I Caught RuPaul's Drag Race For The Very First Time – Here's What I Learnt

“You are a fabulous queen.”

Dramatically arched eyebrows, jaw-dropping outfits and people making hilarious innuendos in sky-high heels? It’s all that and much more. Call me 'Clueless Cathy' if you wish, however, I had been completely unaware of American reality television competition RuPaul’s Drag Race until recently.

“You have to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. You’ll love it,” a close friend of mine told me after I had asked her for recommendations on shows to check out on Netflix. It was high time that I ventured out of my K-drama comfort zone and explored other genres.

True enough, I was this close to kicking myself for not discovering it sooner after learning that the show has not only won several Primetime Emmy Awards but is also lauded for bringing drag and LGBTQ+ to the mainstream audience.

RuPaul’s Drag Race has spanned over a decade and has produced 12 whopping seasons and numerous spin-offs thus far. Hosted by RuPaul Charles, a singer and model who is often regarded as one of the most commercially successful drag queens in the United States, the show documents the search for America’s next drag superstar and has featured numerous special celebrity guests in the past, including Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Vanessa Hudgens.

“It’s a delight to watch drag queens, who are normally marginalised and cruelly enough sometimes, publicly bullied, get a lot of love and attention on a show where they are the heart and centre of it with their quirky personalities, incredible fashion skills and unique life experiences,” my friend added. Read on as I reveal five key takeaways after catching the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race for the very first time.

Be unapologetically yourself


Throughout the season, the contestants are often brave and unafraid to assert their individuality, whether it’s staying true to their signature style even when the judges question their choices, or by celebrating one another’s unique quirks and personalities.

Furthermore, before the end of every episode, we see RuPaul delivering his signature line: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the world are you going to love somebody else?” This serves as a powerful reminder to all of us — regardless of our background and sexual orientation — that self-love is more important than anything. Let’s learn to love and cherish every aspect of ourselves and become our own biggest cheerleader.

Be fierce and fabulous, always


Whether it’s looking dapper in his signature pair of no-nonsense glasses and a colourful two-piece suit or commanding the judges’ table in a full sequin ball gown and larger-than-life hair, RuPaul is the perfect example of a person who shines in whatever he chooses to wear.

Never pass up the opportunity to look your best and show up at every opportunity dressing like you’re about to meet your worst enemy. Go on and rock that bright red lipstick if you wish to! Above all, let your unique self shine through your makeup and attire.

Don’t take yourself too seriously


We are only human and it’s perfectly okay to make mistakes. We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and instead, we should acknowledge our shortcomings and celebrate our strengths. After announcing the contestant who gets eliminated at the end of each episode, RuPaul always makes it a point to share his words of encouragement. He rarely fixates on any individual’s mistakes and reinforces that everyone is fabulous and capable of achieving great things.

Queens rule the world, period


Over the course of the season, the contestants frequently share about the celebrities that they look up to, and more often than not, they are confident, empowered women. Singers Cher and Barbra Streisand are often mentioned throughout the series, as do host Oprah Winfrey, who even served as the challenge inspiration in one of the episodes on the show. We are beautiful, we are strong and we rule the world!

Hustle and heart will set you apart


From hosting a ‘live’ talk show to fashioning a couture-level outfit out of random items from the dollar store, the contestants are thrown a series of challenges that keeps them on their toes. Even then, they still give their all and learn to make the best out of every situation.

And beyond looking fabulous in a glossy wig and dress, the contestants also learn a thing or two about themselves throughout the competition and are unafraid to battle their insecurities — whether it’s opening up about their past traumas (such as dealing with discrimination and abusive relationships) or sharing about one another’s motivations in becoming drag queens. Keep hustlin’ and have faith that you can achieve anything you want, as long you set your mind to it.

What do you enjoy most about RuPaul’s Drag Race?

(Cover photo from: @rupaulsdragrace and media.giphy.com

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