When (and How) Did RuPaul Film Season 13 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race?’

The time has come for a new season of this Emmy Award-winning reality competition series, complete with a surprising twist and a fresh set of contestants. After months of anticipation, fans finally have a release date for season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

As RuPaul says, even a pandemic can’t keep a good queen down. Here’s how RuPaul filmed new episodes despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

RuPaul of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' on 'The View'
Drag perform and musician, RuPaul Charles of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ on ‘The View’ | Fred Lee/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images via Getty Images

Season 13 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ premieres in January 2021

2020 has been a tumultuous year for so many, including live performers. If there’s one thing fans learned from RuPaul’s Drag Race, though, it’s that the show must go on.

Hot off the heels (literally) of season 12, RuPaul announced the next set of performers sashaying in the Werk Room. Showing off their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent these queens will prove they have what it takes to be “American’s Next Drag Superstar.”

Premiering on New Year’s Day, the 13 girls appearing in this upcoming season include Denali, Elliott with 2 Ts, Gottmilk, Joey Jay, Kahmora Hall, Kandy Muse, Lala Bi, Olivia Lux, Rosé, Symone, Tamisha Iman, Tina Burner, and Utica Queen. Aside from the title, the winner of this season earns a crown, and a cash prize of $100,000. 

When did season 13 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ start filming?

According to an announcement from the WOWPresents YouTube Channel, the audition process for season 13 started in December 2019 and ran until January 2020.

Filming was somewhat delayed due to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, but the show returned as one of the first series’ to start production. However, according to Drag Race Fandom, filming began in July 2020 with the proper safety protocols in place.

Production officially ended on Aug. 31, with the contestants resuming their social media activity. After that, fans held their breath, waiting for an announcement regarding the premiere date. 

“Drag makes me… happy,” contestant Kahmora Hall said during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Everyone needs something to cheer them up. This season comes at the right moment after this presidency, we’re still going through a pandemic, we’re the pillars of life that people need.”


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Will the queens be competing in person? 

To keep the queens as safe and healthy as possible, the reunion and finale episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 were both “virtual,” with contestants sending in videos from their homes. Will season 13 follow the same format?

Thanks to a teaser from RuPaul and World and Wonder, fans learned that these queens will officially be competing in person. That includes serving looks on the runway, lip-syncing for their lives, and everything in between.

Season 13 of RuPaul’s Emmy Award-winning reality series premieres on VH1 on Jan. 1, 2021, at 8 p.m EST.