Since its premiere on Logo in 2009, RuPaul’s Drag Race, now airing on VH1, has become a pop culture phenomenon with a huge online following and big-name celebrity fans. The show has also spawned a number of spinoffs, including RuPaul’s Drag U, RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race, Canada’s Drag Race, and most recently, Drag Race Holland.
Much of the series’ success is credited to drag legend RuPaul Andre Charles, who hosts the show, and show producer and judge Michelle Visage. But the show would be nothing without Ru’s girls -- the incredibly talented drag performers, sourced from around the globe, who put together stunning looks every week and participate in dramatic lip sync battles.
RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a springboard to greater fame for hundreds of drag performers from Alyssa Edwards (who launched her own Netflix original, Dancing Queen) to Shangela (we love our McDonalds spokes-queen). And thanks to the power of social media -- and Instagram in particular -- the star power of these talented queens continues to grow long after the Drag Race cameras stop rolling.
After introducing us to so many talented queens, the question remains: Who, among all of Mama Ru's girls, has the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to be the most popular drag superstar on the internet?
These are the 50 most popular RuPaul's Drag Race contestants as of October 2020, as ranked by their number of Instagram followers.
50. Laganja Estranja
The drag daughter of Season 5 legend Alyssa Edwards (and drag sister of Season 2 queen Shangela and Season 11’s Plastique Tiara), Estranja competed in Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She finished in eighth place after losing a “Stupid Girls” lip sync battle to Joslyn Fox.
As her name and weed-inspired looks might suggest, Laganja Estranja is a passionate marijuana advocate. She has appeared on the cover of High Times, and her music video, “Look at Me,” criticizes the war on drugs. Her WOWPresents Plus web series, Puff Puff Sessions, features discussions about cannabis with “some of her best Judys.”
Estranja is also an accomplished choreographer with her own touring master class. She appears in the 2019 documentary Laganja’s Dance School, as well as on Season 15 of So You Think You Can Dance.
Laganja Estranja has 593,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
49. Gia Gunn
Though RuPaul’s Drag Race has made itself known for inclusiveness when it comes to ethnicities and body types, its record on trans inclusiveness and representation has drawn controversy. In March 2018, RuPaul told The Guardian that the show would “probably not” cast someone who has transitioned, arguing that “drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it.”
RuPaul has since apologized for those comments. Later that year, Season 6 queen Gia Gunn made history when she returned for All Stars 4 as a post-transition trans contestant.
“Because of Drag Race, I was able to dive into my self-discovery and really discover my trans-ness,” Gunn told ET that year.
Gunn, also from The Haus of Edwards drag family, finished in 10th place in Season 6, and in eighth place in All Stars 4. She is the runner-up on Season 2 of The Switch Drag Race, the Chilean version of the show. Gunn also appears in the documentary series Follow Me about her life as a trans drag queen.
Gia Gunn has 635,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
Another notable trans RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, New York-based Peppermint came out as transgender prior to the airing of her appearance in Season 9.
In addition to Drag Race, Peppermint has made appearances in the Broadway musical Head Over Heels and on the television shows Saturday Night Live and God Friended Me. She has also released a pair of studio albums, Hardcore Glamour and Black Pepper. Peppermint’s latest EP, “A Girl Like Me: Letters to My Lovers,” was released on Oct. 16.
Peppermint gave a master class in lip syncing during her performance of Britney Spears' "Stronger," absolutely slaying Trinity the Tuck with a perfectly timed wig reveal and costume change. Peppermint finished the season in second place next to winner Sasha Velour.
Peppermint has 665,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
47. Heidi N Closet
Heidi N Closet’s name, itself a joking reference to the closeted men in her North Carolina hometown, became a running joke in Season 12 with RuPaul calling her something different in each episode. Heidi Ho! Heidi N Seeky!
Though she placed sixth after losing a lip sync to Season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall, Heidi N Closet was still a winner: She was named Miss Congeniality of her season, and hosts the show Gap Chat on WOWPresents Plus.
