RuPaul’s Drag Race S07E01: You’re Born Naked, And The Rest Is A Nude Illusion

Another day dawns. A new month begins. Somewhere, a woman is giving birth. Somewhere else, a man is dying. But most importantly of all, a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has begun.

New queens! New judges! New Pit Crew (sort of)! New challenges! New RuPaul album to advertise constantly! Last season the only real shakeups were the weird split premiere (which they wisely ditched this time) and the addition of a couple new non-descript Pit Crew members, but this time they went totally off model for the challenges.

There is a grand tradition of the first mini-challenge being a photoshoot in which the queens are subjected to some form of low level torture (having intense wind blown in their faces, being forced to stand on a rotating platform while people spray paint on them, having to jump on a trampoline, having to dive into a giant tank and pose underwater, having to leap into a pit full of foam blocks, having to have a pillow fight with the Pit Crew (ok that one seemed pretty enjoyable)), but this time instead they had to walk a runway wearing a spring look and a fall look. This mini-challenge was very strange both in that it seemed weirdly sincere and fashion-oriented in a way that drag probably shouldn’t be, and also that they were in a giant empty room. But there was a bit of novelty in that we got our first look at one of the two new judges: Carson Kressley of Queer Eye fame (Ross Matthews of E! red carpet coverage fame doesn’t pop up until the main stage presentation). Bye Santino! Nobody will miss you! And even more luckily, everybody’s favorite former contestant (surely not just mine) Alaska made a guest appearance, in full Anna Wintour Drag (seated beside a silent, turbaned Mathu Andersen, who I like to think is impersonating Waris Ahluwalia).

The main challenge was even weirder than the mini-challenge! Ordinarily the first main challenge of the season involves forcing the queens to to dig fabric out of a dumpster/steal it from other queens dressed as zombies/buy a bunch of shit at a thrift store/etc. and make a fashionable outfit out of it. But apparently Ru has gotten bored of the same old format and also maybe felt that she hadn’t been self-promoting enough, because this time the challenge was to make a resortwear look that tears away to a nude illusion (ostensibly to tie in with Ru’s latest album Born Naked, available on iTunes). If this seems confusing to you, you are in good company as it was confusing to the majority of the audience as well as at least one of the contestants! What ends up making it even more confusing for the audience is that though there is not much actual nudity, the majority of the contestants end up getting blurred on the runway so it’s hard to even tell how good a job they do.

Now, since the premiere is basically all about giving the queens the chance to make their first impressions on us I’m going to give a rundown of each queen’s grand entrance, mini-challenge looks and main runway look. Brace yourselves, because this means more screencaps than you can shake a stick at!

Miss Fame

After all the queens had made their way into the workroom my friend and I turned to each other and admitted that we didn’t like any of them yet. Luckily by the end of the episode I had a couple of favorites and Miss Fame was one of them. Though she and two of the other queens (Pearl and Violet Chachki) look eerily similar, Miss Fame distinguished herself through her tattoos, her kickass fashion (though the intro look above is a little bit too Vivacious, if you know what I mean), and her non-shitty personality.

She looked pretty sickening in both of her mini-challenge looks:

And though her main runway look wasn’t terrific, as the nude illusions went hers was near the top of the pack:

You can tell that some pantyhose helped with that waist, but it all looked pretty seamless!

Ginger Minj

In her first moments of camera time Ginger describes herself as an “overweight asthmatic chain-smoking crossdresser from Orlando, Florida” and a “glamour toad” which while funny seems to suggest that we might be in for some Jiggly Caliente/Delta Work-esque meltdowns later in the season. It’s always sad to see the plus-size contestants get down on themselves because of supposedly more attractive competitors, and since there are a lot of skinny fashion bitches this season I’m worried about Ginger already, especially because I came out of the episode liking her.

Ginger’s mini-challenge looks are both cute and flattering, which is always a win for the bigger girls!

Her resort look is pretty dull, but she did a very good job of airbrushing her bodysuit (from what we could see through the blurring!).

Jaidynn Diore Fierce

One of the main things that stuck out to me in this premiere is that a lot of the girls have drag names that I am just not into (see: Max, Miss Fame, Mrs. Kasha Davis). Jaidynn didn’t get a lot of screen time tonight, but she seems like she might be fun. If Ginger Minj, the other plus-lady of the season, seems like she might have some of Jiggly Caliente’s neuroses, Jaidynn seems like she has some of the more fun elements of Jiggly. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out throughout the season.

Her mini-challenge looks are pretty similar to one another, but they show a lot of personality and confidence.

