Pageants don't exactly have a reputation for fostering positive body image.
For me, RuPaul's Drag Race, the drag queen competition-based reality TV show that's in its ninth season, is prime fodder for dinner conversations with my friends. We often dissect the week's episode over a panini or a plate of nachos. Halfway through burritos last Monday, I had a realization: "We never see the queens eat on the show. What are they eating?" My best friend Fitz stopped mid-yucca fry with bewilderment. I realized we needed to find out.
A few things we knew already: In episode five of this season, contestants discussed sensitive body image issues within the LGBTQ community: After Eureka apologized for making a joke about eating disorders, Valentina admitted, "This is just such a touchy subject for me because I do probably still have an eating disorder. Before I left [to film the show], I promised my mom that I would eat every single day. It's so hard because sometimes I feel like I'm force-feeding myself."
Another contestant, Shea Couleé, also jumped into the conversation, saying, "I applaud you guys for opening up because in the past I've had a deep, deep battle with bulimia," citing beauty-standard pressures within the gay community (not necessarily the drag community) to look a certain way. "Sometimes people don't understand that, though we come across as these really strong, beautiful creatures, sometimes we're really struggling on the inside," she added.
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