RuPaul’s Drag Race has now been on air for ten seasons on networks such as Logo and VH1. Aside from the main show, the franchise has yielded spinoffs – such as the highly successful RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars and the lesser-known RuPaul’s Drag U – and the sideshow known as Untucked. Furthermore, the Drag Race platform has now introduced over one hundred drag queens to a global audience.
With so many former contestants reaching high levels of fame, it comes as no surprise that friendships, rivalries, and unlikely connections would be formed behind-the-scenes. Things are not always what they seem to be on television, and that is certainly true in the world of RuPaul’s Drag Race. In addition, unlike older reality television properties that came before it, Drag Race must also come to grips with the fact that social media can tarnish certain storylines that the show attempts to push, giving contestants the opportunity to tell their own stories on their own terms.
When it comes to a show that is so correlated with the ideas of “illusion,” it is through the behind-the-scenes pictures that fans are allowed to learn which Drag Race contestants actually like or dislike one another, as well as what happened to their personal and professional lives after leaving the series. Moreover, as the queens become more and more popular, they have even developed good relationships with former or current Drag Race judges, which can certainly yield biases during All-Stars seasons.
These are 20 Behind-The-Scenes Photos From RuPaul’s Drag Race That Change Everything.
20 THE VIXEN AND AQUARIA HAVE NO ISSUES
What was supposed to be a beef between Aquaria and Miz Cracker actually became a fight between Aquaria and The Vixen. It all started during the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10, when Aquaria pointed out that Miz Cracker’s drag style was similar to hers, and that many fans had accused them of copying one another. As The Vixen shared Aquaria’s remarks with the other queens, drama ensued.
Despite that situation, it certainly seems like The Vixen and Aquaria made amends by the time that the season 10 finale aired.
After all, The Vixen stated very clearly that she was rooting for African-American contestants – which, in that case, only Asia O’Hara was left in the Top 4 – and for Aquaria.
19 THE HISTORY BETWEEN CHAD MICHAELS AND DERRICK BARRY
Throughout the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race, there have been two very successful and very famous pop star impersonators featured in the show: Chad Michaels, who has built a career impersonating Cher, and Derrick Barry, who is a professional Britney Spears impersonator. Chad was a season 4 runner-up, then won All-Stars 1. Conversely, Derrick was featured on season 8.
Behind the scenes, however, there is more to this coincidence than meets the eye.
As the story goes, Chad Michaels was the very first drag queen that Derrick Barry ever met.
Back then, Derrick was 20 years old and living in Los Angeles. Because of such, Derrick refers to Chad as her “fairy drag mother.” Now, years later, they are both Drag Race legends who share a great backstory to their friendship.
18 AJA AND VALENTINA GET CLOSE
The animosity between Aja and Valentina created some of the most iconic moments in the 9th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. First, there was the “you’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you look like Linda Evangelista” rant from Aja during the Untucked. Then, in the season 9 reunion, Aja called out the fact that Valentina had not won the title of Miss Congeniality. Instead, she had been voted as a Fan Favorite.
Despite the clear animosity between these two queens, they have proven time and time again that they are friendly behind-the-scenes and hold no grudges toward one another.
In this particular picture, Aja and Valentina are seen posing for pictures once again, furthering the notion that regardless of whether or not they are friends, they are not enemies.
17 ALASKA AND SHARON AFTER BREAKING UP
Sharon Needles was featured – and won – season 4 all the while she dated Alaska behind the scenes. Then, on season 5, it was Alaska’s turn to be on the show, but she ended up not winning a crown until appearing on All-Stars 2 many years later.
The breakup between Sharon and Alaska happened in the midst of all of those career landmarks, and both of them have admitted to the fact that things got very ugly toward the end. However, as several pictures have proven over the years, these queens have managed to develop a great friendship between them, getting past whatever issues they had during their breakup.
Over time, it became evident that Sharon Needles and Alaska really love being in each other’s lives.
They just are not meant to date each other.
16 AJA AND AQUARIA TEASED THEIR 2018
All the way back in August of 2017, both Aja and Aquaria had already filmed the seasons that went on to air in the first half of 2018.
Aja, fresh off of her appearance in RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, went on to film All-Stars 3, which premiered in January of 2018. On the other hand, Aquaria also filmed in 2017 her run on the 10th season of Drag Race.
Moreover, both Aja and Aquaria are queens from New York City, which certainly links their careers off of the show. What is interesting about this picture is that they were probably already teasing the fans about what would be airing the following year. After all, both of them were on a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2018.
15 BOB THE DRAG QUEEN AND MONET X CHANGE ARE TWINNING
As soon as Monet X Change appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10, fans were quick to point out how physically similar she looked to Bob the Drag Queen, the winner of season 8. What many fans did not realize is that those similarities probably exist due to the fact that these queens are extremely close to one another, having been friends for many years.
In this particular picture that was taken several years ago, Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change play with those similarities.
These queens regularly call each other “sibling” and have been very welcoming to the comparisons among the two.
