The RuPaul’s Drag Race runway is the perfect place to make a statement. A few queens over the years have chosen to tell a story through their looks.
The runway is the place to make an impact on RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s the place where RuPaul and the judges get one last look at the queens before making decisions about who will stay and who will go. A few queens have taken this opportunity to make bold statements surrounding politics, identity, and more.
A number of runway moments on RuPaul’s Drag Race and its many global spin-offs have turned heads. Breathtaking garments, sky-high shoes, intricate makeup, and even an unexpected reveal can be enough for a runway look to go down in reality TV history. However, sometimes competitors take things up a notch, wearing a look that addresses an important, relevant issue.
Drag Race Holland has noticed the power of a runway look with a message, too. In season 2, the queens were challenged to dress for the theme ‘Statements on the Runway.’ Through fashion, they communicated the harm in things like racism, body shaming, and the stigma of mental illness. There are many looks that have made a powerful RuPaul’s Drag Race runway moment.
Symone’s ‘Say Their Names’ Look
In the wake of intense discussions surrounding Black Lives Matter, season 13 winner Symone made a bold statement with her ‘Say Their Names’ look. As part of the ‘Fascinating Fascinators’ theme, Symone arrived wearing an all-white ensemble topped with a fascinator with the words ‘Say Their Names’ on the back, designed to look as if it had been written in blood. Also on the back were two embellished bullet holes. On top of this, she later posted a dedicated video of the look, accompanied by a monologue: “I’m talented, smart, capable, and angry… Angry that I have to work twice as hard to get twice as much in this life.”
Jackie Cox’s ‘Stars And Stripes’ Look
In a runway theme set up to celebrate America, season 12 queen Jackie Cox, who has an Iranian mother, took the opportunity to wear a hijab and kaftan, covered in red stripes and silver stars. Jackie’s look was a nod to her background and a statement about diversity in America. “You can be Middle Eastern, you can be Muslim, and you can still be American.”
JoJo Zaho’s ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ Look
In the polarizing first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Indigenous queen Jojo Zaho made a statement in the very first episode. In the ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ runway, a theme designed to showcase the love for one’s home, she entered the stage wearing an outfit in the shimmering red, yellow, and black colors of the Aboriginal flag. Then, as she turned around, her cape read ‘Always Was, Always Will Be.’ This is a reference to the fact that Indigenous people are, and have always been, the traditional owners of the land in Australia. Though Jojo was eliminated in the first episode of Drag Race Down Under, her decision to communicate this message was received well and was a reminder to viewers about Australia’s origins.
Kimora Amour’s ‘Ugly As Sin’ Look
Canada’s Drag Race contestant Kimora Amour presented a message about slavery in her Sinner’s Ball runway. In the ‘Ugly As Sin’ category, she portrayed an enslaved woman, breaking free from her shackles and escaping to Canada. “I take such pride in being Guyanese because it gives me something to hold on to… The pain and the suffering is ugly as hell and I don’t think the world often sees that and understands how it still hurts our community.”
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