Sashay away. Shantay, you stay. Good luck and don't fuck it up. Condragulations. “Ru-isms” from the juggernaut reality show RuPaul's Drag Race on VH1 have transcended television to become synonymous with not only drag, but pop culture in general. The show, which began in 2009 on Logo, has since aired 11 regular seasons, 4 All Star seasons, a companion series Untucked and a British version set to air in the U.K. On top of all this, DragCon was first launched in 2015 in Los Angeles and has only gotten bigger every year, even expanding to New York two years ago.
“When Randy [Barbato] and I started out, drag shows were on a tiny stage. We just thought, oh my God, the artistry is off the charts,” says Fenton Bailey, executive producer of RuPaul's Drag Race and co-founder of World of Wonder, the production company behind Drag Race and DragCon. “I think it was always our dream to see this incredible work on a larger platform. And I think that's what Drag Race and DragCon have been able to provide.”
Los Angeles was a top destination for drag even before Drag Race, but with the show filmed here, and many staying here after their big break, the queen quotient is off the charts — and with the arrival of the 5th Annual RuPaul's DragCon at Los Angeles Convention Center this Memorial Day weekend, even more so. It's going to be a very queeny weekend in L.A. indeed, and to celebrate, we're spotlighting a mix of “wo-men” who have been on the Emmy-Award winning show and some who haven't. Either way, they're all L.A. drag royalty. Here, a look at chart-topping songstress and fierce local femme Adore Delano.
Danny Noriega, better known as Adore Delano, is one of the most successful queens to come out of RuPaul's Drag Race. Adore grew up in Azusa and first appeared on television when she was on American Idol in 2008, making it to the top 16 semi-finals (out of drag). Six years later she was on season six of Drag Race in 2014, where she made it to the final three. Known for her incredible voice, Adore has released three albums since her time on the show, with her first album charting at number 59 on the Billboard 200, making it the highest charting album amongst her Drag Race peers including RuPaul herself.
Adore also appeared on season two of Drag Race All Stars although her time was cut short when she famously decided to leave the competition in the second episode. She has been on many international tours but rarely performs around L.A. these days, insisting she “likes to be one of the locals” instead. Despite her absence, she still has a lot of love for the L.A. drag community.
“The L.A. drag scene is every part of the rainbow at the moment. It's a lot different than it used to be when I first started,” Adore says. “Downtown L.A. / East L.A. scene has some of my favorite girls. They're wildly creative and beautifully creepy.”
This coming DragCon will be Adore's third, where she'll be giving a VIP performance on Friday, May 24. As she said many times throughout her time on the show, it's time to “Party!”