Yum! Let’s Take a Closer Look at the ‘Drag Race’ Pit Crew

RuPaul’s Drag Race has become a pop culture phenomenon over the past decade, winning a ton of Emmy’s and earning millions of fans from all backgrounds in the process. Heck, they even created DragCon, which rivals all the other “cons” out there in terms of sheer size and chaos, so all that tucking and padding that they do is worth it at the end of the day.

A vital part of the show’s success isn’t just the queens, RuPaul himself, his fellow judges or the endless catchphrases that have come out of it, it’s the barely-clothed men who are there during many of the challenges that provide a yummy distraction each episode.

They are the “pit crew” and have been there since the show premiered back in 2009. Many have come and gone, but all of them have provided something really fun to look at as the show has progressed. Essentially, they are there during the mini and maxi-challenges to either show off what the queens will be doing during each or become part of something being filmed or shot in order for each of the contestants to hopefully score a W. Regardless, it’s a great sight to see no matter what the situation is.

Let’s take a closer look at all the men who have been a pit crew member for at least one season.

Jason J. Carter: Season 3 through 10



Bryce Eilenberg: Season 7 through 10



Jared North: Season 9




Im in a cave

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Yadier Despaigne: Season 9




Let’s flex and be mean because summer is around the corner. #motivation#fitness

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Simon Sherry-Wood: Season 6




Hi it’s me again Underwear from the upscale Irish shop @irelandpenneys #saturdaynight #penneysalldayway

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Miles Davis Moody: Season 6 through All Stars 2




When I was Hair, Body, Face.. triple threat 4 ya

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Shawn Morales: Season 3 through 6




Just out of the shower with @h1z1 just waiting for me to jump back in

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Keon Hunt: Season 1



Kenyon Glover: Season 1



Preston Taylor: Season 1

Max “The Body” Philisaire: Season 2




Why they got us all dressed up for the pool when most people don’t get in the water? #MaxOut

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How Alyssa Edward Inspired 'Dancing Queen' on Netflix

If you haven’t been watching Netflix’s new hit show Dancing Queen what are you waiting for? The docuseries stars dance coach Justin Johnson and follows his life in Mesquite, Texas as he trains his team of youth dancers to compete in national competitions. While dealing with aggravated dance moms and being a flamboyant gay man living in the Lone Star State, Johnson juggles a successful life as alter ego Alyssa Edwards, who requires no introduction as the icon from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5 and All-stars Season 2. That’s right! Mama’s back and she’s about to get all up in this gig!

Dancing Queen is a fabulous fusion of Dance Moms and an elevated, up-close-and-personal Drag Race confessional. For all the Alyssa Edwards fans out there, like me, this is look at the queen you’ve been waiting for. Season one was released on Netflix on October 5th and like many of the shows we love on streaming platforms, Dancing Queen is absolutely binge-worthy—it will give you life, make you drop dead, and bring you back to life ::TONGUE POP::


Through this creative lens we get to explore Justin as the local celebrity he is in Mesquite. We meet his friends, we get a front row seat to his family drama, and we are given gag-worthy, wig-snatching feuds with the dance moms at his successful dance studio Beyond Belief. Each of the eight episodes features Alyssa Edwards performing gigs across internationally and gives us some unTUCKINGbelievable montages that are quintessentially Alyssa. We also get those hilarious memeable one liners that come out of Alyssa’s mouth. It’s no wonder she was able to turn those back rolls, into bank rolls!


Alyssa Edwards is the ministress of ceremonies as Dancing Queen touches on some heartfelt topics in the life of Justin/Alyssa including dating, Justin’s childhood, friendship, and family. You’ll get to see two special appearances by Laganja Estranja and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, two fierce queens from the House of Edwards who are also part of Alyssa’s chosen drag family.

Dancing Queen is a departure from the Alyssa Edwards we immediately fell in love with on Drag Race and Alyssa’s Secret on WOW Presents. It’s a humanizing, humbling perspective that shows that this larger-than-life queen exists because of the hard work and determination of one boy from Texas who never let anyone blow out his light—not even those feisty dance moms.

