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The Queens Of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Have Kept Latino Strong Alive In The World Of Drag For 10 Years

Ever since the beginning of the show a decade ago (yes, it has been ten years since this groundbreaking television program made its debut on February 2009), RuPaul’s Drag Race has celebrated Latin American and Hispanic-American music, dance, aesthetics, and culture. In fact, some of the best and more daring queens have had Latino heritage

The program has a huge following the world over, and Latin America is no exception. It is not only popular within queer communities, but also among anyone who thrives on seeing others feeling empowered by being themselves, le guste a quien le guste.

Here are some key moments in which Latina queens have celebrated their heritage or non-Latino reinas preciosas have kindly paid an homage to the rich visual mosaic that is the Americas (by the way, gringos, America is a continent, the United States is a country, so don’t call it “America”, porfavorcito). Let’s not forget that RuPaul’s Drag Race is all about being spectacularly fabulous, so some of these examples are borderline pasados de lanza, but we are sure that the queens had the best of intentions. 

Bianca del Rio tots gave love to Nuyoricans.

Credit: RuPaulsDragRace / Giphy

Bianca del Rio, who is Cuban and Honduran, is probably the most beloved queen of all time (we said “probably” before you start setting the house on fire!). Here, she is paying her respects to New York Puerto Rican culture. OK, it seems like she is mocking it but remember the show is all about fun. Serving cake like a boss! 

Bianca also did her own version of Dora la Explora!

Credit: RuPaulsDragRace / Giphy

Like it or not, Dora The Explorer was a groundbreaking TV show, as it brought Latino culture and Spanish to mainstream popular culture. Sure, it was a bit washed down, but at the time it was quite revolutionary. Our queen Bianca del Rio knows it and gives us her own Dora interpretation. 

Oops… it was a bit NSFW!

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But do you know? It actually means the verb “arrebatar” which means “to take”. 

Oops, I did it again!

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No comments. Sorry, not sorry! What else do you expect from one of the funniest and raunchiest queens to ever grace the stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race?

Adore Delano gave us her best virgencita version

Credit: Internet Movie Database

Virgin Mary is one of the most important religious figures for Latin American culture. Although some might see this as blasphemous (we can’t see why, honestly, if you keep an open mind), Adore communicated her spirituality by wearing this elaborate outfit that is literally divine.

Talking about virgencitas look at this treat that Shuga Cain served us recently. We are drooling.

Credit: @RuPaulsDragRace /Twitter

Hang this heavenly image in any wall and people will worship. Enter this outfit on the Dragulator’s hard disk now. We were devastated to see her leave the show but so grateful that we got to experience her genius.

Is it us or is Delano channeling the Colombian superstar Shakira?

Credit: adoredelano / Instagram
Credit: Shakira-Pies_Descalzos-Frontal. Digital image. Coveralia

OMG. She totally looks like a young Shakira, when our dear Colombian looked like a Latina version of Joan Baez meets Tori Amos. Shakira is a true icon of Latin culture worldwide, so Adore’s homage is welcome. It is full of C.U.N.T, Drag Race for Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and, of course, Talent.

Jinkx Monsoon is a great plañidera.

Credit: RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

plañidera is a woman who is actually hired to cry during a funeral. It is a staple of Latin cultures, not only Latin American but also Italian and Greek. Here, Jinkx Monsoon totally looks like an abuelita crying at a funeral, all pious with that black veil. Her performance is worthy of an Academy Award, truly for the gods! 

Valentina is a charrita like no other.

Credit: RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

Valentina got her Mexican up with this amazing mariachi or charro outfit. OK, it might not be that authentic (we don’t know where she got the idea that those shoulder pads are something that Pedro Infante or Jorge Negrete would wear), but el esfuerzo es lo que cuenta. Those Chicken Cutlets are on the wrong place, sweetheart!

Manila Luzon served us some Gloria Stefan realness

Credit:RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

This hot queen totally gave us a 1980s Miami vibe. Her attitude is totally reminiscent of Gloria Stefan and the Cuban-American scene. That swagger though! And a Body-Ody-Ody to die for.

Then she was possessed by the spirit of Carmen Miranda.

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars /VH1
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We can’t think of a more stereotypically Latin American look than the one made famous by classic Hollywood starlet Carmen Miranda. Our chica Manila Luzon gave it a twist wearing a wrapped fruit basket! The homenaje is as funny as it is sort of classy.

In that same season, Valentina was Miss Venezuela.

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars /VH1

Venezuela has been fertile ground for beauty queens, women who do physical features of indigenous, Black and European beauty, all mixed together. Valentina tried to do them right with this fierce look. 

A few years ago, Serena ChaCha took us all the way to a Panamanian carnival.

Credit: RuPauls Drag Race / VH1

This chiquita pero picosa lady wore those feathers in a killer look that is reminiscent of carnival cultures in the continent, from Panama to Brazil. We can almost smell the salty sea breeze and feel the balmy sweat on our faces looking at this pocket rocket. BAM! BAM! BAM!

Mercedes Iman gave us a dose of Old Havana charm.

Credit: @RuPaulsDragRace / Twitter

Imagine the setting: an outdoor bar in La Habana Vieja, with couples lasciviously dancing to the rhythm of the ocean tides, the smell of cigars lingering in the air, the taste of rum, sugar and mint (mojitos!) in your mouth, and a delicious son cubano (Simoneeeeey) setting the mood… Mercedes Iman (from the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race) walks in, stunning in her sexy yet elegant dress. She would fit right in, like a knife on butter. Fierce! Fierce! Fierce!

She could very well be accompanied by this stunning lady.

Credit: @RuPaulsDragRace / Twitter

Can they get their sh*t together and launch a double act already? We would pay to see them. Perhaps they could do an awesome Celia Cruz and Omara Portuondo lip sync battle! Take our money and run, ladies. 

Mariah Balenciaga got all J.Lo on us during DragCon.

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The hairdo, the dress that goes up to the point where it ceases to be decent and the attitude… it all screams Jenny from the block. We love this homage to one of our Latino icons. Jennifer Lopez is powerful, a true boricua warrior, and Mariah Balenciaga certainly channeled that. She looks so hot she flooded our basements! (yes, that is a thing… if you disagree please click here and get your RuPaul lingo together, ignorante de la vida). 

OK, you tried… Happy Cinco de Mayo, we guess!

Credit: @Bhytes1 / Twitter

Season 11 queen Brooke Lynn Hytes (Brooklyn Heights, get it?) uploaded this picture of her man celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Cultural appropriation much? That’s OK, this date is all about celebrating all things Hispanic anyway, so we will give her a pass.

READ: 27 Moments When Latina Queens Ruled In RuPaul’s Drag Race

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