When RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 contestants were announced in New York City, not that long ago, I went along to the press preview with my friend, photographer Ruben Natal-San Miguel. He shot some amazing portraits and we spent 2+ hours with all the queens. They posed against the Logo/ World of Wonder step and repeat backdrop one by one and then each had their own station to talk to reporters. I didn’t interview each, but Ruben and I had an idea to shoot them on this fab gold background, so I went to each to grab them for literally three minutes to do a quick portrait. (Ruben works fast, the girls know how to pose and I swung a spotlight around and then back into position each time…)
So, here’s the deal. As you know, all of the episodes had been shot at that point and each queen knew they were ALL eliminated except the top three.
(Full disclosure: This is my persona assumption … as I’ve said before, I’ve discussed none of this with anyone at World of Wonder and have ZERO inside info.)
So, back to the press round up… each one has to be on their guard not to let on what happened during filming, i.e., who got eliminated. And all they know is what they filmed, as they hadn’t seen the episodes we’ve all now watched. So, thinking back on how each one acted, I have some observations…
First of all, I DID think that the three New York girls, Bob, Thorgy Thor and Acid Betty, might go all the way. (Thorgy threw everyone off with that fat suit. When each queen saw him for the first time they GAGGED!) They all shot a pic (below) with past winner, fellow NYC gal Bianca Del Rio who was hosting the preview, so THAT might have been a dead give-away that they WEREN’T going to be the final three.
Naomi Smalls had a strong red carpet presence (that got stronger as the season progressed) and she wasn’t shy at all that night. She was the first out to pose, but I got to talk to her the least. Her look wasn’t WOW, but she was strong, But honestly not someone I singled out to be in the top 3. Surprise!
But Kim Chi was MAJOR, probably the best look of the night, besides Bob & Betty. But she was pretty shy and to be honest, I didn’t see the personality we all came to love on this season. I still have trouble envisioning what Kim Chi’s show would be except for strong looks and lip sync but she really deserves to be in the top.
Bob the Drag Queen was on the whole time. The look, the personality, the posing and expressions. I have to say, he was my favorite and still is. No matter what happens tonight, all there of these queens are MADE already. They’ve got a built-in fan base.
(P.S. When they filmed the finalé last week, they shot each one winning, so they all got their moment and no one, but Ru and a small WOWteam knows the outcome.)
So, we shall see what we shall see. Watch Logo tonight at 9PM kids, to see who is crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar!
(Photos, Trey Speegle)