Did RuPaul Really Crown America's Next Drag Superstars? Here's Where the Winners Are Now
With the 12th and latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race only weeks away, it seems like a great time to check in on the iconic drag competition show’s past winners. For 11 seasons and counting, the title of “America’s next drag superstar” really has been a gateway to bigger and better things for the talented and creative drag queens who have won the show. Curious what all the winners have been doing since their time on the show? We’ve got it covered. From fashion to music and much, much more, here’s the latest news on all of the previous winners of Drag Race.
Season 1: Bebe Zahara Benet
The OG Drag Race winner has continued performing in the years since winning the first title. Not only has she continued doing fabulous drag shows, she’s released several singles and returned in 2018 to compete on one of the “all-star” seasons of Drag Race.
Season 2: Tyra Sanchez
In recent years, Tyra’s personal life and controversies have overshadowed his drag career. In 2016, he sparked a backlash with flippant tweets about suicide, and eventually took a long social media hiatus before returning, with a now-deleted apology on Instagram, in 2019.
Season 3: Raja
Raja, aka Sutan Amrull, has built a major career for himself on and off the stage. Perhaps most significantly, he spent several years as the in-house makeup artist on America’s Next Top Model. He also began working with Adam Lambert in 2009 as his personal makeup artist.
Season 4: Sharon Needles
Sharon has had some serious success in music since winning the 2012 Drag Race title. Her debut album PG-13 debuted at number 186 on the Billboard 200 and number 9 on Dance/Electronic Albums. Subsequent albums Taxidermy (2015) and Battle Axe (2017) also landed in the top ten on the Dance/Electronic charts. In 2019, New York magazine named her as one of the top 100 Most Powerful Drag Queens in America.
Season 5: Jinkx Monsoon
Jinkx currently runs a drag-themed AirBnB called “Monsoon Manor” in Portland, Oregon. She’s also kept pretty busy with a variety of performances, from recording albums to penning a vaudeville-inspired off-Broadway play and more.
Season 6: Bianca Del Rio
Bianca, who also goes by the real name of Roy Haylock, has been performing pretty much constantly since competing on Drag Race! He’s done four stand-up comedy tours, along with two video-on-demand comedy movies. Most recently, he starred in the hit West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Bianca also made a guest appearance on RuPaul’s Netflix show, AJ and the Queen, playing a fictional drag queen who gives Ruby Red (played by RuPaul) a set of false eyelashes as a parting gift.
Season 7: Violet Chachki
Violet’s career has taken a very fashionable turn in recent years! In 2018, she walked the runway during Milan Fashion Week, wearing designer Jeremy Scott for Moschino. Her foray into the fashion world seems to have stuck, as has her partnership with Moschino: she was a guest at the “Camp”-themed 2019 Met Gala and wore a Moschino dress altered by Scott.
Season 8: Bob the Drag Queen
Bob has tackled several creative ventures since winning Drag Race. He’s released a couple of singles, started the podcast Sibling Rivalry with drag sister Monet X Change, and played the role of Belize in a regional production of Angels in America.
Season 9: Sasha Velour
Sasha is a true multi-hyphenate. Along with her drag shows, she’s been involved in the fashion industry (she personally selected 40 LGBT+ models to walk for the brand Opening Ceremony during New York Fashion Week in 2018) and continues doing the graphic design and illustration work she did long before Drag Race. Her illustration of Marlene Dietrich was used as a Google Doodle in 2017 to celebrate Dietrich’s birthday.
Season 10: Aquaria
Aquaria has branched into fashion and makeup since winning her season of Drag Race. In 2018, she was photographed solo in an issue of Vogue Italia, then later modelled for Moschino and H&M’s capsule collection with Jeremy Scott and Bria Vinaite. The following year, she was part of MAC’s “Viva Glam” campaign and later released her own makeup collaboration with NYX.