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Once a year comes the one time where Drag Race fans and viewers come together, if only for a few days, in celebration of the release of the cast list for the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. For the past few years, the cast reveal has been less than surprising, as the contestants were either leaked well in advance or had or followed a big name in the drag industry, their casting inevitable and not shocking. While there was similar speculation over the last couple of months, we’ve come to learn that almost most of our suspicions were wrong. As a matter of fact, the majority of this cast collectively comes as a surprise as the show seems to be returning to its original intent of casting 14 new queens that may not be as notorious and finding the drag queen that will become the next big thing. While this makes for an interesting cast of queens, it leaves a lot of room for fans of the show to make assumptions and be presumptuous on how a queen will do based on first impressions (and as we’ve all come to learn over the years, our first impressions of a queen can be horribly wrong).

The problem with going off assumptions and just what’s on the show is that each queen has something special to offer that may not make it into the confines of reality show editing, and that each of these things should be appreciated and known. The purpose of these articles is to give those reading it the options of exploring the queens further and knowing them outside of the TV show they were cast in. For the next few days, I’ll be doing a profile of each of the fourteen queens who will be on season 7. To paraphrase a quote from Harriet the Spy, there are as many ways to do drag as there are queens in this world, and each one deserves a closer look

Miss Fame

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I’d first heard of Miss Fame through her makeup transformation with Phi Phi O’Hara, and again on the Transformations she did with James St. James with World of Wonder’s Youtube channel. Originally from a chicken farm in California, she moved to New York City in 2011 during a career as an editorial model. And as her name suggests, the next step into her multi-talented career is to achieve fame, and she hopes to do so through RuPaul’s Drag Race. She currently works as a model and makeup artist for celebrities and drag queens. Known as the “super model drag queen,” she still takes place in editorial photo shoots and features many stunning makeup tutorials on her Youtube channel (which will be linked below). All in all, I was very impressed with her from the first time I discovered her, and knew that it would be a matter of time before she made it onto RuPaul’s Drag Race. Between her excellent makeup skills, super model good looks, literally, her amazing reputation and high ambitions, Miss Fame is a real contender for the crown this season, and definitely a queen to look out for.

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Kasha Davis

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Two things that make a queen a star in my book are a sense of humor and persistence. Mrs. Kasha Davis not only possesses these qualities; she takes them to the next level. After auditioning for every season, this funny queen finally got cast this year, season 7. Not only is she a funny queen, but she seems to be a comedy queen who has a real grip on her character, and the persona comes off as genuine and natural, so let it not be said that she’s relying on a character by any means Miss Visage! And she loves Liza Minelli. Which means we may finally get a queen to be Liza in the snatch game, which honestly, is long overdue. Her Youtube channel is full of plenty of fun videos, including videos with other queens, and with her husband, Mr. Davis. I’ve always said that something that can’t be learned in drag is personality or humor, you either have it or you don’t. And Kasha, without a shadow of a doubt, possessed both of these qualities, and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the competition.

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Kennedy Davenport

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No matter how many queens there are on the show, a queen with poise, elegance, and carries herself like a lady is always someone who’s professional attitude carries into every challenge and is appreciated by her fans and the judges alike.. From Dallas, Texas, Kennedy is a polished queen with a southern flair, which I always love. She’s a pageant queen who’s held multiple titles, including Miss South Central States US of A 2011, Miss Female Impersonator of the Year, Miss Gay Treasure Coast, Miss Parliament House, Miss Revolution, Miss Glamorous, Miss Tampa Bay Int. Miss Black Pearl, Miss Gay Bor City, Miss Black Texas, Miss Metro, and Miss Queen of Illusions. Not only is she a looker and a pageant girl, but oh my God, she can perform. She has a high energy, her presence is larger than life, and her lip sync is on point. She’s also flexible and can work that jump split. In many ways, she reminds me of all the great things about Orlando drag, (I’ve even found videos of her performing in Orlando, which are just amazing). I’m not going to lie, I pity the queen who has to lip sync against her, because she’s such a solid performer. Overall, I’d peg her as a very solid contender, especially in regards to look and performance and I can’t wait to see her take the stage this season.