In 2018, Bob and Monet even launched a podcast called “Sibling Rivalry,” in which they constantly bicker just like brothers or sisters.
14 AQUARIA IS SHARON NEEDLES’ DRAG DAUGHTER
It may have gone unnoticed during the entire season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but the truth is out there. Aquaria, who was crowned the winner of season 10, is actually the drag daughter of Sharon Needles, the winner of Drag Race season 4.
When asked by RuPaul during the show about which other drag queens were in her life, Aquaria failed to mention Sharon, and many fans believe that it might’ve been on purpose. After all, signaling to the other competitors that she was closely related to such an important drag queen could’ve made her a target to others.
In hindsight, however, it is certainly curious to analyze the power that Sharon Needles has. After all, her drag daughter, Aquaria, won Drag Race season 10, and her ex, Alaska, won All-Stars 2.
13 MILK AND MARC JACOBS
Milk was originally a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 6. After appearing in the show, Milk developed a massive career not only as a drag queen, but also as a male model. Specifically, Milk – or Daniel Donigan – developed a great professional relationship with Marc Jacobs, who had been one of the guest judges on the show.
As the years went by, Marc Jacobs became somewhat of a regular figure in the Drag Race mythos, either serving as a guest judge or being name-dropped here and there.
What was particularly curious is that both Milk and Marc were featured on Drag Race: All-Stars 3, just not at the same time.
As a matter of fact, Marc Jacobs appeared on the very next episode of All-Stars 3 after Milk’s elimination. It would’ve been awkward for Marc Jacobs to judge his friend if Milk had stayed in the show, right?
12 S9 AND S10 WINNERS PHOTOSHOOT
Back in March of 2018, as Drag Race season 10 was just getting started, Aquaria and Sasha Velour were picked by Vogue Italia for a photoshoot. Judging from the fact that Sasha won season 9, it was certainly curious, to say the least, that Aquaria joined her for a photoshoot for none other than Vogue.
In hindsight, it certainly seems like this photoshoot was foreshadowing what was going to happen much later during season 10, ultimately resulting in the crowning of Aquaria as the winner of Drag Race and successor to Sasha Velour.
The contestants are not allowed to say anything that happened during their seasons. However, one has to wonder whether Aquaria did not spill the beans and let Vogue know that she was in a great position to take that crown.
11 BENDELACREME AND JINKX MONSOON
For the most part, fans love clinging to the friendships that they see on-screen during RuPaul’s Drag Race. However, the fact of the matter is that many former contestants from different seasons have formed great friendships that go largely unacknowledged by the franchise’s fandom.
For example, BenDeLaCreme – who appeared on Drag Race season 6 and then on All-Stars 3 – is best friends with season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon.
The friendship between the two is largely due to the fact that they are both very famous former Drag Race contestants who reside in Seattle.
Still, their friendship is definitely one that most fans are unaware of, because Ben and Jinkx have never really shared any airtime in the Drag Race franchise.
10 THE TOP 3 OF SEASON 6 IS STILL VERY TIGHT
The friendships formed on RuPaul’s Drag Race often have a summer camp feel to them. They all seem solid and like they are meant to last for a long time, but more often than not, the contestants end up going their separate ways and not meeting again.
Well, that is certainly not the case when it comes to the top 3 of Drag Race season 6, composed of Adore Delano, Bianca del Rio, and Courtney Act. Also known as the “ABC of Drag,” these three contestants remain great friendships who regularly see one another even in 2018, four years after season 6 aired on television.
Furthermore, this is arguably the most successful top 3 in the history of Drag Race.
9 DERRICK BARRY’S THROUPLE
A throuple is a couple of three, which is the relationship that Derrick Barry has had for years. Many fans may not realize, but Derrick has been in a relationship with two men since before appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8. Furthermore, that relationship still stands as of today.
Derrick Barry dates both Nick San Pedro, who is a hair stylist, and Nebraska, who is a professional drag queen who has yet to appear on Drag Race.
Behind the scenes, both Nick and Nebraska are heavily involved in Derrick’s life and career. However, on screen, it certainly seems like Drag Race never really tackled that subject, despite the fact that Derrick is very comfortable speaking about it.
8 BLAIR ST CLAIR AND THE VIXEN ARE BESTIES WITH MIZ CRACKER
Regardless of what was shown on screen during RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10, The Vixen has great relationships with most people that she has met and worked with, including Blair St. Clair and Miz Cracker, whose merch Vixen sports in this photo.
It is a common misunderstanding among fans to assume that The Vixen does not get along with other queens. However, time and time again, these queens have been seen hanging out with one another even in non-professional settings.
On Twitter, The Vixen has repeatedly referred to herself, Blair St. Clair, and Miz Cracker as a “trio,” displaying great love toward her sisters.
As it stands, the only problems that The Vixen has not been able to fix are those with Eureka and RuPaul herself.
