RuPaul's Drag Race Alums Share Lessons Drag Can Teach the World

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com May 20 2014 1:50 AM ET

From rocking the fiercest fashions and delivering legendary lip-synchs to throwing shade and sashaying away, the queens of Drag Race have served up plenty of memorable moments since RuPaul first commanded them to “start your engines.” But there’s more to drag than glamour, glitter, high drama, and big laughs. That’s why before Bianca Del Rio was crowned the winner of season 6 on Monday, we caught up with contestants, both past and present, on the Drag Race Reunited red carpet at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles for a kiki about the bigger lessons the world is living to learn from the art of drag.

Bianca Del Rio – Winner, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“To be a drag queen you’ve got to have a good set of balls, and I think a lot of queens have a strength that many people don’t have. That’s one of the things that’s been great about Drag Race is now young kids can see strong queens on TV who aren’t victims.“


Courtney Act – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Drag can teach the world to look at things differently, because one of the first assumptions a person is afforded to make is whether someone is male or female. And when you see drag and it fucks with gender in such a way, it forces people to think outside the box.”

Trinity K. Bonet – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Drag teaches us to put out our best at all times, to dare to be different, creative, and to be the best you that you can possibly be – not the best you that society has told you that you can be.”



Santino Rice – RuPaul’s Drag Race Judge
“Drag teaches the world to be yourself and not let anyone scare you into censoring yourself – to be totally comfortable with expressing who you are. The scariest thing to be is a man in a business suit, but not a drag queen. I love drag queens because they’re fearless with expressing who they are and they world needs more of that.” Image courtesy of mitchesbcray.tumblr.com.


Joslyn Fox – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“I think a big part of the reason people love drag queens is because of the confidence they instill in people. When people see a queen on stage there’s that part of them that thinks, If they can do it, I can do it, and that gives them that confidence to go ahead and wear that hot pink lipstick to school, or to go ahead and wear those fishnets under that skirt and feel sexy at work. Drag allows people to feel confident in expressing who they are.”

Michelle Visage – RuPaul’s Drag Race Judge
“Drag has a lot to teach the world about art, but people don’t take it seriously as an art form. To me, that’s the biggest problem. People often look at it like it’s a joke or something you do when you’re drunk, but it’s really a form of art, it’s valuable, and it’s lasting. If more people took it seriously it could go even further and teach us so much more about art. Thankfully, I think we’re seeing that change happen as we speak and as drag has become mainstream we’re beginning to see that unfold.”

Jiggly Caliente – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 4
“In my experience, the best lessons drag can teach the world are perseverance and resilience, because this art is not for the weak. You have to have a hunger to succeed in this business, and that applies to life too.”




Chad Michaels – Winner, RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stay true to yourself and not listen to the critics. Drag teaches us to work from the heart and put your best out there. Drag is about overcoming adversity and giving that diamond in the rough the opportunity to shine.”



Delta Work – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 3
“Drag teaches us to embrace the duality of masculine and feminine, which is something we have in all of us.”


 



Morgan McMichaels – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 2
“Drag can teach the world how to accept, have an open heart, and how to look at things in a different light – how to see something from an artistic perspective rather than a political or religious one.”  




Alaska Thunderfuck – Contestant,  RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 5
“The best lesson drag can teach the world is to wear a good tinted moisturizer. In the age of the selfie it really helps.”





Shangela – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Seasons 2 and 3
“Drag teaches the world how to find the beauty in everything around you, because drag queens can take something from a Dumpster and create something couture, fashionable, and fabulous.”



Gia Gunn – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Drag teaches us that anything is possible. We’re beautiful men who transform into beautiful women. There’s male and female in this world, and we represent both. Drag is an outlet that shows the beauty of all genders.”



Darienne Lake – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“If you look past times when we’re digging something up to be funny or catty, drag queens are really inspiring. Even in a competition we’re often rallying around one another saying, ‘Believe in yourself. Pick yourself up. You’ve got this. You can do it, girl.’ And that’s a great lesson for anyone to learn.”


BenDeLaCrème – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Drag brings attention to the way we are all performing something in the world. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are intentionally presenting something to everyone we interact with, whether that be gender, attitude, or anything else. I think the biggest thing people can take from drag is that it’s all up to you, whether that be how you gender-identify, how you express yourself, or how you choose to talk to your peers. Drag queens set this example that it’s all a ruse, have fun with it, and make it a party.”

April Carrion – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Drag teaches people to be comfortable in their own skin and not to take themselves so seriously. Because in drag, you can be whatever you want to be and that’s always fun.”




Vivacious – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Because I mainly perform in straight clubs, I use my form of drag to teach tolerance to straight people. If a gay man and a straight man are standing next to each other, many people can’t tell if one of them is gay, but by being a queen and being visible, that begins to desensitize people and forces them to reevaluate their homophobia.”

Milk – Contestant, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 6
“Drag can teach the world how to accept everybody and not judge people because of the way they look.  Because we’re all different, but we’re all equal at the same time.”





Uncredited GIF's are courtesy of World of Wonder.