Meet the cast! RuPaul’s Drag Race to feature its first Muslim drag queen

The spectacular cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 has been unveiled, and it includes the show’s first ever Muslim drag star.

The newest queens vying for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” were introduced via a VH1 YouTube Live event, hosted by Olympic medalist Adam Rippon and season 10 winner Aquaria.

“Just when I think to myself – ‘shedonealreadydonehadherses’ – a new crop of killer queens sashay their way into my heart and leave me gagging for more,” said award-winning host and executive producer, RuPaul.“Dare I say, this might be the most sickening season of all time.”

The ever-popular show, which has been credited with bringing drag into the mainstream, recently made history as the first to win Emmys for both Outstanding Reality-Competition Program and Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program categories in the same year. It also won a Producers Guild Award for Producer of Game and Competition Reality Show.

The fifteen queens competing to make their mark on the drag-tastic 11th season hail from across the US (and Vietnam, Korea and Kenya), and include a former corporate executive, a professional ballet dancer and the reigning Miss Black Universe.

African-born Mercedes Iman Diamond from Minneapolis will be the first Muslim drag star to take part in the show, and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, who appeared on season 10, is back to compete one more time.

A premiere date for the new series has yet to be announced. In the meantime, meet the fifteen queens taking part in Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race below.

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A’keria C. Davenport (Dallas, TX)

From the legendary drag House of Davenport, A’keria’s slick, shiny look makes you sit up and pay attention. The current reigning Miss Black Universe, this super accomplished pageant queen is doing the Davenports proud with her signature aesthetic: “fit, fashion, mug and body.” Expect big hair, big attitude and big results from this competitor.

Ariel Versace (Cherry Hill, NJ)

A life-sized Bratz doll, this queen’s Jersey-licious Disney princess aesthetic is already a hit on social media, where she has a significant following. But don’t be fooled by a pretty face with a poppin’ Instagram presence – Ariel can sing, act and put on a fully entertaining show. You’ve been warned.

Brooke Lynn Hytes (Nashville, TN)

Brooke Lynn grew up in Toronto, Canada before traveling the world as a professional ballet dancer. Much of her drag centers around dance and movement and she is a prestigious former Miss Continental pageant winner. Will Brooke Lynn dazzle the judges with the same polish she brings to the dancefloor?

Honey Davenport (New York, NY)

New York City’s crown jewel, Honey is the second cast member hailing from the legendary House of Davenport and cites “Drag Race” alum Sahara Davenport as a mentor. With parts in Off-Broadway plays, an electro band and 18 pageant crowns under her belt, queens know to bow down to this talented diva.

Kahanna Montrese (Las Vegas, NV)

Las Vegas’s hip-hop showgirl, Kahanna merges edgy street influences with upscale high fashion couture. After seeing Kahanna perform just one time, “Drag Race” legend Coco Montrese adopted this spitfire performer and Kahanna’s drag identity was born. Will Kahanna finish the job that Coco Montrese started?

Mercedes Iman Diamond (Minneapolis, MN)

This African princess moved from Kenya to the USA when she was 11, but Mercedes wasn’t “born” until 10 years later at the world famous Gay 90s club in downtown Minneapolis. All about the “body-ody-ody,” Mercedes owns any stage she sets foot on, dazzling the crowd with her graceful presence and the expensive bling she is named after.

Nina West (Columbus, OH)

This comedy queen has a big reputation preceding her into the competition. Nina has won the national Entertainer of the Year pageant and writes and produces her own spectacular shows complete with show-stopping dance numbers. She’s also an advocate and fundraiser for LGBTQ causes. But can this local legend live up to all of her hype?

Plastique Tiara (Dallas, TX)

Originally hailing from Saigon, Plastique takes a lot of drag inspiration from Vietnamese pop stars. Stunningly beautiful, her popular Instagram drag photos have even been reposted by Tyra Banks. With none other than “Drag Race” superstar Alyssa Edwards for a drag mother, all eyes will be on Plastique to see if she can deliver in the competition.

Ra’jah D. O’Hara (Dallas, TX)

Ra’jah is from Dallas, Texas, where everything is bigger, better and bolder. A dancing queen known for her kicks, splits and tearing up the dance floor, the “D” in Ra’jah’s name stands for Davenport: this season’s third cast member from the Davenport dynasty. A high energy performer, Ra’jah warns her competitors to watch their backs when she is lip-synching.

Scarlet Envy (New York, NY)

Southern beauty mixed with New York City grit, Scarlet pulls from references as varied as movie stars of the 40s, Andy Warhol superstars of the 60s and supermodels of the 80s. A self-described “natural beauty,” Scarlet has worked with fashion photographer Steven Klein, Harper’s Bazaar magazine and even appeared in a musical number on Saturday Night Live.

Shuga Cain (New York, NY)

A relative newcomer to drag, Shuga quit her sweet six-figure corporate job to become a full-time drag queen. But talent rises to the top, and within 18 short months Shuga has already established herself as a key fixture in the competitive New York City drag scene where she relies upon her performance background in opera and musical theater to stand out from the crowd.

Silky Nutmeg Ganache (Chicago, IL)

The life of the party, you always know when exuberant “Big Silk” is in the building. But scratch the surface of this gregarious queen and you’ll find a softer side to Silk – one who was raised in the church, has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and is even on her way to becoming a Doctor of Philosophy. Let’s hope her accolades translate into success in the competition.

Soju (Los Angeles, CA)

Raised in Korea, Soju brings Korean influences into her drag, be it colorful crazy K-Pop aesthetics or Taekwondo martial arts weapons. Producer and star of the popular YouTube show “Shot With Soju,” where queens spill the beans about their time on “Drag Race,” Soju comes into the competition fully prepared for her own shot at the crown.

Vanessa Vanjie Mateo

Miss Vanjie. Miss Vaanjie. Miss… Vaaanjie! Never have more iconic words been uttered by a departing queen. Despite being the first queen eliminated from season 10, Vanessa’s mesmerizing backwards exit inspired memes, tweets and celebrity shout-outs and an overwhelming demand to see more of this charismatic queen. She’s back with a Vanjeance, but can the queen live up to the memes?

Yvie Oddly (Denver, CO)

Denver’s “commodity of drag oddity,” shock queen Yvie bucked her boring local drag scene and brought conceptual artistry into the mix. Tall and weird (her words), Yvie draws inspiration from fashion muses like Thierry Mugler, and drag stars like Christeene. Known for bringing her brain to the table, anyone who encounters Yvie is guaranteed to end up with their jaw on the floor.

 

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