Can we talk about Shannel for a bit?
This cast has a lot of lovable queens and a ton of talent, but there’s no character quite like Shannel. She’s the one who reliably makes the best reality TV–the drama, the exhibitionism, the style, the ego! Whether it’s calculated or just her typical charisma and competitive nature, she brings a hunger and driving force to the show that the other queens don’t. Nina and Ongina are energetic and radiant, but they’re too nice to bring the drama. Bebe tends to be too withdrawn in the workroom, and Rebecca is… well, she’s Rebecca.
You might roll your eyes at some of her theatrics or her jaw-dropping costumes, but her contribution to the show is undeniable.
This show has had a lot of really spectacular makeover challenges over its five seasons, but I think this one still stands above the rest. There’s something just so fascinating and totally endearing about a bunch of butch ladies getting made over by flamboyant men. It captures the vast spectrum of gender expression in such a crystal clear way, entire college seminars should unpack everything going on here. In subsequent seasons, when the queens are paired with various men to transform into queens, there just isn’t the same juxtaposition. (Yes, those episodes are often highlights of each season, but in different ways.)
If only Drag U had captured the same energy, right?
Anyway, Shannel and Sweepee should have won. Yes, Rebecca forced her partner Tempele into a fairly good likeness of herself, but only after grinding away any last vestige of goodwill we might have felt for her.
I had to draw Nina as an evil Disney stepmother, because clearly. Also, her partner really reminded me of Cece’s roommate from New Girl. Or am I just crazy?
Okay, and… Ongina.
Obviously, she’s great. Ongina brought so much energy, positivity, and humor to the show that it’s hard to imagine the season going on without her.
I wanted to try something a little different in this week’s illustration of her–with my previous drawings of Ongina, I felt like my digital style wasn’t capturing some of the softness of her face, so I tried doing a more traditional drawing on paper with pencil and charcoal, then adding some color digitally.
It was great to see Ru give Ongina such a heartfelt goodbye. Seeing that crack in his composure added to the weight of the moment and the sincerity of his praise. I wish we’d see more of those rough edges in subsequent seasons. (Let it allll out, girl!)