RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6: Episodes 7 and 8

Joining me this week is Tim “TinTim” Jones-Yelvington, a fabulous Chicago queen and popular commentator on the Drag Race!

Chad: So, I thought these two episodes told a particularly interesting and INTENSE story--most notably about Trinity, Joslyn, Dela, and Laganja. It was almost a relief to get through them in one week! I wouldn’t want to endure Dela’s rough patch any longer than I had to.

TinTim: It was like a little movie, whole storylines began and spun out all in an evening. I wouldn’t call it cathartic exactly, but it was… intense.

Chad: I was truly a nervous wreck for about three straight hours, seriously. Seeing my favorite girl Dela go through those tortuous challenges, the lip sync, the HECKLER! Wanna dish on Dela first?

TinTim: For sure, since she’s my favorite as well. I could tell in advance they were building up for a no-elimination episode, but Ru STILL had me after that lip sync, for a split second I felt pure terror in my heart.


TinTim: What do you think about the whole Michelle thing, asking to see more of the “real” Dela?

Chad: Well, I think character queens have an interesting path to take on this show. Previous queens who’ve come onto the show with a strong character (Like Jinkx, even Sharon) ended up mostly dropping the character, except for certain challenges. As Trinity put it, when Dela’s in drag, she’s Dela. Do you think Dela’s character is holding her back?

TinTim: Well… it’s super weird at first hearing Michelle say she doesn’t know how to connect with her, given that I feel a stronger emotional connection with Dela than I do with most of the other queens who have been on the show… that probably sounds crazy and stalkerish, and it kind of is. But… I think we have to remember that she isn’t privileged with the kind of information we have about Dela -- she doesn’t know that her whole aesthetic is about finding truth and authenticity THROUGH artifice. I think Dela may have a different way of thinking about the distinction between self and art and character and identity and all that, which is part of what I’m attracted to. Like, to Dela, to play a character is potentially more true than his supposedly “true” self.

Chad: I agree--with Dela, it’s crucial to understand that her character has been carefully cultivated over years.Some queens in the past have been criticized for the fact that they keep the exact same voice and attitude in drag as out of it. Dela changes somuch when in drag that it’s understandably unnerving, especially when, as the judges do, you largely see them when they’re “on.”

She’s clearly FAR more self-aware than Laganja, who somewhat bewilderingly demonstrated a complete and utter ignorance of how she acts on set.

TinTim: SERIOUSLY. I think with Laganja, it ultimately doesn’t really matter whether she was “putting on an act” or not, the problem was that she was immature and irritating and alienated the audience. I think Joslyn nailed it when she said, “You demand attention instead of commanding it.”

Chad: Yeah, I can’t help but feel a deep sympathy for Laganja, even though I found her affect as annoying as anyone. Some people withdraw when they’re anxious or uncomfortable, others talk fast or aggressively. Laganja does a bad Alyssa Edwards impersonation and punctuates her non-jokes with a deathdrop or two.

I was really moved when, amidst the somewhat jaw-dropping UNTUCKED after Episode 8, Adore spoke up and essentially said, “The Laganja I love is NOT the queen I see when the cameras turn on.”

Did you expect Laganja’s arc to turn out this way?

TinTim: Not at all, actually. Like a lot of people, I thought they were setting her up for a fall followed by redemption after she confessed some kind of childhood trauma, and that she was one of the young ones they were investing in. Also, like a lot of folks, I thought Trinity and Joslyn might be “cannon fodder” and not as complex and cool as they’ve turned out to be.


Chad: Yeah, I was pretty shocked--despite how much I love Joslyn, I assumed she would be the queen to leave. I didn’t expect Laganja to make it to the final 3, but I definitely expected her to make it to the top 4 or 5. And where was the inevitable lip sync against Adore that all of us expected? My one hope is that Laganja sees how she came across on the show and is able to learn from it. She’s a fiiiieeeerce queen, and I can imagine that she left the show feeling shattered and bitter from the experience.

TinTim: I hope she can earn her diva stripes enough to be able to get away with lines like, “I want the whole world to hold my hand.” Because truth be told, she had some of the best dialogue of the season, I feel like somebody like Alyssa could get away with saying something that ridiculous. It’s very “C.C. Bloom is a deeply feeling person.” Except unlike C.C. Bloom, Laganja hasn’t proven herself enough to talk like that.

