There are 37 different covers, each featuring an alumnus of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which over 11 seasons have launched careers and made celebrities out of more than 100 queens.
The article, reproduced by a team of editors, divided the drag queens into the top 20 most influential performers, followed by ‘The Tops,’ ‘The Upper Tier,’ ‘The Mid-Tier,’ and ‘The Bottoms’. The rankings ran alongside portrait-style shots of many of the drag queens.
While many responses to the photos and rankings were positive, many high-profile drag queens included in the piece have criticized the article on Twitter. Are you ready for some tea? The kettle is boiling my dear so get your mug and get ready.
RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7 winner, Violet Chachki, came in at no. 16 on the top 20 but attacked the list as “literally homophobia”, bringing particular attention to the lighting and un-retouched photos of the performers.
these publications that think photographing drag queens in poor lighting with no retouching is somehow interesting or avant- grade is literally homophobia.
— Violet Chachki (@VioletChachki) June 10, 2019
Like… they are already “ranking” queens who are completely different from each other, the shade was real, but they picked the worse photos possible. We feel you Violet, same feeling when a friend tags us on a terrible photo, just unacceptable.
Kim Chi, the runner-up of season 8, proposed that New York Magazine editors were more excited in ad revenue from the rankings than the backlash that followed it. Listed no. 17 in the top 20, Kim Chi said she would “rank all the writers over at the magazine but that the list would be “arbitrary” and “poorly written,” followed by “awful photos.”
Vulture magazine editors looking at the ad revenue generated from people checking out the drag queen rank list article not giving a damn about the backlash pic.twitter.com/H6TWa1cioK
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) June 11, 2019
Hey everyone! As someone who has never written a news article or even have any experience in journalism, I decided to rank all the writers over at @vulture. The ranks will be arbitrary and it too shall be poorly written. All I ask is someone to take awful photos these writers?
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) June 11, 2019
Many drag queens pointed out perceived mistakes and misrepresentations in the rankings, including Phi Phi O’Hara, a season 4 Drag Race contestant and a member of the “Mid-Tiers” ranking is listed as being from Chicago but tweeted that he isn’t from Chicago and hasn’t lived in the city for 8 years.
I havent lived in Chicago for 8 years……I'm not even from there.
I literally rebuilt roofs in Puerto Rico but am just left as villain. @vulture not only doesnt do their research, but have the nerve to RANK queens!? You fucking rank them and then called some THE BOTTOMS? Rude! pic.twitter.com/7dC6cYOrfJ
— Jaremi Carey (@PhiPhiOhara) June 10, 2019
Willam Belli, who was quoted and ranked as no. 9 in the top 20, tweeted that “No one told us they were gonna be ranking us but hey press is press.”
No one told us they were gonna be ranking us but hey press is press. @vulture
— Willam (@willam) June 10, 2019
One of “The Tops”, and winner of All-Stars 4, Monét X Change, tweeted that rankings should include the historic drag performers whose successors are “birthed on the backs of their pains”. The only drag queens included in the rankings were part of the cast in “Drag Race.” Monét also noted that the article initially incorrectly identified Alaska Thunderfuck as a season 6 contestant.
Also I’m just seeing this goddamn list! Fuck @vulture and their rankings. If you’re gunna rank “the most powerful Drag Queens in America”…where are the Sherry Vine’s, the Jackie Beat’s, the Coco Peru’s, Bunny, Peaches!? Our successes are birthed on the backs of their pains.
— Monét X Change (@monetxchange) June 10, 2019
In a statement, a New York Media spokesperson told INSIDER:
“We’re proud to have published award-winning photographer Martin Schoeller’s instantly-iconic portraits and to have had the opportunity to make a set of pictures that celebrates and recognizes the influence the ‘Drag Race’ contestants have had on American culture. In terms of the rankings, the ‘power list’ is a longstanding treatment at our magazine and others, that we recognize will be debated and argued over (just as viewers might disagree with RuPaul’s decisions on Drag Race). We approached the rankings with great enthusiasm, respect, and admiration.”
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