When you think about the true winners of RuPaul's Drag Race a few names might instantly come to mind: Bianca Del Rio, Shangela, Trixie Mattel. Those girls have taken the platform that the show has provided them and turned them into truly massive brands. They aren't the only ones of course as so many of the other queens are plowing away building veritable empires and extremely bankable businesses. But a queen whose influence is outsized, but sometimes forgotten is one Raven, an Emmy-winner whose work is being seen now more than ever.
In September, Raven, who competed on Drag Race season two and All Stars season one, won her first Emmy award. As the head of the show's makeup team, Raven appeared on screen to accept the Outstanding Contemporary Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special. On Friday, the professional posted to Instagram that the trophy had finally made itself to her home.
"I never would have thought I would be the recipient of one of these," she wrote to her Instagram. Raven is also credited as a Creative Producer on the series. "When I started this journey in my life, an Emmy was not my ultimate goal. I stepped into this position for a friend and passed the torch by a friend." In her message, the performer noted that she's never felt complacent and has made many errors. She went so far as to refer to the work she did crafting Ru's face one season as a "disaster," and noted that Ru still called her back.
"Keeping the faith and trust in me means the world," she said before thanking World of Wonder as well. "I dedicate this to someone who really deserves this. Who has been the creator of some of the most iconic looks. Who also trusted me to be where I am now, to work with his friend. Who inspired me in more ways than one can imagine. That is Mathu Andersen. Mathu, I am eternally indebted to you!"
Andersen notably did Ru's hair and makeup for years, crafting the most known face of drag in the world. He also served as a Creative Producer on Drag Race helping to creative direct challenges and appearing on the Main Stage as a judge. The working relationship between the two, which lasted for decades, ended in season nine — though there are many rumors, there has been no public confirmation as to why. In his place came Delta Work for hair and Raven for makeup. There was controversy surrounding this as Andersen reportedly was still the head of the team for the season premiere featuring Lady Gaga before leaving the fold, yet when that episode was nominated for hair and makeup, his name was initially omitted. Work was later replaced by Curtis William Foreman, who has been with Ru since 2019. Foreman also won an Emmy last year. That was the show's second win in the hair category, with Delta Work having been a part of the team that took home the first during season 10.
Even coming into Drag Race, experts were remarking on the impact that Raven had on trends in drag makeup — Andersen even has noted in interviews that he took tricks from her on nose contouring. That has only been amplified as she's begun to work closely with Ru across a variety of projects like magazine covers, an Old Navy deal, and every iteration of Drag Race that Ru hosts.