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Who’s the best queen in RuPaul’s Drag Race herstory? We count down our favourites

Scarlet Pestell September 12, 2019
Best RuPaul Drag Race Queens Ever

Alyssa Edwards and Katya in RuPaul's Drag Race. (VH1)

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is around the corner and to celebrate we have ranked our favourite queens from season one all the way to season 11.

To date, the cult TV competition has seen 140 queens on the runway since Logo aired it in 2009.

Most queens have sashayed away but 16 – including those in All Stars – have been crowned America’s next drag superstar.

But the fierce competition is not over yet as we judge them on their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent… no loose padding is free from scrutiny.

So in the eternal words of Mamma Ru: “Ladies start your engines, and may the best woman win.”

Watch our full ranking of the queens below:

10. Raja Gemini (season 3).

Yes, if you can cast your minds all the way back to season three you will remember the super glamorous Raja.

This club kid wasn’t messing about when she competed in the show and unapologetically (and deservingly) snatched the crown.

Raja_Modern_Day_Marie_Antoinette_Look_RuPaul's_Drag_Race
Raja’s modern-day Marie Antoinette look in episode four, season three. (Logo)

Fashion, experience and height that could not be matched, Raja brought a quirky fresh look to the runway that was previously a bit dull.

Best moment: Her flawless Marie Antoinette twist which made us all want to eat cake!

9. Sasha Velour (season 9).

Sasha Velour was the bald-headed beauty that won season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Her look was certainly louder than her relatively quiet personality but when she spoke it was always sweet, thoughtful and intelligent.

RuPaul's Drag Race Sasha Velour's wig reveal in the final of Season 9.
Sasha Velour’s wig reveal in the finale of season nine. (VH1)

With a background in art, Sasha Velour brought avant-garde looks to that runway every time and was undeniably one of the most fashionable contestants of the show.

Best moment: Lip-sync to ‘So Emotional’ by Whitney Houston in the finale, where she revealed red rose petals from her gloves and under her wig. 

8. Ginger Minj (season 7, All Stars 2).

Everyone’s favourite glamour toad fell short of the crown in season seven and again in All Stars, but always triumphed in providing comic relief.

Striking the perfect balance of drop-dead gorgeous and drop-dead funny, Ginge Minj could serve you Divine-style comedy in a sequinned ball gown.

RuPaul's Drag Race Ginger Minj season seven entrance look.
Ginger Minj season seven entrance look. (Logo)

A queen you trusted to make your belly hurt from laughter with a snatch game performance and a witty read.

Best moment: Her iconic Adele from Snatch Game in season seven. Oh, and we can’t ignore her name…

7. Kim Chi (season 8).

Probably the best make-up artist in Drag Race herstory, the queen of anime could transform her face into anything.

From her fierce entering the workroom look to her stunning Korean-inspired final outfit, Kim Chi always radiated beauty stomping down the runway (yes, stomping).

RuPaul's Drag Race Kim Chi's black and white realness look.
Kim Chi’s black and white realness look in episode seven, season eight. (Logo)

The biggest gag was that Kim Chi wasn’t awarded Miss Congeniality, despite being possibly the nicest person in the entire world – sorry Cynthia Lee Fontaine.

Too bad she wasn’t a singer, dancer or actor otherwise she might have had that crown.

Best moment: Her flower drag and narrative in Autobiographical Eleganza Extravaganza was stunning.

6. Shangela Laquifa Wadley (season 2, season 3, All Stars 4).

She’s back, back, back again.

If you see a big box being wheeled into the workroom then you know you’re about to hear “halleloo”.

We have literally seen Shangela grow throughout Drag Race, always coming back fiercer, funnier and a lot friendlier.

RuPaul's Drag Race Shangela's wigs on wigs on wigs look.
Shangela’s wigs on wigs on wigs look episode three, All-Stars 3. (VH1)

After season two she needed more experience, season three sewing was her biggest challenge and then in All Stars she needed to change… well nothing really.