Here’s the trailer for Dancing Queen:


What many may not know is that the road to Netflix for Alyssa has been a long one. It has taken over six years for the project to finally be seen by audiences and it was World of Wonder producers who saw the magic in Alyssa Edwards who knew that there was more to the BEAST than what Drag Race was giving us. Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the founders of World of Wonder Productions knew immediately that Alyssa Edwards and her personality were too big for just one screen and they began plotting on a show focusing specifically on the Grand Dame Diva of the South.

The work on the show began even before season 5 of Drag Race aired. Barbato and Bailey encountered many obstacles to get the show produced and sold.

I had a great conversation with Barbato and Bailey who shared the journey of Dancing Queen from concept to TV:

How soon after you met Alyssa Edwards did you know she needed her own show?


This is no secret, but Drag Race is filmed before it airs.


It was like watching her while we were shooting it like “Oh my god!” and then understanding that Beyond Belief was legitimate and real was like “Oh my god! Oh my god!” It was double “Oh my god!” and then we thought wouldn’t it be great if when the season airs that Alyssa if when she gets eliminated next week her show starts.


That was the goal. It was a brilliant plan. But all that went wrong is that we had to wait 6 years.


Well, you know the funniest thing is we’ve been trying to make this show for hundreds of years—actually for like 5 years we tried to get this show on the air. And thank God it’s finally on the air! And It’s not going anywhere. I mean, it hasn’t officially picked up a second season, but we have!



Okay, good! So what were some of the roadblocks in getting the show sold?


It feeds in to that age old apprehension and anxiety about drag. The perception that drag in general is a ‘one trick pony’. Not something that you can build more than one successful brand from. But we all know that’s not true. In many ways, it was the same thing with Drag Race. It took a long time to get in on the air and then it took a long time for people—people are still just discovering it. So when people say ‘No’ to us, we always say that ‘No’ is the beginning to ‘Yes’. It’s frustrating and takes time, but it just took that long for people to take the leap. And we love Netflix, by the way—it didn’t take Netflix that long—it took everybody else that long.

Did you encounter similar obstacles when you were trying to shop ‘Drag Race’ around?


Well, that was 10 years! It took 10 years.


The current iteration of Drag Race, no, in some ways. But the idea of Rupaul in drag as drag competition was around. It had been pitched for a very very very long time before it finally became real. Our experience is that some of the best things take a long time to get up and running.

Yes, definitely. There are so many people and so many narratives that need to be shared. When you have someone like Alyssa Edwards who is a natural born character I think it’s really important for people to understand the hard work that she puts in behind what we’ve been able to see on a show like ‘Drag Race’. I really appreciated the show in that we’re able to see a different side of her.


As if being a queen isn’t hard enough. You know, it’s tough to be a drag queen. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of creativity, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and pain—you know, just to transform yourself. But on top of that Alyssa is also running a business and has this whole type of support—has built a family and it’s really inspiring to see that. To get to learn not only where she came from, but how she has built this incredibly successful life. And how she shares her love of drag and love of colors with a group of people you’d never suspect—from the moms to the kids to her friends.



Yeah, I think the show sets up that really interesting dynamic between the families of these kids at Beyond Belief. We’re in a red state like Texas where you don’t typically see the approval or acceptance of queer people and the parents have to be a part of this team with Justin and everything that he represents. And it is because of how he is and because of who he is that their children can actually have this experience. So I think it’s a really important thing that you guys have set up here so that we can get a little bit of ‘Dance Moms’ and the angst that comes with parent confrontations, but it’s also this other, non-Drag Race, elevated drag perspective where we really see into the depths of who Justin is. I really appreciate that.


I’m glad you do because it is really a post-queer notion of seeing someone like Alyssa who isn’t particularly assimilated—who wants a big house, and a yard, and a pool—who wants that for her self-made family. You know, she’s running around town as a business owner, but also as this totally over-the-top queen and how that plays out in a red state with this mix of people. It’s just taken on board and it feels progressive of the queer thing.

How do you think ‘Dancing Queen’ adds to the already popular dialogue of drag culture and the LGBTQ community in mainstream media?