Chad: You mentioned that Joslyn and Trinity have grown to be more complicated and capable than a lot of us had assumed. I’m totally on board, though it makes the remainder of the season excruciatingly intense. With only seven left, it only takes one blunder or misstep to land in the bottom two, and at this point, I’ll be sorry to see any of these queens leave!

What do you make of Joslyn’s growth throughout the doubleheader TV movie we saw Monday?

TinTim: Hm. I wouldn’t say she grew exactly… although I guess she became more confident in herself in relation to her idol. But mostly I thought she continued to show that she is smarter and funnier (even if her stand up was a mixed bag) than we anticipated. But I’m actually kind of worried about how quickly everyone turned against Courtney Act for her comments… I didn’t think they were that bad. She didn’t say Joslyn was unpolished, she said she thought she was less polished, and it seemed like she did it relatively honestly and without any mean-spiritedness. I get frustrated sometimes with this show’s fans, at least the ones on the internet -- because while a lot of the time, they seem really smart and savvy, moreso than producers seem to give them credit for, sometimes they also, like, turn on a dime and become all about hating an individual based on one or two onscreen moments. It seems really unfortunate.


Chad: I think the dynamic between Joslyn and Courtney has been fascinating, though I agree--we should always be aware of the show’s editorial spin. Courtney’s essentially reaching out and saying, “Here, let me help you,” and Joslyn is upset that Courtney would think she needsthe help.

TinTim: Which on the one hand I understand, because I am an artist and I get ego, but at the same time, she is the one saying she has idolized Courtney, so isn’t that an acknowledgment that she has something to learn from her?

Chad: Good point!

You mentioned that fans shouldn’t make too much of a single comment--but what about the simmering animosity Darienne keeps expressing toward Dela? That seemed rooted entirely in one throwaway comment Dela made after her second win!

TinTim: Yeah, that whole thing is so weird and uncomfortable to me. It seems like maybe it’s just a combination of Darienne not much liking Dela’s personality, and perhaps also seeing her as her most direct competition. But again, it seems like a lot has been made of very little, even with reference to Darienne -- she has expressed her opinion, but she hasn’t DONE anything problematic, other than be mildly unpleasant, she stays semi-professional.


Chad: Yeah, I find the Darienne/Dela dynamic unsettling, too, particularly since I like both queens a lot. Darienne has had a rough go of it this season-- she lip synched in her first episode, and she’s been consistently criticized on the runway. I can see why she’d be particularly sensitive toward anyone else who’s been shining on the show.

Although I hated seeing Dela stumble through both of this week’s challenges, I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to her as a contender for the crown--she wastoo successful too early in the season, and now this has us rooting for her! Jinkx gained the most rabid fans last year when they (and I) felt compelled to stand up and defend her!

TinTim: Yeah, but I have also really appreciated Dela’s swagger in contrast to Jinkx (not that it’s fair to compare them), it just feels… draggier, more queenly. But I have also heard that Dela has really explicitly stated that she did that deliberately to avoid getting characterized as weak and unable to stand up for herself the way Jinkx did.

Chad: So, the last queen I wanted to discuss is Trinity--she had the most startling transformation over these two hours of television. At the start of Episode 7, she was practically dragged into that workroom, hiding behind those shades. Girl was overit. Ru and Bianca coaxed her out of her shell to give a pretty good performance in the commercial challenge, but I was most impressed with her stand-up set! Besides the jokes, it was her confidence and poise that really struck me, the ease with which she interacted with the audience. I was stunned.

TinTim: Yeah, this turnaround was so startling I almost distrusted it. But at the same time, as a viewer, I was totally sucked in and full of feels, I felt legit proud of her. I always respected her, but for the first time, I felt like I would be okay if she stuck around through the top 3. But then also, looking back, I don’t think her performances in some of the early challenges were as terrible as they were made out to be. She was very uncomfortable, and voiced her discomfort too much, but in the musical challenge and the horror challenge, for instance, she pulled it together and behaved professionally. I think this is because she has discipline and is a perfectionist. So in light of that, combined with the mentorship from Bianca, the transformation wasn’t AS unbelievable to me. But I am glad that people appreciate her now, I hated how mean they were being to her on social media and such.


