My Top 10 Drag Race Contestants START YOUR ENGINES

Hello my lovelies.

On this snowy eve, I am sitting in my work uniform for a shift that was not meant to be, as our building has had to submit to the Beast from the East and protect its glistening innards, the innards being the staff. I am very blessed though, as I have multiple blankets on my knees, a very toasty bobble hat and the softest of jumpers. Such cosy, much toast. I thought a sweet yet trashy post would be very much in order, catering to my undying love for RuPaul’s Drag Race. Oddly comforting, ridiculous, sassy and the harbinger of a fascinating new language and culture, for me chipping into an episode is the equivalent of drinking a fine-ass toffee latte. Sugar-filled and warms you up from your very core. I’ve always been fascinated by drag artists. I recall being around 8 years old and on a family holiday, watching cabaret acts in the local club and being absolutely mesmerised by how beautifully over-the-top everything was. Tip of the iceberg. The dawning age of Drag Race opened the gates to a newly overground celebration of the creativity, wit, and ROYALTY that is required of these queens to make the big-time, with a sprinkling of LGBT solidarity in every episode. I absolutely adore it. As tough as it was to categorise, here is a compilation list of my Top 10 Queens from Season 4 onwards…

CATEGORY IS…

FUCKING ROYALTY

10. Miss Fame

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Now post Drag Race, Miss Fame is probably most famed for having unconditional love for chickens, and also looking like a BRAZEN BOMBSHELL every time she hit the runway. Not hugely successful in the improv or dancing sections, she would step out in an utterly divine ensemble and I would forgive her immediately. The long black opera gloves with the short sleeved sequinsed dress? Complete fierceness.

9. Nina Bonina Brown

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Never before has the long-standing innuendo of the Peach Emoji as a butt been so actively threatened. Nina may have reclaimed it. The second she bounced into the workroom with THOSE HIPS AND THIGH as a spit-curl brown mouse, she had my heart. One of the most creative queens, yet one of the most self-doubting. You’ve got this, girl.

8. Sasha Velour

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YES THERE ARE SOME WINNERS IN THIS LIST. Sue me for being clichéd. But can you deny the apocalyptic genius that is Sasha? She was just a complete revolution in the show, from the bald tribute to her recently-passed mother, to the incredible feats of fashion she projected on the runway. The Rainbow-She-Better-Don’t ensemble, that tribute to Dorothy with the house on her head? My jaw dropped.

7. Chi Chi DeVayne

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I can’t really imagine a queen so different to Sasha, but Chi Chi became the love of my life the second she opened her mouth. That accent. The lip sync to “Call Me” by Blondie. The tributes to old-school, unafraid trashy drag. It’s so easy to adore Chi Chi, even when she misses the mark on her looks. You can see the determination in her eyes, and just how much she loves doing drag.

6. Katya

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Oh Katya. That sizzlin’ meat. One of the most hilarious queens of all time, like I would just die when she did any comedy or improv challenge. Scattered and crazy, susceptible to breakdowns and a fabulous contender. Look at her finale outfit, it is incredible! I could also listen to her speak Russian or French, all day.

5. Peppermint

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I remember ugly-crying so hard when Peppermint spoke about the difficulties she’s faced in transitioning to a woman whilst maintaining her drag queen status. She is an absolute star, and one of the most beautiful and strongest queens I’ve ever witnessed. I think she is quite possibly my favourite lip-syncer, which as we know is a fundamental quality in drag culture!

4. Bianca Del Rio

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Do I even need to explain? If you’re ever having a bad day, please go watch a clip of Bianca tearing somebody a new one. Her wit and scathing observations are just unparalleled, in any comedian or artist. It’s like you’re being slapped in the face repeatedly BUT YOU KNOW YOU DESERVE IT. Then there’s the Broadway Skillz that she brought to the workroom every week, the woman can cut a fierce silhouette and flash a smile so dazzling you’ll wonder why she isn’t the leading lady in EVERYTHING.

