Start Your Engines

Francesca Guistini and Bob’s Assistant, Luis, at the Haters Roast
Photo provided by Francesca Giustini

On March 24, the Emmy award winning RuPaul’s Drag Drag Race “RPDR” started its ninth season. Having just moved from Logo to VH1, the show is now more accessible to American audiences. For international “RPDR” fans, Netflix streams all the this season’s episodes the day after they air; hopefully, this means that the American Netflix will soon stream reruns of the show, as well. A critical and cult favorite for year, “RPDR” is a reality competition series where a group of drag queens show off their talents in exciting creative challenges, each week ending in a “Lip Sync of Your Life” battle between the bottom two competitors. This season’s cast is incredibly impressive, showcasing very versatile performers: Aja, Alexis Michelle, Charlie Hides, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, Eureka O’Hara, Farrah Moan, Jaymes Mansfield Kimora Blac, Nina Bo’nina Brown, Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Shea Coulee, Trinity Taylor and Valentina. It really seems like any of these artists could win, which ups this talent show to a true race. This current season is thrilling, funny, heartwarming and sure to be remembered as one of the series best.

There are many opportunities for fans to see the “RPDR” queens perform and meet them too. Most of their shows are for audiences of all ages. The “Battle of the Seasons” showcases queens from different seasons performing together on stage and tours internationally.

On April 1st, I was lucky enough to go to the “Haters Roast: The Shady Tour” in Washington, D.C., where I saw the “RPDR” queens read each other in person. While RuPaul preaches kindness, he is still a patron of the art of the roast, in honor of “Paris is Burning.” Roasting, sometimes referred to as “reading someone,” is when you cleverly craft an comedic insult about someone who is willingly allowing you to make personal jokes at their expense. There I met former “RPDR” contestants Kim Chi, Darienne Lake, Phi Phi O’Hara, Acid Betty, and Ginger Minj, along with “RPDR” winners, Bob the Drag Queen and Jinkx Monsoon, who is my all-time favorite queen. I also got to hang out with “RPDR” legend and MVP, Bob’s Assistant, Luis. I will always remember this night as one of the few times in my life that I laughed so much it my face and rib cage hurt.Be sure to catch new episodes of “RPDR” every Friday at 8pm on VH1.


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