Ladies, start your engines
Another day, another RuPaul’s Drag Race. Today (February 28) marks the beginning of the 12th season of the show, which will see 13 queens battle it out to become America’s next drag superstar.
Before it starts, however, we wanted to rank the queens on their promo shots, because first impressions are mandatory, and reading is what? FUNDAMENTAL. This season, the contestants were asked to pledge their allegience to Ru-merica (it’s election time, people), meaning the category is... red, blue, and white.
1. AIDEN ZHANE
We stan a spooky sister, and Georgia-based Aiden Zhane is just that. Inspired by classic scary movie scream queens and cartoons, this look gives us a crossover between Liza Minnelli and Marilyn Manson, not to mention that tiny pussy cat wig. With the plumes of Maribou feathers of her arms and a refreshingly simple makeup technique, here’s a visionary queen whose style doesn’t seem too influenced by the wider franchise. Aiden, we’re eyes and ears.
2. SHERRY PIE
Presumably Sherry Pie used Aiden’s leftovers to concoct this feathery monstrocity on her head. But there’s something electric about the way she’s looking at the camera, which screams theatre-comedy queen. As a whole, the look is a bit like season three’s Mimi Imfurst, but better – I mean, she’s no fashion queen, but something tells me Sherry’s drag will sit in the same school as that of Nina West: Camp! Pantomime! Post-Divine!
*Patiently waits for Snatch Game*
3. BRITA FILTER
A New York contestant, Brita looks like a joy to be around. A self-described theater queen, we expect her to smash the acting challenges. I also low-key want her to sing a duet with guest judge Jeff Goldblum, but that’s pure speculation.
4. JAIDA ESSENCE HALL
This is a textbook toot, complete with a plunging neckline and a whipped cream wig. A sister of season 11’s Mercedes Iman Diamond, this Wisconsin queen clearly comes from a long line of pagent competitors, so we can probably expect some fairly polished and put together looks. But will she bring something new to the table? Watch this space.
5. GIGI GOODE
Gigi Goode looks like a polished Bond villain. Her makeup is perfection and her tartan-esque runway could easily be taken from this season’s Loverboy collection. This is clearly a fashion queen but here’s hoping she won’t fall flat on acting challenges. Maybe I’m overanalysing, but the way she’s looking into the camera looks like someone who’s studied Drag Race, and she’s here to win.
6. NICKY DOLL
The first French queen has arrived. The New York-based artist could easily have been picked from the pages of Vogue with the getup she’s wearing. On top of that, the rings over gloves is very Miss Piggy from the Muppets. Again, there’s no doubt that Nicky Doll will smash the fashion challenges – in fact, I’m interested to see how her relationship with Gigi will develop. In any case, let’s hope she won’t fall short on the acting side of things.
7. WIDOW VON’DU
Let’s be clear: Widow Von’du’s promo pic looks like it’s been pulled off the New Look sales rack, but her runway is vibes. She looks like a Disney villain, and something tells me the acting challenges are where she’ll excel. But let’s return to that look. God, that harness is awful. Fingers crossed she’s a funny queen.
8. ROCK M. SAKURA
Maybe I'm bias, but anyone turning the American flag into something that wouldn’t go amiss on the streets of Shibuya is pretty cool. This San Francisco queen is bringing us an anime aesthetic that just screams Big! Bright! J-pop! My one concern would be that Rock’s makeup isn’t too different to say, that of Trixie Mattel or Kim Chi. Let’s hope this isn’t the only look she can bring.
9. JACKIE COX
As the franchise’s first-ever Iranian queen, I’m really excited to see what Jackie Cox has to offer. A self-described nerd, she seems like that campy, cool aunt who’s always ready to dish out advice (and wine) – so I’m expecting some good mirror talk and asides. This 60s print-clashing air hostess look is a serious vibe, but a concern is the sewing challenges. Fingers crossed.
10. CRYSTAL METHYD
Maximalism is... back? Okay, I'm not dying for this look (she looks like she’s literally being swallowed up by her garms) but my line is thinking is this: that anyone who puts that much shit on their body must be funny, or at least, good at acting. Her lewk is so big because it’s full of sardonic quips and clapbacks. But honestly, it’s a hunch.
11. HEIDI N CLOSET
To quote Raja and Raven, Heidi looks like the hostess of a waffle house. It’s a boot.
12. DAHLIA SIN
It’s undeniable that Dahlia looks stunning in this promo pic, and there’s something very current and Gen Z about her makeup, the baby hairs, and her general presentation. My one concern is will the looks outweigh the personality?
13. JAN SPORT
Gothy Kendoll is back, it seems. I’m sorry Jan, if you’re reading this, but dear lord show me something we haven’t seen before. It’s season 12 and ass-less chaps and a high pony don’t quite cut it anymore. Yawn (*stirs tea*).