As RuPaul himself would put it, RuPaul’s Drag Race is about the tenacity of the human spirit. The contestants on the show are asked to elaborate looks, sew clothes, put on makeup, compose songs, write lines for acting challenges, perform comedy sketches, and sell the judges on their personality. In the case of Drag Race All-Stars, they are also asked to make the decision regarding which contestant should be eliminated each week.
In the midst of all of those obstacles, the queens form alliances and uncover rivalries that often outlast their seasons, perpetuating bonds and wounds created on the series.
With over over 100 drag queens having been introduced to mainstream television audiences, there is a pool of both kinship and animosity between certain RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, who constantly work together on tour and in bars, and might even run into one another during an All-Stars season.
This list explores some of the very best friendships the show is responsible for, as well as some of the ugliest beefs in the history of reality TV. Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best BFFs - or frenemies - win!
This is RuPaul’s Drag Race: 7 Queens Who Are Best Friends (And 8 Who Are Frenemies).
15 FRENEMIES: MIZ CRACKER AND AQUARIA
An ongoing storyline during Drag Race season 10 has been the complicated and tenuous relationship between Miz Cracker and Aquaria, two queens from New York City who have been regularly compared to one another, on and off the show.
During the very first episode of the season, it was pointed out by Aquaria that Miz Cracker had "stolen" some of her looks, and despite a clear effort from Miz Cracker to not engage, the two of them are clearly not the best of friends.
Aquaria also went on to fight with The Vixen during season 10, but it is clear that, animosity aside, a frenemies relationship had to be developed between Miz Cracker and Aquaria in order for them to work and coexist in the NYC drag scene.
14 BEST FRIENDS: SHANGELA AND KENNEDY DAVENPORT
It is unfortunate that many Drag Race fans have gone on to claim that Kennedy Davenport took a finalist spot that belonged to Shangela during All-Stars 3, especially because these two queens are very close to each other.
Thankfully, however, it was the jury of the eliminated contestants that chose the Top 2 of that season, thus having little to no effect on the strong friendship between Shangie and Kennedy.
Kennedy Davenport often refers to Shangela as a “sister for life,” and they both regularly share pictures working or hanging out together.
Despite being from completely different Drag Race seasons originally, these queens met one another off the show and went on to solidify their friendship during All-Stars 3, which they were both a part of.
13 FRENEMIES: AJA AND VALENTINA
There are several notable moments from Drag Race season 9, and Aja’s Valentina read during the Untucked segment is among the most memorable ones. The “You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you look like Linda Evangelista” quote is now integral part of LGBTQ culture, and it ultimately earned Aja a spot on All-Stars 3 despite having just been on air during season 9.
Despite the fact that Aja and Valentina have since publicly buried the hatchet, it certainly seems like their relationship never went further than the frenemies status.
On Aja’s newest single, appropriately titled “Finish Her,” the drag queen raps, “Y’all like her for no f***ing reason / She don’t even like you” and “This b**** ain’t model for more than a year,” which are references that seem targeted toward Valentina.
12 BEST FRIENDS: SHEA COULEE AND SASHA VELOUR
As a contrast to Aja and Valentina, there was the beautiful friendship among Sasha Velour and Shea Coulee during season 9.
The two queens were neck-to-neck during several challenges and even had to lip-sync against one another in order to earn a spot at the Top 2, but despite all of those competitive elements, Sasha and Shea’s friendship prevailed.
The highlight of Shea Coulee and Sasha Velour’s chemistry during season 9 was during an acting challenge in which the two queens were morning talk show hosts.
After the crowning of Sasha, many fans argued that Shea was “robbed” and should have been the actual winner of the season, but once again their kinship between one another was stronger than a rivalry that could have been potentially been nurtured.
11 FRENEMIES: DETOX AND WILLAM
Drag Race alumni Willam and Detox formed a supergroup alongside Vicky Vox and released what would become the ultimate 2013 gay anthem: parody of Alicia Key’s “Girl On Fire.” However, the song’s massive success brought upon legal and financial complications to those involved, breaking up the group and creating animosity between the queens.