Chad: I agree, a lot of her earlier performances did turn out pretty well, but it was the grumbling and uncertainty that preceded each of them that was the problem. Especially since pretty much all of the challenges so far have been with teams, her attitude has kept anyqueen from wanting to work with her.

Aside from her stand-up set, her shining moment this week was in Episode 7’s UNTUCKED, when she stood up for the other queens who had been picked apart--Joslyn, Laganja, and Dela. She spoke to each of their strengths, bolstering their spirits. Is she… the anti-Bianca??

TinTim: That was AMAZING. She should become the Iyanla Vanzant of drag. Does anyone remember Iyanla? It was as good or better than anything Ru has done on Drag U or in the Tic Tac lunches. Yeah, she and Bianca could team up to do a great good cop-bad cop schtick, where Bianca breaks people down with her tough love, then Trinity builds them back up like a life coach.

Chad: SOLD.

TinTim: I’m curious what you thought of the makeup challenge in general. I feel like every season, there’s at least one of these challenges -- in the past, I’ve called it the “WTF” challenge -- where it’s really hard for the queens to know what to shoot for tonally -- if you go too funny, you risk not taking the product seriously enough, but if you go too earnest, then it can flatline like Courtney and Joslyn’s. I always have mixed feelings about these “sell a product” challenges -- on the one hand, I think it’s interesting to see them try to learn how to code switch the way Ru has had to in order to function and have a long career in mainstream media. On the other hand, it’s kind of gross and like the opposite of drag’s more underground or transgressive spirit.

Chad: Well, you’re right--it’s a tricky balance. Last year, we were treated to Alaska’s unforgettable “Red for Filth” commercial, but that commercial challenge succeeded precisely because the queens were called upon to sell their own (made-up) product, not the latest thing Ru’s hawking.

I thought that the pairing of the queens for the challenge was diabolically brilliant, and it almost seemed tooeasy that each team was assigned their own theme. Dela and Darienne’s commercial wasn’t terrible, but their deranged, drugged cougars were a little too offbeat to make for a good commercial, or comedy.

TinTim: I thought it was kind of like a Cecily Strong-Vanessa Bayer SNL sketch that failed.

Chad: Yeah, the skit needed a straight man. Like, Dela would be a normal cougar, and Darienne would show up swaddled in bandages from her extensive plastic surgery, trying to act as if everything’s normal. Dela makes everything better with some thoughtful application of RU’S MAKEUP NAME for COLORLOTION.

Ultimately, I was shocked that Bianca and Trinity didn’t win--the whole arc of the episode seemed predestined for it, and nothing will ever beat the image of succesful CEO Bianca Del Rio literallyjugglingher babies on television.

Were you surprised by any of the performances in the stand-up challenge?

TinTim: Trinity surprised me, very pleasantly, as we have discussed. I thought Dela’s delivery would be a lot stronger. Other than that -- not really, I don’t think. I appreciated that they gave it to Bianca… American reality television has such a tendency to reward underdog stories and relatability over actual skills, so I always kind of like when the most truly qualified person wins, rather than the “most improved.”

Chad: I had the same feeling! I thought it would be another case of “Coco” from last year’s Roast of Ru! Bianca killed.



Tim “TinTim” Jones-Yelvington is an author and performer in Chicago, where he walks children in nature.

He posts thoughtful (and extensive!) videos on his Youtube channel about most episodes of the Drag Race.



As always, I've added many of this week's illustrations to The Sellout Store and Etsy.

This week, I also posted an all-ages comic (co-written with my pal Jay Fuller) called THE SORCERESS NEXT DOOR! It's about a young boy who'd rather be an EVIL SORCERESS!

It takes a playful look at gender in a way that any Drag Race fan will enjoy, so please take a minute and read the whole thing for free!

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6: Episode 6

Joining me this week is Megan Marie Metzger, DePaul grad student and lady arm wrestler. She's writing her thesis on the Drag Race, and so I was excited to hear her thoughts on the show!

Chad: So what's your particular focus with the Drag Race?

