The winners of the 13 seasons of "RuPaul's Drag Race" have had varying levels of success.
Some moved on from the world of drag completely following their wins.
Others have gone on to have reality TV shows, podcasts, music careers, and movie cameos.
For 13 seasons, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has introduced viewers to some of the most dazzling drag queens in the world.
The competition-based reality TV show hosted by RuPaul selects some of the best drag queens in the country to compete against each other to win the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar."
Contestants compete in various "mini" and "maxi" challenges and one contestant gets eliminated at the end of each episode. Their performance during the maxi challenge and their end-of-show runway look determine if they will be safe from elimination or be moved to the bottom two. Queens in the bottom two have to compete in a lip-syncing battle to keep their spot on the show.
The franchise has several spinoff shows and has won numerous Emmy and GLAAD Media Awards.
BeBe Zahara Benet was the season one winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
BeBe Zahara Benet was the first drag queen to be named "America's Next Drag Superstar." Since the show was new during her reign, she returned nine years later as a surprise contestant for season three of "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars," in 2018.
"All Stars" features past competitors from various seasons competing against each other. Winners of previous seasons typically aren't selected for "All Stars" but in 2018 BeBe told Bustle she accepted the invitation to show that even winners can grow.
"I wanted to use the platform and the opportunity to let people know that older season's queens can learn new tricks, and winners also evolve," she said.
She came in fourth place.
BeBe Zahara Benet was the subject of a documentary, "Being Bebe," this year.
Since the show, she has released three EPs: "Face" in 2014, "Kisses & Feathers" in 2017, and "Broken English" in 2020.
She was also a cast member on TLC's "Dragnificent!" The series aired for one season, starting in 2019, and chronicled four drag queens helping engaged women get ready for their wedding day. BeBe starred alongside fellow "Drag Race" queens Jujubee, Alexis Michelle, and Throgy Thoras.
In 2021, she was the subject of "Being Bebe," a documentary by Emily Branham that was filmed over 15 years.
Fondly referred to as "The other Tyra" in reference to supermodel Tyra Banks, Tyra Sanchez took home the crown for the 2010 season.
Her drag persona was inspired by Beyoncé and she even received a statement of praise from the Queen B in a 2013 Flaunt magazine interview: "I love it and Miss Tyra is fabulous!"
Tyra Sanchez ran into some social media trouble following her win. When a Twitter user tweeted that Sanchez was annoying, she told them to kill themselves. When criticized for the comment, she doubled down and stated people who take their own lives are "cowards" who "give up and give in."
The tweet was later deleted, and the hosts of the show defended her, saying any sarcasm or "snark" is misunderstood on Twitter.
In 2017, she caused more drama when she created a fake obituary for fellow season two competitor Morgan McMichaels, who was still alive. Sanchez later apologized.
Yet more fallout came after she made apparently threatening comments about fellow "RuPaul" contestants ahead of RuPaul's 2018 DragCon in Los Angeles, including references to bombs, and she was banned from the event.
When organizers asked for an apology, she reportedly said, in part: "Multiple times I have stated that violence is not the answer and that queens of my upbringing sometimes express ourselves different than most. I understand you may not understand this as you have only appropriated our lives, our attitudes and our mannerisms."
James Ross has since retired Tyra Sanchez, and he no longer wishes to be associated with the franchise.
In 2019, Ross issued an apology to fans for the statements he had made. In 2020, he said he no longer wanted to perform drag. Tyra Sanchez's social media accounts are no longer active.
"MY NAME IS JAMES OR JAY. NOT TYRA, SHE, MA'AM, OR QUEEN," he wrote on social media at the time.
He has also said that he wishes to move on from "RuPaul's Drag Race," even asking fans to forget he won.
"I want absolutely nothing to do with your toxic community," he tweeted in June 2020, according to Screenrant. "Stop tagging me in your posts, stop including me with your winners. Just forget me."
Season three winner, Raja Gemini, was no reality TV novice.
Before making her Drag Race debut, Raja Gemini was a makeup artist for "America's Next Top Model" and also worked with Adam Lambert, Pamela Anderson, Iggy Azaelea, and more.
She frequently impersonated Tyra Banks for challenges on the show and was known for her high-fashion looks.
One of her most notorious show moments, referred to as "Tullegate," occurred during a challenge to create an outfit entirely out of wigs. Raja used tulle which stirred up a bit of drama amongst the cast.
