“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is simply beyond a global phenomenon. The World of Wonder breakthrough series has won the Competition Series Emmy Award four straight times and RuPaul Charles has won best Host for a Reality-Competition series six straight times. There are currently international editions in the UK, Thailand, Canada, Spain, Italy, Holland, and Down Under (Australia and New Zealand) with France and the Phillippines on the way. Winners and contestants have sold out arenas on global tours, starred on Broadway (“Head over Heels”), Oscar-nominated movies (“A Star is Born”), and launched their own Emmy-nominated HBO series (“We’re Here”). And over its previous 13 seasons, the “mothership” has seen tremendous change in the direction of the show and its contestants. It’s taking its biggest leap yet for season 14.
Originally, “Drag Race” was just intended to spoof reality shows such as “Project Runway” and “America’s Next Top Model.” The contestants were exclusively gay men (it debuted on the almost now non-existent Logo cable channel) and while a number of queens came out as trans women during their runs they were not cast as such. Times have changed. Over the past few years, trans women contestants have returned for “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” with Sonique, taking the crown this past summer (a trans contestant also won “Drag Race Holland” shortly after). The UK edition of the series had had a bisexual competitor and, this past fall, a cis-gendered female constant (usually referred to as a bio queen). Moreover, non-binary queens have become a staple of almost every edition of the show. And why not? As RuPaul famously says, “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.” Well, the VH1 staple is about to test that mantra after announcing the first cisgender straight male contestant in the show’s history, Maddy Morphosis.
Based out of Little Rock, Arkansas, Maddy appears to have proven himself an ally of the queer community and he performs almost exclusively in gay spaces. It goes without saying that his inclusion is clearly breaking new ground. In its earliest incarnation, “Drag Race” was first seen as a safe space for the gay community, a competition show for everyone to rally around and watch at local viewing parties. It was often referred to as the “Gay SuperBowl.” As time passed, a generation of open-minded, young female viewers helped drive the franchise to new heights, and the bigger it grew the broader its fanbase has become. Yes, straight men do watch “Drag Race” (often introduced by their girlfriends or wives) and Maddy may give them someone to root for this season (or not). Still, even as its umbrella has grown, “Drag Race” has been seen as a major career opportunity specifically for members of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, Victoria Scone, the bio queen on “Drag Race UK,” identifies as queer/lesbian. The conversation that “Drag Race” may face amongst its core fanbase is whether a straight competitor should take a slot from a Queer or Trans Queen also struggling for their big break.
Of course, straight men doing drag is nothing new. It’s been going on for centuries and one of the most famous drag queens in recent history, Dame Edna Everage, was famously heterosexual (he also came under tremendous scrutiny after his comments on trans women a few years ago). But in the “Drag Race” era, a straight male contestant may be uncomfortable and frustrating to not only some of the show’s viewers but the other contestants as well. And frankly, those sorts of conversations may just make for great television.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 14 debuts on Friday, January 7 on VH1 at 8 PM ET/PT with a two-part premiere. The now Emmy-winning “Drag Race: Untucked” will air afterward at 9:30 PM ET/PT. And no inflation compensation for this year’s winner, “Drag Race’s” champion will still only receive a $100,000 check.
Here is a rundown of the entire cast with written copy provided by VH1.
Alyssa Hunter (Cataño, PR) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @thealyssahunter
The huntress is on the prowl! As one of the most celebrated pageant queens from Puerto Rico, Alyssa knows her way around a runway and delivers stunning looks wherever she goes. She’s here to prove that not only can she give a fierce lewk, she also has the performance chops to bring back the crown to her hometown.
Angeria Paris VanMicheals (Atlanta, GA) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @angeriavm
This southern belle from ATL will light up any room with her charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. An old-school pageant queen, “Angie” is here to serve fierce fashion and face with a country charm that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Bosco (Seattle, WA) | Instagram/TikTok: @hereisbosco
Don’t let her laid-back Seattle grunge vibe fool you, this fiercely competitive queen is all about femme fatale glamour. With her razor-sharp wit and an impressive arsenal of drag talents, Bosco will stop at nothing to bring the crown back to Seattle.
Daya Betty (Springfield, MO) | Instagram/TikTok: @dayabetty, Twitter: @daya_betty417
You Betty be ready! Hailing from the House of Methyd, this edgy six-foot-four goddess is serving 80’s inspired rockstar realness. Daya’s known for crafting incredible looks out of any material she can get her hands on and will do whatever it takes to claw her way to the top and claim that crown.
Deja Skye (Fresno, CA) | Instagram/Twitter: @dejaskye, TikTok: @dejaskye101
This pastel princess prides herself on embracing all her curves and swerves. Deja is known for her bold, colorful drag aesthetic and design skills. She’s a sweetheart, but she has killer lip sync skills, so watch out for her!
Jasmine Kennedie (New York City, NY) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @jasminekennedie
The ditzy doll of New York City has arrived! She is known as a high-energy dancing queen who brings polished drag and the gift of gab. Her personality may be bubbly and fun, but she is drop-dead serious about slaying the competition.
Jorgeous (Nashville, TN) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @jorgeous_1
Hello-tis, it’s Jorgeous! This spicy Latina dancing diva started drag at the age of 16 and never looked back. A fierce performer who was born to do drag, Jorgeous is looking to dance the house down boots all the way to the top.
June Jambalaya (Los Angeles, CA) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @junejambalaya
This jambalaya is heating up! Bringing Black Girl Magic to the stage, June is known for her fierce dance moves and is ready to show off her kicks and splits and put a fork in the rest of the competition.
Kerri Colby (Los Angeles, CA) | Instagram/Twitter: @kerricolby, TiktTok: @kerricolby
This bodacious queen is all about beauty, hair and body-ody-ody. From the legendary House of Colby, Kerri is a bold diva who tells it like it is, while always looking flawless. She came to slay the game in true Colby style!
Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté (Los Angeles, CA) | Instagram/TikTok: @kornbreadthesnack
The bakery is open and Kornbread is being served! This LA queen is a performance powerhouse with a deliciously sassy personality. She will leave you gooped, gagged, and gandered and will want a taste of what she’s cooking!
Lady Camden (Sacramento, CA) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @ladycamden
Three cheers for America’s little spice girl! Born in the UK but now living in Sacramento, this professional ballet dancer turned drag queen is ready to take the world by storm serving class and sass and living the pop princess fantasy she always dreamed of.
Maddy Morphosis (Fayetteville, AR) | Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @maddymorphosis
This small-town camp and comedy queen is ready for her big stage debut. As the first heterosexual queen on Drag Race, Maddy’s quirky performances set her apart from the pack and she’s here to prove she can perform with the best of them.
Orion Story (Grand Rapids, MI) | Instagram/Tiktok: @theorionstory
Orion is a retro sex kitten with a campy edge. As the first queen to represent Michigan, this midwestern beauty brings a smoldering Lana Del Rey energy to her drag and is eager to share her unique drag stylings with the world.
Willow Pill (Denver, CO) |Instagram/Tiktok/Twitter: @willowpillqueen
A quirky little pill, this queen digs deep to deliver a wicked sense of humor and a darkly eccentric drag style. She is season 11 winner Yvie Oddly’s drag sister, so expect the unexpected from Willow Pill.