The Latinx queens of season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race are beyond impressive. Whether it’s the arrogant star power of Kandy Muse, the sweet diva Olivia Lux, or our favorite perfectionist Denali, these Latinx queens have the uniqueness, nerve, and talent to become America’s next drag superstar.
Usually, queer Latinx characters on television are treated either as the end of a punchline, ignored, or at the center of a tragic cautionary tale. Through Drag Race, each of these queens gives us the ability to not just watch queer Latinx characters but gives each queen the platform to be their full, nuanced, and complex selves.
Straight from the Bronx, Kandy Muse has been serving unapologetic non-stop personality this season. Last episode, our favorite Afro-Dominican queen showed us not only that she is a force to be reckoned with, but that she will not go quietly as she was saved at the last second by RuPaul. To see any queer Afro-Latino on television is rare and powerful, but what I love about Kandy Muse is how she stands in her identity, refusing to compromise or make herself small.
Kandy Muse is a force. Complete with outfits that honestly look like they came straight out of a thirteen year olds’ Forever 21 catalog and an attitude that some might describe as arrogant, she can’t be ignored. It is amazing to see her celebrated and rewarded on a show, where her greatest asset is herself. Whether it’s her “relationship” with Joey J or her feelings about politics, Kandy shares exactly how she feels unfiltered. Kandy is also perfectly clear about how important the Black Lives Matter protests are to her, reminding and highlighting the responsibility the Latinx community has to confront our own racism and anti-Blackness.
“Being an Afro-Latino from the south Bronx, when I see Black people being murdered by police, it just puts so many things into perspective… Fighting for Black lives and all those things are very, very important to me.”
While Tamisha Iman was one of my favorites this season, Kandy Muse has proven that there’s something about this girl from the Bronx and we can’t say goodbye to just yet.
¡La Latina que patina! Denali is our favorite and the first ice skating Latinx queen. Famously performing her first lip sync in ice skates, this perfectionist continues to show that working hard isn’t a choice, it’s a way of life. Not only is Denali an amazing dancer, but it’s clear that she’s not shy about her Latinaness. From her train look, a gown inspired by the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl to her bag look inspired by Día de Los Muertos, Denali continues to serve us Latinx representation.
Proving again that Latinx folks are not a monolith, Denali could not be more different from Kandy. Her precise, teacher’s pet, straight “A” student energy, and deeply thought out extravagant looks offer something completely different from Kandy Muse’s casual confidence. But both of them have that it factor that is needed to succeed in Drag Race and it’s fun to see.
Our third Latinx queen this season is Olivia Lux, this Afro-Puerto Rican Queen from New York has captured our hearts with her stunning looks and 1000 megawatt smile. Another competition stand-out, Olivia has won two maxi challenges, making her one of the natural front runners. A darling diva Olivia is a trained musician that continues to wow the judges with her musical theater skills and natural charisma.
It’s sometimes frustrating when people talk about the nebulous ‘star quality’ but that is the perfect description for Olivia. Every challenge, she competes effortlessly and is incredibly fun to watch which is clearly why she’s won twice. Also her name Olivia is inspired by one of our favorite characters on television, the Miss Olivia Pope, need we say more. The one thing that I hope for Olivia is that she continues to push herself and play with her drag in an edgier more imaginative unexpected way.
We’ll see as the show goes on if Olivia is able to continue to hold her place as one of the front runners with promising talent like Symone, Gottmik, and Rose continuing to bring it, but for now, it looks like she’s definitely a frontrunner.
These three queens illustrate why I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s rare that queer people of color are given any time on popular television, especially drag queens. But while it’s not without its problems, Drag Race continues to be a place where we not only get to see representation but BIPOC contestants are given the space to explore their identity in nuanced ways. Every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race proves that we are not a monolith, especially when we are given the room to be ourselves.