So, it's been a long, long wait for Season 7. Will we ever hear an explanation for why we had to wait until March? I doubt it. My best guess is that Logo wanted to pair the Drag Race debut alongside some of its new shows. But regardless, the wait is over, thank the glamour gods. It was rough for me, because this is the first season where I knew two of the girls before they made it onto the show: Trixie Mattel and Pearl! And I was dying to see how they did when thrust in front of a camera and told to be clever or whatever. Now, I love Trixie, and I was hoping Drag Race fans would dig her, too, but I didn't expect her to be the breakout star of the pre-season. Back in January, during my "Week of Ru" voting contest, Trixie won by a landslide. She's travelling all over, booking international gigs, and reddit is abuzz about her.
And boy, are you going to be disappointed.
No, I'm kidding. Although her aesthetic screams "character queen," she's actually really grounded, resilient, and funny. (And a Wisconsin boy, like me!) I thought she handled the "nude illusion" challenge particularly well this week with her "Barbie doll" realness. In fact, I think she really lucked out, because her runway look establishes what she's going for, that slightly deranged take on drag. I'm disappointed that her look was "safe," though, since I would have loved to hear the judges' comments.
By the way, the "nude illusion" challenge was pretty weird, right? Given the ridiculous censoring, it was hard to tell what the queens were actually showing, what was tucked or not, what was scandalous or simply... cheeky. Most of the tearaway outfits were pretty forgettable, and most of the reveals weren't even worth it. The worst were the queens who just stripped down to a badly painted bodysuit. It just wasn't funny, or scandalous, or glamorous, or even very sexy. Really, I think Kennedy had the best approach with her gorgeous, revealing outfit. It showed just enough to be sexy, but it had style, and she worked it. I totally would have drawn it, except that I would have been way too embarrassed to bring it down to my local print shop. (Also, that sheer, shiny fabric is hell to draw. Seriously.)
Pearl did well, too, with her high-waisted panties and angular golden chains. What I love about Pearl is that she's able to paint for the gods and bring this stunning beauty to life, but then she really likes to fuck with it. She's got an arty, subversive edge to her looks and to her character. Which could be good or bad for reality television--she can come across as aloof or just over it, but she can also be really frank and funny. So however that ends up, I'm dying to draw whatever she brings down the runway.
Speaking of the runway, what about the mini-challenge? Again, I thought it was weird. The whole episode was kind of weird. I loved seeing so many stunning looks so soon, but I would have rather seen the girls in an unconventional photo shoot, where we see a bit more of their character, how they reacted to whatever ridiculous scenario the producers had cooked up this time.
I was at the Chicago Premiere Party with my boyfriend during the screening of this episode, and during the mini-challenge, you couldn't hear much of the commentary. It just felt like an endless runway sequence, and my boyfriend--new to the Drag Race--asked me, "Is this the whole show? Just wearing different outfits?"
Luckily, Violet saved the show with her sick, ridiculous look. The flip from the black dress to the tartan pattern was so slick and fast, so unexpected, it was perfect. I'm not sure about the matching cap, but still. So far, Violet's among the top runway queens for me. And right now, I'm digging her cockiness and swagger, but we'll see how that goes.
I had to draw one of Jaidynn's looks, too--I just can't resist a sexy sci-fi superhero. And really, I've been down to draw Jaidynn since she was first announced. She's got so much character and confidence without much of a filter, which makes for great reality television, right? I feel like she could be this season's Alyssa Edwards.
I guess I'm working backwards through the episode, since I'm getting to the first workroom looks now. Sure, whatever, okay.
So, I'm not afraid to say it, but Katya's one of my favorites so far. I knew nothing about her before the "Meet the Queens" videos, but frankly, she stole the show with hers. Like, the absolute funniest, wittiest bitch on the block. Read her tumblr for proof. It's a gold mine. Full of gold teeth. (It'll make sense later.)
Katya's humor can get incredibly dark and twisted, but she brings a perfect playfulness to balance it out. She's the George Saunders of drag.
Yeah, I should have made her look goofier and more sparkly in this, but I wanted it to feel like a Soviet poster or something. Rest assured that any other drawing I do of Katya will be silly and likely obscene.
And finally: Fame. Yes, she comes into the competition with an ego and a reputation. Yes, she will probably be the Courtney Act of this season, struggling to exceed the expectations and assumptions we've already placed upon her. But there's no doubt that she's a stunning beauty, and that she embraces a variety of interesting styles. Both her mini-challenge outfits were jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Her first workroom look didn't feel quite as polished or elegant, but did you really think I could resist drawing shiny purple horn-tentacles? Don't you know me at all?
I wanted a chance to blather by myself about some of my favorite new queens this week, but I'm planning to bring back my "drag dialogue" format with some special guests next time!
You can find most of this week's art on my Etsy store, where you'll also find all my prints, posters, and postcards from previous seasons. You can also check out all my other work on tumblr, and you can read my comics right here.
Since Logo made this first episode available early, I was able to spend more time on this week's portraits. I'm aiming to finish 3 or 4 pieces for each future episode and to post them by Wednesday.
So... see you back here next week? Wednesday, around noon? Yeah?