Seems like hardly a day goes by that a gay editorial site doesn’t publish 10 articles about RuPaul’s Drag Race, and The Gay Goods has been sadly remiss in that mandatory quota! Because we haven’t watched an episode of the series since 2012, we’re hard-pressed to discuss the current queens (but we assume the same “comedy queens versus fishy bitches” fights are happening and that contestants are still dumbfounded by things that have happened since Season 1). However, unlike some of our sister sites, our wizened old brains forget nothing, and that’s why we’re celebrating some of the finest and unjustly overlooked queens from Drag Race’s early years. Step off the runway for a moment and stroll with us down false memory lane.
Elena Snore Whoresevelt
Most people are unaware that RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reboot of a short-lived 1957 series, also hosted by RuPaul. The kinescopes are long lost, but the winner of that season was beloved Greenwich Village fixture Elena Snore Whoresevelt, whose act mostly consisted of pushing “Franklin” around in an empty wheelchair. Rumor has it that Bette Davis found inspiration from Elena Snore’s act in her portrayal of Baby Jane Judson.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting this queen from Season 1, because she tripped over her own heels as she entered the workroom for her big entrance and had to be rushed to the ER. Having broken both ankles—the shoes were platforms—she spent the next six months recovering, posting weekly recaps of Season 1 episodes on Facebook. Her pithy comments eventually led to a job writing for BuzzFeed.
Did you know that Manila Luzon missed an entire episode of Season 3? She was abruptly called away to perform at a celebrity birthday bash, one so big that even RuPaul was star struck (Billy B just rolled his eyes). The episode was filmed with a double, while Manila sang happy birthday to a pair of double Ds.
A controversial figure in Season 4, Charity turned every challenge into an opportunity to argue for right wing political causes. Though she was reportedly a favorite of Milo Yiannopolous, the liberal-leaning producers at World of Wonder ultimately decided to cut her from the series, Sherry Pie style, before it aired. Eagle-eyed fans can still spot her in teasers for the season, wearing a dress inspired by Obama’s long form birth certificate.
Lil’ Baby Betsy
While everyone was gagging over Shangela’s return in Season 3, they should’ve been going ga-ga over this Seattle queen who never once broke character as an adult-sized baby. It’s a shame she got cut so early, because we’d have killed to see the bib-and-booties makeover she could’ve given her straight guy in the Jocks and Frocks challenge. But at least we got to see her hurl a pacifier at the judges during her lip sync to “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”