The Kaftan That Cost A “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Contestant The Crown

If you haven’t watched Monday night’s episode of RuPaul‘s Drag Race yet, you might want to stop reading—there’s gonna be some spoilers below. So either crank up the DVR and watch it, or read Queerty’s recap and hop back here.

Okay, we all good?

So, anyway, Ru made Drag Race history this week by sending two queens home—neither Vivienne Pinay nor Honey Mahogany dazzled the judges in their performance or their runway look. Frankly it was the only call to make—the ladies even phoned in their last-ditch chance to lip-synch for their lives.

But according to a lot of viewers, Mahogany, part of San Francisco’s arty drag scene, has her dress to thank for being sashayed away.

In the runway challenge, she strut her stuff in a loose-fitting kaftan that might have worked on a different girl or in a different situation. But on her, and on that stage, it looked like a sequin garbage bag cinched at the waist. (All t, all shade.) Guest judge Chaz Bono said it hid her lithe frame, and sweetheart Santino Rice claimed it looked like she’d just cut a hole some fabric for her head.

As SFist reveals, Honey actually borrowed that frock from legendary Bay Area drag queen Juanita More, and it has a couture pedigree. Juanita told the site:

The design is based on something from John Paul Gaulthier’s Fall 2010 couture collection [center image above], and it’s eight yards of fabric. One continuous cut, very classic Mr. David cut. I kept thinking, ‘My dress got Honey kicked off! And then everyone continued to read my dress!’

Mahogany herself wrote in to defend herself and her alleged comment that folks in San Fransisco don’t care about “the look”:

“For the record, I said ‘In San Francisco the look doesn’t matter… as much as the performance.’ We value the heart over the facade. It was taken out of context, and edited to be controversial.

I love you, San Francisco. And I stand by what I said.”

Honestly, we knew what Honey meant the minute she said it. Drag Race is a fun show, and we’re still addicted, but it honors a certain kind of drag—pretty, pageant-y, and .

Some of the greatest performers today—Sherry Vine, Varla Jean Merman, Peaches Christ, Jackie Beat, Lily Savage—would be sashayed on Episode One.

We’re intrigued by Honey Mahogany and would love to see her act. In the meantime, let’s watch the video for her new song, “It’s Honey.” (Oddly, in the clip she seems to be channeling exactly the kind of queen Drag Race is looking for.)


Photo: Juanita More; the original inspiration from Gaulthier in 2010; Mahogany on Monday’s Drag Race.

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  • Cam

    At the end of the lip sync neither really seemed to be that into it. Although I am tired of the queens over doing it too…if one more rips their wig off……

  • vanfanusa

    Where the hell was that Honey on the show?

  • Christopher22

    Honors pretty, pageant-y drag? Hello? Sharon Needles???? Winner of last season????

  • hamoboy

    @Christopher22: The single exception doesn’t prove anything. Camp queens are FOREVER being asked “Can you do MORE than camp? Can you be glamorous?”. You don’t see Michelle or Santino asking Lineysha or Alyssa “Can you do more than glam? Can you bring us some camp?”.
    Camp queens need to work harder, and constantly work outside their wheelhouse in order to satisfy the judges bias towards glamour. You never hear glamorous pageanty queens being asked to bring something that’s campy or shocking, any critiques they get is in how they executed their glamour, not that their wholse style is “not enough”.

  • Snapper59

    Agreed. I just love Jinx Monsoon throwing off her fur in the Soul Train bit and Ru shouting “Here! Hold my fur!” and yet in the runway when she was looking very pretty in the face you have Michelle critiquing her “can’t you be glamorous?”

  • Christopher22

    Sorry, the judges aren’t asking ‘Can’t you just do glamour?’ They’re looking for the next Drag Superstar—that’s Camp and Glamour. Like–you know–the star of the show? Yeah, Rupaul’s speciality is the glamour look, but ya can’t say the boy can’t do camp (if ya got eyes that is.)

    And ya are watching the season? If Draggle Rock wasn’t asking the Glamour girls to step outside their comfort zone, than what would? (and remind me–who’s gone so far? Jinx is still there–also Alaska and Detox–and Serena Cha Cha, Vivienne Pinay, Penny Tration are gone.)

    Oh, and back to the post. Varla Jean Merman’s GREAT! And, she can out glamour any of the current season!

  • hamoboy

    @Christopher22: You’ve missed the point of my comment. It’s not that I don’t think glamour is important, I think they’re attaching TOO much importance to it. RuPaul herself can look pretty busted when she doesn’t have a whole team behind her (check out her appearances on Top Chef season 1 and other shows around that time-frame). It’s RuPaul’s many talents (and talent for self-promotion) that have ensured her longevity all these years, her look has fluctuated between awesome and trashy. All I’m saying is they should judge according to what will actually help a queen’s career in the real world, talent and performance. They seem to be doing a better job of it this season, but we’ll see how it pans out. Tyra and Raja’s wins left a bad impression.

  • hooliganb

    @hamoboy: I agree with what you’re saying about campy queens having to work harder, but I think there have been times when they’ve asked the more glamorous girls to give a little bit more. Michelle asked Willam if she was more than just a “fierce body bitch,” and told Carmen Carrera repeatedly not to rely on being pretty. In season 2, Sahara Davenport was eliminated for being too much of a girly girl during the rocker challenge. Then in season 4, the main critique that Chad Michaels got was that she was too perfect, and couldn’t break out of her classic, showgirl look.

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