7 MORGAN MCMICHAELS AND ROSS MATTHEWS POSE TOGETHER
Speaking of Drag Race contestants who are friendly with judges: Morgan McMichaels, a season 2 constant who was later seen on All-Stars 3, actually has a friendship with Ross Matthews outside of the show.
Morgan is a regular performer at clubs in Palm Springs, where Ross has a residence. During Drag Race: All-Stars 3, Ross alluded to the fact that he had watched Morgan perform a few times. However, fans were probably unaware of the extent of their affinity for one another.
In this picture, in which Ongina (from season 1 of Drag Race) is also featured, Ross Matthews and Morgan McMichaels are seen behind the scenes during a show in the Toucans Tiki Lounge in Palm Springs, California.
6 DERRICK BARRY AND ROBBIE TURNER MET IN 2011
Derrick Barry might be a famous Britney Spears impersonator in Las Vegas, but back in 2011, this queen apparently had some time to dress up as Lady Gaga as well.
In this picture, Derrick is seen alongside Robbie Turner, proving that they have known one another for over seven years.
It is certainly interesting that, years later, both Derrick and Robbie would become famous RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni.
The irony of it all is that both Derrick Barry and Robbie Turner were featured on season 8 of Drag Race. Also, it was Derrick who sent Robbie home during a “lip-sync for your life” on episode 6. As of recently, Robbie has shied away from social media, after being the center of an internet controversy that pertained to a car accident she claimed to be in.
5 BEHIND THE SCENES OF THAT INFAMOUS WINNERS PICTURE
In 2016, right before the premiere of Drag Race season 8, RuPaul reunited with the eight winners that the franchise had already spun for an infamous photo op.
In the picture were BeBe Zahara Benet, Tyra Sanchez, Raja, Sharon Needles, Jinkx Monsoon, Bianca Del Rio, and Violet Chachki, as well as Chad Michaels, who had won the first All-Stars season.
In the picture seen above, we are able to see behind-the-scenes of that famous picture, including the presence of other Drag Race contestants and even Mathu Andersen, who is RuPaul’s longtime collaborator.
Due to various scheduling conflicts, it is unusual for all – or at least most – of the Drag Race winners to be able to come together and be in the same room at the same time. In 2018, those odds seem even more unlikely.
4 THORGY THOR AND BOB THE DRAG QUEEN STRIKE A POSE
One of the most prominent season 8 storylines centered around the fact that Thorgy Thor regularly got annoyed by Bob the Drag Queen. Some fans considered Thorgy’s annoyance as a form of jealousy, particularly due to the fact that Bob was outpacing the other queens by a lot in the competition. It certainly seemed like Thorgy was not entirely pleased with Bob’s behavior during various situations.
However, behind the scenes, Thorgy Thor and Bob the Drag Queen have a healthy relationship.
The two queens have been seen together several times, either working or hanging out.
Furthermore, Thorgy was featured on Drag Race: All-Stars 3, where she poked fun at Bob like a friend would.
3 OUT OF DRAG QUEENS
It is not every day that you can see queens in and out of drag in the very same picture. In this particular shot, we can see RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Aja, Stacy Layne Matthews, Alexis Mateo, Mariah, and Jade Sotomayor hanging out with boy versions of Shangela, Chi Chi DeVayne, and Serena ChaCha.
This picture brought together a wide variety of queens from different seasons of Drag Race, from season 2 (Shangela) up until season 9 (Aja).
Other highlights in this picture include the fact that Chi Chi DeVayne, Shangela, and Aja were all featured on Drag Race: All-Stars 3, and that Alexis Mateo’s drag daughter, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, was featured on season 10, which premiered the week after All-Stars 3.
2 BONDING IN BRAZIL
They might all have been from completely different seasons, but Shangela (seasons 2, 3, and All-Stars 3), Peppermint (season 9), and Detox (seasons 5 and All-Stars 2) certainly found time to take a trip and hang out down in Brazil. In this picture, the queens are seen out of drag and alongside other friends.
In general, it is common for RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants to tour together in shows that are put together by professional touring agencies. Thus, certain queens from different seasons are put together in these lineups and end up forming unlikely friendships while they travel the world to perform.
That certainly seems like the case here, particularly because Shangela, Peppermint, and Detox are all based in different cities in the United States.
1 SHANGELA, KENNEDY DAVENPORT, AND FARRAH MOAN ARE OUT OF DRAG FRIENDS
Who knew fierce queens could look so good as boys, too? In this picture, the always glamorous Kennedy Davenport, who is known for being a professional in pageantry, is seen in her boy drag alongside Shangela and Farrah Moan.
Farrah still has her signature pink hair even in “boy drag,” so she is the one who looks more recognizable in the picture.
Shangela and Kennedy Davenport’s friendship took center stage during Drag Race: All-Stars 3, where the queens refused to send one another home even when they were put in situations to make a decision. On the other hand, Farrah Moan was featured on season 9, but rumors have been swirling that she might appear on a future season of All-Stars.
What's your favorite behind-the-scenes friendship on RuPaul's Drag Race? Let us know in the comments!