Who’s the fishiest of them all?
The use of the word “fishy” has increased exponentially in recent seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, as it’s clear that many current contestants value visible femininity and convincing girlishness over attributes like dancing talent or comic skills. Is this a bad thing? Probably not, though it seems like the queens who tout their own fishiness are the ones likelier not to know who Little Edie Bouvier is. And that’s unacceptable.
Still, fishiness can be damn captivating. Here are the 10 fishiest queens in RPDR history, the girls who were girls at every angle, in every glance.
10. Kenya Michaels
Kenya Michaels’ runway presentation was always markedly fishy thanks not only to a dramatic makeup and strut, but also her unmistakable pout. She was in your face, bouncy, and angrily pretty.
9. Manila Luzon
Hard not to love this dame, right? In addition to her fine Imelda Marcos impression and general intelligence, Manila was gorgeous and saucily feminine. Her lips, eyebrows, and crazy laugh were fishy totems in season four, and there’s a distinct chance she has the best hair in RPDR history. Addictively zesty girlishness.
Sidenote: “Manila Luzon” may also be my favorite drag queen name on the show. Expertly stressed Filipina pride.
8. Vivienne Pinay
Vivienne Pinay made no bones about her intentions: She was here to SERVE FISH. She didn’t care as much for comic chops or utter showmanship, and that’s why her demise was inevitable, but you can’t fault her for realizing her own strengths: cover girl looks, a Mentadent grin, and obvious prettiness.
7. Jade Jolie
Jade Jolie may have been petty and cruel in her arguments with fellow competitors, but she never quite got the credit for always achieving different, damn fishy runway looks. Check out that Taylor Swift get-up above. If she’d competed in last week’s Top 4 “Super Sweet 16” realness contest, she’d have easily come out on top. Her flirty, feminine voice was also a great help.
She was practically the first poster child for fishiness on RPDR, but Tatianna could really dish it out. Her Britney Spears impression was super snatchy, her sexy eyes and grin were totally fishy, and her sheer pageantry exuded supermodel confidence.
5. Bebe Zahara Benet
Bebe Zahara Benet epitomizes the fishy girl’s greatest strength: fierce portfolio looks. The season 1 winner could give off vibes ranging from Leontyne Price to India.Arie, and it’s that boldness of feminine beauty that secured her the top spot.
4. Lineysha Sparx
Lineysha may not have been a versatile performer on season five, but she will live in on the show’s memory thanks to her unbelievably gorgeous presentation. In the first episode of season five, she sashayed out on the runway with one of the harshest and most impassioned displays of fishiness ever seen on the show. I’m also partial to her general look, which comes tantalizingly close to Jody Watley at times.
3. Tyra Sanchez
Season two will always have a bit of an albatross around its neck considering that Tyra was the winner, as she was notably less exhilarating than Raven, Jujubee, and Pandora Boxx. But Tyra’s Beyonce-bold, Janelle Monae-haired looks were impressive on their own, and gloriously fishy on some occasions. For me, the killer part of her presentation was always the lips, which were always pert and luscious. This isn’t to say she was always flawless with makeup, but her face was always mesmerizingly fishy.
Jujubee was not only an across-the-board cooler queen than Tyra; she also challenged her in terms of fishy presentation. What I love about Jujubee’s pretty, fishy looks is that her attitudinal powers and general fierceness buttressed them. Sure, she was fabulous with makeup (and giving face in general, particularly during that legendary “Black Velvet” lip-sync), but her ferocious fishiness came from within. My heart wants to put her at #1, but in this case, I’m giving the top spot to sheer, unpretentious GRRRRL realness.
1. Carmen Carrera
Carmen Carrera survived a long-ass time in the competition for purposely, actively resting on her looks, but what looks they are! The stunning beauty queen — who has since self-identified as transgender — is the very picture of fishy perfection, which is exactly what she wanted.
How would you rank the fishy queens of Drag Race? Are you as surprised as I am that Phi Phi and Mariah didn’t make the cut?