From $400 Versace bears to Theraguns, Drag Race winners reveal how they spent their prize money
A $100,000 check from RuPaul can buy you a house, pay off student debt, or the entire menu at Cheesecake Factory 600 times over. Drag queens are known for stretching a dollar, so, ahead of their bid for a $200,000 prize on All Stars 7, see how seven past winners of RuPaul's Drag Race wisely — or, as they admit, perhaps foolishly — spent their earnings.
Note: Due to RuPaul's Drag Race UK season 1 winner The Vivienne triumphing on a BBC network, she was unable to win cash prizes, as publicly funded channels are unable to have commercial sponsorships.
Raja (season 3 prize money: $75,000)
"I didn't win that much f---ing money. I won $75,000, this was 11 years ago, so the prize money is different. I think people have an expectation with that amount of money that you win and you're supposed to have all of these riches and wealth. I have one thing that's so special to me, one of the first things I ever bought for myself was a Louis Vuitton duffel bag, and I still have it. It's my favorite thing, it's so sentimental to me. At the time it seemed so luxurious to own, but that's probably the most sentimental thing that I ever used out of the $75,000 that I got."
Jinkx Monsoon (season 5 prize money: $100,000)
"The dumbest thing I did with my prize money after season 5, I took a handful of friends out to Cheesecake Factory and we all just went wild. Nothing was off limits: Apps, desserts, fountain drinks. The most meaningful thing I did with my prize money, I mean it was many years later, but I bought a home in Portland, Oregon, which was always my plan. Portlanders who leave Portland are like the Amish on Rumspringa: 90 percent of us end up back there after our drug benders around the world."
Monét X Change (All Stars 4 prize money: $100,000)
"The dumbest thing that I bought that I really regret is a Theragun. Those little massage guns, everybody's all on these Theraguns like, 'They're so great, they're so good.' Girl, I bought that Theragun, but I did get it at Marshall's for like $20 and they really cost $100, but maybe I need a better brand. If Theragun is watching this, send me a nice Theragun. I spent a little $20 on that Theragun, and I regret it. The most meaningful thing I did with my Drag Race winnings was paying off student loans. I know that's not exciting, that's not the answer people want to hear, but that's what I did: I paid off student loans because girl she was severely in the hole with the government."
Trinity The Tuck (All Stars 4 prize money: $100,000)
"The dumbest thing I've spent any of my winnings on is drag. Period. I mean, drag is dumb. Don't do it. Don't start it. If you're thinking about it, it ruins your life. Don't do it. It's not for everyone. The most meaningful is definitely my house. It was an investment. I've never owned a house, so it's something that I've always wanted: Stability. The most extravagant thing other than my house that I've bought is vacations. Going through this, you need a vacation. After I won with Monét, it being a double-crowning, uh, I needed a vacation right then."
Yvie Oddly (season 11 prize money: $100,000)
"I think the dumbest thing I spent my prize money on was more drag. Literally. If I won $100,000 with the drag I already had, why would you need any more? You're good, you did it, you are peak. Just stop there. Never buy another thing. But, the smartest thing I bought with my money is: I put most of it into an investment account, and that has all allowed me to finally start in the process of buying a house this year."
Jaida Essence Hall (season 12 prize money: $100,000)
"My Versace bear, Gian E. Hall, is my favorite thing that I've spent any of my Drag Race money on. It's kind of ridiculous because it's a teddy bear that cost $400, and I was questioning about saying that price, but it's a cute teddy bear and that's my baby. He has a following of, like, 6,000 followers on Instagram. Y'all can boost it up if you follow him. He's a cute little baller, he's a cute little baby bear, he doesn't talk back to me, he doesn't disrespect me, he just sits there and loves me. But also I did buy some gifts for my mother and my brothers. We all got the same shoes and we have a cute little shoe collection."
Shea Couleé (All Stars 5 prize money: $100,000)
"I am not in the business of wasting money so I did not spend money on anything stupid, but the most meaningful thing I did with my prize money is I bought a house. Yes, she's a homeowner now. I feel like I did treat myself, you know what, to Puerto Vallarta with 12 of my best friends. We rented a villa, we pretended like we were filming a Real Housewives vacation, we had a staff, two infinity pools, girl, we were living the absolute life. It was like the best vacation ever taken. Everybody paid, I'm nobody's sugar mama! Everybody contributed. But it was still a fun trip. Yeah, I paid for my plane ticket and for my lodging. I treated everybody to dinner once."
The AS7 competition returns May 20 on Paramount+. Watch the queens discuss their prize money in the video above, and read EW's cover story here.
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including new season 14 recaps with the cast.
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