Gentlemen, start your engines…

Let me just get this out of my system before I start.

YAAAAAAAASSS MAMA WERK FIERCE SICKENING SLAYYY

Okay! Now I’m calm enough to write in coherent sentences. After a long dry spell following its drama-filled yet highly entertaining All Stars 2 season, RuPaul’s Drag Race is finally Ruvealing its season 9 queens, and they are gorgeous.

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The 13 contestants just recently revealed this last week have sent the internet (well, that tiny part of the internet) in a frenzy, as Drag Race fans scurried to find out more about them on Instagram, YouTube, and the like. For my part, I thought I’d get into this TV recapping gig by just going off what we’ve officially been given by Logo and World of Wonder for now – namely, the Meet the Queens videos – and rambling a bit on my first impressions of each of these ladies.

Ready for this T, henny? It’s time to take a look at the 13 new queens who’ll be entering the workroom in 2017.

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In her Meet the Queens video, Aja claims she found her drag name (pronounced ah-jah) in a Bollywood film (“I don’t know what it’s called”) where one of the sung lines featured the word Aja. “I absolutely have no idea what it means,” she declares. Well, according to The Name Meaning, the Indian name Aja can mean either “unborn” or “goat.” Good job, girl. At least you’re pretty.

Awkward names aside, Aja seems like a talented queen with a decent sense of humor. And look at those freckles! I don’t know how she’s creating freckles with makeup, but it’s seriously impressive. She describes her look as “slutty anime girl but also kind of ratchet.” That is both interesting and worrisome. We shall see what you come up with, Unborn Goat.

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Talk about an hourglass figure! According to her, Alexis Michelle is all about “body, curve, swerve,” and a number of other things, including “this mug.” It’s a good mug, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She’s just the right amount of confident – where you know she’ll turn it out and leave you gagging but also won’t be a total bitch just for the sake of it. But hey, Phi Phi O’Hara also promised to be a “good girl” like Alexis is doing right now, and look where that got her.

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In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Alexis Michelle. The way she describes her makeup process really takes you in – she’s definitely a storyteller. Her theatricality and obvious penchant for all things Broadway should prove very entertaining.

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Let’s get the most gag-worthy fact out of the way first. Charlie Hides, from “Boston and London,” is 52. That’s fifty-two years old. I’m pretty sure she’s a vampire drag queen who feeds off the blood of younger girls like Unborn Goat to stay fresh and youthful. Whether or not that’s actually true, Charlie is a fun, quirky “transatlantic dame” who isn’t afraid to make fun of herself. She’s definitely one of the most amusing girls in this batch.

“If I wake up in the morning, I think, ‘This is a good day. Let’s make the most of it. Let’s have fun. Let’s look good. Let’s make a few people laugh.’ And if I can get paid for it, all the better.” Words to live by, my queen.

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Eureka! This girl is “big, ready to jig, and ready to win this gig.” Catchy. Apparently, Eureka got her drag name sort of from her mom, but mostly from her vacuum cleaner. That is almost as bad as Aja’s drag name story. Eureka warns us that she gets a little impatient at times and may “cuss, cut, or eat” her fellow queens. Consider me officially freaked out/intrigued.

Here’s my one issue with Eureka – and a lot of the “big girls” who’ve graced the Drag Race workroom with their presence. Ladies like Eureka tend to have trouble being about something other than being a “big girl.” I think part of the reason Latrice Royale is one of the most memorable queens of all time is that, yes, her “chunky” factor was part of her character, but all in all, it was just one part of a very complex, entertaining whole. Queens like Ginger Minj and Eureka who are all about being larger as a central character trait tend to be a little less interesting in my opinion. Body size does not a personality make. Sorry ’bout it!

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Farrah Moan is, above all, an extremely fishy queen. And I don’t mean suspicious, though her love of “fetish-y” things is a tad concerning. Move over, Courtney Act! There’s a new ultra-feminine queen in town. Farrah would rather be the best possible version of herself than compare herself to the other queens in this competition – a nice philosophy, though it may not be very well-suited to the competitive aspect of Drag Race.

Farrah seems nice, though her sweet, mild personality seems somewhat at odds with her apparent love of kinky stuff. So is she just one of those Stepford wives who has a huge collection of sex toys in her bedroom? Or is she really just as comfortable talking about her fetishes as she is discussing the weather?

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I’m going to just put this out there – Jaymes terrifies me. That high-pitched voice, her promise to sooner or later “slash [her opponents’] eyes out,” and that squeaky little giggle thing she does… She is just really, really creepy to me. Irrational fears of drag queens aside, I think I get her shtick. Her look is inspired by “small children, big dreams, and [her] puppetry and creativity.” She’d probably be a really successful preschool teacher. As long as she can refrain from stabbing people in the face.

