In a bonus clip from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alexis Michelle stirs the tea kettle by dividing the drag queendom into two distinct types: “I’ve definitely made my career the old-fashioned way, hoofing it in bars,” she says. “What do you all think about the dolls who have made it for themselves on social media, with big followings and shit, and not the performance route?”
Unlike Aja, who announces that she came into the competition with 25,000 followers, Sasha Velour admits that she only has 1,500. “The thing about success on social media,” Sasha says, “it’s based on, like, luck of the draw, and who you know, and who recommends you, and who shares your photo.”
“That’s not really true,” argues Charlie Hides, who entered the competition with 75,000 followers on YouTube. “That’s based on working really hard, doing a new video every single week.”
Farrah Moan, who had 22,000 followers at the time, doesn’t see the difference between social media queens and performance queens. “I did all the contests,” she says. “I did all the free shows. I paid my dues to my community and I worked really hard. I just shared everything on social media.”
Hides agrees that the two camps aren’t mutually exclusive, but he does take issue with queens who are too thirsty for validation from the “likes” on their photos. “And so their intent is not to entertain,” he says.
“Their intention is to get famous,” adds Peppermint, who says she works so much that she only has time to post about where she’s appearing.
Of course, trying to amass an online following is a moot point for these queens now that they’re all on television!
Watch the bonus clip below.
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.