In the world of drag, “brick” is a shady word, slang lobbed at queens whose makeup looks busted, whose wardrobes have seen better days, or who are just generally giving hot mess.
But if there’s one place queens don’t mind looking like a brick, it’s on the Instagram page of Vancouver-based artist, Brick Queens YVR, who has become known for their delightful LEGO recreations of iconic drag queens from all over the world.
For over three years, this Drag Race superfan and LEGO hobbyist has been meticulously crafting minifigure versions of iconic queens in some of their most iconic looks from the original U.S. version of the franchise and beyond.
Bricks Queens’ page is a gag for casual and hardcore drag fans alike (for a fun challenge, scroll through the Instagram and see how many you recognize) and has even earned praise from the queens themselves, from Jaida Essence Hall to Jimbo.
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As the world of Drag Race continues to expand, Brick Queens’ noble mission to create a LEGO figure for every single RuGirl becomes more and more ambitious, but, crucially, they haven’t lost sight of why they began the project in the first place: Because drag is queer joy personified, and it brings them joy to celebrate the artistry these performers put into it, brick by brick.
Queerty recently corresponded with Brick Queens over email to learn more about their process, the stories behind some of their proudest creations, and why Canada’s Drag Race will always be their favorite.
Read our Q&A with Brick Queens below, and then scroll down further to see a slideshow of a few more of our favorite LEGO drag queen creations.
You’ve said that, as you watch the show, you’re constantly thinking about what looks you can turn into builds, so how do you ultimately decide what and who to recreate?
The goal is ultimately to do a figure for every RuGirl (that isn’t a sex offender, racist, or domestic terrorist). Schedule wise, I aim to get every pre-finale eliminated queen posted before finale day so I can give them a big shout out on finale day. The winner is usually the day after, and the finalists in the days following.
Look wise, ultimately it depends on what parts have been produced by LEGO and are available for use. Sometimes I get really lucky and I can do something really specific but more often than not, I’m compromising or getting really creative. Every year LEGO gets better at putting out more parts that are useful.
Can you tell us the story about creating a few of the LEGO queen builds you’re proudest of?
The first Priyanka figure I made, the day after she won Canada’s Drag Race season 1, was totally kismet. I didn’t have anything planned for her yet but when she turned the corner in her Coronation Eleganza, I knew immediately that the parts existed to make it work. The down side? Ithe perfect figure was super expensive and rare and no longer in production. The up side? I was watching the finale with the one person who I knew had it. Couldn’t have worked out better.
When The Bratpack—the Vancouver based supergroup of Kendall Gender, Gia Metric, and Synthia Kiss—went on tour, their promo artwork feature the 3 fused at the hip in what they call “The Amoeba.” I wanted to make a figure of that so I used more brick and some tilting bricks to achieve the illusion. The 3 of them all on a plane together flying to Vancouver to perform saw the notification at the same time and loved it. They shared that story with me that evening at the show.
You’ve gifted some of the minifigures to queens, and many of them have interacted with your work online, or even followed you. Is there a queen interaction you’ve been most surprised or delighted by?
Three words: Jaida Essence Hall.
When Jaida won I was able to throw together an admittedly not super accurate figure of her final lip-sync look. I posted it the next day and she liked it. She was the first winner to pay me any attention. That was super special.
Since then I’ve posted her a few times and gifted her a figure at the Voss Halloween show “M&G”. It was super quick cause of Covid but she connected who I was to the figure and when I got a chance to meet her properly later at Werq The World she told me that all the queens know me and they talk about my art and love it. Such a validating moment. We’ve met a few times already this year including a really great DragCon experience. She’s the best.
Have you ever considered doing a larger build of an iconic Drag Race set, like one of the Werk Rooms or Main Stages?
