Manuel here to talk about that wonderful Drag Race episode this week which was dedicated to, as Ru called him, “the Sultan of Sleaze, the Baron of Bad Taste,” Mr John Waters! Seeing RuPaul and legendary auteur John Waters together judging drag queens on their “ugly dresses” was many a gay cinephile’s wet dream.
John Waters: She was not afraid to play not glamorous. A lot of drag queens I know, they’re afraid to do that.
RuPaul: You were looking at me when you said that!
And, can you blame him?
RuPaul, the drag superstar par excellence is glamor (or, her latest incarnation is, as “No RuPaulogies” taught us back in season 5). Even when she camps it up (look at that dress!) she is glamor incarnate. Now in its seventh season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has, for better or for worse, created a seemingly new kind of drag, one that insists on glamor above all else (or in addition to everything else): how many times have we heard Santino, Michelle Visage, Ru herself or any of the rotating cast of guest judges complaining that a certain girl’s look wasn’t “couture enough," "not high fashion" or that “it didn’t look polished enough”? Even when challenges call for camp, humor, and/or stylized aesthetics, glamor has remained the requirement on the runway. It’s not for nothing Ru has coined the term Glamazon to refer to her queens.