Has there ever been a television show where a corset marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship between two rivaling men?
Welcome to RuPaul’s Drag Race reality show, in which the two finalists of the sixth season Hispanic drag queens Bianca del Rio and Adore Delano wound up bonding into close friends during the season over a piece of womens undergarments.
Delano, aka Danny Noriega, needed a corset. Del Rio, aka Roy Haylock, had an extra one.
It was comedy set-up right out of Hollywood.
You dont lose anything by helping people, says Del Rio, recalling the incident as she prepared for the finals May 19 in Las Vegas, and I met some amazing queens when I was younger that (helped me).
It just comes from a place of being comfortable with yourself and saying, Look, its a corset. I wasnt curing cancer.
Delano, who competed as Noriega on American Idol season 7, was momentarily unnerved by the unexpected unselfishness from Del Rio, who is well known in New York Citys drag scene as the queen of mean for her hilarious insult comedy.
I hated her, recalls Delano who now must compete with her best pal for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar. I guess I just judged her before getting to know her. We’re going to be lifelong friends. I definitely look up to her.
Now, the two friends must pull no punches competing for the crown of Americas drag queen of the year/even as they represent almost two separate generations from opposite ends of the country.
Delano, 24, of Asuza, Calif., who describes herself as a singer, punk rock mermaid drag queen, reached reality show fame on Idol, where he traded barbs with Simon Cowell and now wishes he had done the show in his girl persona.
I never felt so IN drag OUT of drag, she says of having competed without makeup and wigs as a favor to his mother.
But this year Delano, who in at least one interview said his background was Mexican, white and (American) indian, has emerged as one of the surprises of Drag Race thanks in part to a big online following from YouTube channel that boasts more than 150,000 subscribers and more than 30 million video views.
The show basically is boot camp, says Delano. Everybody leaves that competition learning something new. It definitely shapes you, whether its in the brain or on the outside. I definitely sharpened my craft and learned so many new tricks.
Im a way better drag queen
Del Rio, 38, of Cuban and Honduran descent is from Gretna, Louisiana, though its in New York that she made a name for herself in drag show circles.
From the beginning of the season Del Rio was considered a front-runner because of what one show blogger credited to her no-nonsense persona and hilarious, biting takedowns of other competitors.
It’s the ultimate test of yourself — and that’s not just as a drag performer, she says of her experience on the show. I think it’s the ultimate test of yourself as a person.
You can’t get clouded. You can’t get lost in the idea of yourself. You still have to deliver these tasks.