Megan: Drag Race negotiates gender, class, sexuality and race constantly. It's also a sharp critique of the reality TV genre, where everything is for sale. Reality TV is often devalued as trash TV, and Drag Race is anything but trash. It totally elevates the genre while also bashing it.

Chad: How do you think Season 6 is faring so far?

Megan: Ru has completely flipped the script. We are no longer rooting for the unlikely underdog. Before the season premiere, I was Team Milk.

Chad: A lot of us were! Do you think this season is going to emphasize the importance of polish and professionalism? Bianca, BenDeLa, Courtney?


Megan: And being adaptable. Being able to succeed in any milieu because the queen has perfected her look and persona so much she doesn't have to think too hard about how she would handle a challenge.

Chad: Yeah, that's a really smart way of putting it.

Megan: Bianca is anything but the loser or the underdog. She is polished and professional and her best realized version of herself.

Chad: When you said "adaptable," I thought... "Adore."


Chad: Adore ISN'T polished, nor super professional.

Megan: No. But she could be.

Chad: She rolls with the punches, puts on a good show, and makes for great TV. She even makes her screw-ups funny.

Megan: I love her humor. Her "drop dead" read during the library challenge was everything.

Chad: We had a lot of fun at the library this week! Those girls wrote those jokes ahead of time. Or their friends did. Maybe it was Lil' Poundcake.

Megan: At this point, if you don't come to the show with an arsenal of reads already stowed away in your Caboodle, you're doing it wrong.


Chad: I was interested in the rap battle--and how incredibly uncomfortable some of these queens were with it.

Megan: Honestly, it could have been a lot worse than it was? I kept thinking back to the Body Beautiful, Carmen Carrera's unfortunate reggae song in season 3? Yikes.

Chad: I guess as an awkward white boy from Wisconsin, I cringe at the thought of ever being filmed trying to rap.

Megan: Like Run DMC said, "it's tricky."

Chad: I did love Eve and Trina's input--it was unusual to have two guest judges directing the challenge, rather than Ru herself, wasn't it?

Megan: Yeah, where was B-girl Michelle?

Chad: There was a lot of false bravado on the film set, but I was riveted by Adore. She brought an easy confidence to the challenge--despite her lyrical missteps, she dominated.


Megan: Adore's short asymmetrical wig--so cute.

Chad: Yeah, it was striking and so different from her normal looks

Megan: I love when she said she wanted to be Salt n' Pepa, not N Sync. Adore knows what's up.

Chad: We're starting to see an interesting dynamic emerge between Laganja and Adore--I would bet that, in the clubs where they've met, Laganja tends to outshine Adore. Laganja's presence, fashion, and WILD dance moves are true showstoppers.

Megan: They really are. And Adore is this funny hot mess.

Chad: Adore's fashion isn't as consistent, and her live-singing doesn't always work well in a club with a shitty sound system and rowdy audience.

Megan: Exactly. But this show works to elevate drag as a performance. It's not just lip synching in a bar for a dollar.


Chad: This show loves to surprise us with a queen who emerges late in the season as a serious contender. Last season, Jinkx emerged a few episodes in, and then Alaska really only gained momentum during the second half of the season. Do you see any queens who have been overlooked that will pick up steam as the season progresses?

Megan: Definitely possibly Joslyn. But I have to say I can't imagine anyone surpassing Bianca. Dela has a shot, mayyyybe.


Chad: Courtney has barely gotten any attention the past two episodes--do you think she's got anything up her sleeve?

Megan: She is going to be a star for sure, I'm not worried about that, but, as far as this competition, Bianca has it on lock.

Chad: I love Bianca as much as anybody, but.... I'm suspicious of that. Like, WHY are the producers letting us fall in love with her from the start? WHAT ARE THEY PLANNING??

Megan: They want her to win our hearts.

Chad: But they're also building up Adore. Do you think the top 2 will be Adore and Bianca?

Megan: I do. I think it's going to be Adore, Bianca and Dela as the top 3.

Chad: Me too. Dela is my personal favorite right now. I'm just not sure if she's building the momentum she needs with the show's viewership to get the crown at the end!


Chad: What are your thoughts about Milk's departure?

Megan: Like I said, I was Team Milk all the way, but I was frankly a little disappointed by her performance on the show. It just wasn't the right environment for her, maybe, and that is perfectly fine. Milk was weird, but she unabashedly owned it.

