Rupaul’s Drag Race is a phenomenon of a show that sadly hasn’t taken over the Indian subcontinent just yet. However, the show has a huge fan following across the pond and in every major Western country. Multiple drag queens competing to discover who can become America’s next Drag Superstar has become a ratings juggernaut and even earned creator and host Rupaul Charles an Emmy. As the show ventures into its third All Stars season and its 10th regular season in 2018, here are some of the most popular terms and concepts that someone watching the show should be familiar with:
A ‘read’ is essentially the equivalent of throwing shade. On the show, it means to cleverly diss someone, maybe with a backhanded compliment, maybe with a clear show of snark. Queens are expected to come into the competition with their reading skills sharpened, especially with the prospect of the ‘Reading is Fundamental’ mini-challenge, where they’re tasked with reading fellow contestants.
The phrase famously coined by Season 5 queen Jade Jolie as a direct jab at the ‘rolls of fat’ down fellow contestant Alyssa Edwards’ back. This term has gone on to become one of the most legendary reads of all time, something which Alyssa managed to take in her stride, recurring throughout the competition as a way of poking fun at her.
Season 4 saw the epic rivalry between pageant queen Phi Phi O’Hara and the queen of spook Sharon Needles. Their rivalry came to a head when they erupted into a huge fight in the work room, which ended with Phi Phi screaming out to Sharon “Well, at least I am a show girl. Go back to party city where you belong!” The direct attempt to call Sharon’s drag ‘party material’ didn’t make things easier between the two. Well, with Sharon winning the season and Phi Phi ending as runner-up, we think we have a winner.
Being ‘fish’ or ‘fishy’ can be a compliment or a curse on Drag Race. It basically means looking like a woman, pretty and attractive enough to a man. Now that could be a good thing for contestants like Kenya Michaels and Courtney Act, who used their good looks to get far in the competition. However, the two have also suffered from ‘resting on pretty’ when their fashion skills don’t live up to their looks.
‘Pageant’ or ‘Comedy’
A debate for the ages that took on life in Season 5 of the show. It concerns whether it’s important for a drag queen to be strong on the runway with her fashion (like Coco Montrese, Alyssa Edwards, Roxxy Andrews) or crush the challenges with some excellent comedic chops and stage presence (Alaska and Jinkx Monsoon). What one contestant has for one she lacks in the other, so it became a full-blown issue to see who would win out in the end. (Spoiler Alert: It was Monsoon season).
Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best woman win! Rupaul’s