After Vicky Vox completed cut ties with the group, Detox called Willam a “bearded snake in the grass,” to which Willam replied, “We don’t hate each other, they hate me.”
It is one the most public fallouts in RuPaul’s Drag Race history, despite the massive success that the single achieved.
More recently, Willam went on to tour with another supergroup of drag queens, the AAA Girls, alongside Alaska and Courtney Act.
10 BEST FRIENDS: TRIXIE MATTEL AND KATYA
Trixie Mattel and Katya met during RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7, which aired in 2015, and went on to become the best of friends.
After Katya’s massive success on Drag Race All-Stars 2, she and Trixie created a YouTube series called UNHhhh and, in many ways, became the most popular spin-off series of the Drag Race franchise besides All-Stars and Untucked.
It was no surprise that Trixie Mattel would be on All-Stars 3, but unlike Katya, Trixie ultimately won the season. The pair was so successful on All-Stars and UNHhhh that Viceland decided to give them their own show on cable TV, called The Trixie & Katya Show. The two remain the best of friends with a chemistry that shines throughout the talk show series.
9 FRENEMIES: RUPAUL AND PHI PHI O’HARA
Phi Phi O’Hara was deemed the villain of season 4 for having fought with Sharon Needles, who was the clear frontrunner of that season and ended up being crowned the winner.
When it came time for Drag Race All-Stars 2, Phi Phi saw an opportunity to redeem herself with fans of the show and was allegedly promised by producers that she would get her redemption through the show’s editing as well. After All-Stars 2 aired, it became clear that Phi Phi was still seeming like a villain, to which the queen tweeted: “I have decided that I'm not attending the RuPaul’s Drag Race reunion. I don't feel the show, producers or host have the best intentions for me.”
A clearly bothered but classy RuPaul responded to the Phi Phi rampage by saying that it was up to every contestant to decide what they would do with the Drag Race platform.
8 BEST FRIENDS: KIM CHI AND NAOMI SMALLS
Season 8 alumni Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi are one of the tightest and most public friendships that have come out of the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise.
The pair made it to the Top 3 of the season and ultimately lost the crown to Bob the Drag Queen, but they became extremely close to one another, which is clear from the Instagram and Twitter feeds of the queens containing several pictures and friendship messages for one another. In one particular picture, Naomi described Kim Chi as her “main.”
Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls participated in an episode of the YouTube game show Bestie$ For Ca$h, in which their friendship was put to the test in exchange for small cash prizes. The queens excelled at recounting how they met and cracking jokes at the expense of one another, proving to be real best friends.
7 FRENEMIES: BIANCA DEL RIO AND VALENTINA
Bianca Del Rio is known as one of the most professional drag queens in the entire club circuit, and when it came time to speak her mind about a particular queen who was treating her gigs with disrespect, there was no doubt that Bianca would go all the way.
Regarding a Valentina incident, Bianca said the following: “So these other h**s that show up here, that are nasty, that don’t finish their meet-and-greet, and do a Spanish ballad in a wrinkly dress with their hands up… Remember: there’s b****es [from] three seasons before that are richer.”
Following the Bianca Del Rio read, several other stories came out about Valentina acting unprofessional with club owners, being late to gigs, and being disrespectful to fans, which goes in direct contradiction with her title as Miss Congeniality of season 9.
6 BEST FRIENDS: ALASKA AND SHARON NEEDLES
Alaska and Sharon Needles dated for many years during Sharon’s time on Drag Race season 4 and Alaska’s turn to be on the show during season 5. However, following their seasons, the couple broke up. “We changed a lot as people and we went through a lot together,” Alaska said, citing her decision to become sober as the turning up after the couple’s dissolution.
Throughout the years, Sharon and Alaska recovered from the breakup wounds and became close friends.
