To a casual observer, it might seem inconceivable that there once was a time when drag queens saw themselves as separate from trans women. But queens can be petty, and sometimes queer people hold onto labels to the exclusion of others. Try as Ryan Murphy might, no other show has done more to celebrate the diversity and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community than VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” With new franchises and “All Stars” match-ups popping up around the world faster than anyone can keep track, “Drag Race” is an international phenomenon with no sign of slowing down.
Season 14 saw not only the first straight man to compete for the crown with Maddy Morphosis, but it also included the most trans-inclusive cast in “Drag Race” herstory. Kerri Colby became the first trans woman to walk into the workroom fully herself, while four more contestants came out either during the filming or airing of the show. IndieWire spoke with Colby alongside her sisters Bosco and Jasmine Kennedie about what the show meant to them, and how being on “Drag Race” gave them the courage to embrace their true selves.
“This is like the toughest thing I have ever done in my entire life, and you’re under so much like psychic pressure the entire time,” Bosco said. “It’s so intense to be there. I always used to laugh at the girls that were crying on television. And that absolutely came around and got my ass. I think I cried almost every single episode whether they showed it or not.”
Even as longtime fans of “Drag Race,” it was impossible to prepare for the intense pressure cooker of the competition, and it’s natural that emotions would run high. Season 14 was also filmed on the heels of the first wave of the pandemic. With everyone having months of sitting with themselves to re-evaluate priorities, of course, there were bound to be discoveries.
“Everything has an evolution, just like how so many of us found who we are by finding our drag persona,” said Colby. “Especially coming out of the pandemic…I think it was only the appropriate decision to have such a trans-inclusive cast…because drag and the LGBTQ experience is a progressive state of the human race, but with a show that represents it and is the stamp of queer approval.”
“With drag in particular transness comes up all the time. It’s a very organic part of the sport, a lot of self-discovery goes into drag. And for a lot of us, we find our transitions through our art. And I’m really, really happy that our season got to showcase that and we got to be a part of that,” Bosco added.
IndieWire’s Consider This Conversations brought together Emmy nominated cast and creative team members from five of television’s most prestigious shows to discuss some of the best art and craft of TV production of 2022. In addition to “Lucy and Desi,” other featured shows include Amazon’s “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, as well as Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” VH1’s ”RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero.” Follow them all here.