Fasten your seat belts and start your engines Squirrels! Another season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has hit the Boob Tube. Yes, indeedy, Season 8 started with a new crew of a dozen Drag Queens vying for the title of The Next Drag Superstar.
The first episode not only introduced the new cast of characters but also marked the 100th episode and 100th Drag Queen to sashay into the limelight and into our mindsets. Adding to the jubilation was the return of the previous season winners who participated in the first challenges of this season.
Season 6 winner, Bianca Del Rio was the only one missing in action, no doubt due to her hectic schedule touring the globe with her “Rolodex of Hate” Show. Fear not! She will surely make an appearance sometime during the coming episodes that will challenge this batch of contestants’ comedic abilities.
Other challenges to look forward to will depict the various skills required to be a bonafide Drag Artist capable of following in RuPauls’ stilettoes. Snatch Game is a fave, as they not only have to look like a celebrity but also tap into their personalities through a crazy game show format drawn from the old Match Game series. Various real celebrities also guest host as judges throughout the season.
We also get to see a more personal side of each contestant's true character that is cleverly revealed under their Drag personas. As the season progresses so does our desire to root for our favorite contenders. From troubled childhoods, abusive relationships, substance abuse, financial woes to other life threatening issues (including HIV) and loss. the Queens reveal sides to their personalities that make them all the more real and relatable. The show caters to its massive gay global audience but is also an educational romp for others that are new to the subject matter.
What keeps many tuned in to the show, season after season, is the glimpse into these characters personal lives that many of us have had no exposure to. Catching a drag performance is all about their stage presence and abilities to entertain. Hearing what drives them and actually goes into their craft has given the general public a rare glimpse into a segment of the gay community that even many of us within it know very little about. Slowly but Shirley…Dorothy even…Drag Queens are becoming a part of mainstream entertainment.
And as an integral part of the gay community they have earned our love, admiration and respect for being at the forefront of many issues that have challenged our well-being. Their presence and determination have been well documented in the fight for equality and social acceptance dating back to the Stonewall Riots in the late sixties to their on going fundraising initiatives in the battle against HIV and AIDS. From local fundraising events, global ones have spawned and created a foundation from which we continue to move forward and owe a huge debt of gratitude.
RuPaul’s Drag Race may be an entertaining and hilarious reality show but under all that campiness, makeup and schmaltz there is a strong message. Ru ends each and every episode with… “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Can I get an Amen?
Make sure you catch this season’ hijinks on OUT TV in Canada on Monday nights at 9pm followed by “Untucked”. In the United States the show airs on the Logo Network. Now Sashay Chantey Sashay!