The SHADE of it all…
If it’s not the amazing looks, incredible makeup, or hilarious challenges that keep us tuned in to RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s watching our favourite queens compete for the crown. Whether you’re obsessed with the fashion girls, the comedy queens, or the pageant queens, one group of queens that don’t get nearly as much attention are the queens that bring the drama, and stir the pot. Sure, these queens might not always be fan favourites, and they’re sometimes the queens you love to hate, but we have to admit that Drag Race wouldn’t be nearly as fun to watch without them. Whether they created drama during their time on the show, or with behind the scenes facts afterwards, these queens definitely win the race for being the shadiest.
Miss Gia Gunn made herstory as being an openly transitioning contestant on the latest season of All Stars, but her time was cut short after the other queens got tired of her manipulating other contestants by creating drama in the werk room. Not only is Gia a fierce both on and, off the screen, but fans remembered her spunk, and nerve from her first go at the race in Season 7. The other queens might have misunderstood Gia, but she goes down in the Drag Race books as being one of the show’s shadiest queens.
The Laganja vs Bianca feud of Season 6, is a highlight for a lot of Drag Race super fans. We’ll never forget Laganja’s meltdown backstage in that hot pink afro, and the drama with friend Adore Delano that followed. LaGanja is often remembered as creating situations that would make her the centre of attention. To many eye rolls (mostly from Bianca), it seemed to work, because LaGanja is also one of the most memorable queens in Drag Race Herstory.
Bianca Del Rio
Bianca though always outspoken, often on the verge of rude, got away with it being one of the most beloved contestants in the show’s history. During her time on the show, she did start a lot of beef with fellow contestants. Whether it was famously asking Trinity K. Bonet what she did successfully backstage, comparing other contestants to rashes, and asking a number of other queens if they needed help packing, Bianca was always so much fun to watch. To be fair, she described herself as a hurricane with a Rolodex of hate from the beginning so we were warned, but we loved it anyways.
A lot of people remember Season 7’s Pearl for her flazéduh attitude, and may have read her for not being very personable, but Pearl was acting that was for a very specific reason. During the summer of 2018, Pearl finally spoke out about her time on Drag Race, and set the record straight on why she gave the impression that she didn’t seem to care. During an appearance on Hey Qween, Pearl stated that after she expressed how grateful she was to be granted the opportunity to be on the show between shooting scenes, RuPaul allegedly told her that nothing she said mattered unless cameras were rolling. After this shocking revelation that Drag Race might not actually be a magical dreamland where everyone is one big happy family, Pearl was (apparently) blacklisted from ever appearing on the franchise again. How’s that for stirring the pot?
Acid Betty was the villain of Season 8, often manipulating other contestants to make different decisions that would ultimately benefit her game in the long run. A lot of the other girls disliked her technique, but it’s a game henny, and Acid Betty was playing all of her angles. However, some of her most memorable drama came during the reunion episode when Trixie Mattel confronted her about comments made on the show. Everyone, including Betty, was shook. Wigs were snatched, and queens and fans alike were gooped.
Phi Phi O’Hara
Phi Phi was one of the most entertaining villains to watch in the show’s history. Her ongoing feud with fellow season 4 contestant, and eventual winner Sharon Needles has become so iconic it’s been meme’d online, and joked about on the show. When she returned during the second season of All Stars, she vowed to play a different game, though her attitude seemed to pick up exactly where she left off. I think we can all agree that the show would be boring if queens like Phi Phi weren’t cast on them. We need shady queens to add fireworks to the show. Phi Phi is remembered as one of the biggest drama queens in the show’s history, and honestly I would pay big bucks for her to tell me to go back to Party City where I obviously also belong.
Much like Pearl, a lot of Willam’s drama came out after his season of Drag Race aired. Willam has always been outspoken about what it was like to be a contestant on Drag Race, and as a result, a lot of tea has been spilled. This also means that we’re probably never going to see Willam on All Stars (which is so tragic by the way). Though it’s still unclear why Willam was disqualified from season four, there are a number of fan theories on why. And because Willam’s shade often comes off as a joke, every time he answers this question in an interview, we’re still unsure of what is the truth. However it’s widely speculated that it was due to Willam speaking out about some of the unfair treatment of his fellow contestants during long shoot days. Though shady, Willam remains a fan favourite contestant, and continues to throw all kinds of shade and drama on his YouTube show Willam’s Beatdown.
Drag Race wouldn’t be nearly as iconic without the shade of these drama queens. For every glam queen, we desperately need drama to spice up the competition. And as long shade keeps being thrown, we’ll keep tuning in to watch it all unfold.
The SHADE of it all…