Easily among the most outrageous shows in TV history, RuPaul’s Drag Race has amassed a loyal following that tunes in weekly in order to see who survives another round of eliminations. Set to return for an 11th season in the year to come, the show has been a big enough success that it has spawned a pair of spin-offs, RuPaul’s Drag U and RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.
If that weren’t enough of an indication of this show’s greatness, it also has won a long list of major trophies including several Emmys, a GLAAD Media Award and too many others to list here.
Of course, as is the case with most major “reality” shows, the degree to which the show’s depiction of events is accurate is very much up for debate. With that in mind, it is time to look at this list of 16 things that are totally fake about RuPaul’s Drag Race and four that are actually real.
20 The Queens Aren’t Entirely Surprised By The Looks They Are Asked To Have
Right off the hop, we want to make it abundantly clear that we believe that the contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race are incredibly talented at putting together amazing outfits. That said, they actually aren’t magicians so in the past we have wondered how they could possibly pull a rabbit out of the hat whenever they are informed about the show's OTT themes.
As it turns out, the reason they seem to be prepared for every eventuality is they are given an extensive but “vague” list of possible themes, as Teen Vogue reports.
19 Many Alternate Endings Are Filmed
As much as fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race love watching each and every episode of the show, at the end of the day they all know that each season leads to one thing alone, revealing who has won the crown. For that reason, it is incredibly important to the show’s producers that the ultimate winner of each season isn’t revealed before the final episode is aired.
In an attempt to make sure that word never gets out, since Season 4 the crew has filmed footage of multiple queens winning so even if someone got hold of the footage they wouldn’t know the ultimate winner, as PopBuzz reports.
18 Michelle Visage Is Said To Be A Lot Nicer Than She Seems
One of the biggest stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Michelle Visage has been a major part of this competition show since its 3rd season. Always seen serving on the judges panel since then, in her position Visage has pushed the contestants to better themselves in ways that some viewers have perceived as being mean. Despite that, according to Visage herself, she only comes across that way because she cares deeply about the drag community, which she has been a part of since her teens.
Additionally, an anonymous person who claims to have participated in the show claimed she was like a mother to them and season 4’s William Belli revealed she let the queen’s use her private dressing room, as Screen Rant reveals.
17 A Contestant Reportedly Had To Redo Her Entrance
When it comes to a competition “reality” show like RuPaul’s Drag Race, it often seems like the contestants are under an incredibly large amount of pressure. After all, they only have one chance to get things right and a single misstep can lead to them missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. However, according to season 10’s The Vixen, in some cases, the queens may get more than one shot to get things right.
In fact, according to what she said on an IG Live stream, she was asked to redo her infamous “I’m just here to fight” entrance line multiple times, as Teen Vogue reports.
16 The Queens Have No Idea Who's Competing In Their Season
When it comes to the world of RuPaul's Drag Race, it really doesn’t get any bigger than when they put on an All Stars season. After all, it really doesn’t get any more exciting than knowing that the most entertaining and over the top people from previous seasons are about to do it all again. However, even though fans of the series can rest assured that they are going to see some of their favorite drag queens compete once again, the actual contestants are in a very different boat.
This is the case because producers keep the contestants held up in a hotel room with the blinds drawn in order to make sure they have no idea which queens they will be competing against.
15 The Show Features Some Deceptive Editing
If you are anything like us, you have often found yourself wondering when exactly all of those talking head segments from your favourite “reality” show are filmed. What we never realized is that the queens are told to wear the same outfit during those interviews so that comments they made days apart can be edited together to mean something they didn’t intend.
In fact, during Season 3, before they decided to make sure the contestants wear the same outfits, an 8-second Shangela clip featured her wearing two completely different hairdos and tops, as Teen Vogue states.
14 Some Queens Claim To Not Have Been Surprised By Their Eliminations
In light of RuPaul’s Drag Race’s loyal fan base, it seems very safe to say that loads of viewers care deeply about who will be eliminated each week. However, several of the show’s contestants have revealed they were in a different boat because they already knew they were being sent home before it happened, as Screen Rant reports. But sometimes this has happened by accident.
For example, Jiggly Caliente claims that the hotel she had been put up in thanked her for staying there prior to her elimination. As a result, she realized they had been told she was about to check out.
13 One Queen Claims She Was Told How To Act By Producers
No matter how much television networks try to pretend that “reality” shows feature accurate depictions of the people who star in them, we know this isn't always the case. In fact, you would have to be pretty naïve to think that the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race wouldn’t act differently simply because they have cameras following them all the time. However, it was still pretty surprising when William Belli, a former contestant, wrote a Tumblr post about one of her experiences with the show, saying, as Buzzfeed reports,
“My reunion 'performance' was an orchestrated gig that took two hours of meetings behind closed doors and had a script. They told me they wanted an emotional moment.”
12 The Rules Are No Laughing Matter
If you buy into the idea that it is easier to request forgiveness than it is to receive permission then starring in RuPaul’s Drag Race probably isn’t for you. The show is run by a group of people who have put some very strict rules in place and if any of the contestants think they don’t apply to them, then they have another thing coming.
The ultimate example of how seriously the show’s producers take those rules was when Season 4’s William Belli snuck her husband into her hotel room, as Entertainment Weekly reports. She experienced serious consequences. Caught by the show’s producers, despite how talented William was and how much potential he had to win the season, he was sent home.
11 The Queens Can’t Perform Whatever They Want
One of the most entertaining aspects of RuPaul’s Drag Race is the contestants' talent show routines. Often either entertaining or not, these performances are almost always a lot of fun to watch. But the contestants don't get to choose their songs.
