RuPaul's Drag Race's Most Stunning Transformations

RuPaul's Drag Race is a reality show unlike any other. Hell, even calling it a "reality show" doesn't give the show enough credit — it's an institution. Drag Race is iconic for several reasons; the snappy comebacks, the crazy challenges, and Ru himself among them. Most important of all, though, are the girls. Those fabulously free and inventive queens who storm the catwalk each week hoping to slay the judges, and whose insanely creative looks consistently put every woman who isn't handy with an eyebrow pencil to shame.


Over ten glorious seasons — plus three All Stars playoffs seasons — the show has gifted us more eye-catching transformations than we can possibly count. Regular looking dudes turned into awe-inspiring Glamazons in front of our very eyes. These are ten of the best transformations from RuPaul's Drag Race's illustrious history. At least, thus far (the best is surely yet to come, if Ru has any say in the matter).

​Bebe Zahara Benet

There are a lot of fan favorites on this list, but Bebe Zahara Benet is perhaps the most beloved. Bebe came in third/fourth on Season 3 of All Stars, after storming the boards at practically every turn. Granted, her loss was nothing compared to that of poor Kennedy Davenport, who was robbed — ROBBED! — of the crown at the last hurdle, but alas, Bebe is still one of the most glamorous queens ever to stomp onto Ru's stage.


The Cameroonian drag artiste kickstarted a documentary all about her, entitled Being Bebe, and has also carved out a successful music career in the intervening years since appearing on the show. Bebe revealed to Vanity Fair that she spent her Season 1 winnings on charity and artistic passion projects. She sees the show as having given her a platform to discuss serious issues, telling the publication "There was just a lot of heart in the show. Me talking about H.I.V. in Africa, in Cameroon."


High fashion model Milk, who's fronted campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood, as well as walking for Perry Ellis at New York Fashion Week, rubbed the other contestants the wrong way during All Stars 3 thanks to her indomitable confidence and bucket-loads of tears. Of course, everything came tumbling down when she was unceremoniously sent home by fan fave Kennedy Davenport.


Rather than crying over spilled, er, milk however, Milk took the so-called "villain edit" in stride, telling Vulture simply, "It was good television." Considering how successful she's been since the show, not to mention landing a man thanks to her social media stalking skills, it's no wonder Milk was so hated by the other contestants. 

As for what kind of runway she'd like to see done in her honor, the answer was obvious, "I would love to see an all-denim runway — not necessarily Milk-themed. I think that'd be so cute," she trilled. 

Sharon Needles

Goth kids watching Drag Race (hi!) will have one and only one favorite: The incomparably freaky Sharon Needles. A one of a kind alternative drag queen, who, by her own admission, struggled due to being gay and weird, Sharon combined elements of goth, punk, horror, and everything dark and spooky in between into her eye-catching looks.


Since the show wrapped, as Vice noted, she's become the star she was always destined to be. Sharon adopted a "daughter" in the form of super-fan Aquaria, with whom she performs regularly, charted on Billboard for her albums and, naturally, presented horror movies on Logo. 

On the perils of fame, Sharon told Interview it's all about perception: "A lot of people have told me, 'Sharon, don't let the fame go to your head,' but it's the only empty space I've got, so I don't know where else it would go. Why wouldn't it go to your head?" she opined. 

Bianca Del Rio

Self-confessed "Queen of Mean" Bianca Del Rio hasn't let her Season 6 win go to waste. Years of honing her super-cruel act on the streets of NYC gave her a strong work ethic. She kept insanely busy since, doing two comedy tours, releasing a movie (Hurricane Bianca), two comedy specials, and even her own line of makeup removers. 


The film's sequel Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate is in production, but Bianca ensured she had no time to rest by writing her first book, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything

On her position as an advice-giver, Bianca was characteristically deadpan, telling Billboard, "It is truly the worst advice you could ever get — sometimes it's a little too honest. ... I think that people need to realize that it's humor, and you ought to take a f*****g joke. Why the hell would you be asking a drag queen for advice?" 

Trixie Mattel

Poor Trixie Mattel will always be known as the girl who stole Kennedy's win on Season 3 of All Stars, but, as GQ noted in a far-ranging profile, it's not her fault she's popular. Trixie infamously got eliminated from the show twice before ultimately coming out victorious, and the win has introduced her to a whole host of new fans, rightly so. 