Jaymes says her look was created by her “long-suffering maid Mister James,” and she “appreciates him for it.” You know, I’ve seen a lot of queens on the show refer to their dragged-up selves as separate entities when they’re not in drag, but I’ve never seen a drag queen pretend her boy self is someone else entirely. Unless Jaymes is actually in a relationship with a guy named James who makes all her outfits for her. Anything is possible on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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Girl… Where do I start. Kimora Blac clearly takes extreme pleasure in being as immodest as she possibly can. “Straight guys love me, gay guys love me, drag queens love me – I’m a really hot guy, like, I would totally date myself.” Alright, girl, keep feeling your fantasy! Being confident is primordial in life, but this level of self-assurance may be pushing it a little. Kimora apparently can’t stand “busted” queens. Season 9 is clearly not going to be RuPaul’s Best Friend Race as far as she’s concerned – but she’ll probably be adding a lot to the entertainment factor, so that’s something.

One more thing – Kimora describes herself as “your life-sized Barbie.” Uh-oh. Trixie Mattel is going to have some words with this one and I cannot wait for the ensuing drama.

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Um, wow. Look at this queen! Nina Bo’nina Brown’s original drag name was “Beat-a Bitchass,” according to her, and if I hadn’t already fallen in love with her for this crazy look, I would be completely head over heels for that name. Nina seems like a very fun person to talk to. She jokes, with a straight face, that her outfit was inspired by “Grape Kool-Aid.” Winner!

Nina is really into video games, and you can see it in the way she does her makeup. Dax ExclamationPoint offered a similar promise with her comic book superheroine influence, but she was eliminated so early on in season 8. Hopefully, Nina gets to stick around a little longer and bring some variety to the show.

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Peppermint says her name was suggested to her by a former flame and that she “honestly would’ve done anything he said.” While I am really not into the whole “molding your identity into something your crush would like” shtick, Peppermint seems genuinely fine with the guy and the story behind her name, so I won’t judge her for it.

Peppermint is classy, sweet, fun, and most importantly, she is the first openly transgender contestant going into RuPaul’s Drag Race already fully out. While I am glad the show is allowing trans women to audition and get in, I am a tad concerned at Peppermint’s potential reception from the other queens – there’s a lot of room for things to go wrong here and I hope the show does Peppermint justice.

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I’ll go ahead and say it – Sasha Velour is my absolute favorite in this lineup as of now, for quite a few reasons. She’s fashionable, she’s educated, she’s clever, and she’s oh-so-pretty. I’m not usually into queens who perform without wigs, but wow. This lady is a looker. I thought I wouldn’t be into the eyebrows, either, but they’ve totally grown on me.

“Drag is the art form of the queer imagination,” Sasha suggests, and that’s just one of the many nuggets of wisdom she offers in her Meet the Queens video. Sasha is incredibly intelligent and eloquent, and listening to her is just a refreshing change of pace. There’s a drive and a hunger in her smile and I think she could absolutely take the crown if she doesn’t overthink things. Consider me officially biased – I’m rooting for this one.

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I have one big problem with Shea Couleé, and it’s this: Her name is misspelled. She claims to speak French and to have given herself the name “Couleé” because she “wanted to sound like a French supermodel.” Girl, if you really spoke French, you’d know to spell the word Coulée properly!

Angry spelling-related outbursts aside, Shea is rocking a very interesting, exotic outfit and I’m into it – but she didn’t make the best impression with her Meet the Queens video. A lot of the stuff she’s saying feels really forced (“I’m just sickening the house down boots gaga yaaaaass”) and just not very genuine. This queen is definitely giving me some Laganja Estranja flashbacks, and I hope she allows herself to be a little more human throughout the competition.

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I’m going to be real harsh for a minute and I feel bad for it, but Trinity Taylor is giving me some serious filler queen realness. She seems like a nice girl, but there’s just nothing really intriguing or memorable about her at first glance. She doesn’t seem to have much of a shtick or theme. “My aesthetic is… fierce!” she says. Well, okay, sure.

I love teal and turquoise about as much as Trinity does, but the fact that her outfit is all mostly the same color just makes it really hard for anything to pop. Plus there’s something about her makeup that rubs me the wrong way. It looks very harsh? But what do I know. The one thing Miss Taylor and I see eye to eye on is that Trinity from the Matrix was a boss-ass bitch and we’d both love to be her for a day. Maybe when RuPaul sends Trinity to the bottom two, she can say “dodge this.” Bam!

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Valentina is gorgeous. Really, really beautiful. Her makeup is flawless, her outfit is perfect, and her hair – her hair! That wig is amazing. She’s a Latina bombshell and I could totally see her in a glamorous fashion ad. A lot of the Spanish-speaking queens on Drag Race tend to sooner or later falter in the competition because of the language barrier, but Valentina lives in L.A. and her English is irreproachable, so she’s got that going for her too.

Valentina’s makeup process is interesting: She likes to put on music and candles and have a glass of wine while she takes her time doing her face. As lovely as that sounds, I do worry that she may find the time constraints on Drag Race stressful. Hopefully she can also get ready under tougher circumstances, because no one is going to hand this girl a glass of wine on the show.

And that’s all of them! Out of the 13 queens revealed for season 9, my personal favorites so far are Sasha Velour and Charlie Hides, though Aja, Alexis Michelle, Nina Bo’nina, and Valentina are all close behind. I cannot wait to see all these ladies in action. Season 9 is already sickening!

Which ones are your favorites? Do you agree with my first impressions? Disagree? Let me know!

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2 thoughts on “Gentlemen, start your engines…

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