YAAAAASSSS QUEENS!!! Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars had a historical challenge, so you know I am on that like flies on honey, gurl. Quick recap for those not in the know: this is a reality competition show for drag queens, started and judged by supermodel of the world RuPaul (who just won an Emmy as Best Reality TV Show Host!), and specifically this is the “all stars” version where past competitors compete to see who’s best of the best, with added twists and tricks, of course. It’s like a cross between Project Runway, America’s Top Model, and any TV talent shows, because the queens have to sew and/or assemble a complete outfit (with hair and makeup) by themselves, model it, and usually display some special talent such as singing, dancing, acting, or comedy.
Anyway, the challenge for season 2, episode 3, was titled “HERstory of the World,” and the queens had to perform in a lip-syncing dance number inspired by legendary historical women. It’s pretty obvious that the contestants were assigned the historical figures in advance, because they each brought their own costumes and only made minor adjustments in the workroom on the show. The focus of the episode was on the dance rehearsal. But I’m here for the costumes, henny! And they were tragic! Now I don’t expect perfect historical accuracy from drag — these queens need to make something big, brash, wacky, and wild out of their historical characters — but some of them really needed WERK.
Category Is: Historical Queen Realness
In chronological order, the first legendary lady was frankly fictional, it’s the Biblical Eve, assigned to drag queen Alaska. Kind of an easy costume because she just needed some fig leaves.
The next character was also mythical, serving face to launch those ships, Helen of Troy, given to Phi Phi O’Hara. I’ll give her props for making Helen battle-ready with an elaborate breastplate that Phi Phi said she crafted herself.
Finally, Mama Ru nominated some legit historical figures, beginning with Russian empress, Catherine the Great, portrayed by Ginger Minj. She was the only drag queen to really aim for a historical costume too. Slay, Ginger, slay!
You can’t have HERstory and drag queens without the queen of cakes, Marie Antoinette. Detox was given this honor, but did a New Wave version that one judge called Neon Antoinette. Meh.
I guess we needed an American historical lady in this show, so Annie Oakley fit the bill. Drag queen Alyssa Edwards got the job, and instead of going 1880s Western, she went modern cowgirl cliche.
Don’t cry for historical accuracy here, they’re drag queens, you know! That’s why Eva Perón was next up, and Roxxxy Andrews played her in an energetic movie-musical mashup.
The last legendary lady was Princess Diana of Wales — the only one any of these queens (or the judges!) actually knew what she looked like IRL — which was a bit of a drawback for Katya.
Katya was the only one who was really nailed by the judges for a weak performance and costume in the HERstory challenge, which I agreed with on both counts. I also thought Phi Phi and Detox’s performances were muddled and not terribly engaging, while I found their costumes decent for the effect but not great. Ginger’s costume and performance were tops in my book, Roxxy was solid in both categories, and Alaska was just OK in both. Alyssa’s costume was the worst even though she had a great dance routine.
Of course, this stage show was only half the queens’ score for the episode, and they were also judged on runway looks with a futuristic theme (get it? half the show was history, half was the future; clever, no?). Alas, Ginger Minj had a crappy-enough runway look to land her in the bottom, and after a convoluted elimination round, she was booted off the show. Alyssa Edwards won this episode, don’t ask me how, I don’t understand.
You can sign-in and watch RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, season 2, episode 3, for yourself online at LogoTV.com here, if you want to sort it all out for yourself.
Are you a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan? What did you think of the drag queens’ attempts at historical costume?
That was fun. But surely drag queens are ‘he’? Isn’t it the point that we KNOW they’re men in drag?
It’s up to the individual, of course. But on this show, the contestants are all called “she” & referred to by their drag names, even when out of drag. Of course, there are a few queens who use boy names professionally, like Chad Michaels who was on season 4 & won the 1st All Stars season. As RuPaul says, “you can call me he, you can call me she, you call me Regis & Cathy Lee, I don’t care, just call me!”
Love RPDR and always refer to the contestants with feminine pronouns.
GIrl, I love Drag Race! I agree about Ginger 100%, I thought her outfit was the only one that tried to attempt to be historical. I wasn’t living for the Marie Antoinette in neon- I think it could be done as a fantasy drag outfit, and it could be really cool, but this just wasn’t it. It was too plain for starters.
I’m surprised Cleopatra wasn’t one of the historical figures chosen. Might have worked better than Annie Oakley.
And if I didn’t know that was supposed to be Annie Oakley, I’d have thought it was Dolly Parton circa Nine to Five.
Cleopatra would have been better than Helen of Troy!
But only if the queen got to perform Kern and Wodehouse’s “Cleopatterer.”
Helen was Greek, not Roman! She would have worn a chiton! In fact, she was Bronze Age(-ish), so you’d have to look to Mycenaean art to get an idea of what she’d wear. And she’d NEVER damage a nail by going into battle; she even keeps Paris from battle (the better to entertain her). Honestly, they should have gone with Artemis. Or Camilla. Or Boadicea. We have CHOICES if we want breastplates!
I’d go for Athena, with breastplate, helmet, and owl.
Ohhh, I loved this write up! I keep meaning to get into RPDR but never seem to do it.
Bizarre fun fact? According to legend, Princess Diana was chummy with Freddie Mercury who sneaked her into a “notorious” gay bar in London in the late ’80s, dressed as a male model (source:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/31/freddie-mercury-princess-diana-gay-bar_n_2989139.html). If that story’s true, she probably would’ve have a great laugh at this and been quite flattered.
Hah! I wouldn’t be surprised if that story’s true. After all, she had many gay friends & was an early supporter of AIDS charities before it was common (shocking ppl by hugging AIDS patients & such).
If you don’t get the Logo channel, you may be able to watch Drag Race on Logo’s website :)