RuPaul and the contestants of season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race celebrated the show’s Los Angeles premiere Monday at the Roosevelt Hotel. The historic Hollywood hotspot, which hosted the first Academy Awards, marked its own chapter in drag “herstory” with a screening of the season’s first episode, followed by drag performances from the fierce 14 competitors: Adore Delano, April Carrion, Ben De La Crème, Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act, Darienne Lake, Gia Gunn, Joslyn Fox, Kelly Mantle, Magnolia Crawford, Milk, Trinity k. Bonet, Vivacious, and Laganga Estranja. They were cheered on by a host of celebrities who have appeared on the popular Logo show since its 2009 launch, including David Burtka, Lady Bunny, Bruce Vilanch, and Kelly Osbourne, who acted as host for the evening alongside Michelle Visage.
In order to size up the competition, The Advocate spoke to RuPaul and the queens about their first experiences in drag as well as their thoughts on the upcoming season six, which premieres February 24 on Logo. Read their responses — and their red carpet looks — below.
From left: Ben De La Crème, Trinity k. Bonet, Courtney Act, Milk
"I’ve been wrapping myself in bath towels since I was old enough to do so, but I remember my first time in drag was when I was in the second grade," says Ben De La Crème (left). "Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out in the early ‘90s, and it was in vogue to wear those big T-shirts — I would always pull my arms up through my shirts and pretend they were a strapless dress like the one Jessica Rabbit wore.”
“My very first show in drag I must have been about 14 or 15," adds Trinity k. Bonet, sporting a floor-length red and black lace gown. "It was at a Halloween party my mom threw for me just so I could perform in drag. She even had other drag queens in the community come to the party and perform that night as well. I remember I lip-synched to 'When I Close My Eyes' by Shanice and I had on a red sequin dress, blond wig, and gold shoes. I was absolutely horrible, but I was trying, and I’m so grateful my mom invested in me, because now I’m here.”
“The first time I ever dressed in drag was at a costume party during my childhood," says Courtney Act, wearing a gold ensemble that is literally painted on. "I went as Wonder Woman and my mom even took me to get the costume."
“My first time in drag I did not know what to do with my face," Milk says. "I was using CoverGirl, which does not cover boy. I had my big, bushy brows out too and I thought I was so pretty. If I could go back in time, I would tell that young queen to blend a bit more — among other things.”