I think it places it in context of normal everyday life. Justin as a hard-working entrepreneur with a business in the middle of the country. I think that sometimes we think that with drag its always glitter and glam and wigs and heels, but it’s not. Drag is an art form and like any art form, it takes a lot of hard work and stick-with-itness and some courage as well.



And with streaming being on the forefront of today’s media, do you think feel there might be an easier way to share LGBTQ narratives?


Hopefully yes. I do think that there seems to be more opportunity—people seem to be a lot more open and the streaming outlets definitely seem to appreciate the ‘outsider’ voice and understand that we are all ‘outsiders’. That’s the great thing about ‘Dancing Queen’ is that crew of people, the moms, the kids—it’s not only that they accept Alyssa’s voice and uniqueness, but they relate and identify with it. It reminds us sometimes that we’re all queer, we’re all unique. And people can be more sophisticated things than sometimes we allow them to or perceive them to be.

I completely agree. Going a little further--I believe World of Wonder has truly revolutionized media in the inclusion of queer identities, is the company today and what you have accomplished everything you ever imagined?


Well that’s very nice of you to say. It’s always a work in progress. I think Randy and I love what we do and we just want to keep doing more of it. But it’s been a process, you know. We are on Hollywood Boulevard—I guess in the heart of Hollywood—and earlier this year RuPaul got his star on Hollywood Boulevard, conveniently right outside our offices and we just had the soft opening of our retail space so the thought of working here is that we’ll try anything. We’re try-sexual. We think, personally, there is a huge revolution going on in media itself and I think that it used to be that the networks very much dictated what people watched and what people’s taste was and now we’re in a situation where be it Netflix or YouTube that kind of top-down control is eroding and it’s more of a bottom-up, a bubbling up, and that is very exciting to us. It’s a huge change. From a time when only a few voices could be heard it means that now more voices can be heard. It’s just a tremendously exciting thing. So for us to have a retail space on Hollywood Boulevard, with RuPaul’s star on the sidewalk outside on the Walk of Fame, that’s definitely a dream come true and something that we want to continue to grow. Because really, I think our concept of World of Wonder is that we’re not so much a production company, it’s a family. Late last year we launched WOW Presents Plus which is our subscription network and it’s not so much like paying your monthly subscription to Hulu, it’s much more like a membership club. It’s kind of like being part of an extended family whether you end up going down to the store, or using one of our studios, going to DragCon, or just watching a show—it’s all part of one experience.

I know you mentioned that for season 2 of ‘Dancing Queen’ it hadn’t been picked up yet. But can we definitely look forward to season 2?


I think it’s too early to say anything.


In the event that Netflix are insane enough not to do a season 2, we’ll do ourselves because the backstory is we were starting production on the series ourselves for WOW Presents Plus, it was going to be one of the series for WOW Presents.


I mean, I guess that’s kind of the story of ‘Dancing Queen’ is that we spent all this time trying to sell it and then we were like ‘screw it, let’s just do it our selves’ and when we were doing it I was watching the footage and I said “Oh my god! I think I should share this with Netflix” and hadn’t shopped it with Netflix, we’d shopped it everywhere else. They did respond very quickly—everyone else kind of waited around. So our feeling is, one way or another, there will be a second season and hopefully it will be on Netflix because I think they’re really happy and people seem to love it and are discovering it every day.



I know that a lot of Ru girls have gone to have these incredible projects thanks to what ‘Drag Race’ has been able to do for them, but do you ‘World of Wonder’ have any new or upcoming projects with any of them that you might be able to share at this point?


We do. And we can’t.

Okay, but there’s more?


There’s more. Yes. Because what the world needs more of is more drag queens.


But I will say this about so many of the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. I think that so many of them have their own lanes. So many of them have an enormous amount of talent and an enormous about of potential to develop projects from Sharon Needles, to Jinkx Monsoon, to obviously Bianca del Rio—these are TRUE artists—real artists who all deserve their own vehicles and I think it’s only a matter of time.