Her resort look was cute, but she didn’t seem to have put much effort into her nude illusion, opting for a plain bodysuit which gave the illusion that she had no primary or secondary sexual characteristics due to lack of airbrushing.

Violet Chachki

Violet is one of the Triplets of Dragville and distinguishes herself by her stank attitude. Though I have to admit she has some pretty stunning drag, her personality so far reminds me of a slightly less clueless Serena ChaCha and she seems to revel in being an asshole (see: “I’m jealous, I don’t have any fat to push together” (to Jaidynn, who was showing off her fake boobs)). While my life philosophy is “You do you” I find it hard to get behind that type.

Violet’s first runway look wasn’t my favorite, but the second look, which went from sequins to plaid, was pretty awesome, I have to admit!

Although Michelle had some problems with that fact that Violet went for more actual nudity than nude illusion, not doing much to hide the masculinity of her body, Violet was named the winner of the main challenge, and while I agree that she did a good job (if you can ignore how hideous that pink dress is), I would have given it to Miss Fame.

Max

Honey baby sweetie darling. Stop trying so hard. There were some brief moments during the episode that I felt I could like Max, but they were overwhelmed by eye-roll inducing moments by a tidy margin. Max is sort of like if Milk was 10x weirder (but not in an interesting way) and 90% less personally endearing. The other girls didn’t seem to know what to make of her either, and Miss Fame tried to take her down a notch after he workroom entrance by tearing off a piece of her newspaper prop to blot her makeup a bit.

The moment where I thought I might like Max came in her first mini-challenge look. It seemed true to her style but not over-the-top affected like some of her other outfits. The judges said she reminded them of Tilda Swinton in her fall look which I didn’t really see, but it wasn’t bad.

The thing that really tipped me over into being anti-Max was the runway look:

To continue with the Milk comparison, this is kind of like when Milk came out with a fake pregnant belly, except way more gross and pointless. Get it together Max! I predict that if Max makes it past the first few episodes she’s going to get a very stern talking-to from Michelle Visage about showing some personality and vulnerability. And for once I won’t be mad at Michelle about it.

Katya

Katya has the great honor of coming out of the first episode as my favorite (despite the fact that in drag she strongly resembles a woman I know in real life which is kind of distracting). Her drag is if not the best, then certainly near the top of the pack, and she has the most entertaining confessional quotes so far (my favorite: “We have to be naked, and I have the body of a 55-year-old Irish rock climber!”). Her intro look (which she described as her “great-grandmother’s army uniform”) was a little weird and depended mostly on her fake Russian accent which luckily she ditched almost immediately.

I loved Katya’s mini-challenge looks, though the spring wig was pretty ugly. Loved the fall furs.

On the main stage, Katya’s resort look is kind of ugly, but from what we can see through the blurring, the nude illusion is pretty good. She seems to have been one of the queens who showed more actual skin, rather than airbrushing nipples and a buttcrack onto a bodysuit. And she showed some personality by bending over to give the judges a good look at her ass, which is always a good way to go on this show.

Jasmine Masters

Jasmine is my least favorite. By far. I just cannot. She has the same sort of desperate manic energy that season 4’s Milan was so famous for, which really does not bode well. Plus she insists on wearing midriff-baring looks that just serve to accentuate her masculine abs. While I’m all for genderfuck queens, it doesn’t seem like she’s doing it on purpose.

For the mini-challenge her spring look was literally just the same thing as her intro look in a different fabric, and guess what? I still hate it! I don’t know if the coat dress was intentionally huge. If not, girlfriend needs some help.

In the workroom Jasmine described her main stage look to Ru as representing a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. Which translated to her wearing a weird tube and coming out of it to reveal a Roxxxy Andrews-esque fringe bodysuit which seemed a little too clothed to count as a nude illusion. And she was rightfully placed in the bottom during judging, though she didn’t have to lip-sync.

Mrs. Kasha Davis

Mrs. Kasha Davis didn’t really make any impression on me other than that I hate her drag name with the fire of a thousand suns. But here, look at her mini-challenge and main stage outfits without further commentary:

Trixie Mattel

I suppose Trixie’s whole shtick is that she’s a Barbie? She is purportedly a makeup artist which means that monster mask of a face is intentional. I don’t get it and TBH I find it kind of revolting to look at. The lips especially. I’m sure she’s a lovely person but I just cannot with that makeup.

Honestly I could not tell you what Trixie wore in the mini-challenge even after screencapping it because I’m still so distracted by her face.

She seems really set on the Barbie thing in her nude illusion, going as far as to give the illusion of hinges at her joints, as though she is an actual doll. This seems like it could get old quickly.

