Iconic ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Looks

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RuPaul’s Drag Race – the ultimate competition for drag queens – has become one of the most successful reality TV shows in history, having honored 15 queens with the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. In the spirit of competition, the show calls on incredibly talented drag queens to create and showcase their own most iconic, often avant-garde looks. 

The result? Seas of awe-inspiring artistry, where our senses are bombarded with some of the most mind-blowing looks. From outrageous hairpieces, to colorful makeup, to incredible costumes, and beyond, RuPaul’s Drag Race has become the embodiment of style and fierce competitiveness.

Below, we examine some of the most memorable, iconic looks seen on the show, along with why they’re so distinctive. This list is by no means exhaustive, but all of these looks have had a unique and lasting impact, and are part of why RuPaul’s Drag Race has earned its legendary status.

Iconic Looks  

The Vixen 

The Vixen (real name: Marquéa La Sirena) defined her aesthetic with “Comedy Queens” and various nods to characters in pop culture. Specifically, her near-identical Tupac Shakur look from the show’s renowned “PharmaRusical” episode took audiences back by capturing a true sense of Magic Realism, resulting in an iconic moment for Drag Race fans. The Vixen’s vibrant makeup, her impeccable take on the rapper’s signature style, and the way in which she ended the performance with a rose in her mouth––orchestrated to a line in Tupac’s song, Ghetto Gospel––symbolized her ability to bring together art, politics, and culture in a masterpiece of performance.

Kim Chi 

The first thing we remember when talking about Kim Chi is her ever-present colorful makeup. She has become well-known for creating fantasy looks with an Asian twist, setting her apart from the other iconic Queens. Kim Chi has blended her Korean heritage with the art of drag recognition in spectacular and elegant fashion, honoring traditional Korean dress with sequins and glitter. Her signature “cucumber” look during the season 8 finale was one of the most remarkable performances in the show’s history, a stunningly detailed costume, with incredible makeup and a beautifully sculpted wig. From a cutesy girl to a Seoul-inspired anime doll, Kim Chi has shown us how important it is to always be 100% yourself.

The Cynthia 

The Cynthia (real name: Cynthia Lee Fontaine) ran away with a reputation for wacky looks and “coconut” (butt) bumps. One the most talk-about looks of the season was her “spaceship” look during the show’s “New Wave Queens” challenge. Cynthia’s bold silver wig, featuring four mini-propellers, was one of the accessories that catapulted her look into becoming a RuPaul fashion icon. This ship has also served as the inspiration for one of Cynthia’s own looks outside the show. That is one of the main things that drag has taught us: Fashion is recycling, and sometimes the best way to innovate is to reinvent the old.


When Queen Ah-Mah-Zahng (real name: Athena) took the show by storm, she became an instant fan favorite. The Amazon queen stunned from the very start with her brilliant fashion, most notably her take on the Little Red Riding Hood story. Her “curtain-inspired” look sported a wig shaped as a window treatment – complete with a red suit and a floral-print sarong. Her “Amazonian inspired” look was of equal impact and featured a hooded-cape and a golden headdress. Both looks were incredibly lavish, and a melding of history and culture, from folklore to native art forms, together with a modern twist.


On her run on season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Raja (real name: Sutan Amrull) became an iconic figure in drag culture. Raja’s sense of fashion isn’t restrained by trends or rules of beauty; rather, she brings her own vigor and assertiveness to her looks, as part of her personal stamp. During the “Snatch Game” challenge – one of the most legendary moments in Drag Race history – she embodied the iconic 1970s singer Olivia Newton-John with outstanding accuracy down to her tiny makeup details and her bonnet. This solidified her status of being a timeless queen and playing an iconic character can always be remembered.

The Vivacious 

The Vivacious (real name: Mitchel Hoganson) has blessed us with an electric collection of drag looks over the years that have ranged from the whimsical to the avant-garde. On RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, season 2, The Vivacious pulled off an audacious, Grammy-winning look that paid homage to Björk’s iconic swan dress. She rocked a headdress-featured bustle of black feathers (for the head of the swan) and kept her calm with a peacock-shaped clutch bag. Her underlying message was to “embrace yourself for whatever makes you different,” inspiring us all to never let anyone force us to change who we are.

Sharon Needles 

There are certain Queens whose style is so instantly memorable, we can identify them in a second. Sharon Needles (real name: Aaron Coady) proudly brings an aesthetic to Drag Race that is, as RuPaul puts it, sometimes “scary good”. During the show’s Halloween episode, Sharon made not only a fashion statement, but a real art piece with her avant-garde gothic performance. Her unique look, which contained facepieces, handcuffs, and a full-length leather robe, was inspired by famous gothic artist H.R. Giger. These details can often be forgotten, but they remind us of the intentionality and beauty of drag fashion.

These iconic RuPaul’s Drag Race looks form part of the yearly tapestry that makes us fall in love with drag fashion and culture over and over again. From the shoe-polishing and flower-vending of ShoSho Jones, to Aquaria’s fabulous pregnancy look and Cream soda’s classic yet playful style, there’s no denying that the essential drizzle of magic from RuPaul’s Drag Race has inspired us to take a second look at how we view art and creativity.

Ultimately, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a celebration of style, drive, and artistry – and the incredible looks showcased throughout the years are no exception to this, demonstrating true feelings and quality experiences that drag brings to our lives. May these iconic looks continue to inspire us to create something innovative, no matter what the odds.

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