There's a lot of money being thrown around in the world of RuPaul! A whole lot. Fracking or not, the namesake of RuPaul's Drag Race has the ability to funnel a hell of a lot of money into a hell of a lot of pockets. Over the past two months at our count, RuPaul has helped to give over $40,000 to The Trevor Project across Drag Race and Secret Celebrity Drag Race. Then he helped raise almost $100,000 for Planned Parenthood and is set to hopefully win a bit more for The Ali Forney Center on Celebrity Family Feud. So it got us to thinking, how much money has television's leading drag queen given to other performers on her show?
Well, we asked a friend to tally it up.
Bernardo Simoes is a content creator and editor who launched the Twitter account DragBiz in February. Aimed at drawing attention to queens not only on Drag Race, but just in pop culture as well, the page attempts to break down the analytics and memorialize important moments for the art of drag.
"I've been a fan of drag for many years and I wanted to create a platform that covered drag performers and drag-related content like the real industry that it has become," Simoes tells Out. "That coverage has included providing fun stats, showcasing lesser-known artists, and giving fans a space to celebrate the art of drag without focusing on spoilers, gossip, and drama." The hope is to reflect a sort of SportsCenter for drag performers. So when we asked if he had any idea how much money Ru had given to queens on the show, he was pretty instantly interested in figuring it out.
Before we get into the numbers, it's important that we first set out some parameters. For the purposes of his tally, Simoes focused on prizes that were said to be in cash. So none of those trips, or product, but stuff that was explicitly stated to be doled out with a check. For the first six seasons, that was only the grand prize, but with season seven, Miss Congeniality got a prize as well.
Given those parameters, Simoes found that over the standard seasons of Drag Race, the cash prizes totaled a whopping $1,109,500. This included the grand prize wins, assorted mini-challenge wins and season 12's maxi-challenge win cash tips. Sherry Pie's $10,000 in wins was not counted in this number as it seems Drag Race is donating that to The Trevor Project.
Of the most surprising anecdotes here is that Monet X Change seems to have been the only Miss Congeniality since season seven to not receive a cash prize. Prior to her winners had taken home $5,000, and after her the prize was upped to $10,000. While season 12's Miss Congeniality prize is not in our total here (hey, it could change) the already announced grand prize is.
Another fun fact is season 12 gave out the most money in a single regular season, dispersing $164,500 in cash to its queens.
Now for All Stars!
When the queens come back for RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, they generally have bigger budgets than they previously had, given the post-show glow up, and over time, the show has begun to reflect that. Beginning in season two, All Stars began to offer up cash tips for lip sync wins. When these tips (and Aja's mini-challenge win in season three included) and as well as the grand prize money, All Stars has doled out $722,000.
When added up that means that over the span of 16 total seasons, RuPaul has given out some $1,831,500 in cash to his competing queens. Wow, what a moment.