Queens That Proved You Don't Have to Win the Crown to Win it All
Article written by Kendra Beltran
Because RuPaul does not quit, there have been 45 winners of ‘Drag Race’ so far. Okay, so not that many queens around the world have walked away with the crown, cash, and if you’re a UK queen...a brooch or something. One could argue that winning isn’t the most important part of appearing on the show. Hell, ask Shangela. That queen competed three times and every time got more famous without winning. So today we’re taking a look at the queens that proved winning truly isn’t everything.
Willam didn’t even get eliminated the old-fashioned way. Nope, Willam went down in herstory as the first (and to date, the only) queen to be kicked out for breaking the rules. I mean, that made Willam forever infamous but before the show, this queen was famous for having bit parts here and there. However, after the show - book deals, modeling, music, YouTube success and so much more came Willam’s way. So perhaps being a rule breaker isn’t always a bad thing.
Sometimes a queen walks in the Werkroom and even before they say their entrance like you KNOW that win or lose, they’re going to make a statement in this world and Gigi Goode is one of those queens. Since the show, Gigi’s amazing hair creations helped season 13’s Symone win, and they have had a very impressive career modeling for the likes of um, yeah...Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line.
Heidi N Closet
Heidi N Closet is a commercial queen who can sing and has come a long way from working at a gas station in small town, USA.
So nice, had to come in second twice! Raven may have never won the official crown BUT being an impeccable makeup artist led to an Emmy being in Raven’s home. So, yeah, Raven is doing just fine.
When Kim Chi appeared on season 8, fans instantly gravitated towards 1. The sweetest/fiesty personality of the queen and 2. Those makeup skills. So it’s no surprise that after the show a makeup deal would come Kim Chi’s way. That, along with appearances on later seasons, and endless touring has made Kim Chi a notable contestant that didn’t drop the ball when it came to growing their career after the cameras stopped rolling.
Shangela went from going home first to walking the red carpet at the Oscars. Enough said.
How many ‘Drag Race’ contestants got a reality show on Netflix? *tongue pop*
Well, well, well...BenDeLaCreme would have won ‘All Stars 3’ but pulled off the biggest gag of the century by taking herself out of the competition. While fans relive that moment on a loop and scream “WHY” into their bathroom mirrors, BenDeLaCreme ain’t sweating it. A bomb-ass Netflix special alongside Jinx Monsoon.
After lip-syncing to TLC’s “No Scrubs” and getting a “meh” heard round the world from RuPaul, Nina West went on to do amazing things. Since the show, Nina has done things with Disney, Nickelodeon, and even continued to be a huge philanthropist working with local charities in Ohio.
Between ‘Drag Race’ and ‘All Stars,’ things were a little rough for Jasmine Masters BUT thanks to the internet - Jasmine was able to find a whole new audience by going viral as fuck. And I oop!
Fan-favorite Valentina was an instant star and has since appeared in a myriad of movies, TV shows, modeling shoots, and more.
They had to head home because of an injury but came back strong the following season, even making it to the finale. Alas, Eureka O'Hara didn’t win during their appearances on regular seasons but starring alongside Bob the Drag Queen and Shangela on HBO’s ‘We’re Here’ is an amazing consolation prize.
Yuhua Hamasaki’s time on ‘Drag Race’ was not long, but this queen managed to take the love of the game and spin it into a widely popular YouTube channel called ‘Bootleg Opinions.’ Every week Yuhua and another Bootleg Queen get together and go over the show, the looks, and the drama and give what they call their own, bootleg opinions. It’s possibly the most honest opinion one can get about the show online too.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
When you exit as iconic as Miss Vanjie, you’re going to live on forever in pop culture.
When one pairs a wild Russian with a country gal, it’s magical. This is what Katya has with ‘All Star 3’ winner Trixie Mattel. Those two are ‘Drag Race’ royalty to many and it’s in part because Katya was always able to stand the fuck out whenever on screen.
Brooke Lynn Hytes
Brooke Lynn Hytes came in second and then went on to host ‘Drag Race Canada.’ Not even a winner has managed to score a deal like that.