For the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars season 4, Out editors describe why their favorite queens have already won.
Tonight, as countless homosexuals crowd around television sets, clutching vodka sodas and squealing in suspense, a new queen will join the RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars pantheon, selected by Mama Ru herself. Inevitably, passions will flare, debates will rage, and hate comments from incensed stans will flood the new queen’s Instagram posts, all while the West Coast complains to a deep abyss about spoilers. This will undoubtedly happen, but I’m here to tell you that all of it is futile. None of it matters. And why?
Because one queen has already won this competition — and her name is Naomi Smalls.
Ms. Smalls emerges on top for her second consecutive season — an honor that’s notably different than her fellow competitors, Monique Heart and Monet X Change. Once again, she’s proven to an audience of adoring fans — new and old — that she is nothing but consistent, never buckling under pressure, and always trying to perfect her craft by rising to the occasion. We all clutched our pearls when “Snatch Game” rolled around, and the “look queens” appeared to tremble in anticipation. Smalls responded by executing a meticulous impression of Wendy Williams, nailing everything from the accent to her fainting gaffe with perfect aplomb.
Oh, but that wasn’t all: If you were tempted to say Smalls was “always safe” or “boring,” please remember how she mopped the floor with Gia Gunn during a lip sync — extending her legendary legs to glide across the floor, then performed a backbend like Simone Biles, all without missing a single word of the song. In what was easily the most satisfying match up of the season, Smalls told all of us, loud and proud: Don’t underestimate me.
After that, she jumped into high-gear, circling the crown and those $100,000 like a beautiful, long-limbed cat stalking its prey. As the other girls burnt out on overexposure and conveyed a fall from superiority to the judges (ahem, Ms. Trinity), Smalls’ power grew ever more mighty. Even when she fumbled by assuming the role of Carrie Bradshaw, playing her more like a 90210 character than an overly earnest fashion journalist in New York, Ru still noted her ambition to bite off more than she could chew.
That’s probably the best thing about Naomi Smalls: Even when she’s bad, she’s deliciously good. After all, can any of us recall the names of the other imagined clubs in “Queen of Clubs” — even that overly-themed, too-on-the-nose bumblebee travesty that Rita Ora loved so much? No ma’am — but I bet you’ve loudly whispered to a fellow queen about “Club 96!”
And then, of course, she was literally bad — as in, a little malicious. When it came down to eliminating a fellow queen, Smalls took no prisoners and chopped the baddest bitch on the block, Manila Luzon, and then refused to apologize or offer excuses for the cut. She wants to win — and not Miss Congeniality, a role better suited for X Change. She wants the whole ass crown.
But beyond all of her many, many merits, Naomi Smalls has won in ways that we haven’t yet been able to calculate. Sitting at the Christian Cowan show just this past week during the collections in New York, models strutted down the runway to a remix of her original song, “Pose.” Smalls is the kind of queen who is and will remain a darling of the fashion and beauty crowds, likely scoring a contract and pages of spreads in indie magazines while her peers — crowned or not — will enjoy their cross-country road show. She will join the ranks of greats like Violet Chachki and Miss Fame, whose legacies far overshadow their accomplishments on reality television.
Naomi Smalls — she who knows how to blend her eye makeup, she with the legs for days, she with the bone structure and pillowy lips that would make Helen of Troy look plain in comparison, she who is “hung like a mother-tucking baseball bat” — wins the marathon of drag superstardom, even if she doesn’t win the competition tonight. And regardless of the outcome, she will always and forever be the queen who stole my heart.