It really is a matter of time because it really only prejudice that has kept people at large from being able to appreciate and enjoy that artistry. And for all sorts of reasons I feel that prejudice is melting away, let’s not pretend that it’s all sunshine and roses—we’re living under a regime and many of those in the regime want gay people dead. So it’s not all sunshine and roses by any means. There’s a long way to go. In the exact same way you see Justin in his hometown doing his work and people see him, and know him, and respect him, and admire him, and love him—that is the way prejudice, and phobia, and fear and all those things get broken down and washed away.

Dancing Queen is streaming now on Netflix. Yes, Gawd!




How Did Each of These Queens Win RuPaul’s Drag Race?

It’s hard to believe that RuPaul’s Drag Race has now done 13 total seasons its Emmy award winning show (including All Stars). It has given us diehard fans a reason to love, like and hate many of them as the competition went on, with our opinions changing during each episode it seems.

Thirteen queens have won that coveted crown and have developed major careers in doing so. Question is, how did each of them win their respective seasons in the end, and did they deserve it?

Read on to see my take on each winner and how they got to the finish line.

Season 1: Bebe Zahara Benet. Bebe was great, but I still don’t get how she made it past the lip sync against Ongina when the latter did much better than her. The eventual winner had grace, elegance and a great style to her, something that Ru might have been looking for when the show began.

Season 2: Tyra Sanchez. She received far too much hate and criticism for why she won over Raven and Jujubee. Tyra was there to win and not make friends. It’s that simple. And she did a great job at both.

Season 3: Raja. Raja had an unshakable confidence that many queens wish they had. Add a great sense of humor and self, killer fashion and one of the best damn runway walkers the show has ever seen, and you have the winner of season 3.

Season 4: Sharon Needles. Sharon changed the show forever with her different type of drag that was not seeing on its first three seasons. It was a necessary change that helped make the show what it is today, as she was proof that you can win something and not be cookie cutter. That’s why she was able to do so well and win the hearts of pretty much everyone come finale night.  

All Stars 1: Chad Michaels. Chad didn’t win season 4, so Ru gave it to her for the first season of All Stars. That’s really all I can do to explain that as the season was a dumpster fire from the get go with no real purpose for these talented queens to be in groups and diminish how great they were as the show went on. But, yeah, Chad won.

Season 5: Jinkx Monsoon. I don’t think anyone really saw Jinkx as the winner in the season opener, as there were far bigger personalities that entered the werk room that episode (DetoxAlyssa Edwards). She had the audience behind her as the little engine that could who did incredibly well in each challenge while holding her own against the “Mean Girls” of the season. That scored her an easy W at the end of it.

Season 6: Bianca Del Rio. Hard to find a reason why she wasn’t going to win. Nothing was going to stop Bianca from getting that crown, even though this season had the most likable cast ever with a ton of fan favorites emerging from it (Adore DelanoJoslyn Fox, etc).

Season 7: Violet Chachki. I used to despise Violet on the show when I first watched S7. Now I get why she won. Innovative, talented with an IDGAF attitude about what people thought about her. It should’ve been Ginger Minj or Katya, but Violet did just as good of a job as the others in a season that has come a long way from being so hated many years ago.

All Stars 2: Alaska. Did Alaska do great throughout All Stars 2? Yes. Did she rely on her crutches in some of the challenges? Yes. Did she step outside the box a lot? Debatable. All Stars 2 is considered to be one of the show’s best seasons, yet I do wonder how different the outcome would be if RoLaskaTox didn’t really control most of it.

Season 8: Bob The Drag Queen. No one really challenged Bob during her season to really win the crown. Others came close (Kim ChiChi Chi DeVayne) for their own reasons, but Bob simply slayed everyone else and rightfully won in the end.

Season 9: Sasha Velour. It was Shea Coulee’s season to lose, and many people thought the shift to the whole “lip sync for the crown” thing screwed her over as Sasha just had some better tricks up her sleeve (literally). Sasha should not be discredited though. Her style and view on drag is one that was completely original and not seen before on the show, and she did a stellar job in all of the challenges as well. She was only in the bottom 3 once and had a great story behind her that helped seal her the crown outside of two Whitney Houston songs.

