Welcome to my pre-season Power Rankings of the queens of Drag Race France, Season 1!
Ever since Drag Race set foot on foreign shores with Chilé’s The Switch Drag Race in 2015 and Drag Race Thailand in 2018, the international editions of the Drag Race franchise have exploded! We now have ten total country- or region-based versions of the show, with two more on the way.
I love Drag Race in all forms and I watch almost all screen media with subtitles, but I still find it challenging to keep up with non-English-speaking seasons of Drag Race. I think that’s because there’s so much to look at on an episode of Drag Race that sometimes also keeping up with the subtitles and trying to decipher the local references gets to be a big challenge.
(However, I have watched almost every episode of every international season except The Switch and the end of España Season 2.)
I’m excited for Drag Race France not only because I’m a bit of a Francophile but I actually speak French.
Well, not speak it, so much as know a lot of words and a fair amount of grammar after five years of school and a several-year DuoLingo streak which I got so depressed about breaking that I cannot bear to start again. I have the comprehension of perhaps a wise three-year old, but that’s partially because listening to someone speak on a random topic introduces too many unfamiliar words for me. If I know someone is speaking about a specific thing – like comic books or drag – I usually have better luck.
Which brings us to the queens of Drag Race France Season! This debut season features 10 queens as judged by Drag Race Season 11 queen Nicky Doll. Unfortunately, the show did not produce a “Meet The Queens” segment for these amazing drag artists. They only released a set of promo photos and a one minute reel of them posing in their promo looks.
That means my initial pre-season Power Ranking will be more of a first impressions based on their promos as well as a quick scan of their social media. (I swear, Spoilerinas, I have not seen any pre-season tea on this one!)
Will any of my predictions be accurate based on just a few seconds of content from each of these queens? We’ll find out when the first episode airs on Saturday (though my episode coverage won’t come until next week).
Readers, start your engines. Et, que la meilleure Drag Queen gagne!
Drag Race France Season 1 – Pre-Season Power Ranking
She has a versatile make-up look and her Insta suggests a certain avant garde edge that makes her unique in this cast. On Twitter she calls herself “Your comedy queen with good taste for fashion,” and if that’s true it could carry her far.
She also has camera experience from shooting her own film. Many Drag Race queens say the hardest part of the show is not necessarily the challenges, but developing camera awareness and maintaining energy through production. Paloma seems to have all the right skills.
I think she could be a finalist, unless she’s just too much of a weirdo for a set of more fashion-oriented judges.
2. La Grande Dame
La Grande Dame gives heavy Aquaria vibes. It’s not they look alike, though they are both skinny white fashion twinks. It’s more that she is young, gorgeous, model-slim, and also incredible at make-up and has a tremendous fashion awareness.
There’s a chance she’s not much of a performer or not very funny, but she looks so incredibly polished compared to the rest of this group. I cannot look away from her make-up. She could have a Miss Fame run and sputter out early, but I don’t think someone with this level of polish is going to throw away their shot.
Her promo reel is just her fussing with a make-up brush, which doesn’t inspire much confidence, but she herself seems to have a ton of confidence even in that brief moment. I’m seeing at least a mid-season run, if not deeper.
3. Soa de Muse
Soa de Muse serves a lot of variety on her Instagram, from supermodel realness to gender-bending club kid. She has a decade of experience performing, which makes her one of the more-seasoned queens in this cast.
Her bio mentions “singing, dancing, comedy, and cabaret,” which would make her a major threat in this cast.
She sounds like an absolutely fierce contender and I can see her making a deep run in the competition as long as her fashion is strong enough.
4. La Big Bertha
La Big Bertha’s perspective comes through on her Instagram but also in her promo pic. It’s not just the same beauty influencer shots over and over, and her TikTok includes several performance clips full of reveals.
Her bio mentions she has her own cabaret show, “La Bertha’s Fantasia.” A queen with that kind of regular stage experience is going to fare well on a season of Drag Race. Also, her brief appearance in the promo reel is pleasingly silly.
