On Thursday, August 10, RuPaul’s Drag Race season seven finalist Pearl shared an Instagram carousel of pictures of herself using what appears to be a filter that deeply tanned her skin and added voluptuous lips and huge pink nails to her body. She also held a cup of iced coffee in her hand, writing in the caption: “Skipper’s all grown up now.”
Pearl’s now-deleted Instagram post was quickly re-shared all over social media, including Reddit, where a new thread was started with the title, “This feels wrong.” Drag Race fans immediately took to Instagram comments, Reddit comments, and X (formerly Twitter) posts to share their reactions. Many fans accused the queen of doing “blackface” and/or “blackfishing,” though others counter-argued that she wasn’t doing those things.
A comment from Tayce, best known for competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two, was also re-posted on Reddit. “Sooo much to unpack here and I’m so here for it,” Tayce wrote in a comment.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache from Drag Race season 11, All Stars 6, and Canada’s Drag Race: Canada vs. the World also chimed in with an X post that read, “RuPaul should’ve just talked to her off-camera because now she’s mocking RuPaul in her younger years.”
Drag Race season 10 star The Vixen also commented on the situation by responding to an X post that read, “What about this gives blackface?”
“The fact that her face is darker than the iced coffee,” The Vixen replied.
A few hours later, Pearl deleted the original post and shared an Instagram story that offered an explanation.
“The character I posted this morning was not meant to resemble any other background other than my own,” Pearl wrote. “She’s platinum blonde/blue eyes and meant to have 2000s Britney-esque tan. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt anyone and will refrain from using any kind of tan at all when creating characters in the future. I’ve removed the post as to not continue to offend people.”
UPDATE: Pearl posted a longer explanation and apology/
Scroll through to see how RuPaul’s Drag Race fans reacted to Pearl’s original post.