Kandy Ho

Every season has at least one Puerto Rican queen, and this season it’s Kandy Ho. Unfortunately for her homeland, she kind of sucks. So far she seems to have mid-level drag, a bad attitude (the first thing she says upon meeting fellow contestant Tempest DuJour is “How old are you?”) and an unfortunate tendency to beat her face in a way that makes her look like she has a beard.

I can’t say either of these are bad, but neither of them makes up for her shitty personality.

Her main stage nude illusion look was nothing to write home about, but it was her unintentional beard illusion (and Tempest’s questionable decision to share the “How old are you?” story with the judges) that ended up landing her in the bottom two.

Pearl

Another of the Triplets of Dragville, Pearl distinguishes herself by painting on a chinstrap for her intro look and seeming markedly more vapid than the other two. She is beautiful in drag, but hasn’t shown much by way of a winning personality.

Pearl is tall and skinny and pretty which makes her job pretty easy in the mini-challenge.

But in the main challenge it becomes painfully clear that she thinks being tall and skinny and pretty is enough. Her walk is lackluster as shit, and her decision to wear white hotpants when she’s supposed to be “naked” seems like something that should have put her in the bottom three (though she ended up being declared safe).

Kennedy Davenport

Kennedy, from what I could find online, is the late Sahara Davenport’s drag sister. In addition to being from the same drag family, they are both dancers (though we haven’t seen Kennedy’s skills on that front yet). She didn’t get a lot of screen time this week, but she seems likable enough so far.

Her mini-challenge looks were both nice, and I especially like the cape (though Michelle of course had to make a comment about how much she hates green).

But the main stage presentation was a bit of a headscratcher to me. I like a gold cape as much as the next person, but the nude illusion seemed VERY far away from nude. It was obviously a body suit, and I just did not get the flesh-toned cape. But she ended up in the top group, so what do I know?

Sasha Belle

Sasha introduces herself as a Drag Race superfan who knows the show inside and out, and thinks she knows exactly what to expect as far as the challenges go. This doesn’t explain her sort of crappy intro look.

Apparently the look on the right was supposed to be a lobster dress. Whatever it was supposed to be, it was mostly just ugly.

Sasha committed the heinous sin of wearing a visible black sports bra under a simple flesh-toned leotard for her nude illusion, and I honestly can’t believe this didn’t land her in the bottom two. She claimed that she was confused about what the challenge was, which, yeah, me too, but I don’t know what challenge would make that mess acceptable.

Tempest DuJour

Tempest is one of several over-40 contestants this season, but seems the least modern of all of them in her drag style. Her backstory is that she recently lost a large amount of weight (she explains to Ru that she wanted to do it so she could be around as long as possible for her two adopted children). She seems like a lovely person, which is why it’s sad that her drag is so not great. After pretending to give birth directly onto the workroom floor during her grand entrance (see above), her mini-challenge and main stage looks were less than impressive, which landed her in the bottom two.

Neither of these looks is terribly attractive. Not a complete disaster, but she’s not doing anything to make herself youthful or modern.

I did appreciate Tempest’s explanation of her belt (“I don’t have fish to serve, so I gave them crabs”), but the whole bodysuit thing was a bit ill-fitting and boring.

 

So, the main stage presentation officially introduces the new judges as well as the guest judge, Kathy Griffin. They award the win to Violet Chachki, and force Tempest DuJour and Kandy Ho to lipsync against each other to RuPaul’s song “Geronimo.” If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time in Drag Race herstory that the girls have lipsynched to a Ru song before the final episode. Maybe now that most of the main sponsors have dropped out, Ru is spending all that extra screen time on self-promotion? Anyhow, you think that this face-off is going to be a satisfying conclusion to the earlier drama where Kandy was a dick to Tempest about her age, but you’d be wrong. The lipsync seems pretty even (though Katya expresses that “I don’t know what what Miss Crab Lady’s doing in that lipsync, but the bearded ho is turning it out!”), but the win is awarded to Kandy. This is not a promising beginning! As I shouted at the TV as it aired, there will never be a lack of bitches on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Sometimes it’s more satisfying to allow good to triumph over evil (see Magnolia’s early elimination last season, or Serena ChaCha’s season 5 departure).

Anyhow, this seems to be shaping up to be an interesting season! Will Ru throw in more curveballs by shaking up the usual challenges? As long as the Snatch Game still happens, that would be fine by me. Especially if they do away with the makeover episode!

