underdog that went up against a ton of amazing queens, many who are on this list, to win her season with her ode to classic glam with modern humor and so much more. I loved how she didn’t cow tow to any of the girls that were bullying her, and really stood her ground to get all the way to the end, never being in the bottom two until the top four. Monsoon season is still in full effect all these years later.
6. Sharon Needles- Season 4
Sharon Needles is fully responsible for why the show has improved drastically with such a huge array of audiences that watch the show. We never saw anyone like Sharon on the show in the past, whose Halloween inspired drag looks shook up the competition and made the other queens shake in their heels with just how talented she really is. All of that made for her to be an easy winner in Season 4, and she has continued a fabulous career with making some amazing hit records and truly being the Queen of Spook.
5. Alyssa Edwards- Season 5 and All Stars 2
You will never have a better, more quotable and genuinely funny character than Alyssa Edwards. I had such a problem with her storyline in Season 5, in that even though you saw how funny she was, it was unfortunately masked by her relationship with CoCo Montrese that dragged throughout the season. Even though Coco was on All Stars 2, they mended fences and you saw what a fantastic gift Alyssa is with her in your face fashion, tongue popping, hysterical abilities as well as a softer and more vulnerable side which we saw in the family challenge. Had Detox not eliminated her, she would’ve been another great contender to win All Stars 2 and I would’ve loved to have seen her verse on the “Read U, Wrote U” song. Always and forever.
4. Latrice Royale- Season 4 and All Stars 1
Latrice, otherwise known as the Drag “Oprah”, has an inviting quality about her that I don’t think any of the other queens on the show has truly perfected. She excelled in her colorful style, acting abilities and the fact that she could read you the house down but you understood that it was coming from a place of love. I have a soft spot in my heart for Latrice with her brave back story and truly enjoy how she is still loved by millions all these years later.
3. Alaska 5000- Season 5 and All Stars 2
When I made my original list of top 10 queens in March, a common complaint I got from readers was that I didn’t include Alaska in my top 10. I originally had her right outside of that, but given what she did in All Stars 2, I couldn’t deny what a force she is both on the show and in drag culture overall. This is someone who auditioned for the show 5 times before finally getting on. Her partner at the time, Sharon Needles, even got on before her and won. To have that pressure going into her original season had to be a lot, but she took that pressure head on and was incredible to watch her blossom as the show progressed. She made it all the way to the final 3 in her season, narrowly losing to Jinkx, but when she came back for All Stars 2, it kind of became a foregone conclusion that she was going to win. She expertly excelled at every challenge handed to her, won all her lip sync’s that she was in, and made a compelling speech that earned her the All Stars 2 win. Can’t wait to see what is next from this amazing queen.
2. Katya- Season 7 and All Stars 2
Katya is the most innovative queen to ever come out of RPDR. Easily. That was shown so much in her original season, yet her fears and insecurities didn’t let it shine through as much as she wanted. Cue her being on All Stars 2 and those fears and insecurities were flushed away and she truly shined in all her of Katya glory. Each outfit that she concocted was brilliant, every acting challenge was hysterical and unique to what her brand really is. Her laugh is infectious and people rooted for her more than any other queen for All Stars 2. Just like Raven, you don’t need to win to prove anything. You’ve got this. And she does.
1. Bianca Del Rio- Season 6
Not changing my thoughts on number one at all. Bianca really is queen and if RuPaul really is all about branding yourself, then she has done it better than anyone else to be on the show. After blitzing the competition in Season 6 to an easy win, Bianca has gone full force not only in drag culture but the mainstream media with her comedy special being aired on LOGO and her own movie “Hurricane Bianca” which drew rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Seems like clown realness is something we all need, and Bianca continues to prove why she won her season and where she is today. Baloneyyyyyyyyyy.