Do the Contestants on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Get Paid to Be On the Show?

RuPaul’s Drag Race has become one of the most popular reality competition shows on television. And similarly to other reality competition shows, the winner receives a nice grand prize at the end. But do contestants get paid for just being on the show?

RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul’s Drag Race | VH1

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ attempts to find American’s next drag star

The concept of the show is simple: To find America’s next drag star. The show follows 14 contestants as they compete for the title, hosted by RuPaul, a famous American drag queen. The show originally started out on Logo TV, but was broadcast by VH1 starting with its ninth season. The cast must compete in smaller competitions, such as photoshoots, throughout the episodes to see who is best fit to be the greatest drag queen. The show has been nominated for several awards, including four Critics’ Choice awards, and the show has won multiple Emmy Awards.

The winner of the series gets $100,000 and a year’s supply of cosmetics

The contestants are competing for a major prize. The show reportedly awards $100,000 to its winner. Plus, the winner receives a year’s supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics. Past winners have gone on to have successful drag careers, and the show has grown to be loved by all who watch it. The original series has inspired two spinoffs: RuPaul’s Drag Race: Allstars and RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked. The show also has occasional specials, such as the “Holi-Slay” spectacular, which airs on December 7, 2018. But with so much money on the line, it’s no surprise the competition is fierce. As a result, the show has garnered plenty of fans.

Each individual contestant receives $400 per episode

Despite the show’s popularity, the contestants don’t get paid very much to compete. However, it is a competition, and they’re competing for a massive prize, so it makes sense. The contestants receive $400 per episode on the first season they appear. Then, according to Reality Blurred, the contestants get a 5% raise for any additional season they’re on. Therefore, if a contestant appears on a second season, they’ll receive $420 per episode. For a third, they’d receive $441, and so on.

Each contestant must sign an intense contract before agreeing to be on the show

Although it’s exciting being on the show, the contestants do have to sign a strict contract before agreeing to be filmed. Essentially, it gives the production company full rights to use any footage they want during filming. Reality Blurred reportedly got their hands on a copy of the contract, which states things such as contestants must assume the risk of any physical or emotional injuries that occur during the show (due to the potential for cat fights between contestants). Photography is prohibited while filming, too. And the contestants are each responsible for their own food, drink, clothing, and personal items. All in all, there are some strict rules and risky things that come along with filming. Getting paid $400 per episode might not seem worth it, but most think that massive grand prize definitely is.

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