It is common to see them in pictures together on their social media pages, poking fun at one another like best friends would do. Despite many fans wanting them to be together again, Alaska and Sharon seem to be in a good place regarding their friendship.
5 FRENEMIES: TYRA SANCHEZ AND RAJA
Drag Race season 2 winner Tyra Sanchez is notably not a fan of season 3 winner Raja, but things truly escalated years later, in 2017, when Tyra called Raja by “Abu” (the monkey sidekick in Aladdin) and “grandma” in a heated Facebook post.
Raja responded with her own Facebook post acknowledging that this was a fight she probably could not win because she was a different type of person in comparison to Tyra and did not get involved in these situations. However, following that peace-making post, Tyra took to social media yet again to call Raja by “Abu” and say that she “lost all respect” she had for Raja.
At DragCon NYC 2017, which happened a few days after this incident, it was pretty clear that the two queens were still not in speaking terms.
4 BEST FRIENDS: JINKX MONSOON AND BIANCA DEL RIO
Season 5 and season 6 winners Jinkx Monsoon and Bianca Del Rio could not be more opposite from Tyra Sanchez and Raja, because they are the best of friends!
Jinkx and Bianca are very often on each other’s social media pages, declaring their love for one another and working gigs together. In 2014, the queens professed their admiration for each other on stage, when Jinkx Monsoon revealed that she had been following Bianca Del Rio’s career long before RuPaul’s Drag Race even existed.
This friendship is an example of the relationships Drag Race is capable of creating when the queens can come together and respect each other.
As winners of different seasons, Jinkx Monsoon and Bianca Del Rio have also set the example of how a crowned Drag Race queen can pass the torch to another one when her time is up.
3 FRENEMIES: MILK AND AJA
In certain instances, All-Stars 3 contestants Aja and Milk seem like perfectly fine as friends and/or co-workers who have chemistry together and share a mutual respect. However, in other instances, Aja has said that Milk looks like “Aquaria on testosterone” and that, at one point in the season, they thought there was a pig backstage when it was actually just Milk crying.
Aja and Milk have been seen working gigs together and being civil, but there is arguably a feeling in the air that, after everything was said and done, the two queens share a frenemies type of relationship.
During All-Stars 3, Milk constantly alienated the other contestants, but ended up not making far in the competition. Aja, in comparison, was featured in all but one episode of the season.
2 BEST FRIENDS: RAJA AND RAVEN
Despite having beef with Drag Race season 2 winner Tyra Sanchez, season 3 winner Raja is actually very close to Raven, who placed second on season 2.
Raja and Raven have created a very popular series on YouTube in which they review contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race or looks that drag queens posted on social media. Fashion Photo Ruview is like a drag version of E!’s infamous Fashion Police.
Regardless of the show, the two queens seem to be very close on a personal level as well.
Raja has referred time and time again to Raven as a “sister,” and they seem to have developed a great friendship off the cameras.
As a matter of fact, Raven is currently responsible for doing RuPaul’s makeup on Drag Race, which means that she’s more involved with the franchise than ever.
1 FRENEMIES: RUPAUL AND CARMEN CARRERA
RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Carmen Carrera came out as a trans woman after being on the show’s third season. Back then, the Drag Race version of America’s Next Top Model’s “Tyra Mail” segment was called “She-Mail,” a term that was meant to be a pun on e-mail and on the derogatory term “shemale.”
After leaving the series, Carmen became very vocal about how uncomfortable that segment made her and other trans women feel, especially coming from a show that was meant to be for the LGBTQ community.
Carmen Carrera’s statement started a major fight with RuPaul, Drag Race and fans of the show, and despite the fact that the “She-Mail” name was ultimately scrapped from the series, there was never any resolution concerning Carmen and RuPaul.
In a recent interview with Attitude Magazine, Carmen Carrera revealed that she hasn’t seen any of the Drag Race contestants nor heard from RuPaul ever since their beef began.