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Mar 22 2018
Perfect 10s: A Night With The Season 10 RuPAUL'S DRAG RACE Girls Comments (0)

IMG_4608_newIs your sign compatible with Aquaria? (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Last night was the traditional meet-the-goils event in honor of a new season of RuPaul's Drag Race — Season 10 debuts tonight on VH1 at 8/7c — and it couldn't have gone any better.

Giphy-1(All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

The evening felt like RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 3, if you were Trixie Mattel ...

IMG_4533_newCookies, a cake and plenty of glitz

These press events can be murder in that the girls are stationed at little tables and every outlet under the sun is duking it out to try to nab something from all of them within an hour.

Will Season 10 Be the Cuntiest Ever?

This time, VH1 held the event in the TRL studios, which made for a beautiful backdrop (Madonna was once here! Britney! Ryan Cabrera!), and every detail had been considered, making it my most successful Ru outing yet. I felt like BenDeLaCreme discovering Wite-Out — no pressure!

IMG_4592_newRyan & Mike 

IMG_4843_newJoe doing an OK! job

Lots of fun people showed up to cover, includng Ryan Shae of Instinct (with beefcake in tow), the more-than-okay Joe Drake of OK! and a collection of extemely cute stringers and bloggers who get giddy around the newly minted drag stars. I've done this close to 10 times now, so it feels like a high school reunion — you recognize everyone and it's been long enough that you can track each other's decay/transformation.

IMG_4568_newEureka struck gold with her glittery look.

IMG_4582_newAquaria commands: Genuflect!

First, the girls began streaming down the red carpet. I was positioned next to my buddy Jeff Eason, a big shooter (and photographer) for Get Out. It was a little frustrating getting the girls to focus because they'd do half the carpet, then double-back for some press, then come to us. I like to try to get some of the carpet because how a girl handles herself in that setting can be a good tease for how she'll be in an interview, and on the show.

IMG_4652_newProfiling Blair

IMG_4652_newDusty isn't repressed.
IMG_4652_newMayhem & hersIMG_4652_newFans will be counting on Kalorie.

IMG_4652_newAsia — major

Newlywed Nico Tortorella was in the house and in a diaphanous violet frock, working the room with gender-neutral friends and happily posing. He threatened to overshadow the queens he was working his look so hard. Nice guy always.

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IMG_4546 copy_newThe newly married Nico

My happiest surprise was that Gus Kenworthy showed up with BF Matthew Wilkas. As you know if you're a longtime Boy Culture reader, my Web series — a sequel to the Boy Culture movie of 10 years ago — is about to shoot, and Mr. Wilkas is our new X. We have been in touch for many years, but it was our first formal meeting.

He couldn't have been nicer or cuter, and it was sweet to see him and Gus having fun with the queens. (Above, from an event this week, a reminder of how invested Gus is in RDR!)

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IMG_4558 copy_newThe lovebirds!

Eventually, the girls began sitting down for the interview section, so I bailed on the carpet and dove in early. Even so, it took a almost two hours, not one, to do what my faithful assistant Jason and I did — get all 14 girls! Even just doing short Q&As, posed pics and pic-withs, it truly takes longer than some of the girls spend filming the show!

Matt Wilkas IMG_4589_newIt was like a Matthew convention in there!

Here are my personal impressions, in the order in which I interviewed them:


Miz Cracker

I wanted to be sure I got her, before it became clear I'd get them all, because IMG_4697_newsomething about her in the teaser footage led me to believe she could go far on the show. I still think that's true. With a name that makes a racial slur cute, Cracker is striking and smart and made sure to tout her writing credentials (not a fan of her saying Call Me by Your Name is something non-gay that gay men “fell for”), not something most drag queens underscore in initial interviews. She's got an early Ariana Grande wardrobe and an Arianna Huffington résumé, and came off as assertive. Will it read as brittle on the show? She was very professional when I asked her about comparisons between herself and look-sorta-alike Aquaria, so perhaps her diplomacy suggests she'll figure out a way to go the distance.