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Tempest Dujour

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A theatre background is always a useful tool for a queen to have in her repertoire. Pair that with an impeccable sense of humor and top it off with a retro flair, and you have Tempest Dujour. Tempest currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is not only a popular entertainer, but a professional costume designer and professor of Theater, Film and Television and the University of Arizona. (That would be cool, wouldn’t it? To say “My professor is on RuPaul’s Drag Race?) Not only is she a performer, artist, and an intellectual, but a family queen, with her husband and two children. I have to say, all in all, I really love tempest. Humor is an amazing skill, but humor coupled with intelligence makes a queen a force to be reckoned with, and I feel like Tempest will be just that. Not only can she sew, but she’s funny. She has all the skills necessary to make it in this competition, and I think that her talent will definitely show through.

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Kandy Ho’

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Sweet as hunty and “hot and raunchy,” Kandy Ho’ has a lot of talent to bring to the table. From Puerto Rico, she made the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race after auditioning for her first time this year. One thing about Kandy that really won me over in looking into her was her personality; she seems like someone who has such a great handle on her drag persona and knows how to bring energy and personality into anything she does. I get a very fun vibe from her, both personality and style wise, and I don’t have any doubt in my mind that she’ll make this season more entertaining. And not just that, but in watching videos of her performances and seeing pictures of her, I think her biggest asset is her fashion taste and ability to model. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she won the first photo shoot challenge, because the camera clearly loves her. Her Brittany is also spot on, so I wouldn’t be shocked at all if she did her for Snatch Game. Overall, I have to say, I’m very impressed by her and am very excited to see how she does in the competition, because I think that she’ll do amazing.

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Jaidynn Diore Fierce

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I’m just going to jump right in here, because I have a lot to say. I’ve said before that one thing that I look for most in a queen is a sense of humor, but I especially love when the queen is just naturally funny and doesn’t have to force the humor. Because anyone can be funny, but not many people just are funny. And Jaidynn has such an amazing sense of humor, and she doesn’t even have to try; she’s full of personality naturally and I love that. This queen from Nashville (Yaas, Tennessee, weerk), is a “plus sized queen ready to take this competition,” and I don’t doubt for a second that she is. Everything about her is just so fun, from her personality to her humor and the way she carries herself. Not only is she funny and humorous, that mug is beat for the gods and I am living for it. It’s very clear from her various pictures that she knows how to do makeup well. All of these factors, I feel, makes her a real contender for the crown and I feel like she’s the type of queen everyone would root for. She’s pretty, she’s fun, her performances are amazing to watch, she really brings the stage to life and her lip sync is on pointe. I really think she has what it takes to win and I really hope for the best for her in this competition.

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Violet Chachki

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Two things that are both loved and wanted in a queen each season is high fashion sense and the ability to keep it real, and I get both of these things from Violet. From the “gay Mecca,” Atlanta, Georgia, this queen will definitely be the fashion icon for her own season. From what I’ve seen, her looks are very much on pointe and she’s very versatile in her wigs, makeup, and clothing, which is something that the judges are always looking for. But this queen isn’t just about the exterior; her personality is also entertaining and she really knows how to work the stage. In her meet the queen video, she was gorgeous, poised, and looked about as done with that mauled by a lion or eaten by a shark question as I am at this point. She strikes me as the type of queen who takes nobody’s shade and tells it like it is, and from season’s past, we know that this is something that makes for great television and the fans love it, as do I. There’s something admirable about a queen like Violet, and it’s likely because she brings a lot of what the judges and fans are looking for to the table, and I have no doubt in her abilities to make all of this show throughout the competition, and I definitely peg her as one to watch out for because I know she’ll go far.