All Stars 3: Trixie Mattel. I love Trixie very much, but she’s lucky to have won in the end as BenDeLaCreme eliminated herself and Shangela lost due to what I believe to be some of the other queens simply being bitter towards her. The format of the eliminated contestants choosing the final two is one that I hope that they don’t do ever again, as we all knew Shangela should’ve been with Trixie in that last lip sync instead of Kennedy Davenport, who did a meh job throughout.

Season 10: Aquaria. She was kind of the one to beat from the beginning, but wasn’t flawless throughout like some of the previous winners of the show. Aquaria won season 10 due to her killer eye for fashion (similar to Violet Chachki), surprising challenge wins outside of what she was known for (Snatch Game), and ability to grow as the season went on. 

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

RuPaul's Drag Race Icon Breaks Hand Punching a Nazi

RuPaul’s Drag Race legend Morgan McMichaels encountered a very scary experience lately when she was approached by a man who claimed he was a Nazi and wanted to violently hurt her.

Morgan talked about the incident on her Instagram Thursday night, where she also revealed how she didn’t back down from his advances and “finished” the situation herself.



“So ya my hand is broken .... I was approached by a man at the store Who informed me that he was a Nazi and he wanted to cut my faggot throat after he took a swing I obliged him and finished the fight.... this faggot will not be victimized .....”. Way to go Morgan!

Her fellow Drag Race alum showered her with a ton of love and support. Fellow All Stars 3 contestant Aja wrote “Get her! Love you thank you for you’re safe.” RPDR mainstay Michelle Visage also chimed in on the incident, writing “#worthit sending you speedy healing.”

Morgan has not said whether she will file a police report on the situation. She originally appeared on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race back in 2010, where she won the first challenge and eventually made it to the top 8. She was one of the 10 chosen to compete on All Stars 3 earlier this year, where she was eliminated first but then brought back later on in the season. She eventually placed fifth and had a hand at choosing who would win the show overall.

Manila Luzon Pays Tribute to Late Boyfriend Sahara Davenport

RuPaul's Drag Race legend Manila Luzon shared a heartwarming post about her late boyfriend Sahara Davenport who tragically passed away six years ago today.

Sahara (real name Antoine Ashley) died at the age of 27 due to heart failure. The talented drag queen appeared on season 2 of RPDR where she became an instant fan favorite due to her fun personality, fierce fashion and fantastic lip syncing abilities (she sent both her BFF Shangela and Morgan McMichaels home).

Manila (real name Karl Westerberg) and Sahara were partners for six years prior to her passing. The season 3 finalist has spoken quite a bit about her memories with Sahara, and even did a song in dedication to her called "Eternal Queen."



Manila shared a beautiful photo of Sahara on her Instagram page Monday that came with a sweet caption about her.




It’s been 6 years since Sahara Davenport left us! But her presence still remains deep in our hearts! Love you!!

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"It’s been 6 years since Sahara Davenport left us! But her presence still remains deep in our hearts! Love you!!"

Other Drag Race queens chimed in on the post, including Shangela who simply wrote "Our Angel" and Jiggly Caliente who said "I miss her. One of my first sisters in this industry and she brought you into my life. Forever grateful."

Rest in peace, Sahara. 


DragCon NYC Recap: The Good, The Bad and The Henny

RuPaul’s DragCon NYC is truly an exhausting day (or 3-day weekend) for all that inhabit Jacob Javitz Center. Whether you are a drag queen, exhibitor, member of the press or one of the thousands of fans who attend this annual get together, chances are you’ll be falling asleep in your cab on the way home shortly after you exit.

The level of tiredness one faces when attending this major event doesn’t necessarily equal them having a fabulous time. It’s a lot to take in, and isn’t for the weary or for those who go in with a jaded mindset. This was my second year going, and to be perfectly honest, might be my last.

I had several problems with how DragCon itself operates from many different levels. I’ll start with some plusses. For one, it’s a great place for all types of companies to show what they are offering to a diverse group of individuals who come with cash in hand and a credit card in their wallet. If you are a merch type of person, chances are you will find something here that will tickle your fancy one way or another.