Trixie went from performing in Midwestern gay bars to getting her own national TV show on Viceland, The Trixie & Katya Show, with Katya Zamolodchikova, whom she met during the seventh season of Drag Race

Trixie explained exactly how she sees drag in her GQ profile, "I don't dress up as a woman, I dress up as a caricature of a caricature of a woman. Out of drag, I'm full witness-protection program — like I witnessed a murder, nobody knows who I am — because I look so different. I look like Forrest Gump. The body shape is different. The face is different. The hair. The height."

Alaska Thunderf*ck 5000

Nobody messes with Alaska Thunderf*ck 5000. Sharon Needles might be creepy as hell, but Alaska is the baddest chick around, even reappearing as part of All Stars 3's weird, Handmaid's Tale-esque twist. To showcase just how upfront she is, Alaska titled a show The Gayest Show You've Ever Seen, and an album Anus. The biggest surprise with a collection of songs with titles like "This Is My Hair" is that it was actually pretty decent


On her crazy, post-Drag Race career, Alaska told Time Out she was, "really grateful to be working in this really special field that's having a really special moment in time. It's like drag queens are like The Beatles in the '60s right now." She believes in always treating everybody well and, when questioned by Bust about feminism, told them simply, "Drag is the ritualistic worship of the divine feminine, and I'm happy to be a high priestess."


The perpetual underdog, what Shangela Laquifa Wadley lacked in outsize personality she more than made up for in crazy, super-glamorous catwalk looks. Shangela is a chameleon and a comedian, all rolled into one fabulously colorful and weird little package. Starring alongside fellow Drag Race alum Bianca Del Rio in Hurricane Bianca 2, Shangela has successfully followed her dream to be an actor since wrapping up All Stars 3 (where she almost stole the crown), even nabbing a part opposite Lady Gaga herself in A Star Is Born


Always the optimist, Shangela told Billboard she takes everything as a positive — even her allegedly unfair treatment during her last stint on the hit reality show. "In life, you don't get to control how people behave, you can only control how you react. And my reaction ... has been to focus on the great things I did this season and the way I could rep for my fans who have been with me from day one. And now it's onto bigger and better, honey. Keep it moving," she said.

Ben De La Creme

The biggest shock of All Stars 3 — aside from Kennedy not winning, obviously — found shoo-in favorite Ben De La Creme eliminating herself. The queen of lip-synching, costume-creating, and comedy-nailing, who melted hearts dressed like Jughead in her confessionals, De La Creme was an all star, with or without the title.


In keeping for a queen who already felt like a winner, De La Creme's post-Drag Race slate was packed. As she told Gay Times, De La Creme embarked on a one-woman show hilariously entitled Inferno A Go Go, had a starring role in Peaches Christ's Drag Becomes Her with Jinkx Monsoon, remounted her play Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor, and toured all over the world.

On whether she has any regrets, De La Creme told Vulture in a post-show sit-down that she only has one: "My biggest regret is that my final runway dress is so freaking gorgeous and now the world is not going to see it walk down RuPaul's runway."


Aja is a dark horse with unicorn-pink hair who even Ben De La Creme acknowledged didn't need her help. Of every queen on Drag Race, Aja is the only one who looks completely different in and out of drag. Hers are capital-T transformations, every time. 


She admitted to Gay Times that fellow contestant Milk behaved like a "c**t" on their All Stars season. Aja also revealed, though, that she'd reached out to make sure Milk was okay following her own issues with fans after her Season 9 appearance. The Brooklyn starlet considered All Stars 3 her first real shot at Drag Race, however, telling Vulture that she went on the show initially to get herself out of a "bad living situation."

Although she's carved out a music career, Aja isn't following the typical drag route (unsurprising considering her edgy personality), explaining, "A lot of the Ru girls are doing club music, pop music. I'm sticking to rap, not just from my drag perspective, but also from my out-of-drag perspective."


Sasha Velour

Bald beauty Sasha Velour already looks different from practically every other queen thanks to her bald head. However, she's also a bonafide scholar, having studied modern literature at Vassar College, before becoming a Fulbright scholar in Moscow, and then receiving an MFA in cartooning in 2013. Once considered too smart for drag, Sasha told The Guardian that the two worlds actually aren't that far apart. "Drag has always has been very intellectual: it observes the world and comments on it in really sharp ways, culturally, politically and philosophically," she explained.  


Sweetly, Sasha's brash, bald look was inspired by her mother's cancer, as she revealed in her Guardian interview. "She decided to shave all her hair off, and not be afraid of what it looked like, even though that had been her first instinct. That really inspired me, and I saw the beauty and glamour of being bald. ... I wanted to honor that with my representations of beauty through drag."