Dusty Ray Bottoms

An NYC queen like Miz Cracker, Dusty Ray was glamorously languid in a beautiful gown Stella Stevens may have packed for her Poseidon Adventure. With spidery lashes and a Milky Way of beauty marks and glitter around her black lips, she had a hit of Goth, accentuated by her Bride of Frankenstein upsweep. I found her to be the most easygoing queen, which could be interpreted as someone who went home quickly or someone who did so well she doesn't have to worry about grabbing as much press as possible. She was so nice she barely answered my question regarding any queen for whom she experienced hate at first sight!


Asia O'Hara

Sporting one of the evening's boldest gowns (cherubs! tigers! glitz! oh, my!), the first of two O'Haras with whom I spoke had a Jennifer Hudson air about her — which is hard to maintain when you've got a flowerbush growing out of your head. Her makeup is creamy and sleek, like an airbrushed T-shirt. Lovely and poised, she gave me thoughtful answers and impressed me with her warmth. Eureka said Asia was the girl she first IDed as her biggest threat, which is interesting because Asia came off as the person who should've played the Oprah role in A Wrinkle in Time — Gandhi in a boa.



This bitch! First, Aquaria is gorgeous and the kind of thin rich women used to despise each other for being. But as great-looking as she is in person — truly, old-school vampy — she looks even better in pictures. Jean Harlow on a diet. I liked her unusual wig, which had a '20s wave on one side and fell free on the only. Her skate-princess-gone-bad frock leotard was a simple look that ensured all attention would be on her bod and on that face. She gave us a little divaness when she had to leave to be part of the group shot, then wanted a moment to collect herself before letting us talk with her. Then she apologized and said she really isn't a diva, which of course is what a diva would do.

In the interview, she bristled when asked about comparisons to Miz Cracker, but was so unbelievably gracious in her response, making her seem totally noncompetitive. I don't think both Aquaria and Miz Cracker will last into the Top 5, but I suspect the show kept them around long enough to get into each other's hair, even if any drama that ensued clearly has not sunk in. Could Aquaria win?


Blair St. Clair

I was eager to meet Blair, who I think is like a really young Isla Fisher or a really old, '50s Barbie — just total eye candy. I told her she was my crush this season but that I am a few grades ahead of her. She laughed and drank in the approval sweetly, but not thirstily. Blair comes off as genuinely kind. Miss Congeniality is here! She also surprised us by saying she'd turned down an offer from the show to be at an event tonight during the Season 10 debut because she preferred to share that with her family and her boyfriend. She's a young Broadway queen with lots of potential. It'd hard to picture her being cut-throat on the show, so maybe she had to kill with kindness instead?


Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams

With a broadly funny  name like that, I think I was expecting a clown in a gown, but Lil' Kim doppelganger KK-W rocked the carpet in Britney-inspired denim and was eloquent in her interview. She has the gift of gab, and an undertone of self-confidence that lets you know she is no pushover. She was one of the girls who readily answered my question about hate at first sight, correctly divining that there was a way to answer truthfully without being insulting; after all, hate at first sight is often as misguided as love at first sight. Million-dollar smile.


Eureka O'Hara

I've been in this same situation with Eureka before! She, of course, injured herself the last time she did RDR, taking Ru up on his offer to come back when she got better. Girl, don't do any splits when you're big and tall — we're already impressed with you visually! And along with showing out spectacularly in sequins (she knew it), looking like Hee Haw's Lulu had a makeover, Eureka has such a phenomenal personality. She's so funny, so quick, loves playfully embracing the cattiness of drag, is never shy to reveal jealousy or competitiveness, and ends up being so relatable. She's a hoot, and she wants it bad. I don't see her going home right away.


Vanessa Vanjie Mateo

The drag daughter of RDR legend Alexis Mateo (it, um, didn't go well when Cracker said she couldn't remember Alexis), Vanessa comes off as the girl most likely to ... kick your azz.

She's got a mile-a-minute personality that never shies away from being bold, yet unlike past confrontation queens, she expressed affection for her castmates and said she tends to love everybody at first. Maybe she's less a queen who will cut you than she is the life of the party — just don't bump into her on the dance floor. I loved the metallic sheen of her makeup, especially on her chest (seems big, fake boobies are passé in drag these days?), which gave her a couture look. Plus, she has the perfect lips, which were just exquisitely painted. I think she sticks around; she was talking like she interacted with the girls for more than a show or two. One thing to note — Vanessa went the no-comment route on trans girls doing drag, suggesting she's against it or knows about an upcoming surprise in that arena.


