In celebration of a new year, it is only logical to gather the names of the most glittering drag queens. Drag culture had a lot of exposure this year, dominating social media, television, runways, and even Broadway. There is so much talent within the drag community, and this year they have proven to North America that they are truly the queens of the entertainment industry. These gorgeous queens are only a small representation of the global boom in drag, but they truly are the best of the best.
10. Courtney Act
This stunning queen hails from Australia where she rose to fame as a competitor in “Australian Idol”. Courtney Act recently relocated to the U.S., and will be the very first non-American citizen to be fighting for the crown in the upcoming season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.
9. Marco Marco Fashion Show
Marco Marco is a relatively new designer. He’s designed outfits worn by celebrities including Britney Spears, Lil Kim, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, and Fergie. In October of 2013, Marco Marco debuted his new clothing collection with the help of many stunning queens during Fashion Week LA. Many of the names on this list participated in the show, proving that drag queens dominate the runway. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
8. Jinkx Monsoon
After winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, Jinkx Monsoon continues performing in drag, this time on stage instead of reality TV. Jinkx is currently starring in a hugely successful off-Broadway production of “The Vaudevillains”.
7. Alex Newell
Alex Newell is a recurring cast member on the hit television show, “Glee”. He plays a character named Unique who, over the course of the show, transitions into a gender bending star. Unique is the first transgender teen character on American television, and is certainly not disappointing. Newell’s a vocal powerhouse and truly made an impact on the long running show.
6. Shangela Laquifa Wadley
Shangela Laquifa Wadley is a multitalented Queen. She appeared in numerous television shows including “2 Broke Girls”, Glee and “The Mentalist”, released 2 singles, and performed stand up comedy. Wadley has used her fame for good, raising AIDS awareness with her participation in the “Red Ribbon Runway” fashion show.
5. Billy Porter
Billy Porter has a successful career in the arts. He performed in multiple Broadway shows, acted in television series such as “Law and Order”, and recorded his own singles. Porter had a phenomenal year, earning himself not only the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, but also the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in “Kinky Boots”. Controversy sparked when Porter, along with his “Kiny Boots” cast, participated in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Onlookers were shocked by the inclusion of a men in drag during a family focused event. The show itself aims to celebrate diversity and individuality, themes that many have yet to accept.
4. Mathu Anderson
As RuPaul’s long time makeup artist and hair designer, it was only logical for Mathu Anderson to become the creative producer on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. He has the most alarmingly unique drag style, rocking a full beard in the most beautiful manner. The looks Anderson has shared on his Instagram account this year are absolutely astounding, and for that he deserves his spot on this list.
3. DWV: Detox, William Belli, Vicki Vox
This trio of fabulous queens became YouTube celebrities after their release of their multiple satirical videos this year. With over 12 million views on their most popular video “Boy is a Bottom”, these ladies have come a long way since their formation in 2012. We can expect more hilarity from this pop group in the New Year as they are just getting started.
2. Carmen Carrera
Although Carmen is a transgender woman and not a drag queen, I still find it fitting to include her in my list. Carrera competed in the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, emerging not as the winner, but as a much loved personality. In 2013, 45,000 people signed a petition on Change.org, in the hope that Carrera could participate as the very first transgender model in the Victoria Secret Fashion Show as an Angel. She did not get the chance to walk the runway with model greats such as Adriana Lima, but she has inspired people to question to lack of transgender models in the industry. There is no denying it, Carrera most definitely has the assets to make it in the industry.
RuPaul’s early career is filled with cameo appearances in music videos, low budget films and live performances as a background singer. His big break came with the 1993 release of “Supermodel (You Better Work)”, which became number 2 on the U.S. dance music charts thanks to its distribution on MTV channels. Although RuPaul’s albums gained success in the dance world, the music industry was initially unwelcoming to him. In 2009 “RuPaul’s Drag Race” aired on Logo, bringing drag race culture to a mainstream audience. This year RuPaul launch his own makeup line called “Glamazon”, became Entertainment Weekly’s “Best Dressed Reality TV Judge”, performed Lady Gaga’s new hit “Fashion” on “The Muppets”, was featured in a Rolling Stone article titled “RuPaul: King of Queens” in September and completed season 5 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” which was the highest rated season premiere in Logo history with 565,000 viewers.
– with help from Michael Bergeron