There was also some really great panels (from what I saw on the packet that was provided) that went beyond the traditional Drag Race conversation that many of us have year round. I talked to a mother and son, who were dressed up as a queen and princess for the big weekend, that spoke at a panel regarding body positivity. It’s good to see that these things exist as it’s something that needs to be discussed on a much larger level than it already is.

I had a hard time wrapping my brain around a lot of things. For one, it was painful to see so many Drag Race fans line up for hours just to meet someone for 5 seconds. There should really be a capacity set for these sorts of things, like a lottery that participants can win, in order for this to run smoothly. The lines started early in the day and continued into the early evening. How some of these queens were able to function after a certain amount of time is baffling. I can understand how they all want to meet their favorite queen (more on that in a minute) but it makes the event and walking space that much more cluttered and less fun to enjoy.

Something that also became glaringly obvious (and this isn’t DragCon’s fault) was how popular certain queens were while others weren’t. One side of an aisle had a particular winner with a line that seemed to go to another country, yet on the other side two of the queens that had their own booths were just checking their phones. Not one person was waiting to chat with them. To me, this is frustrating because it means that the fan base qualifies a queen’s talent based on a 42-minute television show and not for how amazing they are outside of it. It sort of proves a point I’ve had with Drag Race in that a good portion of the fans don’t understand this industry and rely on a program to validate their opinions on it.

There was easily 50 Drag Race queens, plus notable ones who have a big following minus appearing on the show, who were in attendance this weekend. About 15-20 of them made it to the press room to do a brief chat. Two of them (season 10 queens) were extremely unprofessional and ones that I hope to never chat with again based on my experience with them.

I come to this as both a fan and a member of the media and can see both angles here. As a fan, I would hope that the queen that I wanted to see was at her booth when I got there and throughout the day. As a journalist, I would expect them to at least pop in to talk with us about what they have going on in their career. Both work, yet many of them didn’t show up when it came time for us to chat. I can understand the business this brings (see what I wrote about regarding lines), however this event happens TWICE A YEAR. Both can easily be done. Take for instance… if you have a show coming out that you should be promoting outside of talking about it on the DragCon floor. Just a thought.

The ones that did show up to be interviewed were nothing short of spectacular. Trixie MattelBebe Zahara BenetAjaCarmen Carrera and more were a blast to talk with. I was extremely impressed by each of them as they have an attitude that works well with their fame: they understand who they are in all of this but are still a regular human being at the end of the day.

I left DragCon on a bit of a high but feeling a bit meh about it all. There was nothing cohesive that I got out of it, just a lot of un-orchestrated chaos. But when I see a fan’s beaming smile while meeting their favorite drag queen, my negativity gets washed away as I then understand why this sort of thing exists

To many, these queens are a lot of kid’s superheroes. They’ve saved their lives, provided an outlet for them to feel like their authentic selves when the world is telling them not to be, and this sort of event gives many of them throughout the world the chance to actually meet them.

Perhaps I’ve become the old man on the stoop, but maybe this sort of thing isn’t for me as it seems designed for a younger audience. Then again, the sight of Hunter Harden in a mask like the one above can always entice this guy to come back so… you never know.

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

'Oh S**t!': New Trailer Debuts for Alyssa Edwards' Netflix Show

It must be really good to be Alyssa Edwards right now.

Alyssa (real name Justin Johnson) is the only queen from RuPaul's Drag Race who actually has his own television show. What's even greater is that he didn't even win his original season or All Stars 2 (he wasn't even in the finale either time). Take that Bianca, Sharon, Jinkx, Aquaria, etc (tongue pop). 

It's his effervescent personality, catchy one-liners, fabulous fashion and incredible dance moves that have captivated audiences worldwide and made him one of the most beloved queens from the long-running series. Heck, even Leslie Jones gave him a shout out on the red carpet at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards earlier this month, so he must be doing something right?

His new show on Netflix, Dancing Queens, will debut on the popular streaming service this Friday, October 5th. Filmed in Justin’s hometown of Mesquite, Texas, Dancing Queen is sort of a real-life take on the movie Bring It On only from a dancing perspective. 