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Jasmine Masters:

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I love a queen with passion for her art and the drive to take her far in doing so. I get a lot of vibes from Jasmine Masters, and all of them are good. From the beginning she struck me as extremely professional and talented with her paint, but also very humble and down to earth. She seems like the type of queen who loves and appreciates every single fan and the love she gets, and I think that is so amazing, honestly. I can tell she loves drag a lot, and I also feel like she doesn’t view drag as just a hobby, she treats it like the art it is and really gives it her all. Not only is she beautiful, sweet, and hardworking, but oh my God, she is hilarious. I’m not even kidding at all; I spent so much time watching her “I Have Something to Say” videos and I got all the life I needed and then some. (They will be linked below. If nothing else, PLEASE watch these videos, trust me, they’re amazing). I think that finding a queen that brings such amazing skill and personality is something to be appreciated, because someone who is the shit and knows they’re the shit but still manages to be sweet, amicable and approachable is a person who has themselves together both personally and professionally, in my experience. She is SO funny and honest, I can’t even with how excited I am to see her on this show. I think she’s one of the queens who’s really going to make this season amazing and I wish her all the best luck on this show, because she more than deserves it.

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Pearl

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I love a queen who can blow me away with not only her makeup skills, but with how innovated she can get with her drag. In her Meet the Queen video, Pearl said she wanted to do Drag Race because she wanted to show the world how creative she can be, and from what I can see, she isn’t going to disappoint. Her weapon in this competition is going to be a brush, and I really hope there are plenty of make-up oriented challenges because it will really give her the chance to shine. But not only is she creative, she also has a very keen sense of fashion and just knows what looks good. Her various social media have plenty of pictures that show her wide range of versatility and sense of style. But it can’t be said that she relies on her looks alone, because she is also a very talented performer. There are videos on Youtube of her various performances, and she really knows how to work a crowd and combine her looks and her on stage personality to make a truly unforgettable performance. From the get go, people were saying that she was a real contender in the competition, and I wholeheartedly agree because I think she will go very far and stands a very good chance of winning.

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Ginger Minj

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This 29 year old “cross dresser for Christ” is representing and representing for my hometown, Orlando, Florida. Orlando drag is very special and unique, and there’s only been a few queens from Orlando in the show’s history and none of them disappointed, and Ginger will, no doubt, join the ranks of successful queens on this show. Fun and humorous, this queen can sing, dance, act, and rock a stage. She currently works at Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando, and has held many titles, including National Miss Comedy Queen, Miss Florida Continental Plus, Miss Minnesota Continental Plus, Miss Metropolitan Continental Plus, Miss Sawmill, Miss South East Continental Plus, Miss Twisters of Central Florida, and Miss Gay Florida International Plus. From the start, I really loved Ginger and I really think she’s going to be one of those queens that makes the season worth watching. Not only can she perform, (and her numbers are brilliant, seriously, check them out on Youtube), she has such a good sense of herself and her persona. It doesn’t even seem like a persona, it genuinely seems like it’s her and I just really love that. She likes Disney, she likes Dance Moms, (Can we get Abby Lee for Snatch Game please?), she likes gospel music, and her name is a play on words. She has my stamp of approval, that’s for sure.

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Sasha Belle

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When a queen is both versatile in looks but can still turn out the comedy, you know you have a real contender on your hands, and I think Sasha Belle may just have what it takes to make it far in this competition. Currently living in Iowa City, (well, technically, Coralville), she performs at Studio 13, a nightclub in Iowa City, where she started as a server and is now the show director. She’s auditioned for the show five times, and I really do not know how she didn’t get casted before now. Seriously, she literally has the total package and it blows my mind, but, she’s in the Drag Race family now, and that’s what matters. A look through any of her pictures show that not only is she really a drag chameleon, but she is skilled with a makeup brush. It’s clear, she knows what she’s doing. And while I can tell she’s a professional, she lets her drag be fluid and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Her performances are amazing and she’s really funny. At the same time, I can tell she’s a very intelligent queen; I get the impression that she’s smart about her drag and doesn’t just do things arbitrarily, but rather she and her humor just come together in a perfect way. I can’t wait to see what she has to bring to the table and I feel like she’s one of the queens to beat.