Heidi N Closet has 675,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
46. Monique Heart
This self-described "beautiful Black man that loves the Holy Spirit" from Kansas City who likes to "twirl around in women's clothes" was once an assistant leader in an ex-gay ministry.
“I remember one day, clear as day as I’m talking to you, I was working on a costume, and I remember I heard the Lord, in my opinion, say, ‘What are you doing?’ and I said, ‘Making a dress.’ And he goes, ‘It’s beautiful,'” Heart said to People prior to her appearance on All Stars 4.
“I will never forget it. That moment, I wept. Because I was just like, ‘This was supposed to be the very thing that tore me apart and took me away from you, however, it’s the thing that’s bringing me closer [to you].'”
Heart appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10, finishing in eighth place, and was a finalist on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 4.
Monique Heart has 691,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
This first-ever Snatch Game winner -- she impersonated Britney Spears -- placed fourth in Season 2. Tatianna placed sixth during her breakout return appearance in All Stars Season 2 following a lip sync performance of The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb.”
In addition to her drag performances, Tatianna has released a number of singles. Her first, ‘True,’ was released in 2010. Her debut album, “T1,” was released in 2018. Tatianna’s also hosts the WOWPresents Plus web show Tea with Tati.
Tatianna has 694,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
44. Nina West
This fundraiser and drag performer with 18 years of experience went out during her Season 11 "Snatch Game" appearance, with great impersonations of both Harvey Fierstein and Jo Anne Worley. She placed sixth overall but won the title of Miss Congeniality, as well as high praise from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Just know how important you are to the bigger picture, and I’m so proud of you and your fundamental kindness and goodness,” the New York congresswoman told West in a video aired on Drag Race. “And I’m just really looking forward to watching you grow. You’re amazing, and I’m sad, but I’m excited for you.”
West deserves plenty of recognition for her charity work. The Nina West Foundation has raised over $2 million to support varied causes in Columbus, Ohio, and beyond. That money has been used to provide safe spaces for queer youth at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center and support Make-a-Wish efforts for the children of LGBTQIA families.
Nina West has 733,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
43. Thorgy Thor
This Brooklyn-based comedy queen, who finished in sixth place in Season 8, knows how to make an exit: Her response to her early All Stars Season 3 elimination, "oh Jesus, gross," is now an internet meme.
But there’s more to Thorgy than just good looks and laughs: She plays solo violin, viola and cello in Thorgy and the Thorchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and more. A solo show debuted at Gramercy Theater in New York in 2019.
Thorgy Thor has 738,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
42. Jaida Essence Hall
The drag sister of opulent Drag Race Season 11 alum Mercedes Iman Diamond, Jaida Essence Hall came to Season 12 ready to perform. She won three challenges, bested Sherry Pie in a lip sync of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend,” and sent fan favorite Heidi N Closet home with a performance of “1999” by Prince.
Hall ultimately won Drag Race Season 12, edging out Crystal Methyd and Gigi Goode in the finale.
Hall is currently touring with Drive ‘N Drag, an outdoor drive-in drag show that supports social distancing, with fellow Drag Race stars Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Monét X Change, Yvie Oddly and more.
Jaida Essence Hall has 761,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
41. Crystal Methyd
This one-of-a-kind queen from Missouri may not have won Season 12 of Drag Race -- though she was a finalist! -- but she definitely won our hearts with her unusual looks and sense of humor. She also won the heart of fellow Season 12 finalist Gigi Goode, tantalizing fans with rumors of a workroom showmance.
“Me and Gigi are soulmates,” Methyd told ET, addressing the fan speculation. “We’re in quarantine so we haven’t been able to spend that much time together. Once we get back in the same room maybe we’ll see how a relationship goes.”
Crystal Methyd has 886,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
40. Blair St. Clair
This young Indianapolis-based queen who holds the title of Miss Gay Indiana 2016 placed ninth in Season 10 following a performance of “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross. But her most lasting mark on Drag Race history isn’t that performance -- it’s her open discussion in that same farewell episode about being a survivor of rape.
“My first sexual experience -- I was raped at a college party, and from that, I’ve looked to find pretty things,” she explained. “It’s something I need to get over, but I’ve tried to turn positive the best I can.”
