‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Queens Describe How “The Love” Among Contestants Sets Season 16 Apart – Contenders TV: Doc + Unscripted

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Queens Describe How “The Love” Among Contestants Sets Season 16 Apart – Contenders TV: Doc + Unscripted

“I mean, there’s just nothing that can prepare you for the experience of Drag Race, because it is an experience of its own,” Season 16 queen Q said during a panel at Deadline’s Contenders TV: Documentary + Unscripted awards-season event.

After 16 seasons, MTV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race still manages to keep contestants and viewers on their toes — even when they’ve been vying for a spot for years, like Season 16 queen Sapphira Cristál.

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“I auditioned for RuPaul’s Drag Race 11 times, and so I had a lot of time to prepare,” she said, explaining that each rejection only made her want it more. She used every year that passed as an opportunity to improve her craft in some way — whether it be her looks, her dance moves, her sewing even her mental health.

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“I went to therapy. I really got my mind right, because I know that this can be a mental game, as well as a talent game, and … how can you make it through all these weeks of grueling challenges?” Cristál added.

Q and Cristàl were joined at Contenders by fellow Season 16 contestants Xunami Muse and Nymphia Wind. Competing on Drag Race created a bond among all four queens that is evident as they reflect on their journeys, and even they will say that “the love” that radiates through this latest season sets it apart.

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Make no mistake, none of these queens ever forgot they were in competition with one another, but they also left space for vulnerability and support where needed, sharing more about themselves with the audiences and even their competition through their art.

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“I would say the energy, the chemistry for everybody — that’s really what’s drawn people to the season,” Muse said. “And personally, the amount of respect that we all have for each other. I think it was Tom [Campbell, producer], he did an interview and they asked him what makes Drag Race so big year after year. He was like, ‘It’s the queens.’ When they’re in the right head and they come in and they’re like, ‘Let’s do it,’ Season 16 is what happens.”

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Check out the panel video above.

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