Chad: I adore Milk as a person and as an artist. But he hasn't had the years of experience like the older queens, and he doesn't have the rabid ambition of the younger queens.


Megan: Yeah, and he is a gorgeous tall man who works at Marc Jacobs, and has a super hot ballerina boyfriend. He is doing better at life than any of the other queens, really.

Chad: I do really admire what he does with drag, though.

Megan: Me too. I love that someone who is that good looking likes to get weird. Being weird is usually a defense for people who have been told by society they are ugly (speaking from experience!) and it's great to see a guy who looks like a Calvin Klein model destroy that whole notion.

Chad: I'm excited to see what Milk does as he gains more polish and notoriety.

Megan: I don't want to admit that I was Team Milk because he was so dreamy but...I can't help it! He is fine!

Chad: And he made SUCH a great first impression. That matador look will forever be one of my favorite first looks ever, ranking right up there with Raja in my book. Literally, when I compile a book, I'll put them together in a double-page spread.

Megan: Yeah, his looks I've seen since the show taped are pretty impressive, too. He reminds me of the girls in the Batman movie with Joker smiles after they inhale the Joker's poisonous gas.

Chad: I'll miss Milk. He did us good.


Thanks so much to Megan Marie Metzger for the fabulous chat about this week's Drag Race! You can find her on Facebook , Instagramand at CLLAW events (Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers), where she wrestles as Divine Tragedy, their premiere drag queen wrestler.

As always, I've got lots of fabulous art prints of this week's Drag Race art available for sale hereand onEtsy! Celebrate Milk's time on the show with a print of one of her unforgettable looks!


Next week, there are TWO episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race airing back-to-back. I'm not sure how I'll handle that, yet. Maybe one batch on Wednesday, another over the weekend? We'll see!

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6: Episode 5

Hello, and welcome to the SNATCH GAME! We've got special guest Oliver Sava from the AV Club for an exciting discussion about drag queens, jokes, and superheroes! I've been reading his work about RuPaul's Drag Race for years, and when I saw that he's also one of their top writers about comic books, I knew this was a guy I had to meet. Chad: First of all, EVERYONE is excited about the Snatch Game each season. But pretty much anyone would agree that the actual event is usually a shit show. Any ideas why it grabs our imagination so much?

Oliver: It's usually the moment that we really see which queens are going to cut it each season. Because it's an all-around test. They need to be able to capture the celebrity's look, their behavior, and show some semblance of wit in their responses and interactions.

Chad: I agree with that, but here's what I think the real hook is: It's all about the build-up, the guessing and anticipation: which character will each queen pick? Will it be a total trainwreck? Oh god, WHY would she choose HER? And the pay-off is the TRANSFORMATION, the one queen who totally blindsides you with her brilliance.


Oliver: Yeah I think that's why each Snatch Game is such a thrill.

I loved Bianca on the Snatch Game. The look was flawless. The puppet was genius. And Judge Judy gave her free reign to interrupt and read a bitch because that's just who Judge Judy is.

Chad: See, I love Bianca, she's totally Top 3 material. Girl should get her own damn show. But frankly, I'm surprised she DIDN'T dominate the Snatch Game. She had the character down, the aggressive, in-your-face attitude. But it mostly felt like an insertion of catchphrases rather than the sheer improv genius that other queens like BenDelacreme came up with.

Oliver: Dela was just so clever and so graceful. There was something so smooth about her and Adore's performance. While Bianca is harsh and abrasive, but so entertaining.


Chad: I think the other element missing from Bianca's performance was the sense of transformation--Judge Judy was almost TOO perfect a fit for her, so it didn't bring with it the sense of wonder.

Oliver: Same with Adore--A little TOO perfect of a fit.

Chad: See, I actually was really surprised by that performance. Did you think she had it in her?

Oliver: No. It was the night's biggest surprise. Her body language alone had me cackling. And the inflection. Gillian was right when she said it was performance art.

Chad: Agreed! Because Adore hadn't demonstrated that level of character acting before, it was stunning and the most successful transformation of the night.


Chad: It seemed like we barely saw Courtney and Darienne this week--were their performances lacking, or didn't they fit the narrative?