You get to go behind the walls of his Beyond Belief Dance Company, where he's readily preparing one of his younger classes for an intensely competitive season. Drama, chaos and tears of course will ensue. Also be on the lookout for other legendary RPDR queens to make an appearance during the show, notably the one and only Shangela

See the new trailer below and for more information on Dancing Queen... click here.



Here's Why I Can't Wait to go to DragCon NYC This Weekend

There is a major importance to DragCon that goes beyond meeting and greeting your favorite stars from RuPaul's Drag Race and beyond.

The world of drag prior to RuPaul's Emmy-winning show beginning was still considered underground by many in the LGBTQ community, let alone the gay portion of it. Heterosexuals (for the most part) wouldn't even consider going to a drag show unless it was for their own entertainment where the laughter coming out of their mouths was to make fun at the queens on stage as they saw them as a spectacle and not an artist.

Then, RPDR began, and a lot of people in the LGBTQ community started warming up to drag culture and all that came with it. The first couple of seasons had an audience that was primarily gay men but shifted when the talent that appeared on the program changed our minds of what drag could truly be.

When queens like Sharon Needles and Jinkx Monsoon walked into the werk room doors, there were thousands of people from all walks of life who felt like they could identify with them as they didn't fit the stereotypical societal norm that exists. They categorically helped changed the show completely, as its first three seasons had similar beauty aesthetics and were a tad one note. Because of them (and many more), it invited a much larger audience into the show and helped broaden its horizons to what it has become today.

The show became so popular that it won several awards in the process and had the ability to create something completely out of this world: DragCon. In my honest opinion, DragCon wouldn’t have filled even the biggest of gay bars back in the mid 2000’s compared to now. Now, it sells out spaces like Jacob Javitz Center, which is so big that you literally get exhausted just from doing one of the walk throughs.

I look at DragCon as something that goes beyond simply drag. I look at it as an extension of gay pride, as a march for our right and as a symbol of unity in our community. It’s a space where we all get together and celebrate something fierce, fabulous and amazing. It’s where LGBTQ vendors are able to thrive and successfully promote their business in an arena that wasn’t available many moons ago. Simply put: this is a major step forward for our community and my hopes are that this is something we are able to do for many years to come amid our visibility in the mainstream world getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Want to go to DragCon NYC this weekend? Check out this link for more information.


This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.


EXCLUSIVE! Ginger Minj Chats About What Will Happen During DragCon NY

DragCon NYC, which is taking place September 28th through the 30th at the famed Jacob Javitz Center, will be filled with an endless assortment of your favorite queens from the drag world (both on and off Drag Race), as well as hundreds of niche exhibitors who are looking to tickle your fancy with whatever they are selling.

Ginger Minj, who appeared on season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the show’s 2nd All Stars edition, will be back once again at the annual event taking place here in The Big Apple.

Not only that, but she’ll be giving a drag makeover to arguably one of the hottest men to ever appear on any sort of reality television program: Johnny Bananas of MTV’s The Challenge.

Ginger sat down with me exclusively to discuss what’s to come next weekend and why you should be in attendance (if you haven’t bought a ticket yet). Take a look:



What can fans expect from DragCon this year? 

I think they can expect the unexpected! Isn’t that the fun of drag? This year is going to be bigger and better with so many more surprises around every corner! 

Are you participating in any exciting panels while there? 

It wouldn’t be DragCon without it! My husband CJ and I got married at DragCon NYC last September, so this year we are participating in the Families That Drag Together panel, which should be really fun! I’ve also been doing celebrity makeovers for a few years at DragCon LA, and I’m so excited to finally bring that to the East Coast! 

What's your favorite part about being in New York City? 

The atmosphere! There’s no place like it in the world: food, culture, architecture, live theatre, nightlife ... if you can’t find something about NYC that excites you, you’re not looking very hard!

What has your life truly been like since being part of Drag Race? 

It has been incredible! I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure it’s not all some big dream. The schedule can be exhausting, but it’s such a privilege to do what we love to do for people all around the world! I just premiered by one woman show about the life and times of the legendary DIVINE, filmed a movie with Jennifer Aniston, voiced the lead character in a new cartoon series, and recorded my second album which will be coming out soon. Drag Race is the gift that keeps on giving, for sure, and is a legacy I am beyond proud to be a part of! 