St. Clair has enjoyed plenty of success in the drag community following her appearance on Drag Race. Her debut album, “Call My Life,” reached No. 1 on the iTunes Dance Chart and the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart.
Blair St. Clair has 884,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
This genderqueer artist from Brooklyn, New York, who placed ninth in Season 9 and seventh in All Stars Season 3, says she overcame the anxiety and post-traumatic stress of her youth through performing.
“Drag is therapy,” she told amNew York. “A lot of people who start drag, it helps them get over hard things they might be going through.”
"I used to suffer from really terrible PTSD and when I started doing drag, I stopped having panic attacks very quickly," she added.
Aja has 912,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
Though Milk, a former figure skater who qualified for the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, finished in ninth place in both her Season 9 and All Stars Season 3 appearances, this New York-based queen has made the most of her drag fame.
After working as a merchandising manager at Marc Jacobs International, Milk modeled Marc Jacobs clothes in Spring/Summer 2016 and modeled for Vivienne Westwood and Perry Ellis in 2018. Milk is also the face of Madonna’s skin care line, MDNA Skin.
Milk’s musical group, The Dairy Queens, released its first single, “Milk It,” in 2016. Milk performs the solo single, “Touch the Fashion, Change Your Life,” in the first episode of All Stars 3.
Milk has 950,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
37. Kameron Michaels
This muscle queen from Nashville, Tennessee, "the trade of Season 10," is a true lip-sync assassin. She performed in six lip-sync challenges, defeating Miz Cracker, Asia O'Hara and All Stars Season 4’s Monét X Change.
Since appearing on Drag Race, Michaels (no relation to All Stars 1 winner Chad Michaels) has appeared with her fellow queens in the 10s Across the Board Tour and Werq the World. She is also a part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! residency show in Las Vegas.
These days, the self-proclaimed bodybuilder Barbie appears in the Drive ‘N Drag social distancing performance tour.
Kameron Michaels has 967,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
This Season 3 champion, the only winner of RuPaul's Drag Race of Asian descent, really shined during her Snatch Game performance as Tyra Banks. That shouldn't be a surprise though: Raja had plenty of time to learn Banks' mannerisms while working as a makeup artist on nine cycles of America's Next Top Model.
Raja, also a makeup artist for singer Adam Lambert, appears in his 2019 video, “Comin in Hot.”
But that’s not the limit to Raja’s talents. Her first single, “Diamond Crowned Queen,” was released in 2011; her most recent, “Moodbored,” was released in 2019. She makes appearances in a number of her fellow queens’ music videos, and on a 2018 episode of The Simpsons as herself.
Raja has 983,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
35. Latrice Royale
Latrice Royale has plenty of memorable moments across her three seasons: She's appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 4, All Stars Season 1 and All Stars Season 4. Her most memorable moment, though, can be distilled into one catchphrase: "Get those nuts away from my face!"
Latrice Royale has 990,000 followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. Jujubee (tie)
This popular Boston-based queen took third place on Season 2 and made it to the finals of All Stars Season 1 with Raven as part of Team Rujubee. She's since appeared in ads for HIV awareness, and in music videos for RuPaul and her fellow Drag Race alums.
Jujubee has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. Monét X Change (tie)
This Season 10 Miss Congeniality winner and All Stars Season 4 contender from New York City is definitely on the rise: She cameos in a Pepsi commercial starring Cardi B that aired during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Monét X Change has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. Yvie Oddly (tie)
This highly flexible queen from Denver was the winner of Season 11, and she's known for her quirky and conceptual drag looks. During her season, Oddly revealed that she has a connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3, which causes her joints to come out of place.
Yvie Oddly has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. BenDeLaCreme (tie)
This Season 6 performer got her drag start in Chicago before moving to Seattle to join the city's burlesque community. She seemed like the sure-fire winner of All Stars Season 3 after winning five of the first six challenges... but she chose to eliminate herself.