Oliver: Everyone that was safe was barely featured, except for Joslyn, who is surprising me more and more each week. I would love it if Joslyn beat Courtney, considering how much of a Courtney superfan she is.


Chad: HA! Joslyn is so wonderful. I hope she's a breakout star of the season. I LOVED her deadpan "Cummin" delivery.

Oliver: I loved all of Joslyn's answers.

Chad: "Can I have a Pinot Grigio?"

Oliver: Joslyn's "Mr. Sheffield" killed me. Chills down my spine.

Chad: She's so unabashedly goofy and good-natured.

Oliver: Miss Congeniality, personified.

Chad: Like, the world is not pure and good enough for Joslyn.



Chad: So, Darienne: I LOVED her deranged facial expressions and outrageous wig.

Oliver: I don't know if this was filmed before the whole race scandal, but if it wasn't, Darienne dropped a ball there.

Chad: On one hand, I TOTALLY agree, but on the other, I don't blame her for staying far, far away from any racially tinged humor.

Oliver: Exactly.


Oliver: Dela was so so smart: The cursive writing, the "woman out of time" conceit, those facial expressions...

Chad: Here's what I especially loved about Ben's performance: The wild, magical interactions that spring up from her wit and devotion to the character.


Oliver: She had the best interactions with RuPaul and the celebrity guests, made everything seem effortless.

Chad: I love that she took an outrageous character, and all her interactions just spun out the premise further. When a clueless queen tries to clock you, you MOP THE FLOOR with them.

Oliver: And Trinity was so clueless--Can't believe she didn't write an answer for a shitty wig change.

Chad: Well, that's the thing--for the past 2 or 3 years, this show has focused on queens with a quick wit and fierce performance skills. It leaves queens like Gia Gunn and Trinity in the dust. And frankly, I think the show's focus makes for FABULOUS television, but I feel a little bad for the more traditional queens who are great at what they do, but not viable contestants.

Oliver: If you're not a viable contender, then you just don't win. If you get on this show, that is a victory in itself. Being gorgeous and cunty might get you in the door, but you're going to need to do way more than that to succeed.

Chad: Were you sad to see Gia go?

Oliver: Hell fucking no. Her horrible attitude during her exit made me ashamed that I ever rooted for her at any point.

Chad: "You guys are all still dudes!"

Oliver: Way to demean the art form you've dedicated your life to! Gia actually showed some talent when it came to female impersonation, so it's really disgusting to see her completely shed all her dignity when things don't work out the way she wants.

Chad: I look at it this way: Gia made for good TV. I NEVER root for the "bad girl," but I did enjoy the cattiness of her commentary. I think she's fairly close-minded about drag, and she stayed true to character during her departure.


Chad: So, we covered almost everything I wanted to. Except: Milk.

Oliver: I liked that we saw where Milk's reluctance to go glam comes from. Shocker: it's insecurity. He's probably the most traditionally masculine contestant on the show out of drag and is afraid that if he tries to go for an ultra feminine look, he'll get called out for things that aren't intentional.

Yeah, bitch. It's called learning.


Chad: Milk wore some STUNNING looks to the opening events--that elaborate lacy number, the monstrous black gown...

I'm curious whether he came to embrace that side of his style during the show, or only after he left.


Oliver: Well yeah, after getting critiqued on the show, I hope he would take those criticisms to heart. If Einstein corrects your equation, you better be listening.

Chad: Ha! I would have LOVED seeing Milk outdo Ru on that stage, in some ridiculously huge wig and heels.

Oliver: Thats the thing: you go out there and risk ridicule, but hopefully learn something in the process.



Oliver: My favorite moments are when we see how their drag personas are reflected out of drag. I loved Ben's moment about how there are qualities of Dela that he's applied to himself in order to become a stronger person. These people become the heroes they need in their lives.

And, in turn, make themselves the hero of their stories.

Chad: You and I both love superhero comics, and I suspect that's part of the reason we're also such fans of drag culture.

Oliver: Absolutely.

Chad: The idea that you can transform yourself into something greater, beyond your own limitations.

Oliver: And then how that transformation relates to the person you used to be.



Wasn't that a great discussion? Yeesh! You can read Oliver's AV Club article on the Snatch Game here, and you can find all of his Drag Race posts here!