Yuhua Hamasaki

Yuhua is the Chinese queen who does Japanese drag, which is either cultural appropriation or just plain revenge! She had eyelashes that could perform surgery and a colorful kimono, but her answers were a bit short for me to get a strong, strong impression of her. That made me feel she may be an early departure, just because she didn't seem to have stories about the other girls. If she does go home (to NYC's Chinatown) sooner rather than later, it won't be for lack of beauty. She's also a real-deal seamstress, so it would be nice to have someone who can actually make their own dresses on the show! P.S. Yuhua IDs as gender-neutral, which she mentioned in answering my question regarding trans women in drag.


The Vixen

For a girl who was cited as someone the others thought would be a tough cookie, The Vixen came off as a creampuff. Reminding me of the late, great Sahara Davenport with a dash of Lady Chablis, Vixen had the best positioning, in front of the show's logo with perfect blue backlighting that brought out her naturally lavender hair. She was serene in her responses — a no drama mama who for some reason makes her debut on the show announcing that she wants to fight. I think she's a sheep in wolf's drag. Couldn't have been nicer.


Monét X Change

By this point, I was thinking it was interesting that there were no airheads. Would Monét be that airhead? Not today, Satan. Monét has a cerebral air, and combines a street look with her ace-in-the-hole — she's a trained opera singer. I could see her titanic wig and carefully considered costume (which looked okay in person, but which photographed as a pretty genius, melting-black-cherry-ice-cream concept) commanding the stage. Witty and forthright. It's going to be hard to figure out who goes when. So many queens who would be good representatives!


Kameron Michaels

Kameron's Oriental-themed look was even hornier than everyone in the room was for her escort, porn legend Boomer Banks. I would say the statuesque strutter stole the show when she strode through the tables to do shots against a fabulous backdrop of the entire cast. I had to chase her down to get her, and I would say her imposing look did not match her personality, which was much more accessible. I don't think she is going to make it until the end (again, based only on her interview responses — she's a great queen), but it would be interesting if she did — she's the first true muscle queen, a fact that was totally hidden by her garment.


Mayhem Miller

Man, I feel like I like this woman. Mayhem had a Viola Davis vibe, but Viola at an event, not Viola leaking during a dramatic scene. I absolutely loved her ruffled gown, which had a Nolan Miller feel — God, she looked like Joan Collins and Diahann Carroll's Dynasty characters had a baby! — and yet felt up-to-date. Her 'fro was perfection. When I spoke to her, she was tons of fun and seemed absolutely ready to host a talk show. She has a great sense of humor as well. I went in knowing little about her, but of the queens I had not IDed as ones to watch, she was one of the ones I watched the most.


Monique Heart

Due to the vagaries of trying to get 14 queens in 60 minutes, Monique wound up being my last one — and what a disaster I averted by not missing her entirely! Monique had such a pretty, cotton-candy 'do, very '60s Marilyn, and a flattering, off-the-shoulder frock, all of the colors working perfectly with the colors of the room (did the bitch know?). She reminds one a lot of Bob the Drag Queen, and I kept thinking of classy actress Madge Sinclair. Monique is well-named, because while she has regal looks (her tattoos and biceps didn't even register — it was all illusion), she has an irrepressible heart to her, a vibrancy. She's the most on queen, ready to spit soundbites and plug the show, but when you get her off-topic, she's just as ready to go off-script. She was a riot, and a fitting end.

IMG_4806_newHere's, Boomer!

IMG_4717 copy_newGus with Aquaria and her HOT helper (covered in Madonna tattoos)

The Big Picture

Based on the way the queens spoke as much as their obvious charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, I would say Aquaria and Miz Cracker, Mayhem, Vanessa, Eureka and Blair are among the ones to watch. We'll see!

Come back tomorrow for more great stuff from my RDR encounters!