RuPaul's Drag Race season 11 is looking good, feeling gorgeous
The RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 cast is primed, padded, and polished for their Werk Room debut. Before the 15 fabulous competitors sashay their way into the Drag Race family (alongside pop star and undercover guest judge Miley Cyrus) this Thursday, Feb. 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET on VH1, see EW’s exclusive portraits of the cast in the gallery ahead.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
Brooke Lynn Hytes
Judging by her buff, hunky looks out of drag, RuPaul might’ve found the next Kameron Michaels in Brooke Lynn Hytes, the fist Canadian queen to compete in Drag Race her-story. A ballet dancer who reportedly transitioned to drag through the art form around a decade ago, Brooke’s ability to transform her athletic body into a curvy drag masterpiece won her the title of Miss Continental in 2014. Since, she’s been combining skilled dance moves and lip-sync excellence into breathtaking live performances that could snatch the sturdiest duct-taped wigs on earth.
A hometown hero if there ever was one, Nina West has blossomed from her humble beginnings to become a mini icon in the drag world thanks to her commitment to old-school camp, comedy, and charitable causes. She won the prestigious Entertainer of the Year pageant in 2008, and has since used her platform to establish a self-titled fund at the Columbus Foundation in support of LGBTQIA+ causes. To date, she has reportedly earned more than $2 million for such causes.
A'Keria Chanel Davenport
The Texas pageant circuit has shown up loud and proud on season 11, as Dallas-born competitor A’Keria Chanel Davenport has the lewks — and the titles — to back up a major bid for the crown. In fact, A’Keria already has gilded headpieces after winning the Miss Black Universe and Miss International Vogue contests in 2017. Glamour is in her blood, though, as her drag family includes past Drag Race contestants Kennedy Davenport (season 7, All-Stars 3) and the late Sahara Davenport (season 2).
Fans of alt-drag, meet your new favorite femme. An economic queen who blurs the line between fashion and trashy camp, Yvie’s creations are stunningly peculiar and intricately crafted. From edgy glam to blue space monster, Yvie can pull off an eclectic mix of polished drag as well as literal aerial acrobatics, as her shows often include high-flying stunts and other athletic maneuvers.
This NYC-based queen with an Old Hollywood aesthetic and an updated camp perspective caught the eye of season 9 winner Sasha Velour, who cast her in her ongoing performance showcase Nightgowns late last year.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache
Another pageant diva with more than 100 competition credits tucked under her luscious curves, Silky Nutmeg Ganache is known for her legendary dance moves and larger-than-life personality, which translate into live performances boasting massive charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.
Plastique Tiara is serving the fishiest mug of season 11. But this Instagram star (she has nearly 230,000 followers already) is more than just a pretty face: Her acrobatic live performances (and wig-making abilities) caught season 5 alum Alyssa Edwards’ attention enough that she adopted her as her drag daughter.
Soju already has plenty of face time with queens from Drag Race and beyond, often filming interviews with them at drag conventions for her YouTube channel. Her style is a self-described mix of contemporary glam and K-Pop realness, which she incorporates into her live shows.
Dallas throws another queen into the arena with Raja O’Hara, a pageant girl with ace dance moves and a stunning body. She’s reportedly close with fellow season 11 queen A’Keria Chanel Davenport, and is distantly related to the Davenport family through her drag mother, Silkie O’Hara Monroe. She also won the Miss Texas FFI competition, a feat also accomplished by Alyssa Edwards, Kennedy Davenport, and Asia O’Hara.
The New York City drag scene has a sweet tooth for this California native’s live singing and comedy realness, which have built her a modest following ahead of her season 11 bow. And her namesake isn’t all for show: She reportedly lives for sweets and bakes in her spare time.
Jersey might finally be done justice with Ariel Versace’s arrival. The Cherry Hill native (whose general aesthetic is giving us serious Farrah Moan vibes) is a rising YouTube star thanks to her flawless makeup tutorials and popular Instagram posts. And with nearly 120,000 followers on the photo-sharing site, self-proclaimed “life-size Bratz doll” looks, and business savvy (she reportedly runs her own wig company), Ariel already has the built-in fan base (and résumé) of a superstar.
Mercedes Iman Diamond
This queen of the north might be short in stature, but she’s packing big heat as she guns for the season 11 title. A pageant stunner with a few local crowns to her name — including Miss City of the Lakes — Mercedes supposedly enjoys crafting her own jewelry to wear during her performances, and typically incorporates various cultural inspirations (like this Indian-inspired number) into her shows. She’s also the first Muslim queen to ever compete in Drag Race her-story.
This Las Vegas showgirl enters the Drag Race fold in the name of her drag mother Coco Montrese, the infamous season 5 queen with the Cheeto-hued foundation. Allegedly sporting a roster of killer moves thanks to her background as a dancer, Kahanna’s spot-on commitment to choreography, precision, and fish face might finally bring Vegas a crown.
Mama Monét X Change is cashing in! The All-Stars 4 competitor’s drag mother has finally made it to the runway after working with her iconic drag family, which also includes Drag Race alums Kennedy Davenport, Sahara Davenport, and fellow season 11 queen A’Keria Chanel Davenport. As accomplished as she is as a drag performer (she previously used the title “Sir” in her name in acknowledgement of her focus on genderf—k expression), Honey is also a singer, often performing songs live without pre-recorded vocals at her shows.