Some come for the glamorous runways, some come for the campy and fun challenges, and some just love seeing drag on TV. But everyone who watches RuPaul’s Drag Race stays to watch the best queens in the country read one another for filth.
Every season, there are memorable moments where queens go at each others’ throats with specifically catered reads, whether it’s in the reading mini-challenge, on the mainstage the competition, or more ten than not, backstage during Untucked. A queen can be read for her looks, her intelligence, or even something as simple as a word she used.
After 10 years and 10 full seasons RuPaul’s Drag Race, here are 10 Billboard Pride’s favorite reads in the herstory RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Jujubee fers Tatianna a thesaurus
Sometimes, the key to a great read is its simplicity. Jujubee was the master reads on her season, from asking Tyra Sanchez if her barbeque was canceled to telling Raven that she didn’t look legendary, but more like “leg and dairy.” But Jujubee’s best roast came at the expense Tatianna during an episode Untucked.
Tati was complaining about her critics, saying that she wouldn’t “conversate” with those who dislike her. Jujubee was quick to try and correct the queen’s grammar, saying “I think it’s converse.” But when Tatianna looked confused, Jujubee carefully drove the knife in. “Just say talk. ‘I’m not going to talk with you,’” she fered, taking a sip her cocktail.
Phi Phi O’Hara lets Sharon Needles know exactly where she belongs
The queen mean from her season, Phi Phi O’Hara never shied away from fights, duking it out with Willam, Jiggly Caliente & Dida Ritz. But her biggest beef was with the season’s eventual winner Sharon Needles. The two butted heads on a regular basis, but every Drag Race fan knows exactly the moment that the queens went from friends to enemies.
After fighting with Sharon about the look she turned on the runway the week prior, Phi Phi went f, telling Sharon that she didn’t like her. But when Sharon went as far as to call her a “tired-ass showgirl,” Phi Phi was ready to clap back by reading Sharon’s looks. “At least I am a showgirl, bitch,” she snapped. “Go back to Party City where you belong.”
Latrice makes “peace” with Phi Phi
While Phi Phi may have been her season’s firebrand, Latrice Royale reigned supreme as the best reader the season. When faced with queens who needed to be brought down a peg, Latrice always had some the fastest, best responses. So it’s no surprise that in a challenge based on political debates, Latrice snuck in one the best reads the season. When asked by guest judge Dan Savage to recall a time that she made up with someone she didn’t agree with, Latrice couldn’t resist. “About five minutes ago, I looked across at Ms. O’Hara and I realized that she was ugly,” the queen calmly said. “And I’m at peace with that.” A legendary read from a legendary queen.
Bianca Del Rio asks Trinity K. Bonet a “very fair question”
No queen in the history Drag Race has been more bitter or hateful than New York’s own Bianca Del Rio. Whether she was just poking fun at someone like Jocelyn Fox, making seriously funny jokes about Michelle Visage and Santino Rice, or putting girls like LaGanja Estranja down, Bianca was the queen not to mess with in season 6. But one the queen’s best reads came from simply asking a question.
Speaking about her failure to impress the judges in Untucked, Trinity K. Bonet was visibly getting on Bianca’s nerves. So the comedy queen flipped through her Rolodex Hate and found something that would shut Trinity up. “Let me ask you a very fair question: what do you do successfully?” she dryly remarked, before punctuating her sentence with “Quickly.” Sure enough, Trinity was caught unawares, and audiences everywhere were gagged.
Shangela lets Mimi Imfurst know why she could never have a sugar daddy
When the girls walk into the Untucked lounge, tensions are high — they’ve just been critiqued on the runway, they’re tired, and the tensions from the last few days have built up all around them. But no fight in Untucked history has been as explosive as the fight between Shangela Laquifa Wadley and Mimi Imfurst. What started out as a critique each other's outfits quickly turned into a shouting match when Mimi accused Shangela having “a sugar daddy who pays for everything for you.” Shangela went f on one the most iconic rants in Drag Race history, telling Mimi that while she could get a sugar daddy if she wanted, “You could never have a sugar daddy because you are not that kind girl.” It even culminated in the two tossing their cocktails at each other.
The Vixen gets hard-pressed for the truth
When season 10 started f, fans were anxious to see more drama than on season 9. Enter The Vixen. The Chicago queen declared that she came to fight, and certainly didn’t back down when cornered with queens coming for her. While The Vixen had many iconic moments on the show, especially including her dialogue in Untucked regarding racism in the fan base, her shadiest read came with three simple words at the start episode two. Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams asked that Aquaria tell the girls what she said about Miz Cracker in Untucked. When Aquaria fered a sanitized, unemotional version the conversation, The Vixen called her on it and read her for being fake. “No, too vague,” she interjected, while waving her hand in Aquaria’s face to let her know that the truth was coming out, whether she liked it or not.
Aja compares Valentina to Linda Evangelista
In a season where drama was relatively scarce, one moment reigned supreme above the rest — when Brooklyn queen Aja became an internet meme by reading fan favorite Valentina. After the California-based queen received yet another glowing critique from the judges, Aja let her and the rest the world know how she felt about Valentina’s critiques by mocking the judges. “‘You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you look like Linda Evangelista, you’re a model,’” the queen quipped. “They eat her up every single time she’s on that damn stage. She could walk out there in a fucking diaper, and they’d say ‘Valentina, your smile is beautiful!’” Valentina clearly clocked Aja’s read, because she simply responded with an “I’m not gonna say nothing to that.”
Jade Jolie informs Alyssa Edwards her back rolls
While Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese may have had the biggest feud season 5, one the best fights the season actually came from Alyssa and Jade Jolie. When Alyssa continually read the queen throughout Untucked for being untalented and phony, Jade finally snapped back and told Alyssa what she thought her body shape. “If was gonna judge anyone, I would judge you on that body where those shoulders should match them hips, but they don’t,” she retorted. “Girl, you had rolls all over the place in the back, it was disgusting.” This read prompted not one but two the funniest Drag Race memes; Alyssa turning to the camera and uttering “Back rolls?” in disbelief, and Coco grinning at the camera while commenting “Get her Jade!”
Tammie Brown to RuPaul: “I don’t see you out there walking children in nature”
Queens on the show have to have hard-as-steel confidence in order to step to RuPaul herself. That’s why so few queens have done it; Pearl asked Ru is she had something on her face, and Jasmine Masters tried to defend herself during an angry speech from Ru on season 7. But no queen has ever come for RuPaul in the same way that Tammie Brown did back in season 1.
On the reunion episode, Tammie criticized Ru and the rest the judges for calling her a loser and said that they were no better. “I don’t see you out there walking children in nature,” she said. Ru clapped back, saying Tammie had forgotten who she was, and that it was her responsibility to figure that out. Tammie simply ended her fight, by looking directly at Ru and saying “Excuse your mouth.”
Alyssa and Coco: “Look how fucking orange you look”
When it comes to feuds, Drag Race has a number that come to mind: Roxxxy Andrews vs. Jinkx Monsoon, Phi Phi vs. Willam, BenDeLaCreme vs. Darienne Lake, and most recently The Vixen vs. Eureka. But perhaps the most iconic feud in the show’s herstory was between Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese on season 5. The two queens seemed to have nothing but bitterness towards the other, and it all came to a head in one conversation.
While getting ready for the runway, Alyssa commented on how Coco needed to fix her eye makeup, while Coco read Alyssa for turning the same look on the runway every week. Alyssa saw her opportunity and jumped: “Look how fucking orange you look, girl.” A simple, classic read that started one the most memeable fights on the show — and we’re not joking, bitch.