This week, Netflix is about to get a whole lot more colourful, a whole lot louder and a whole lot crazier, as Alyssa Edwards’ docuseries ‘Dancing Queen’ crash-lands onto the streaming service.
Alyssa - aka Justin Johnson - takes centre stage in the new show, which centres around her dance school in Mesquite, Texas, where she teaches some of the area’s most excitable aspiring youngsters, and also performs as one of the most-loved drag queens in the world.
For those unfamiliar with Alyssa, she first rose to prominence on the fifth series of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, where her unique sayings and reactions made her prime meme material, and later returned to the show to compete in its second ‘All Stars’ season.
But she’s far from the only ‘Drag Race’ alumna to go on to great things. Here are some of the other contestants who’ve enjoyed huge success elsewhere after bowing out of the competition...
Probably the most famous drag queen in the UK right now, Courtney made a name for herself in 2018 when she arrived in the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ house, immediately grabbing headlines with an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction.
During her time on the show, Courtney won over Channel 5 viewers with her articulate and informed discussions about gender identity, sexuality and labels, always managing not to come across as patronising.
The British public have now fully embraced Courtney as one of our own, and she’s gone on to land her own inclusive dating show, ‘The Bi Life’ on E!, as well as an upcoming “dragazine” show for Channel 4, which she says will pay homage to the golden age of variety television.
Trixie Mattel and Katya
Ironically, it wasn’t until leaving the show that ‘Drag Race’ BFFs Trixie and Katya grew particularly close, later launching their own YouTube series, ‘UNHhhh’, in which they discussed pretty much any subject that popped into their uniquely-tuned brains.
The success of the web series, Trixie and Katya later bagged their own show on Viceland (imaginatively titled ‘The Trixie And Katya Show’), which was basically a beefed up version of ‘UNHhhh’.
After Katya took a break from drag to focus on her mental health, during which time Bob The Drag Queen covered for her on their Viceland show, she and Trixie are now back in each other’s lives, though their show has not been picked up for a second run.
Bianca Del Rio
Already one of the biggest queens around before joining ‘Drag Race’, Bianca’s career has gone from strength to strength since winning season six.
After recording her own comedy special, which was made available to buy on Vimeo, Bianca starred in the film ‘Hurricane Bianca’, co-starring Rachel Dratch. RuPaul also had a brief cameo, as did a number of other ‘Drag Race’ stars. Two years later, a sequel, ‘From Russia With Hate’ was released, with Wanda Sykes, Kristen Johnston and ‘American Horror Story’ star Cheyenne Jackson joining the cast.
It’s also been announced that Bianca will be the first ‘Drag Race’ queen in herstory to have a headline show at Wembley Arena, where she’ll be performing in September 2019.
But Bianca isn’t the only season six star who has since taken on the big screen.
Kelly introduced herself at the beginning of the season as an acting queen, and made Oscars history in 2016, when the gender-fluid performer was the first eligible to be nominated in the male and female categories, for her role in the film ‘Confessions Of A Womanizer’.
Check out these season six girls, eh?
Milk made a name for herself during her time on the show as one of the most avant-garde contestants ‘Drag Race’ has ever welcomed to the werkroom (while fans were also more than a little enamoured when she appeared in boy form in her cutaways).
Her unique style, both in and out of drag, clearly caught the eye of Marc Jacobs, who included Milk in his spring/summer 2016 campaign.
Even in the early seasons of the show, when drag was still a fairly new concept to a lot of viewers, it was clear whose abilities were special, and Raven was one of those.
Many have tried over the seasons, but no one has really been able to match her in the make-up stakes, with RuPaul herself even bringing Raven in to do her make-upon the show from 2017 onwards. Similarly, season three competitor Delta Work now handles Ru’s wigs.
Season 3 competitor Carmen Carrera was one of the first contestants to come out as transgender following her time on ‘Drag Race’, and has since gone on to model for the likes of David LaChappelle, as well as becoming a spokesperson for the trans community.
What’s more, she’s been able to retain her media profile despite no longer having the support of RuPaul, with whom she became involved in a public row over the use of transphobic language in early seasons of ‘Drag Race’.
And speaking of queens who’ve enjoyed success without the public support of RuPaul…
Willam made no secret of her acting history during her time on ‘Drag Race’ (who could forget her ‘Boston Public’ name-drop?), which she has continued since leaving the show, taking on a supporting role in the LGBT+ series ‘Eastsiders’, which you can catch on Netflix.
She’s also become a successful YouTube personality with her series ‘Paint Me Bitch’ and ‘The Beatdown’, topped the US comedy chart with her album ‘Shartistry In Motion’ and is about to star opposite Lady Gaga in ‘A Star Is Born’.
Like Willam, Shangela also has a supporting role in ‘A Star Is Born’, while the pair co-starred in both ‘Hurricane Bianca’ films too.
By herself, Shangela has also scooped a number of acting parts since her time on the third (and, briefly, second) series of ‘Drag Race’, including the US sitcoms ‘2 Broke Girls’, ‘Community’ and ‘Glee’, while she also provided the US commentary for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
As a member of the House Of Edwards, you can probably expect to see her popping up in ‘Dancing Queen’ a few times too.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
Remember that brief period in 2018 when everyone used to just shout “Vanjie” at one another? Weird, wasn’t it?
‘Dancing Queen’, starring Alyssa Edwards, will debut on Netflix from 5 October. Season 8, 9 and 10 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ are also available to stream in the UK now.