And finally, I have to mention that the Pit Crew has been shaken up once again this season. One of last year’s additions is still there, and a new redhead has been added to the crew. Jason, who has been a member since season 3 is still there, but my very favorite Pit Crew member Shawn has left for greener pastures. This has left a hole in my heart, but at least we’ll always have this beautiful GIF:

About catweazle

Catweazle is an 11th century wizard trying to make his way through the modern world while living in a disused water tower with his pet toad.
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26 Responses to RuPaul’s Drag Race S07E01: You’re Born Naked, And The Rest Is A Nude Illusion

  1. Okay, that sequined dress that turns into a plaid bodysuit is AMAZING and I want it.

  2. Wallflower says:

    More ALASKA!!!!!

    I get Violet and Pearl mixed up and I’m hoping Pearl shows more personality as the show goes on. If I remember correctly, she was pretty funny in the teaser clips leading up to the premiere. I was not crazy about the nude illusion runway so I’m hoping we’re just off to a slow start and it will get better. Not sure who I like yet. I believe this group is the best looking out of drag as a whole. Not that that matters on Drag Race, but cute boys are fun to look at.

    Let’s talk about Untucked. Did it happen? Is it only online? My DVR recorded some sneak peak at a show that I refused to watch because no. Trying to sneak in something on my DVR is shady, Logo. I am not pleased.

    • artdorkgirl says:

      It’s on Logo via Youtube. My friend and I watched it last night and they’re going for this faux-documentary, black and white weirdness that neither of us enjoyed at all, but of course we’ll keep watching. I know they’re losing sponsors (how, tho if the show is popular) but it looks even cheaper than season 1 (all t all shade)

      • Wallflower says:

        I watched Untucked and I was not impressed. Although it did give a better look at the nude ensembles (not really sure that’s a good thing) and I’ve decided I like Pearl. I too have a look that makes people think I’m aloof and don’t care but that’s just my face! Give her a chance!

    • catweazle says:

      I didn’t watch any of the clips before the season so I knew nothing about any of the queens going in. I watched all the intro videos last season and it didn’t really add anything to experience so I didn’t bother this time. It was hard to get a read on most of the queens because most of the episode was taken up by the mini-challenge and the judging. We hardly got any workroom interactions outside the Tempest/Kandy thing.

      And I am not on board with this online-only Untucked! They better not do that for every episode this season! That Cucumber show looked so bad. That preview they showed seems to suggest that it’s all about a middle-aged perv who wanders around grocery stores thinking about boners and looking at guys’ butts? But also it was created by Russell T. Davies of Doctor Who fame. How the mighty have fallen!

      • catweazle says:

        Oh but the one good thing about Untucked is that my friend tweeted “WHERE THE FUCK IS UNTUCKED???” and Andrew W.K. favorited it. He wasn’t even tagged in it or anything! So I have to assume that he was watching and was similarly enraged.

      • artdorkgirl says:

        Isn’t Russell T. Davies also the one who gave us the episode where Moaning Myrtle ends up in a paving stone but the guy implies they still have sex? So…yeah…hit or miss there, Davies.

        • catweazle says:

          That is true. There were some truly awful episodes in his DW run. But he also brought it back in the first place so I have to like him! I’m just going to pretend this show doesn’t exist.

      • Wallflower says:

        I fast forwarded through the entire sneak peek because i wanted to make sure Untucked wasn’t tucked in there somewhere (sorry, I couldn’t think of another way to say it) and your explanation of the Cucumber show is on point!

  3. artdorkgirl says:

    CW, I’m on the same page as you so far this season. Here were our complaints:

    Everytime Jasmine opened her mouth or put on a dress, my RPDR watch buddy and I just said “no. no. no. no.” She should have gone home, a la Shangela. But I knew as soon as Tempest got the sob story edit that she was going home.

    I do not know which queen Kasha is, even with the images. She made zero impact.

    Trixie Mattel makes zero sense to me.

    Untucked is really, really weird. And no Ru puns??? Not happy.

    • catweazle says:

      The good thing about writing this recap is that it forced me to learn all the queens’ names and faces. Though I did accidentally have Violet/Pearl and Sasha/Kasha mix-ups on my first run at the screencaps.

  4. I didn’t have a clear favorite yet either, but I LOLd at Katya’s Irish rock climber comment. I agree with everything you said about Ginger in how I liked her too. The girls who claimed to be funny didn’t really have that much funny stuff to say and some of the bitchyness was more bitchy than funny which is a bummer. Also agree that black sports bra lady should have been lipsyncing for her life, but whatever.
    I love your recaps!!!!!

  5. Wallflower says:

    Shoot!!! I thought I figured it out.

  6. Wallflower says:

    I”m currently watching the show from the logo website with commentary by Alaska and Bianca del Rio. I am very pleased so far. I could listen to Alaska for days.

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