How RuPaul's Drag Race Changed Vocabulary: Season 1

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Contributing Author: Gabriela Rada

When RuPaul’s hit song “Supermodel” was released in 1993 the world was shown what New York club goers were already so excited about. This larger than life drag personality was so talented and beautiful that people were (for the most part) able to look past the fact that she was really a he. Now if you were like me at the time, you couldn’t wait to see more of this unique beauty! Nobody knew back then, except for maybe Ru’s mother (Ernestine), knew how much “Sashay” and “Shantay” would come to affect society as we knew it…

Fast forward to 2009 where RuPaul decided to help further the careers of his fellow drag queens with the world’s first drag queen television reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race. It was then we truly learned the meanings of “Shantay (you stay)” and “Sashay (away)”. “Ooohhh, I get it now!” I remember saying to myself at the end of the first episode. Although these words didn’t initially stick into my vocabulary (I often found myself getting them in reverse), by the end of the final episode I caught myself mimicking Ru as he uttered the words.

Season 1 also gave us “Face, face, face” when BeBe Zahara Benet sang her solo part in the music video for “Covergirl (Put The Bass In Your Walk)”. And who could forget Miss Congeniality, Nina Flowers, calling everyone “Loca”?  She had every non-Hispanic person thinking they were all crazy! Then came Ongina’s line “I’m Connie Chung”, and I was rolling with laughter when she perfectly imitated the famous anchor-lady.

The most dramatic part of the show was the ending when the bottom two contestants were told: “The time has come… for you to lip sync… for your LIFE!” Although they didn’t literally die, some of the queens did break down and cry when they heard the words, especially Ongina—she was brave enough to share with the world that she was infected with HIV. And, of course, who could forget what may arguably be the show’s most famous catchphrase: “Good luck, and don’t f*ck it up!”

There were so many great catchphrases introduced in season 1 or RuPaul’s Drag Race, however the one that I still find myself repeating every time I see a photo of Bebe is “Camaroooooooooooooooon!”

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Covergirl (Put The Bass In Your Walk) Featuring Bebe Zahara Benet, Nina Flowers and Rebecca Glasscock

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