The Richest RuPaul's Drag Race Contestants May Surprise You

"RuPaul's Drag Race" and its international versions are the definition of binge-worthy television. If, at some point since the show debuted in 2009, you haven't found yourself glued to your screen watching these divas duke it out, do you even like reality TV? It's hard to pinpoint just one thing that draws us to the show because there's so much to love. The competition aspect of it is eminently watchable, of course, but there's also the glitz and the glamour of the queens themselves.


"RuPaul's Drag Race" has helped many drag performers make a name for themselves, and several have gone on to some pretty impressive careers after competing on the show. But how much has that paid off in terms of dollars? Unsurprisingly, there are a number of wealthy stars whose careers reached new levels after competing on "RuPaul's Drag Race," but the richest contestants of all may come as quite a surprise.

Shangela is in the millionaire club

While $1 million might not sound like a lot of money by celebrity standards, it's nothing to sneeze it, either. And we're sure that Shangela will grow that net worth even more as her career progresses. Per Celebrity Net Worth, Shangela appeared on Season 2 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," coming in last, and in Season 3, coming in sixth. Shangela made another appearance on the third season of "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars."


Outside of the "RuPaul" sphere, Shangela has racked up a number of television credits with appearances on shows like "Glee," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "Bones," "The X-Files," "Broad City," "Katy Keene," and "Lovecraft County." Shangela even appeared alongside Lady Gaga in the 2018 film "A Star Is Born." 

In an interview with In the Know's "We Should Talk," Shangela opened up about the importance of "RuPaul's Drag Race," calling it an "amazing platform" for promoting drag. "I've always been grateful to RuPaul and the producers of that show for giving us that platform, but then it's up to us — halleloo! — to decide how to go out there and what to do with it," she said.

Chad Michaels has made a fortune as a Cher impersonator

Cher impersonator Chad Michaels is one of the richest contestants to appear on "RuPaul's Drag Race," with a net worth of $3 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. While he didn't win the competition when he appeared in Season 4, he did come in second — not too shabby! Michaels later took the crown on the first season of "Drag Race" spinoff "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars." Michaels was already making waves as a drag queen before "RuPaul's Drag Race" but told Socialite Life that appearing on the show gave his career a major boost, saying that it was "really the first time I have been offered a hand up in this business, and I took it with a firm grip and gratitude!"


Michaels' varied career has involved impersonating Cher on shows like "Jane the Virgin" and "2 Broke Girls" and even playing Cher in the movie "Bamboo Shark" and the TV film "The B**** Who Stole Christmas." Other credits include "Women's Murder Club," "AJ and the Queen," and "Maybe This Time."

Bianca Del Rio's career — and wealth — 'snowballed' after her RuPaul's Drag Race win

Bianca Del Rio won big on Season 6 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," coming away as the season's winner. It's no surprise, then, that she's also one of the richest contestants from the show; Celebrity Net Worth pins her fortune at a cool $4 million. Del Rio parlayed her mean girl routine from the show into a successful standup career and has since become a brand unto herself. Before achieving fame, though, Del Rio was a costume designer. "It kind of snowballed," she told Fast Company of her career. "I didn't plan to be a comedian. I didn't plan to be a drag queen. It just kind of evolved."


Del Rio also has a successful film and television career. She's starred on her own TV show, "Bianca Del Rio's Really Queen?," and is also known as the star of the film "Hurricane Bianca." 

Trixie Mattel is a multi-millionaire

Trixie Mattel is one of the biggest names in drag — and one of the richest. While she only placed sixth on Season 7 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," she ended up winning the whole enchilada on Season 3 of "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars." Per Celebrity Net Worth, her career as a reality competition winning drag queen and a cosmetics queen (she has her own makeup company, Trixie Cosmetics), has earned her a net worth of $10 million. She's appeared on TV for other shows, too, including "Super Drags," "Crank Yankers," and "PsBattles Live," as well as music videos for her own music and that of other stars such as Iggy Azalea. 


Trixie Mattel acquired her fortune through a lot of hard work, telling The Guardian that she doesn't even take weekends off — in fact, they "frustrate" her "because everyone stops working." Not her, though; to Mattel, "every day is a Monday."

RuPaul's net worth eclipses that of any Drag Race contestant

While the net worths of some of the contestants on "RuPaul's Drag Race" are incredibly impressive, not a single one of them comes even close to the hefty number RuPaul himself can boast. Perhaps the most famous drag queen of all time, the TV star has a fortune estimated at a jaw-dropping $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth


Born RuPaul Andre Charles, RuPaul has been performing since the 1980s — eagle-eyed fans may recognize him dancing in the music video for "Love Shack." Since then, RuPaul has made a name for himself as an actor, singer, author, and television icon. Per Biography, his first self-titled show, "The RuPaul Show," launched in the '90s, airing until 1998. "RuPaul's Drag Race" proved to be a big hit for him, debuting in 2009. The show has not only garnered RuPaul an Emmy but has also helped many talented performers break into the industry.

How did he get to be so rich? Well, RuPaul told NPR, "I'm adaptable. ... And that is the strongest power that each of us holds is our ability to adapt."