BenDeLaCreme has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. Willam (tie)
Would Willam have won Season 4 of Drag Race had she not been disqualified for having a conjugal visit with her boyfriend? It's impossible to know for sure, but she's enjoyed plenty of success since, appearing on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The New Normal, Difficult People, in A Star Is Born and more. Her viral music video, Boy Is a Bottom, has over 24 million views on YouTube.
Willam has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. Farrah Moan (tie)
Despite her early exit in Season 9, this Christina Aguilera look-alike had a big moment at the reunion show when she told her friend, Valentina, "You don't love me." Perhaps that was foreshadowing for All Stars Season 4: Valentina chose to eliminate Farrah Moan in episode 2.
Farrah Moan has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
28. Pearl (tie)
Not only is this Season 7 runner-up the first drag queen to sign with Wilhelmina Models, Pearl is also the first to release a signature fragrance and the first to develop their own fashion doll.
Pearl has 1.0 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
23. Gigi Goode (tie)
This talented queen says she made her drag debut at 15 after secretly ordering a lace front wig and putting on a pair of leather leggings. Goode says that while her costume designer mom initially disapproved of the performance, the pair would ultimately work together to create some iconic 1950s inspired looks.
“She wasn’t making a dress for a drag queen,” the Season 12 finalist said. “She was making something for her son to wear in order to bring passion into his life and to make him feel comfortable in his own skin.”
Goode has 1.1 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
23. Miz Cracker (tie)
This self-proclaimed "Jewish Barbie on bath salts" met her Season 10 end in a lip sync against Kameron Michaels. She was able to "dill" with it, though.
Miz Cracker has 1.1 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
23. Detox (tie)
There's plenty of fake drama on RuPaul's Drag Race, but when this Los Angeles-based queen was challenged to cry on cue in a Season 5 challenge, the tears and emotion were real: Detox channeled the car accident death of her boyfriend two years prior. She finished that season in fourth place, and was a runner-up on Season 1 of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars.
Detox has 1.1 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
23. Sharon Needles (tie)
It's no exaggeration to say no one does drag horror quite like this Season 4 champion: Her post-apocalyptic zombie look in episode 1 was like nothing we'd ever seen on the show. "Oh, she's bleeding."
Sharon Needles has 1.1 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
23. Miss Fame (tie)
20. Brooke Lynn Hytes (tie)
The first Canadian drag queen to appear on Drag Race, Brooke Lynn Hytes won three challenges and placed among the top finishers in six more. That still wasn't enough to earn her the crown, though; she finished second behind Yvie Oddly in the final lip sync.
Brooke Lynn Hytes has 1.2 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
20. Jinkx Monsoon (tie)
This Seattle queen took a big risk with her Season 5 Snatch Game appearance as Grey Gardens' Little Edie, but it definitely paid off: Not only did she win that competition, she went on to win the crown and title of America's next drag superstar.
Jinkx Monsoon has 1.2 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
20. Courtney Act (tie)
This Australian performer may not have won RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6, but she's still a winner, baby: Act was named the winner of Season 21 of U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother in January 2018.
Courtney Act has 1.2 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
19. Trinity the Tuck
Known as Trinity Taylor during her appearance on Season 9, this Birmingham, Alabama, queen scored big on All Stars Season 4 with her Snatch Game of Love performance as Caitlyn Jenner.
Trinity the Tuck has 1.3 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
16. Shea Couleé (tie)
This Chicago-based queen was a real threat to win Season 9... until she was destroyed in the semi-final lip sync round by Sasha Velour in episode 14.
Shea Coulee has 1.4 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
16. Bob the Drag Queen (tie)
This Georgia-born queen has been up to big things since winning Season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race: She's released a number of singles and taped a comedy special for Logo, Bob the Drag Queen: Suspiciously Large Woman.
Bob the Drag Queen has 1.4 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
16. Shangela (tie)
Halleloo! This Texas-born queen has come a long way since her early exit in Season 2 (and follow up stints on Season 3 and All Stars Season 3): She's appeared on numerous TV shows including Community, Bones, 2 Broke Girls, Glee, The Mentalist, Toddlers & Tiaras and more. She also had a cameo alongside Willam in A Star Is Born.