Where were you when you found out that the show won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition Program this year? 

I was in the middle of the final performance of my touring one woman show “CROSSDRESSER FOR CHRIST” in Tampa, FL. We announced it after intermission and the crowd lost their minds! It’s such an accomplishment for Mama Ru, the Producers, all the girls, and everyone involved with the show of course ... but it’s also huge for those queer kids out there who feel lost or “less than” to see people like them succeeding. Drag Race isn’t opening doors, it’s kicking them off the hinges! 

What are you looking forward to the most at DragCon this year? 

Talking to people! I always get in trouble for taking too long at meet and greets ... I’m southern, we love to talk! I gotta know all about your job, your mama, your grandmama, and your dog before I let you go! I’ve also been getting lots of Divine/John Waters gifts lately which has been really cool. Drag Race fans are the best! They just get it. 

For more information on DragCon NYC, click on their official link here


5 Reasons Why Michelle Visage is a Gem in the LGBTQ Community

I have no problem admitting that Michelle Visage is a f***ing amazing human being outside of what she does for the LGBTQ community. She was hanging with us before it was cool to do so, and now the singer, actress and television host is finally getting the recognition she deserves for being her incredible self.

The RuPaul's Drag Race mainstay officially turned 50 yesterday, although you can't really tell due to how much work she's had done (KIDDING!). All jokes aside, Michelle to me is an underrated legend that deserves so much more credit than what she is given for. I've had the pleasure of interviewing and meeting her in the past, and she's just as lovely and kind in person as she is on social media and on that show that just won a historic Emmy this past Monday night.

That being said, here are 5 big reasons why Michelle Visage is a true gem in our community in celebration of her 50th birthday. 

She Was Down With us When Many Weren't

The 90's were a turbulent time for the LGBTQ community as we were (and still are) fighting for our rights in many different aspects. The mainstream media used words back then to describe us as "freaks" and so much more, coming out on television (IE: Ellen) meant career death, yet Michelle didn't care and stood by us through and through. She was RuPaul's sidekick on her legendary talk show during the decade that was, which was the first glimpse of how truly fabulous and wonderful this creature was to our community so many moons ago.

"Say It Like You Mean It"

That's a Wendy Williams quote, but it rings beautifully to the kind of person that Michelle is. She has no filter, says what's on her mind and doesn't care about the backlash she'll receive. This can usually be seen as a problem with self-awareness, however the words that come out of her mouth are generally ones that come from a good place. This has been seen for several years on and off RPDR, and I believe the show wouldn't be half the success that it is today if she didn't join it back in season 3.

Shutting Down Perez Hilton 

Once again, this is a personal opinion, but I do not care for Perez Hilton and the type of person he is in our community. The only times I've ever respected him was when he hosted the Bad Girls Club reunions because he stayed neutral in all of their fights and called each of them out when needed. It delighted me when Michelle entered the Celebrity Big Brother house a couple of years ago and went toe to toe with Perez, bluntly saying that he set "gay men back 50 years". He's been taken down by several different celebrities in ways that often include homophobic language and childish remarks, however Michelle's POV simply spoke out about all the wrong things he's done for us and was something that needed to be said in such a pressure cooker type of situation.

Let's Not Forget That Music Career

Before Drag Race and Ru's talk show, Michelle was part of a wildly successful girl group called Seduction, who had a ton of major hits including "Two to Make It Right" and "Heartbeat." Even though she jokes about it now, she was also featured on The Bodyguard soundtrack, which has sold 42 million copies worldwide. Not too shabby. 

Lights, Camera, Action

Before Drag Race starts up again in 2019 and all the pandemonium that will ensue, Michelle will be heading across the pond to make her West End debut as Miss Hedge in Everybody's Talking About Jamie. She'll be performing there from October 18th, 2018 to January 26th, 2019. Could this eventually lead to her taking the show on Broadway and perhaps winning... a Tony? (Cue Gia Gunn saying "What's a Tony?")

Happy 50th Birthday Michelle. Thank you for all that you've done in our community and will continue to do for many years to come. 

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.