How Did RuPaul’s Drag Race Start

By Bracketology

May 15th, 2024

From Backstage to the Mainstage: How RuPaul’s Drag Race Began

RuPaul’s Drag Race has become a global phenomenon, celebrating creativity, drag culture, and the art of the “hunty” one-liner. But how did this reality show juggernaut come to be? Let’s take a trip back to the late 2000s and see how Drag Race sashayed its way onto our screens.

A Match Made in Reality Heaven

The story starts with a powerful partnership: RuPaul and World of Wonder (WoW). WoW isn’t your typical production company. Founded in 1991 by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, this Hollywood-based company specializes in creating reality and documentary television programs, feature films, and even internet content. Their niche? Sex, sexuality, and the often-underexplored erotic subculture.

WoW! They Know Ru

WoW’s unique focus might seem like an odd fit for the glamorous world of drag, but their connection with Ru goes way back. They’ve been collaborating since Ru’s early days, producing shows like her talk show “The RuPaul Show.” It’s no surprise then, that WoW recognized Ru’s potential to be a reality TV star.

From Skepticism to Shantay

Despite WoW’s enthusiasm, Ru wasn’t initially sold on the idea. The concept of judging other queens didn’t resonate with her. However, after exploring other concepts, they decided to move forward with the competition format and pitched it to Logo TV. This decision wasn’t without its concerns, as some fans worried about Ru’s judging style.

Finding the Right Fit

With WoW by her side, Ru had already established herself as a recording artist, performer, and even a talk show host. But a reality show focused on drag queens? That was a new frontier. WoW, however, understood the magic of drag and the potential for a show celebrating this vibrant art form.

From Idea to Reality

The first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered in the United States on February 2, 2009 and ended on March 23 of the same year. RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on Logo TV. The first season saw nine queens compete for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” BeBe Zahara Benet became the show’s first winner, with Nina Flowers taking home the fan-voted “Miss Congeniality” title.

A Legacy Launched

RuPaul’s Drag Race has come a long way since its first season. The show has not only launched the careers of countless drag queens but has also brought drag culture into the mainstream. It’s a testament to RuPaul’s vision, WoW’s understanding of unique subcultures, and the enduring power of drag to entertain, inspire, and redefine the boundaries of creativity.