20. Ivy Winters – Season 5
Coming seventh in Season 5, “Iiiiiivyyyyyyy Winterrrrrrs” was one of the most well-liked and popular figures of the season. Winning the Miss Congeniality title at the end of the series, her friendly and humble nature made her a favourite with both fans and contestants alike. Receiving praise from the first episode for both her looks and her efforts in challenges, her mid-season exit was a surprise for many who had predicted her presence in the Final Three.
19. Nina Flowers – Season 1
Despite coming second to Bebe Zahara Benet, Nina is one of the most enduring faces from Season 1. Her unique and striking personal style veered toward androgyny over femininity and her (albeit stocky) masculine build meant that her look was often severe and powerful. Affable and quirky, Nina was the first of the more non-traditional queens to appear on the show, who have subsequently proved to be some of its most popular.
18. Carmen Carrera – Season 3
A now controversial choice, Carrera brought a youthful innocence with a sprinkling of sass to the polarised and divided Season 3. One fourth of ‘The Heathers’ clique, their feud with Shangela descended into the realms of bitchy pettiness at times, but it was through her strength of personality (over her questionable drag “skill” per se - though admittedly her makeup was FLAWLESS) that Ru selected her to return to the show after her initial elimination. Since the show, Carrera has become the first contestant to transition, but has since made contentious comments about ‘Shemail-gate’ earlier this year.
17. Raven – Season 2
Even judge Michelle Visage admits that it should have been Raven who won Season 2, but unfortunately the edgy and cutting queen was the runner-up behind the universally disliked Tyra Sanchez. Despite vocally criticising the editing of the show since for portraying her as villain-esque, Raven has remained an enduring figure from the earlier seasons, with her dark style and Poe-esque chic the fore-runner to the extremes of Sharon Needles.
16. Courtney Act – Season 6
An early favourite in Season 6, the already popular and renowned Australian Idol figure became the epitome of Visage’s now famous critique “you’re relying on pretty”. A very feminine queen with an impressive wardrobe of striking statement pieces with minimal body coverage, the combination of her musical talent, wardrobe and technical skill landed her inevitable place in the Final Three, but her cockiness veered toward arrogance at times, leaving her popularity a little battered. Despite this, she remained a dominant threat to Del Rio’s eventual crown throughout the whole series.
15. Pandora Boxx – Season 2
One of the most popular and enduring contestants post-Drag Race, Pandora’s early eviction in Season 2 was a surprise to fans and contestants alike. A stand-up by trade, Pandora’s comic skill came to the fore in her impersonation of Carol Channing in the ‘Snatch Game’, but her mild manners and friendliness earned her the title of Miss Congeniality at the end of the series.
14. Yara Sofia – Season 3
Whether you found her annoying or endearing, Yara Sofia was perfect reality TV fodder. Loud, muddled and often completely incoherent, her mixture of Latin sass and foppish silliness was hilarious to watch at times. Though often she was often just screaming at the camera, she made the language barrier almost irrelevant as she shrieked “Echa pa’lante!” through almost every challenge. At times though, her passion was magnetic, desperate as she was to win the crown. Her eventual breakdown mid lip-sync was compelling viewing, but her popularity earned her the well-deserved title of Miss Congeniality for the season.
13. Manila Luzon – Season 3
Season runner-up and one of ‘The Heathers’, Luzon was popular for her enthusiasm, wit and passion. A likeable figure, her humility and friendliness made her a fan favourite and, unlike the rest of her clique, her rivalry with Shangela didn’t descend into bitterness. One of the show’s most successful contestants since, Manila’s brand of innocent fervour was refreshingly accessible in a season of bitching, enmity and massive characters.
12. Phi Phi O’Hara – Season 4
Whether you loved, hated or loved to hate Phi Phi, there’s no denying that she made Season 4 a compelling watch. Manipulating the other contestants from episode one, it wasn’t long before she became one of the most hated figures in the show’s history. Even though the other queens realised her adverse tactics, they were often taken in by her offers of help and advice, leading to the almost gleeful playing out of her cartoonish villainy. Surviving until the Final Three, her actual skill is now often overlooked in favour of the caricature that was created by the finale.
11. Raja – Season 3
Could there have been a more worthy winner of Season 3 than the elegant and couture Raja? Angular and high fashion, her striking features and unique style caught the eye of the judges from the start, winning challenge after challenge, week on week. Though some criticism was levelled at her for participating in ‘The Heathers’s Shangela witch-hunt, her poise and maturity was maintained right through to the finale, where she became the classiest and most chic winner of the show so far.