With season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race closed out, Mama Ru is already revving the engines for the next round of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. The returning cast includes Puerto Rican icon Alexis Mateo.
Last month, the highly-anticipated cast of season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars was revealed. Representing the Latinas among the veteran drag queens is Mateo, who proudly stepped into the work room wearing a bodysuit resembling the Puerto Rican flag (like Jennifer Lopez’s P.R. bodysuit at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show). “Boriqua in the house to take the crown,” Mateo says, before adding, “Sickening, no?”
Since debuting with the first season in 2009, 153 drag queens have competed for the crown and title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” on twelve seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Many races and ethnicities have been well represented by a variety of queens that have walked into the work room. With Mateo stepping up for the Latinas on All Stars 5, we’re going to look back at 10 of our favorite drag queens of Latinx descent.
Here are our favorite reinas.
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 airs Fridays on VH1.
Bianca Del Rio (Season 6)
Bianca Del Rio is the first Latina queen to win RuPaul’s Drag Race and the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” She is of Honduran and Cuban descent. During her reign on season six, Del Rio never had to Lip Sync for Her Life and she never placed in the bottom for any challenges. The jester of drag was known for her brutal reads (read: calling attention to someone’s flaws) while also helping out her sisters when they needed it, like fellow fan-favorite Adore Delano.
Crystal Methyd (Season 12)
If Bianca Del Rio was the jester of drag, Crystal Methyd was an artsy clown on season 12. She was one of the most-improved contestants who made it all the way to the finale. Methyd placed as runner-up alongside Gigi Goode. The Mexican-American queen rocked a number of memorable looks like a corpse bride, an interesting take on Bert and Ernie, and a Freddy Krueger-inspired getup. It was at the finale where she wore her heritage proudly as a life-sized piñata.
Valentina (Season 9)
One of the queens who represented her Latinidad proudly was Valentina on season nine. She was on a quest to live her “telenovela fantasy.” The Mexican-American queen wore looks inspired by mariachis and her mother’s Aguascalientes wedding dress during the season and returned for All Stars 4 with a body suit inspired by Tex-Mex icon Selena. Season nine’s Miss Congeniality, or “fan favorite” as her competitors called her, crossed over into the mainstream, recently appearing in the final season of La Casa de Las Flores on Netflix.
Alexis Mateo (Season 3)
Bam! Alexis Mateo is back for season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and rocking the Puerto Rican flag proudly. The OG queen originally competed on season 3 of the main series where she placed in third. Mateo returned for the first season of All Stars and was paired with fellow Boriqua queen Yara Sofia as Team Yarlexis. Because of the team eliminations, fans often consider this season to be unfair with “rigga morris.” Hopefully third time will be the charm for Mateo on All Stars 5.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (Season 10)
Thanks to Alexis Mateo, we got to know her drag daughter Vanessa Vanjie Mateo on season 10. Though the Puerto Rican queen’s time on the show was brief after getting knocked out in the first episode, she made a lasting impact with her “Miss Vanjie” exit that went viral. Mama Ru fortunately brought back Mateo “by popular demand” for season 11 where she had a better showing, finishing in fifth place. With her Cookie Monster-like voice, Vanjie’s cookies never get stale.
Adore Delano (Season 6)
Party! Alongside Bianca Del Rio, another memorable Latina drag queen from season six was Adore Delano. She first rose to prominence out of drag as Danny Noriega on season seven of American Idol, finishing as a semi-finalist. The Mexican-American singer later became one of the most punk queens on her season of Drag Race where she occasionally flexed her pop star chops. Delano also competed in All Stars season two, but she left the show following a rift with judge Michelle Visage.
Lineysha Sparx (Season 5)
Lineysha Sparx is one of the Afro-Latina queens who competed on season five. She is Puerto Rican from her mother’s side and Dominican from her father’s side. During her time on the show with a Boriqua accent, Remezcla previously noted that Sparx was challenged with overcoming the “kooky loca” persona that’s often thrust onto queens with P.R. roots. She used her accent to advantage to play salsa legend Celia Cruz in “Snatch Game.” It was no matcho but still a memorable impression.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine (Season 8)
Another Puerto Rican queen that had to overcome the “kooky loca” edit exploited by the show was Cynthia Lee Fontaine, who competed on season eight. The self-proclaimed “Queen of Cucu” had a brief time on the show, finishing in tenth place. But she became a fan favorite for the way she supported her competitors, earning her the title of “Miss Congeniality.” Mama Ru brought back Fontaine for season nine where she once again finished in tenth place after a disastrous Sofía Vergara impersonation during the Snatch Game.
Monica Beverly Hillz (Season 5)
Monica Beverly Hillz, who has Puerto Rican roots, made history on season five when she became the first contestant to come out as transgender during the taping of the show. “I’m not just a drag queen,” she confessed to Mama Ru in tears. “I’m a transgender woman.” Hillz finished in twelfth place, but she has since become an advocate for the trans community. When Ru said contestants in the process of a physical transition would “probably not” be allowed to compete on the show in 2018, Hillz stepped to Ru, saying, “Everybody should be given the chance to compete.”
Carmen Carrera (Season 3)
Carmen Carrera, who has roots in Puerto Rico and Peru, slayed with pure sex appeal on season three. She also made history with her epic Lip Sync for Your Life against P.R. queen Yara Sofia. It was like production knew two Latinas would be in the bottom that week by having them lip sync to the Spanish version of Toni Basil’s ’80s hit “Mickey.” Mama Ru liked what she saw and issued the first “double shantay, you stay” (read: no elimination). Carrera has since come out as a trans woman and advocates for the community with Hillz.