Here's How Much Money Queens Spent to Compete on RuPaul's Drag Race
The ever-expanding RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise took a huge leap in 2022 when it comes to cash prizes awarded to its contestants. Besides giving out weekly cash tips for maxi challenge and/or lip sync winners in the US seasons of the series, Mama Ru also raised the grand prize for season 14 of Drag Race and the all-winners edition of All Stars 7. In the end, Willow Pill received $150,000 for winning season 14, whereas Jinkx Monsoon cashed in $200,000 for winning All Stars 7.
Despite Drag Race insisting that “losing is the new winning,” each season has dozens of drag artists who spend a lot of money on clothes, shoes, wigs, and makeup (among other expenditures) in order to be competitive on the show… but who don’t end up winning the grand prize after all. With the exception of All Stars 4, there can only be one winner, even if several contestants spent tens of thousands of dollars preparing to become America’s Next Drag Superstar or enter the Drag Race Hall of Fame.
Over the years, certain queens have been forthcoming about how much they spent while preparing to compete on Drag Race – and let’s just say that it’s a lot of money!
Scroll through to find out how much money these drag queens spent while preparing to compete on their respective seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars.
Before she became the most-followed Drag Race alum of all time on Instagram and an incredibly successful drag queen, Trixie Mattel was an up-and-coming artist who landed a spot on the show. According to a video on her YouTube channel, Trixie only spent $600 to prepare for season seven.
Trixie was already close friends with Kim Chi prior to their journeys on Drag Race, as both queens worked in the Chicago drag scene. Much like her friend, Chi didn’t spend that much money preparing to compete on the show. During an interview with Paper Magazine, Chi revealed that she spent about $1,500 to compete in season eight.
Season nine winner Sasha Velour spent $4,000 to compete on Drag Race, as reported by Vice. It should be noted that this was the first season of Drag Race to air on VH1, which definitely elevated the series to new heights in terms of viewership and mainstream appeal.
Aquaria slayed the runway game week after week on Drag Race season 10, so it’s pretty surprising that she only spent a reported $5,000 on her lewks for the show (via Vice). With that said, Aquaria admitted that she was able to count on a lot of talented friends to help her make these clothes and prepare for the competition.
For someone who walks “purse first” into every room, Bob the Drag Queen definitely secured the bag by winning season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But according to Vice, Bob spent $6,000 while preparing for the show and its grand finale.
The “queen of queerdos” herself, Yvie Oddly spent as much as $14,000 to prepare for Drag Race season 11 (via Vice). It must’ve been extremely disappointing when she kept hearing her competitors referring to her clothes as “trash,” but Oddly got the last laugh by becoming America’s Next Drag Superstar.
Mo Heart, the artist formerly known as Monique Heart, told Vice that she spent a whopping $20,000 in preparation for RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4. She didn’t have the means to compete at that level during her first appearance in season 10, but Heart went all out for the All Stars season.
One of the twinners of All Stars 4, Trinity the Tuck, told In Magazine that she also spent $20,000 to compete on that season. She thankfully got a return of her investment by winning the season (a tie with Monét X Change) and taking home $100,000 – unlike most of her costars.
Gottmik brought an All Stars-level of competition to season 13 of Drag Race… quite literally! Despite this being their very first time on the show, Gottmik spent upwards of $20,000 while preparing for season 13. This revelation was shared in a video for Trixie’s YouTube channel.
There’s no grand prize for the winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and it was no different for the special UK vs the World season. This prompted many fans to be curious about how much money Blu Hydrangea spent to win that season. In a video, Hydrangea revealed that she spent about $26,050 on her preparation for UK vs the World.
Heidi N Closet (Season 12 & All Stars 8): $4,000 & $40,000
Heidi N Closet was very open about not having a lot of money before appearing on Drag Race season 12. Last year, an extensive report from Vice revealed that N Closet only spent $4,000 in preparation for the show… which is an astonishingly low figure when it comes to recent seasons.
However, when she returned for Drag Race All Stars 8, she became a budget queen no longer! While vying for her shot at joining the Drag Race Hall of Fame Heidi shelled out coins, lots of them, $40,000 worth of them. Add to that, she also cancelled $60,000 worth of gigs, bringing the real total closer to $100,000!
Her reasoning, she shared on Twitter was because she didn't want to repeat history. In REALITY the only reasons I was in the bottom on season 12 was my runways and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case this time around," she explained. “I refuse to be put in the bottom not because of my talent but because of my clothes”.
Heidi's disclosure about what she spent for All Stars 8 led to Kahanna spilling her own spending secrets. Turns out, like her All Stars 8 sister, Kahanna dropped $40,000 on her package this time around — and she has no regrets!
“@HeidiNCloset I spent the exact same 🤣 but it was so worth it!”
\u201c@HeidiNCloset I spent the exact same \ud83e\udd23 but it was so worth it!\u201d