Since the show, Raja has continued to work in makeup and as a musician and muse.
After the show, she released several songs, including the 2011 track "Diamond Crowned Queen," which peaked at No. 35 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.
She's a host of "Fashion Photo RuView," a Wow Presents web series that ranks and judges contestants' looks on "RuPaul's Drag Race," and she even appeared on an episode of "The Simpsons."
Sharon Needles and her "spooky aesthetic" won over fans and judges in season four.
Sharon Needles' Halloween-esque drag style distinguished her from the competition. She was also in a relationship with fellow drag star Alaska, the season five runner-up.
Although she started as a fan favorite — even getting a tweet of support from Lady Gaga — her relationship with certain co-stars could be described as turbulent.
Season four co-star DiDa Ritz said that Sharon Needles called her and other cast members the N-word freely during their time on the show, according to a 2021 episode of "Drag Her! A RuPaul's Drag Race Podcast."
While Sharon Needles has not responded to these claims specifically, when similar accusations were leveled in 2012, she stood by her use of racial imagery, such as wearing a swastika T-shirt.
Ahead of an Atlanta show on June 27, 2012, Aaron Coady, who performs as Needles, spoke with activists Enakai and Maura Ciseaux about some of the previous accusations of racism. Coady apologized for using the N-word to the activists but stated that a public apology would have to be made on their own terms.
Following her win, she has appeared on several TV shows and released music.
Following her win, Needles released her debut album, "PG-13," in 2013, and it reached No. 186 on the Billboard 200. She released another album, "Taxidermy," in 2015 and a third, "Battle Axe," in 2017.
But controversy has not left her since her time on the show. She was dropped as a performer from Providence's Foo Fest in 2017 after attendees and artists complained about her past conduct and use of racist imagery, and in July 2020, her "drag daughter" Aquaria distanced herself from Needles. Needles has not publicly responded.
Season five winner Jinkx Monsoon dominated during their time on the show.
This Oregon native was inspired by the high-concept, drag of her drag predecessor. Before "RuPaul's Drag Race," Jinkx was the subject of a docu-series, "Drag Becomes Him," that explored how Jinkx Monsoon came to be.
Jinkx is also a trained singer and won two maxi challenges while on the show.
Since her win, Jinkx has released two studio albums and was listed as one of "the most powerful drag queens in America" by New York Magazine.
Her debut album, "The Inevitable Album," was released in May 2014 and her sophomore album, "The Ginger Snapped," was released in January 2018.
Season six winner Bianca Del Rio made it her entire season without being placed in the bottom two.
During her time on the show, Del Rio never had to lip sync and was seen as a fan favorite.
Her wit and comedic timing set her apart as many drag queens incorporate singing or some form of music into their acts and she did not.
Post-"Drag Race" she has continued her comedy career. She became the first drag queen to headline at Wembley Arena in London.
She published her first book, "Blame It On Bianca Del Rio: The Expert On Nothing With An Opinion On Everything," in 2018, and she has released two feature films, "Hurricane Bianca" and "Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate." She has also written and starred in numerous comedy specials including "It's Jester Joke," which headlined at Wembley Arena, making her the first drag queen to headline a show there.
In 2019, she was ranked No. 1 on New York Magazine's "The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America" list.
Violet Chachki, the winner of season seven, also never landed in the bottom two.
Chachki was one of the most fashion-forward contestants in the show's history. Citing influences from fetish fashion, burlesque, and vintage couture, it is no wonder her runway looks dazzled judges consistently.
Since the show, she has been dominating in the fashion entertainment industry and was one of the first drag queens to attend the Met Gala.
She attended the 2019 Met Gala with designer and friend Jeremy Scott, fittingly themed "Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion."
Before her appearance, she told Garage magazine: "There are so many drag queens out there that would slay the Met Gala and deserve this exposure and visibility. And so it feels like a lot of pressure to represent my community in such a visible and loud way. [...] It's pressure for sure, but it's also really excited and I'm excited to be kind of the figurehead of the drag world at this event."
She also closed Scott's 2018 Moschino show for Milan Fashion Week and has been featured in other fashion shows and campaigns.
Like many of her fellow queens, she has dabbled in music. Her debut EP, "Gagged," was released in 2015. The album peaked at No.11 on Billboard's top dance/electronic albums in 2015.
Season eight winner Bob The Drag Queen used her irreverent humor to win the hearts of fans and judges alike.