Coco Montrese revealed on IG that she wanted to perform a Janet Jackson number during All-Stars 2’s premiere episode but she wasn’t allowed to. Before you get mad at the show’s producers, however, it really was out of their hands because they can’t include some songs because royalty issues make them too expensive, as Teen Vogue reports.
10 One Queen Claims She Was Asked To Do Another Contestant’s Makeup
A highly competitive show that features some truly impressive drag queens, in order to win RuPaul’s Drag Race a contestant needs to be a jack of all trades. After all, in order to be the complete package, a contestant needs to have her runway walk down, lip sync with the best of them and look amazing. As a result, it seems obvious that each contestant hopes that their competition falls apart in one of those categories.
Despite that, during a YouTube interview with Shade Museum, Detox claimed people behind the show asked her to help Jinx Monsoon with her makeup, as Screen Rant reports. Not exactly happy to help her competition out, Detox instead claims she only gave Jinx Monsoon “a few pointers here and there.”
9 It Takes A Lot Less Time To Film An Episode Than You Think
By the time a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has finished filming, it seems to be abundantly clear that most of the people involved with the show are likely to feel pretty exhausted. However, just because it takes around three months for a season to air all of its episodes, that does not mean it takes anywhere near that long to shoot all of the footage that goes into them.
Instead, despite the fact that each episode of the show is often referred to as a “week,” they only take two or three days to film. As a result, the events of an entire season of this show take place in roughly four weeks, as Screen Rant reports.
8 Being Part Of The Show Is A Pressure Cooker
No matter what it might seem like, competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race is an intense experience. In fact, once filming is done for a day, the queens go directly to their hotel rooms where they have to remain. A group of production assistants are tasked with monitoring them from the hall. Just in case any of the PAs fall asleep at the switch, a piece of tape is placed over each contestant’s door, as Screen Rant reports, so it will be broken if they try to leave their room.
Finally, no phones are allowed in any of the rooms and if a contestant needs to communicate with the crew, they have pen and paper in order to slip notes under the door. All we can say about all of that is, wow.
7 The Contestants Aren’t Entirely Surprised By Their Chosen Songs
When it comes to RuPaul’s Drag Race, most fans of the show would tell you that while watching it they see iPod earphones on a regular basis. If you have ever wondered why that is the case, the answer is that the queens are given devices that are preloaded with all of the songs they may have to perform throughout the season on day one, as PopBuzz reports.
This allows them to make sure they are familiar with each tune so that when they are given that week’s track the day before the challenge, they aren’t starting at square one.
6 One Queen Has Said RuPaul Is Fed Lines Through An Earpiece
While there is no doubt that each season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is defined by the strengths and weaknesses of its contestants, the fact remains that one person is the show’s main star. Arguably the most famous drag queen, it's hard to imagine this show existing without RuPaul at its helm. For that reason, it is imperative that the show portrays RuPaul as the quick-witted and fabulous human being that most people believe him to be.
According to an interview that Tammie Brown gave to the YouTube channel Homorazzi, however, RuPaul isn’t the one coming up with his lines since they are fed to him through an earpiece.
5 Some Queens Have Really Grown To Dislike One Another
Let’s face facts: in reality, the stars of any competition show know that drama sells so they are likely to be very happy to argue with one another. In fact, we would go so far as to say that we completely believe that RuPaul’s Drag Race and other reality shows have featured arguments that were faked for our entertainment. However, there is no question that some of the show’s contestants really grew to dislike one another.
For example, Phi Phi O’Hara and Sharon Needles were said to be so angry with one another after they had a heated discussion that they had to be kept apart whenever they were off camera, as Screen Rant reports.
4 Despite How Things Seem, The Drinks Are Tame
One of our favourite parts of the whole RuPaul’s Drag Race experience, Untucked is a companion series that shows the queens talking backstage during the judges’ deliberation process. Considering the pressure the stars of the show clearly are under at that time, it seems obvious that they need to blow off some steam. However, if you assumed that one of the ways in which they do that is by enjoying some adult drinks in the Untucked lounge, then you may be disappointed. Instead, the queens are left to enjoy drinks that are almost entirely made up of watered-down cranberry juice accompanied by only a splash of something else, as PopBuzz reports.
3 The Queens Have No Idea Who Has Won Until The Finale Airs
As we touched on earlier in this list, the producers behind RuPaul’s Drag Race care deeply about keeping the identity of each season’s winner under wraps until the last minute. As s result, they film each season’s three finalists celebrating as they are told they have won the crown. While this ensures that the show’s fans wait with impatience to learn who the ultimate winner is, it also leaves the actual finalists even more interested.
This is the case because none of them are told which version of the show’s final scene will air and they only find out who has won by watching the last episode just like the rest of us.
2 RuPaul Is Distant When The Cameras Aren’t Rolling
RuPaul has always come across as a kind-hearted and welcoming person. From most accounts that appears to be true, but according to Phi Phi O’Hara, RuPaul is not as warm as you’d expect off camera. Eighties Kids reports Phi Phi saying,
“I wanted to meet her and I just wanted to see who this person was that was so comfortable in their own skin. So watching her on set and seeing how she ignores everybody and she doesn’t talk to the contestants, I was like, What, this is weird, why won’t she say hi to me?”
1 Runways And Challenges Are Filmed Twice
One of the most entertaining parts of RuPaul’s Drag Race is the runway walks. They're meant to play a big part in determining which of the contestants are going to last another week. But they tend to be a bit staged as the runway walks are filmed twice!
How it works is that music is played for the queens to walk down the runway the first time, then the tunes are switched off and the judges are recorded reacting to what they see, as Teen Vogue reports. In addition, even challenges on the main stage are filmed twice, the site reports, which is probably so that producers can get footage from different angles.