At minimum I see her making it to the brink of the finals, unless she underperforms on fashion. And, if she shows diverse looks, I think she could make it to the finale.
5. Lolita Banana
Lolita Banana also is a dead ringer for Lady Gaga.
Her Instagram is very showgirl. That’s not a bad thing! Her outfits just scream: I’ve got to be able to move in these. Her TikTok is full of choreography, which stands out amongst this crowd.
Sometimes dancing queens rely too much on that skill and don’t have another way to win challenges. But, with a name like Lolita Banana, I have to assume she’s at least a little bit funny!
I’m thinking she’s going to have an Alyssa Edwards run – fun, meme-able, major fan-favorite, great lip syncs, but ultimately not quite a finalist.
6. Lova Ladiva
Lova Ladiva also seems to have the most drag experience of this entire cast. Not for nothing, but her main social network is Facebook!
Will France start by crowning the grande dame of their cast when they already have a queen literally named “The Grande Dame?” And, will the make-up we see on her be the buffed-out dreamy vision of her promo look, or the slightly harder contoured look from her social media?
I think Lova Ladiva’s stage experience and exposure to performing in America is going to make her hard to defeat, but her social media doesn’t show off too much of her fashion. A lot of times these experienced legendary queens are mid-outs on first seasons. C’est la vie.
7. La Kahena
La Kahena’s bio reads, “Comedian by heart, Supermodel by necessity,” and that is exactly the sort of formula that succeeds on Drag Race.
My concern is that a lot of her fashion rely heavily on black. That’s not going to read on the runway. And, her make-up in the promo look is heavy and not as well-blended as some of these other queens.
She is giving me “beloved by fans but a heartbreaking early exit.”
8. Kam Hugh
Kam Hugh is also an experienced spokesperson for glamour brands and a full-on social media maven, with a solidly popular YouTube channel and a frequently-updated TikTok.
It’s clear she’s comfortable in front of the camera. Yet, despite her bio mentioning performing, I can’t find much evidence of it online – her YouTube is seriously only make-up stuff. Even her clip in the brief intro reel is her taking a selfie! That’s not a talent!
I’m actually rooting for this queen, because I found her instantly charming in her confessional YouTube moments. I think that will translate well onto the show. Alas, I worry she will be “resting on pretty” as a queen versus some of these bold cabaret stars.
Kam Hugh is giving me “popular girl who is a mid-out” vibes.
9. La Briochée
The first thing that jumps out at me about La Briochée is that her prim, neon showgirl promo look doesn’t line up with the drag she shows on her socials. Her typical looks are more of a “middle aged cabaret singer realness” sort of vibe. There’s nothing wrong with that, and neon showgirl could just be the elevated version of it. Yet… when you’re one thing in your regular queendom and trying to be another on Drag Race the judges can smell blood in the water.
The second thing that jumps out at me is that her make-up doesn’t seem to be on the same level of crisp detail as many of these other Instagram-native queens.
That said, La Briochée has a killer voice! In every clip I’ve found of her online she sounds divine.
I don’t know if she is going to bring a suitcase that will keep her alive walking the runway in front of Nicky Doll. Her brief appearance in the promo reel is unexciting.
I think she has what it takes to survive a few early challenges, but based on her socials it would be surprising to see her make a deep run.
Elips delivers some gorgeous make-up and editorial looks on her Instagram. Her TikTok is all make-up looks. Her bio says she makes her own costumes, gives “power, poetic performances” … which could either describe Sasha Velour or someone who gives you all of the excitement of just standing there.
I’m predisposed to love that sort of queen. But, I have my doubts, especially since her bio also says she only has three years experience.
I’m not getting winner energy from Elips. She strikes me as a contender that might fascinate the judges, but who won’t have a big enough personality to make a huge impact on the competition.
(That said, her Instagram is by far my favorite and I flat-out love her make-up skills. She’s one of the strongest in the entire competition, and that might be enough to keep her alive for several weeks before she’s not safe anymore.)