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High Heels and Hilarity: Meet the Queens of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 11
The cast of Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race has officially been announced, and this super-sized season has shaped up to be like no other. We have a number of queens hailing from legendary drag families. Several of these queens had been rumored to be cast in previous seasons and are finally hitting the Main Stage! And we also have a returning queen on the Season 11 cast who is sure to please more than a few Drag Race fans.
Here we have broken down the brand-new Season 11 cast to see just how they measure up against each other. Great reality TV is surely in store.
Here is your Drag Race Season 11 cast, in alpha order:
1. Shuga Cain
It’s rare not to see a handful of New York City girls in one season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the Season 11 cast is no exception. Shuga Cain is one of Manhattan’s leading hostesses, and she’s well overdue to be hitting the Werk Room. Her performances merge live singing with show-stopping numbers, and winning the “Look Queen” competition (like Season 10’s Aquaria and Dusty Ray Bottoms before her) only elevated her profile in the drag community of New York City and beyond. A triathlete when she’s not sporting heels, Shuga Cain will need all her talents and more to take on the rest of the Season 11 cast.
2. A’keria Chanel Davenport
She’s part of the Davenport drag legacy, and like her family members before her, is known as the quintessential pageant girl. This Texas stunner comes from a long line of girls from the Lone Star State who have shown us what they can do, including her drag aunt, Season 7 and All Stars 3 stunner Kennedy Davenport. Starting in Dallas and now residing in Houston, this Lone Star lady has a great deal to live up to based on her family’s previous performances, but something tells us if anyone can do it, it’s A’keria Chanel Davenport.
3. Honey Davenport
She’s the current Miss Paradise and a former Miss’d America, with a weekly show at Paradise in Asbury Park on Friday nights, “A Taste of Honey,” that has been wowing crowds with electric performances, eye-popping fashions, and even some Drag Race queen cameos. (Dida Ritz, Vivacious and Mystique Summers among them this past year.) With a pedigree that includes being the drag mother of Season 10 Miss Congeniality Monét X Change and the drag niece of both the dearly departed Sahara Davenport and Kennedy Davenport, we’ll have to wait and see whether Honey is the sweetest Davenport to hit the Werk Room yet.
4. Mercedes Iman Diamond
With Muslim and African influences popping up throughout her numbers, Mercedes Iman Diamond is truly a performer like no other. This Minneapolis queen is a longtime pageant winner, with wins like Miss Gay ’90s and second alternate to Miss Minnesota Continental under her belt. Notoriously, pageant queens have done fairly well in this competition, with previous queens like Trinity Taylor and Eureka O’Hara going all the way to the end. It remains to be seen whether Mercedes Iman Diamond’s pageant chops will carry her through the competition as well.
5. Scarlet Envy
Brooklyn, New York’s Scarlet Envy is, as she calls herself, the “cheapest lady with the highest priced wig.” This East Coast enchantress gives you Old Hollywood realness, but all while keeping with her own unique drag style. Like Season 9 winner (and fellow Brooklyn sister) Sasha Velour, Scarlet Envy believes “gender is a construct” and plays with its confines consistently throughout her performances. Starting at the Fashion Institute of Technology and ending up as a drag performer, Scarlet Envy may be able to tap into that New York energy that several other winners from the drag mecca of NYC have been able to do in seasons past.
6. Silky Nutmeg Ganache
Drag Race has always been a place where the “big girls” can find a place to play. The drag of Stacy Layne Matthews, Eureka O’Hara and Latrice Royale has served as a template for many girls of subsequent seasons to follow. Silky Nutmeg Ganache is sure to set a whole new set of standards when she hits the Werk Room with the rest of the Season 11 cast. She’s also a queen of innumerable talents, with a music degree and talent with a piano. A Southern queen who now calls Chicago home, Silky Nutmeg Ganache has competed in well over 100 pageants (yes, 100), so she’s well-versed in drag competition and how to play the game. It’ll be interesting to see how she takes those numerous talents and makes use of them during the competition.
7. Brooke Lynn Hytes
Like Season 10’s Kameron Michaels, Brooke Lynn Hytes is poised to be the “thirst trap” of Season 11. Statuesque in drag and still smoldering when out, this Nashville stunner started drag to have a career that kept her in control of both her life and her art. Citing Annie Lennox and Cher as her influences, she merges eye-popping looks with unique fashions (her Instagram is truly a sight to behold). Fellow southern sister Kameron was a quiet contender, showing what she was made of when it truly mattered, which propelled her to the final four. While Hytes may try a similar tactic, she could also let her fellow competitors know who they’re dealing with from the beginning. Either way, viewers will be watching Brooke Lynn Hytes closely.
8. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
A returning queen always gets a good amount of buzz, but when the queen is one who has become a part of the lexicon like Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, you know she’s returning with a splash. Like Shangela and Eureka before her, “Miss Vanjie” is strutting back into the competition after becoming a viral sensation and constant topic of conversation during Season 10, despite being eliminated first. This drag daughter of Season 3 finalist Alexis Mateo is known for turning amazing looks and absolutely killing her performances. (She’s also a trained dancer and makeup artist.) And she’s even released her own song (“I’m Vanjie”) since her run last season. The real question that remains is how the sudden rush of exposure from Season 10 will serve her now that she’s back in the competition.
9. Kahanna Montrese
Like her drag mother, Season 5’s Coco Montrese, I think it’s safe to expect Kahanna Montrese to absolutely slay when it comes to lip syncing against the Season 11 cast. Coming out of the burgeoning Las Vegas drag scene, Kahanna Montrese got into the drag scene on a bet with a bartender in her hometown. Citing both Season 1 showstopper Nina Flowers and Coco Montrese as her biggest influences, she’s currently part of the cast of Drag Brunch at Señor Frogs Las Vegas. Something tells me Las Vegas will have to share Kahanna Montrese with the rest of the world after everyone gets a taste of what she can do on Season 11.
10. Yvvie Oddly
It’s not a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race without that one unique queen who makes the competition even more exciting, and Yvvie Oddly fits that bill and more. A Denver superstar (and protegé of Season 1’s Nina Flowers), Oddly “pushes boundaries” and takes pride in her beyond-outrageous looks. Oddly has been known to work with unconventional materials, and her looks run the gamut from alien creature to standard gorgeous queen. The loud cackle she’s known for will no doubt become a sound bite on the show, but she’ll need more than a viral moment or two to knock out the rest of this dynamite Season 11 cast.
11. Rajah O’Hara
If there was ever a queen who hails from a perfect pedigree, it’s Rajah O’Hara. Straight out of the Dallas drag scene, she’s the daughter of Silke O’Hara and is connected to the iconic Kelexis Davenport (and the rest of the Davenport family) through her mother. Rajah has been doing drag for well over a decade, and is seasoned both on and off-stage. She’s also a seamstress and painter. This title-holder has numerous pageants under her belt, including Miss Texas FFL, which is a title that Kennedy Davenport, Asia O’Hara and Alyssa Edwards have all snagged. Watching this queen step away from her family and stand on her own during Season 11 will be a fun journey to watch.
Soju is a clear, colorless, distilled drink of Korean origin, but this queen is anything but clear and colorless. Like Kim Chi, Shea Couleé and a litany of other queens before her, Soju comes straight out of the Chicago drag scene, which has been known to churn out legendary queens. An experienced YouTube interviewer of other girls, she’s kicked off a number of K-Pop drag parties nationwide, paying tribute to her own legendary K-Pop-influenced performances. Those Korean influences, as well as her black belt in tae kwon do, definitely help her stand out from the crowd in Chi-town, but will it do the same on the Drag Race main stage?
13. Plastique Tiara
This queen comes from pretty good stock. Part of the House of Edwards, Plastique Tiara shows that she’s learned plenty from house mother Alyssa Edwards and sister Shangela. She’s the youngest queen this season (at 21 years old) and has already gained a massive following on social media, where she consistently pulls killer looks together and demonstrates a polish like few girls well past her age. Her live performances are epic as well, with splits and dips being part of her vast repertoire. It will be interesting to see how Plastique Tiara stacks up against queens who have been in the game much longer than she, but something tells us Tiara is up for the challenge.
14. Ariel Versace
She’s long been rumored to appear on the show, and with polish only matched by her professionalism, Ariel Versace is poised to make a splash among the Season 11 cast. Her New Jersey roots run deep; she’s been a frequent guest at Paradise in Asbury Park, placing first runner up in the Miss Paradise pageant several years ago. She’s also part of the Vixens of Vera Drag Brunch in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which has been selling out consistently since its inception. Along with partner Chastity St. Cartier, Versace is behind Drag by Chariel, which specializes in outstandingly crafted hairpieces for fellow queens. This queen is a pro on and off the stage, and she can lip sync a pop anthem with the best of them. It’ll be interesting to see how this East Coast stunner meshes with her sisters from all over the nation this season.
15. Nina West
Columbus, Ohio, has one of the country’s best drag scenes, and a large part of that is due to the dynamite Nina West. This bawdy broad is known as one of the leading queens in the Midwest, with her own nightly shows at numerous hotspots, but also with her own one-woman productions, making this queen so much more than a typical “nightclub queen.” Her talents should serve her well in acting challenges, and like Latrice Royale before her, West is the consummate professional and will most likely hold others to that very same standard. As a queen who has been rumored to be cast on the show for several seasons now, it’s great to finally see what she’s made of on the Drag Race main stage.