As I mentioned, he also writes about comics, cartoons, and more! His "author page" is a good place to find all that fabulous stuff.

Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr, too!

(To the right: Oliver Sava, serving up "genderfuck shitshow.")


 Thanks for reading, everyone! Time for my own plugs:

I'll be posting a bunch of this week's art for sale on here and my Etsy store! So check out my latest prints, look through some of your old favorites, have a good time!

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6: Episode 1

Wow, so that was interesting, huh? Opinions seem split on the decision to, well, split the premiere in two parts. In theory, it sounded great--more screen time for all these fierce queens! And what a twist! Can you imagine what will happen when the two groups finally meet?

But ultimately, I think it shrunk the scale of the episode's drama. Or maybe it's because I watched most of the episode on my tiny iPhone screen when the preview showed up on the Logo TV app!

Even with just seven queens, it was really Adore and Gia's show, wasn't it? Their constant commentary ran throughout the episode, much more than any other queen. The only cutaway to Ben I can remember is "Barf."


I'm not complaining, though--both Gia and Adore are welcome surprises to an already stellar cast! Gia is a Chicago queen, and I've seen her steal the spotlight at several shows in town. But we haven't met, and I wasn't sure how she'd fare on the show. But I do love her style, and I think she's bringing just the right amount of cattiness for some good drag drama, without resorting to the shrill, screaming attacks we've seen in previous seasons. We'll have to wait and see whether she'll retain the role of "top bitch" when Bianca enters the picture.


I knew Adore would be gorgeous and funny on the show, but I didn't expect her to be so, well, adorable. In her "Meet the Queens" video, she leaned heavily on her eccentric mermaid character, which I like a lot, but seems to grate on some fans. But she came across as one of the most genuine, playful, and enthusiastic queens of the cast, a really wide-eyed ingenue. I see a lot of Shangela and Dida Ritz in her--tons of talent, not a lot of experience (or gowns), but a really strong contender. Oh, and she has fabulous shirts for sale, so go get some!


Laganja is the only queen who's even more divisive this season. No one doubts her jaw-dropping moves, over-sized personality, or her eccentric style, but there are a lot of questions about her authenticity. I think she'll be a central character of Season 6, and we'll see her struggle with a number of things: her over-the-top mannerisms, her relationship to her drag mother, and her strained relationship with her real mother. She's got an insane amount of talent, and the crucial question will be how she utilizes it, what kind of queen does she really want to be? And will she figure that out on the show?

I couldn't decide between the closer cropped image above or the fuller one before--I can't resist a poofy skirt!


Bendelacreme is a queen I wholeheartedly love, but she's going to be dealing with character issues, too. I've watched enough of her ingenious YouTube videos to appreciate the many facets of her work: the saccharine sweetness, the burlesque teasing, and the incredible inventiveness!


Michelle voiced her concern that Ben's character could get old fast--but the more we see of Dela, the more we'll love her. We barely saw his boy persona onscreen this episode, so I think most fans will be pleasantly surprised by the juxtaposition between the man and the queen. And there's so much more yet to come!


For better or worse, Vivacious had one of the most memorable entrances in Drag Race herstory. Ornacia! That zipper!

I love Vi's personality, her energy, and her imagination! She comes up with exquisite concepts for her costumes, but I sometimes worry about their execution. I'm thrilled she's on the show, but I don't think her interests totally align with its emphasis on polish and glamour.


Oh, Kelly. I love this queen. Such a fierce actress, comedian, and singer. I really, really hoped she'd get a chance to show off more of her talents. This is probably the most brutal first cut of any season, but I hope Kelly bounces back and makes the most of her elevated visibility.

I drew this illustration of her, based on her first look, for her official tank tops! Though I'm kind of dying to add a strip of bacon in her hand. Still, it looks pretty good, right?


This is going to be a crazy season. I can't even wait for the second batch of queens, and I'm especially interested to see new dynamics develop when the two groups combine!

Given the enormous wealth of talent in this cast, I'm going to try really hard not to draw the same queens week to week. Because of the preview released last week, I was able to get a head start on this first episode's art, but I'll usually be posting my thoughts and illustrations each Wednesday, following the episodes.

Thanks, everyone!