During her time on the show, Bob the Drag Queen only had to Lip sync for her life one time and won three maxi challenges.
Following her win, she has continued her reality TV career and has launched several solo ventures as well.
Bob released the comedy specials "Suspiciously Large Woman" and "Crazy Black Lady" in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
She also stars alongside former "Drag Race" contestants Eureka O'Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley in HBO's "We're Here," in which they help small-town residents prepare to participate in a one-night-only drag performance.
She is also known for her videos on TikTok where she amassed 2.3 million followers, and she hosts a successful podcast with fellow drag queen Monét X Change, "Sibling Rivalry."
Sasha Velour went from not being selected at all for season eight to winning it all in season nine.
Miss Velour did not let rejection deter her from pursuing the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" and her persistence paid off in a major way.
Not only did she win the ultimate title, she had what many consider one of the best lip syncs in the show's history. When she snatched her wig off, rose petals fell around her and her iconic performance would go down in "Drag Race" and mainstream media history.
Since her win, Sasha Velour has used her platform to champion for under-represented queer communities.
Since winning the show, Velour has appeared on TV shows like "The Bold Type" and "Broad City."
But she believes drag is more than stunning outfits and breathtaking performances.
"I believe drag is a form of activism," she told Entertainment Weekly in a 2017 interview.
In 2018, she partnered with Open Ceremony for their New York Fashion Week show. She selected over 40 LGBTQ+ models, making it the first all-queer show in New York Fashion Week history.
Winner of season 10, Aquaria was one of the youngest drag queens to take the crown. She was 22 at the time.
Aquaria was another fashion-forward contestant during her time on the show and that combined with her comedic wit propelled her to the season 10 win.
Since the show, she has continued performing and modeling.
She attended the 2019 Met Gala and was one of the faces of MAC's 2019 Viva La Glam campaign. She also had her own makeup collaboration with Nyx.
More recently, she was a part of "RuPaul's Drag Race Live!" a Las Vegas show residency that ran from January to August 2020.
Yvie Oddly 's contortion-esque drag helped her snag the crown for season 11.
Yvie Oddly is undoubtedly one of the most unique talents to grace the RuPaul stage. Famed by her daring looks and acrobatic stunts, she stood apart from her competitors in a way viewers hadn't seen before. She was extremely flexible and contorted her body into back-aching shapes episode after episode.
She was also open about her battle with type 3 Hypermobile Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (hEDS). This condition affects the connective tissue in the body and causes hyper-flexibility in the joints. This makes her more prone to joint-related injuries, as seen in episode 11 when she injures her ankle, although it did not let it stop her from performing.
Since her win, Yvie Oddly has continued to do drag performances all over the world and she released her debut album "Drag Trap" in October 2020.
She was a performer in Werq the World, a multi-year international drag concert, as well as her own reality TV show on WOW Presents Plus, "Yvie Oddly 's Oddities." It follows her journey of thrift shopping for drag fits, which ties into her overall eccentric drag approach — whereas many queens dive into glitz and glamour, Yvie has a non-conventional "oddball" drag style.
She is also a part of "RuPaul's Drag Race Live!" residency in Las Vegas.
Season 12 champion Jaida Essence Hall didn't let the pandemic dull her drag queen reign.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" was not exempt from the pandemic-related curve balls thrown in 2020. Despite the challenges and extensive adjustments, the show continued and Jaida Essence Hall was crowned America's next drag superstar in May 2020. Her final lip sync even took place virtually, but she and her fellow competitors took the changes in stride.
Her performance of Destiny's Child's "Survivor" earned her a 2020 People's Choice Awards nomination.
Since the show, she has starred in numerous web series and was a featured performer in Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Fashion Show Vol. 2.
She was also a guest on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and "Watch What Happens Live" with Andy Cohen.
The current reigning queen, Symone, came to season 13 with a message.
She gained massive media attention with her episode nine runway dress. The white gown embellished with "Say their names" in red lettering featured crystal bullet holes in the back. The dress was a tribute to the Black lives lost at the hands of racial injustice. While on the show, Symone was very vocal about racial injustice and wanted her win to serve as inspiration for people who look like her.
The best is yet to come for season 13 winner Symone and drag race fans can't wait to see what she has in store.
Since the show, Symone has attended the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards as well as the 2021 Met Gala.
She is also Out Magazine's 300th issue cover star.
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