To be honest, I haven’t. I’m not much of a builder when it comes to LEGO. I love LEGO, it’s been a lifelong passion, but my focus has always been Minifigures. I could probably put something together but I’ll never really be happy with the result knowing a better builder, someone more familiar with building techniques and NPU (Nice Part Usage) could’ve done a better job. There once was a “RuPaul’s Brick Race” LEGO Ideas set that made it to 10K votes but wasn’t approved—the build for that was nice.
Not only do you make LEGO queens from the original Drag Race series, but also your native Canada and franchises from all over the world, as well as local Vancouver drag queens. Why is it important to you to celebrate drag from all places, in all forms?
As a Canadian, I’m used to American dominance in media. So much of what I consume is US based. It’s very much the default but that doesn’t mean that’s where it’s at its best. The original US series got the phenomenon going but I think it’s when the spin offs started that the franchise really came into it’s own. I was so happy the day Canada’s Drag Race was announced. It’s biased, but it is my favourite of the various series.
Seeing queens from across Canada prove they can do everything the US queens can was such a joy to watch. It some cases, we’ve seen Canadians excel—look at Jimbo on All Stars 8, Priyanka’s reign, and Lemon’s verse on “Come Through: Around the world, too, so much incredible drag has been featured. Carman Farala of Spain is up there as one of the best winners in the whole franchise and the most beautiful queen I’ve ever met.
When it comes to celebrating Vancouver, it’s about community. I’ve been so blessed to an audience member of the Vancouver drag scene and see so many incredible icons perform locally. Featuring them as part of Brick Queens YVR is my way of saying thank you and removing as much of the RuGirl vs Local Girl barrier. there are locals doing the most for their community. Being on TV doesn’t grant instant validity.
Another Canadian drag show I’ve loved is Call Me Mother on OutTV. That series is doing more for representation that any Drag Race spin off. The second season featured drag kings, “things,” and a nautical stripper. It doesn’t hurt that Vancouver artists have dominated both seasons. I suggest everyone check it out!
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Click through the slideshow below to see more of our favorite LEGO drag creations from Brick Queens YVR.
It’s our current reigning Queen Of All Queens, Jinkx Monsoon, donning her witchiest get-up to promote her current “Everything At Stake” world tour.
Vivacious and Ornacia
Mother has arrived… and she brought Orancia along with her, too. It’s a delightful ode to Vivacious’ iconic entrance on Season 6, one of the most referenced looks to ever hit the Werk Room.
Speaking of references, Kerri paid tribute to her fan nickname, “Tranos,” in honor of Season 14’s legendary cast of trans queens, which Brick Queens recreated perfectly, Infinity Gauntlet and all.
All Stars 8 frontrunner Jimbo gets a LEGO-fied version of her RuPauls’ Drag Race UK Vs. The World purple promo look, complete with a giant “breastplate” because, well, it wouldn’t be Jimbo without one!
While we wait for Drag Race to finally add drag kings into the mix, at least there’s this killer masc get-up from Mo Heart from the Butch Queen runway of UK Vs. The World‘s “RuPaul Ball.”
Recent fan favorite—and Season 15 runner-up—Anetra has her instantly iconic Talent Show performance immortalized in brick form, complete with an adorable rubber ducky. You better walk that LEGO duck, girl!
UK Season 3 winner Danny Beard stunned with her high-camp nod to Little Shop Of Horrors. We don’t quite know how she pulled it off, and same goes for this brilliant Brick Queens creation!
A hilarious tribute to one of Drag Race‘s wackiest ever runways/maxi challenges, in which queens had to create and wear “Pride floats.” Side note: When is Dida Ritz going to get that All Stars call? We miss her!
Mackie doll Kahmora Hall is surely one of the most glamorous queens to have ever walked the runway, so we’re pretty tickled Brick Queens decided to recreate her now-iconic acting challenge flop. “I was rooting for us!”
Trixie Mattel & Katya Zamolodchikova
UNHhhh! And, last but certainly not least, it’s our favorite working girls, Trixie and Katya, grinning at each other on the set of their beloved webseries. We’re sure they’d both be delighted to hear how skinny they look in LEGO form.