3. Kim Chi

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I so wanna be Fat, Fem and Asian. Arguably the most skilled makeup artist on the show. Every single look is stunning, oddly moving, and entrancing. Follow her on Instagram, you will not regret it. Again this is a whole new rivulet of drag that I’d never even imagined before I watched the show, and that is being a literal work of art.

2. Latrice Royale

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Now if you ever need a confidence lesson, come and watch Latrice. I have never seen such joy for life and a willingness to embrace everything that comes her way, than in Latrice. She officiates weddings in fabulous ballgowns, she sells body-positive merch, and she has one of the most inspiring and fierce messages of the entire show. “I want people to realize it’s OK to make mistakes, it’s OK to fall down. Get up, look sickening, and make them eat it!”

1. Jinkx Monsoon

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Here we have it. Seattle’s Premier Jewish Narcoleptic Drag Queen. Every single moment of Jinkx on the show, I was in love. Her crazy countouring, her auditioning-for-The-Mask facial expressions, her snoring, her incredible Peruvian lip sync, the Water-Off-A-Duck’s-Back mantra, the way she stole every scene she was in, and looked gorgeous in any outfit. I can’t get enough of her, and post-race she has blossomed even further, and become the most voluptuous, charming and hilarious queen in drag history, in my humble opinion. If I could go out for one or six cocktails with anyone, it would be Jinkx. Of all the definitions of drag, she kinda hit the nail on the head for me with her performance. Surreal, inspired, and finding joy in the darkest moments

So who are your favourite queens? Are you mad that I didn’t include Alaska or Ben De La Crème? Guess they just need to work a little harder. (Lol jk Ben in All Stars is everything.)

Rosie

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Review: I Love Dick (2017)

Hello my lovelies!

I come to you today with an abrupt review. More of an outpouring of thoughts post-Dick.

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I have just finished watching the first season of I Love Dick, an Amazon show adapted from the novel of the same name by author Chris Kraus. It follows the eponymous Chris (Kathryn Hahn, a blessing of an actress) through her rapid descent into psychosexual obsession. The object of this is the disarming theorist and purveyor of cowboy mystique, Dick. No surname required. (Although he is played by Kevin Bacon. Excellent surname.)

So what’s enjoyable about the show? For me it is the discomfort it creates. Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of discomfort every now and then? It’s reminiscent of American Beauty, a disturbing medley of crossing the line of ‘acceptable’ lust and into the darker unknown. A taste of forbidden fruit. Or Bacon. Or Dick.

One of most interesting scenes was later on in the series as Chris narrates her sexual history and follows it from bedroom to bedroom as a spectre of observation in the background. This includes the dips and peaks of her sexual relationship with her husband Sylvere, who is very much aware of her obsession with Dick and plays a pivotal role in its development. What we find ourselves watching is Sylvere’s relationship and career crash down around him and culminating in quite a disturbing choice as Chris melts in Dick’s presence and only ever receives a sneer of pretension in return. Dick tells her he doesn’t find her interesting, or attractive. What can only come of it is ache and frustration, as there can be no satisfying conclusion to the story. Disappointment is inevitable. Heartache is already on the cards.

Still, I couldn’t help but feel that the images we’re presented with – such as Dick ‘erotically’ shaving a lamb, or a rather graphic altercation in the final episode – were oddly transfixing. Yes, we have witnessed these explorations of female sexuality many a-time, but the ‘loser’ quality and the sheer passion in Kathryn Hahn’s performance is something that pushes this discussion to the next base.

The supporting cast were also very good, particularly Devon and Tobey – dedicated in their pursuit of art and lust and all that pushes the boundaries of what is expected of us. They were stories that I wish were developed further, but in a short series of half-hour episodes, the balance that was struck between supporting cast and main cast was slightly off, in my opinion. The rhythm did not feel right, but in the avant-garde style of pausing at awkward moments in pivotal scenes, what were we to expect. Linearity?

All in all, I would highly recommend this show. The world needs more of this – exploring the unpretty, the awkward and the translation of sexual fantasy to reality.

And now, I’m just going to let you enjoy saying “I Love Dick”. Savour it!

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Rosie

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