In the world of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the competition is fierce and the expenses can be even higher. With the ever-expanding franchise, the cash prizes awarded to contestants have also risen, with the grand prize for season 14 of Drag Race and the all-winners edition of All Stars 7 reaching $150,000 and $200,000, respectively. However, the road to the crown is not cheap for the drag artists who spend thousands of dollars on clothes, shoes, wigs, and makeup in order to be competitive on the show.
Despite the show’s mantra of “losing is the new winning,” the reality is that only one queen can take home the prize each season, leaving many contestants who spent tens of thousands of dollars preparing to become America’s Next Drag Superstar or enter the Drag Race Hall of Fame empty-handed.
Over the years, some queens have been open about the cost of competing on the show. Trixie Mattel, who competed on season 7, spent $600, while Kim Chi, who competed on season 8, spent $1,500. Season 12 contestant Heidi N Closet spent $4,000 and season 9 winner Sasha Velour also spent $4,000. Aquaria, who competed on season 10, spent $5,000, and Bob the Drag Queen, who won season 8, spent $6,000.
For some queens, the expenses were even higher. Yvie Oddly, who competed on season 11, spent $14,000, and Mo Heart and Trinity the Tuck, who both competed on All Stars 4, spent $20,000 each. Gottmik, who competed on season 13, also spent $20,000, and Blu Hydrangea, who won the special UK vs the World season, spent $26,050.
The high cost of competing on Drag Race is a reminder that the pursuit of the crown is not just about talent and charisma, but also about the financial resources available to the contestants. With the show’s increasing popularity and rising cash prizes, the pressure to spend more to stand out among the competition will only continue to grow.