There have been many moments of tears on the runway during RuPaul’s Drag Race. The most famous are probably Ongina disclosing her HIV status and Roxxxy Andrews breaking down about her mother abandoning her and her sister at a bus stop. Now we have a new scene to add to the canon: Blair St. Clair talking about her sexual assault.
It was a very sad moment indeed. The judges were ripping Blair for being too quiet during the challenge, where teams of three had to put on a panel like they will soon be doing at RuPaul’s DragCon. Blair, a professional hair stylist, was on a team with The Vixen and Miz Cracker explaining wigs to an excited audience. Not only was she shouted down by the other queens, she didn’t manage to be funny or informative on her own.
The critique was that she just relies on being pretty and innocent, something that’s easy for Blair since she looks like one of those Hummel figurines that Midwestern grandmas put on a special shelf in the hallway.
Blair explained that she tries to find daintiness because she feels dirty at times. Just when you were wondering what could possibly be so hard for the cute Indiana boy with the supportive mother who is his best friend, Blair revealed that her first sexual encounter was when she was sexually assaulted at a college party—something she’s been struggling with since.
It brought tears to my eyes and even The Vixen’s trademark aggressiveness turned sweet when she said, “I can’t wait to find that motherfucker.” Trust me, I would not want The Vixen coming after me in a dark alley brandishing a heel as a weapon. Blair talked even more about the incident during Untucked, saying it was the first time she was ever able to use the word “rape” when talking about it, and how hard it had been to try to stay positive.
A lot of people who have appeared on this season have been through a lot. Dusty Ray Bottoms talked about being raised in a religious family and forced to go to a “pray the gay away” camp. Monique Heart discussed how she has to make all of her outfits at the last minute because she can’t afford to have her looks specially made. During Untucked she went in deeper, talking about how she dropped out of seminary school (did Aquaria really know what that “seminary” and “semen” are not related?) because she didn’t have the money.
Earlier in the episode Monét talked about how hard it is to be gay and a drag queen in Saint Lucia, where she grew up. Her family didn’t even find out she was a drag queen until she landed on the cover of the island’s only newspaper for winning the Ms. Gay Caribbean pageant. That’s one of the inspiring things about this show. That all of these queens have reached the peak of their profession after enduring so much hardship. It’s enfranchising the disenfranchised—and once they all start selling merch, it’s franchising them too.
This week Blair really deserved to be in the bottom along with her teammates. Her performance in the challenge was underwhelming and her hat-themed looked was right out of My Fair Lady or Hello Dolly. Yes, as a Broadway Baby it was on brand, but it was also as uninspired as penis hats at a bachelorette party. At least when Miz Cracker did a very similar look she made her hat out of hair (which seems to be Miz Cracker’s signature gimmick).
This is a week when Asia O’Hara—still my current favorite—came out in a dandelion-inspired headdress that actually made everyone on the panel go, “Wow.” It was one of the best runway looks of all time and even earned a special commendation from Ru. Blair just couldn’t compete with that level of ingenuity or design.
I thought Blair was a dark horse. She was always well coiffed and had interesting costumes, so I assumed that when we finally focused on her as a performer she’d be more exciting. I was wrong. When she was forced to lip sync against her teammate The Vixen, I knew she was done for. While The Vixen was doing flips and drops and hustles all over the stage and really feeling “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross, Blair was giving us a very safe and expected performance.
The person I was really surprised by again this week was the usually mute Kameron Michaels. Unlike Blair he’s kind of quiet and has often been safe in the challenges, but when he needs to, he really steps it up. In the improv challenge everyone was worried that he wouldn’t be funny enough, but he managed to even outshine comedy queen Monét X Change. This week people were similarly worried about her panel performance and she did a serviceable (if not totally outstanding) job. Blair could have learned a thing or two.
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