Best moment: All that needs to be said is: “I’ve never had a sugar daddy. If I wanted a sugar daddy, yes, I could probably go out and get one because I am what? Sickening!” 

5. Alaska Thunderf**k (season 5, All Stars 2).

One of the most influential queens in defining what mainstream drag is right now.

Utterly oozing with talent, enough to win her first attempt at RuPaul’s Drag Race, but instead she focused on being a part of the mean girl clique RoLaskaTox.

But with an unbeatable ability to find beauty in the bizarre, Alaska was able to slay all of the competition in the very fierce All Stars 2 and take that win.

RuPaul's Drag Race queen Alaska.
Alaska Thunderfuck entrance look in season five. (Logo)

Entering RuPaul Drag Race world as the boyfriend of season four winner, Sharron Needles, but quickly becoming a fan favourite, Alaska has made her mark.

Best moment: Pretty much everything, but probably the creation of Lil Poundcake. 

4. Alyssa Edwards (season 5 and All Stars 2).

Alyssa Edwards is single-handedly responsible for how millennial gays communicate, *tongue pop*.

The beloved catchphrase queen had everything that one of Ru’s girls need: looks, talent, charisma and most importantly meme-able. This being said, Alyssa has scored higher in this than she ever did in the show.

RuPaul's Drag Race Alyssa Edwards as the Black Swan.
Alyssa Edwards as the Black Swan in episode four, season 5. (Logo)

By far the best dancer to ever compete in the show, often giving the choreographer a run for their money. You certainly didn’t want to be lip-syncing against Alyssa Edwards.

Best moment: Don’t make me choose between those two double stays… 

3. Shea Couleé (season 9).

The New York queen entered the workroom with: “I didn’t come to play, I came here to slay” and that’s exactly what she did.

10s, 10s, 10s across the boards in everything, she could dance, act, do comedy and serve those looks.

Shea Couleé spent season nine side to side with Sasha Velour, forming the adorable and fierce friendship fo ‘Sashea’. This was one of the best things to come from the season but you can’t help but think what would have happened if Velour wasn’t there (would she be $100,000 richer?).

RuPaul's Drag Race Shea Couleé entrance look
Shea Couleé entrance look season 9. (VH1)

Fun fact Shea Couleé won the most maxi channels out of all the queens in RuPaul herstory with a grand total of 4 (tie with Bebe Zahara Benet and Latrice Royale).

Best moment: Her performance of Blac Chyna in ‘Kardashian The Musical’. 

2. Manila Luzon (season 3, All Stars 1 and 4).

Manila Luzon is proof that drag is an art form.

Her outrageous and never-ending creativity makes you wanna say: ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’

RuPaul's Drag Race Manila
Manila Luzon’s curves and swerves look episode four, All-Stars 4. (VH1)

Having competed three times, Manila Luzon has always been the brains and beauty of her seasons.

Never quite able to snatch the crown, Luzon fans have probably started protesting justice for Manila after her near win, unfair pairing (sorry Latrice) and scandalous sending home (sorry Naomi).

1. Katya Zamolodchikova (season 7 and All Stars 2).

This high-class Russian whore is nothing short of exceptional.

Probably the funniest person to have ever been aired on TV gave us fantastic comic relief, especially in the slightly lacklustre season seven.

RuPaul's Drag Race our winner Katya.
Katya’s entrance look in season seven. (Logo)

Katya exudes the most important best friend qualities: Hilarious, always up for a party, a bit self-deprecating and wears sharks as leg warmers.

Best moments: Her splits during ‘Read U Wrote U’.

Watch more on RuPaul’s Drag Race on PinkNews‘ YouTube channel.

More: alaska thunderfuck, alyssa edwards, drag, ginger minj, Katya, Kim Chi, manila luzon, raja, rpdr, rupaul, RuPaul Charles, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4, RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10, RuPaul's Drag Race season 11, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK, Sasha Velour, shangela, shangela laquifa wadley, Shea Coulee, The Trixie & Katya Show

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