I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on TV! Each week, I take on television’s biggest stories through the rainbow lenses, and this past week has been a little more fabulous with dazzling final events of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the reveal of the new group of queens ready to storm the stage for the upcoming season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Before network television kicks back into gear, let’s pause to reflect on the one of the most progressive Winter Olympics ever and a quick kiki over the queens of Season 10.
Didn't realize this moment was being filmed yesterday but I'm so happy that it was. My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love. pic.twitter.com/8t0zHjgDg8
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 19, 2018
Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy has continued to steal America’s hearts, despite missing the podium during this year’s Games. Cameras caught the sweet kiss heard ’round the world between Kenworthy and boyfriend Matthew Wilkas before a ski event. The kiss, one of the first gay kisses televised during an Olympic Games, was taken in stride by the cheering crowd and sports commentators, a mark of society’s progress toward acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people. Kenworthy was happy about the photo, tweeting that his “childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time a kid at home watching CAN!”
Boyfriend Wilkas was also happy the kiss was captured by cameras, telling Sports Illustrated, “It’s good that it’s televised because it normalizes it…[it] would be a huge moment for a young gay kid to see an awesome athlete so open and proud of himself and not caring what anyone thinks of his sexuality.”
Two weeks ago, at opening ceremonies, we met and a friendship began. Today, at closing ceremonies, it ends. @Adaripp, please stop calling me. You're honestly starting to get v clingy and I can't anymore. pic.twitter.com/h9GArWda9b
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 25, 2018
Kenworthy, who came out after his silver medal win at the Sochi Games, has taken his new mantle as a gay role model to heart, as has fellow gay Olympian Adam Rippon, a figure skater for Team USA. The pair are the first openly gay U.S. male athletes to compete in the Olympics, and have been seen attending events, cuddling up at the opening ceremony, and generally being the world’s sweetest queer BFFs.
Kenworthy tweeted a picture of the pair during the closing ceremony, joking that Rippon is getting “v clingy and [he] can’t anymore.” (Judging by the pictures of Rippon riding Kenworthy’s shoulders, the pair will continue to be besties long after the Games end.) Kenworthy and Rippon’s friendship have been a breath of fresh air during the Games; though neither medaled this year, their outspoken comments about the homophobic Trump administration, their clear understanding of their role model status and their genuine, open affection and support of one another has shown the world that LGBTQIA+ athletes are here, queer, and aren’t going anywhere.
And now, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” There are 13 new queens vying for the coveted crown alongside Season 9 queen Eureka O’Hara, who was unfortunately sidelined with a leg injury last year. Here’s the full list of this year’s queens, according to EW:
- Asia O’Hara (Dallas, TX) | Twitter/Instagram: @AsiaOharaLand
- Aquaria (Brooklyn, NY) | Twitter: @aquariaofficial, Instagram: @ageofaquaria
- Blair St. Clair (Indianapolis, IN) | Twitter: @ BlairStClair, Instagram: @ blairst.clair
- Dusty Ray Bottoms (New York, NY) | Twitter: @DustyRayBottoms, Instagram: @dustyray
- Eureka O’Hara (Johnson City, TN) | Twitter/Instagram: @eurekaohara
- Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams (Albuquerque, NM) | Twitter/Instagram: @kalkarbdashi
- Kameron Michaels (Nashville, TN) | Twitter: @KameronMichaels, Instagram: @kameronmichaels
- Mayhem Miller (Riverside, CA) | Twitter/Instagram: @TheOnlyMayhem,
- Miz Cracker (New York, NY) | Twitter/Instagram: @miz_cracker
- Monét X Change (Bronx, NY) | Twitter/Instagram: @monetxchange
- Monique Heart (Kansas City, MO) | Twitter: @IAmMoniqueHeart, Instagram: @kevinandmonique
- The Vixen (Chicago, IL) | Twitter/Instragram: @TheVixensworld
- Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (Tampa, FL) | Twitter/Instagram: @VanessaVanjie
- Yuhua Hamasaki (New York, NY) | Twitter: @YuhuaNYC, Instagram: @yuhuahamasaki
The cast is, as always, an interesting mix of queens from different states and drag scenes across the U.S. Many already some gems in their belt, with Dallas queen Asia O’Hara being a past Miss Gay America and Brooklyn queen Aquaria gracing the pages of Vogue Italia and posing for Steven Klein, according to Huffington Post.
Several are friends and drag family of previous “Drag Race” favorites, giving them an edge on the competition along with some big expectations. Cali queen Mayhem Miller, for example, is a sister to fan-favorites Raven, Morgan McMichaels, Delta and Detox, which immediately puts the pressure on the performer who’s already rubbed elbows with the “Drag Race” sorority. Others are even closer to the sisterhood, as New York queen Miz Cracker is the proud drag daughter of Season 8 winner Bob The Drag Queen and Tampa queen Vanessa Vanjie Mateo is the drag daughter of Season 3 star Alexis Mateo. Will some insider advice prove fruitful for those with family connections, or will a fresh-faced dark horse pull ahead?
Personally, I can’t help but root for returning queen Eureka O’Hara, whose fun, effervescent demeanor and fierce, polished looks served her well in Season 9 until an unfortunate injury took her down. I’m also intrigued by Nashville queen Kameron Michaels (no drag relation to Chad Michaels), a self-proclaimed “muscle queen” and “body builder Barbie” whose makeup prowess (and gorgeous tattoos) make her one to watch. And then there’s Miz Cracker, who describes her style as “retro futurism,” a throwback to the 50’s and 60’s idea of the future à la “Meet the Jetsons.” Can’t wait to see what she does this season. Who are you intrigued by?