RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a staple in American reality TV and popular culture since the early to mid-2010s. But now, having prompted multiple sister series around the world, die-hard fans have come to prefer these newer, raunchier, spinoffs like Drag Race Canada, which aired over 2020, and of course, Drag Race UK. These series are not as polished as their American counterpart, making way for more authentic meltdowns, catchphrases, and funny moments.
The second season of Drag Race UK premiered on Jan. 14, 2021 on BBC Three to UK fans and is available for fans around the world to stream using WOW Presents Plus, a premium streaming service for the production company behind the drag race franchise.
America can take a tip from the UK
American Drag Race has come to be so polished, with contestants knowing that they will be on TV, so they tend to milk every second of it. This makes for seemingly fake content and quite honestly, it’s not as entertaining to see a reality TV contestant constantly thinking about what they’re going to say next. Drag Race UK queens are the opposite. They say what they’re thinking, and in a cheeky little accent that we Americans cannot get enough of. Even in aesthetics, the two promo videos for the American and UK series next to each other show stark differences despite premiering only two weeks apart from one another.
Drag Race UK makes room for free-spirited queens
For a lot of fans, the quirky and unconventional reality tv contestants are originally what drew them to RuPaul’s Drag Race. Well, that and a love for/interest in the art of drag. These queens, whether they were conventionally attractive pageant queens or kooky comedy queens were always different in the first couple of seasons, but now, after 13 seasons, each queen seems to be a carbon copy of another.
What makes Drag Race UK so exciting is that Americans are being exposed to sides of drag they’ve never seen before. A queen wouldn’t dare go on American Drag Race with visible body hair and little makeup, but in the UK, this is the norm and queens are celebrated, not judged, for their differences.
Pictured above is Drag Race UK queen Ginny Lemon, who is known for dressing in all yellow with visible body hair, and always has a signature blue and white painted face.
With both season 13 of American Drag Race and Drag Race UK airing at the same time, it will be very interesting to see fan reactions to all of the queens, challenges, and drama that are sure to come as the seasons progress. But for me personally, I cannot wait to see the looks, lines, and stunts that the queens across the pond turn out.
Samantha is a student at Boston University studying television writing and producing originally from Philadelphia, PA. She's passionate about comedy, reality TV, and Diet Coke.