Shangela has 1.4 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
13. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (tie)
Though she gets eliminated in episode 1, this Tampa, Florida-based queen became the meme of Season 10 when she left the stage walking backward, repeating her name over and over. She returned with a strong performance in Season 11, but ultimately fell short of the crown.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo has 1.5 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
13. Manila Luzon (tie)
This Season 3 legend has returned for RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars twice, once in Season 1 and again in Season 4. Her most recent appearance and elimination by Naomi Smalls on All Stars has proved controversial, as many fans think Luzon was the most deserving of the Season 4 crown.
Manila Luzon has 1.5 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
13. Valentina (tie)
This California-based queen was a part of the most infamous lip syncs in Drag Race herstory: She lost her Season 9 face-off against Nina Bo'Nina Brown when she couldn't remember the words to Ariana Grande's "Greedy." Valentina returned for All Stars Season 4 and placed seventh.
Valentina has 1.5 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
12. Naomi Smalls
This leggy queen from Redlands, California, was a serious contender in Season 8 when she made it to the finals. She's proven just as strong in All Stars Season 4, making the huge game move to send Manila Luzon home.
Naomi Smalls has 1.6 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
10. Aquaria (tie)
Though much of her early time on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 centered around her pre-existing drama with fellow NYC queen Miz Cracker (Aquaria has accused the queen of stealing her looks), it was Aquaria's talent that ultimately won her the Season 10 crown.
Aquaria has 1.7 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
10. Alaska (tie)
First introduced to many as the (then) significant other of Season 4 winner Sharon Needles, this Los Angeles-based queen made a name for herself as the runner-up of Season 5 and the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 2.
Alaska has 1.7 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
6. Plastique Tiara (tie)
Originally from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, this gorgeous 22-year-old queen with a serious Instagram following says she represents a new generation of drag. Alyssa Edwards is her drag mother.
Plastique Tiara has 1.8 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
6. Alyssa Edwards (tie)
This drag mother to Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Laganja Estranja, Plastique Tiara (Season 11), and Gia Gunn is more than just a talented Drag Race contestant (Season 5, All Stars Season 2): She owns an award-winning dance studio that's the focus of the Netflix series Dancing Queen.
Alyssa Edwards has 1.8 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
6. Sasha Velour (tie)
If you need any evidence as to why Sasha Velour is so very deserving of her Season 9 crown, look no further than her lip sync of Whitney Houston's "So Emotional" in the finale and her stunning final rose petal reveal.
Sasha Velour has 1.8 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
6. Violet Chachki (tie)
This Atlanta native, who now calls New York home, has kept busy since winning Season 7, appearing in a number of fashion editorials, walking the runway for Moschino and performing an aerial act in the Big Apple Circus.
Violet Chachki has 1.8 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
5. Kim Chi
This self-described "live action anime character" and first Korean-American contestant on Drag Race (Season 8) has released her own line of emojis called Kimchiji.
Kim Chi has 1.9 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
3. Katya Zamolodchikova (tie)
This Season 7 queen (who would return for All Stars Season 2) has taken several courses in the Russian language to master her accent. She'll be touring the West Coast this March as part of her Help Me, I'm Dying comedy tour.
Katya Zamolodchikova has 2.1 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
3. Adore Delano (tie)
This RuPaul's Drag Race fan-favorite, a top-three finisher from Season 6, got her reality TV start on Season 7 of American Idol as Danny Noriega. Delano's debut album, Til Death Do Us Party, reached No. 3 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums charts in 2014.
Adore Delano has 2.1 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
2. Trixie Mattel
This winner of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 3 and sixth place finisher on Season 7 has released two studio albums (she's working on a third). She also stars with Katya Zamolodchikova on Viceland's The Trixie & Katya Show.
Trixie Mattel has 2.2 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.
1. Bianca Del Rio
This first Hispanic winner of the Drag Race crown never placed in the bottom of a single challenge during her time on Season 6. Del Rio has since written and toured a number of successful stand-up shows.
Bianca Del Rio has 2.3 million followers on Instagram as of October 2020.