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Max

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Max is definitely the stand out queen this season in regards to look and persona, and I love every bit of it! I feel like she’s another queen to beat and it’s not just because of her persona, but the fact that it’s fully realized. I think that her style is very cool and unique and I tread over the phrase “punk rock” but I think that’s applicable here. Born in 1912 in the Land of Oz, this queen currently lives and performs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I really love the dark and retro aspect to her drag and I really think she has a unique perspective to bring to the competition. There’s always that one queen whose personality is so different from everyone else, but she does so well because it is good and realized, and I really get that vibe from Max. It seems really fun and I can’t wait to see her interpretation of these challenges and her runways, because I think they’re going to be amazing. There weren’t many videos, but what I did find blew me away. Max isn’t just a developed personality, she’s so talented. I would be willing to bet actual money from my actual paycheck that she’s going to make the top 3, because I think she has what it takes to make it far and even win. And regardless of how she does, I feel like she’s going to be one of those queens like Sharon Needles or Milk who has a very dedicated and large fan base. She’s going to be not only a fan favorite, but serious competition for these other queens and I can’t wait to see her on the main stage.

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Katya Zamolodchikova

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While I try to keep my personal bias out of my articles, everyone knows that I have my favorites, and my favorite for this season is, without a doubt, Katya. This queen from Boston, Massachusetts got her name from a Russian gymnast (whose name I won’t even attempt to spell), and, in my opinion, has the total package. From the time the cast was announced, she was shown to be a fan favorite, gaining tons of Facebook likes and Twitter followers instantly. And who can blame the fans? She’s amazing. I think her biggest strength is her ability to be herself and have people like who she is. Because I think that her personality is so genuine and hysterical that it’s so inviting to the fans, and they want to get to know her better. She’s obviously gorgeous and any brief time spent on any of her social media sites shows that she’s actually funny and is going to be fun to watch on this show. But another asset of hers is her ability to perform and work an audience. In the link to her Youtube channel below, please go watch her “My Heart Will Go On” performance, because she is giving me so much life I can’t stand it. There’s plenty of talented queens, but again, this show is looking for a queen that gives the total package – performance, look, glamour, humor and congeniality. I get all of this from Katya. Even if she doesn’t win, which, if she doesn’t, I will be shocked, she’s going to be a successful queen, there is no doubt about that in my mind. And I’m so confident in her ability to go far that I would bet actual money from my minimum wage job on it if this were the Olympics (even if it’s technically the gay Olympics). Katya, I tip my wig off to you and can only hope to be half the performer you are someday.

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Trixie Mattel

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I love a queen who is the shit and knows that they’re the shit, and is confident without being cocky, and this season, that queen is definitely Trixie Mattel. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this queen looks and acts the perfect Barbie doll part. I love the idea of a queen with a shtick, but I love it even more when she doesn’t rely on it too much, creating a fluid personality that comes alive on stage. I definitely think that her style is unique and it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. But at the same time, it’s different in a new way and she really sells it, in her makeup and her performances. Aside from her looks, I think one of her strongest assets is performance. While her look makes her stand out, her performance is what really makes her shine. I’ve watched several videos of her performing, and I found myself really enjoying them and clicking to the next video because I wanted to see more. She strikes me as the type of queen that I’d be excited to see live and probably empty my wallet tipping her to get her to pay attention to me. I’m really, really excited for her on this show because I know she’s going to bring it and I seriously can’t wait to see her perform in this show because I feel like she’s a queen who can really rise to the occasion and offer versatility while still staying true to her personal style, which is just amazing.

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Luna Raynebow

Luna Raynebow is a faux queen and writer from the greater Central Florida area. She spends her days on the internet and watching South Park re-runs, living off of Doritos and faith, and re-enacting musical numbers from Frozen in her living room. When she isn’t leading her fabulous life, she is a full time college student pursuing a creative writing degree to get prepare for her future career as an Olive Garden waitress to pay back her student loans.