How Many Trans ‘Drag Race’ Winners Have There Been?
RuPaul’s Drag Race has expanded far beyond the shores of the United States in recent years. The Emmy-winning series has spawned international spin-offs on several continents, and has continued to grow its influence at home.
Over the years, hundreds of accomplished drag artists have shown their talents on the Drag Race platform, with many talented transgender queens competing among them. Given trans queens’ presence in the drag world from the very beginning, it’s not surprising that some of these queens have handily won the crown in their respective seasons.
Angele Anang was the first trans ‘Drag Race’ winner
In 2018, Drag Race Thailand became the first-ever international version of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show — which was renewed for a third season in 2021 — is hosted by Art Arya and Pangina Heals, the latter of which went on to become a competitor on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs. The World in 2022.
In 2019, Drag Race Thailand crowned 24-year-old Angele Anang as the winner of the show’s second season. With her win, Angele became the first transgender Drag Race winner in the world, and remained the only member of that club for two years.
To date, Angele Anang holds the record for the most challenges won in a single season of Drag Race, with six total. She’s followed by several queens with four wins, including fellow winners Symone (RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Envy Peru (Drag Race Holland).
Kylie Sonique Love became the first American trans ‘Drag Race’ winner in 2021
Longtime RuPaul’s Drag Race fans were excited when Kylie Sonique Love was announced as one of the returning queens on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars in 2021. Kylie was the first queen to come out as transgender on the show, and in the decade since her original appearance in 2010, she blossomed into a successful showgirl, performing with the likes of Miley Cyrus (and even becoming her drag mother).
Kylie came out on top at the end of All Stars 6, becoming the first trans queen to win an American version of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Vanessa Van Cartier won ‘Drag Race Holland’ a few weeks after Kylie Sonique Love won
Kylie was crowned as the winner of All Stars 6 in September 2021. Just a few weeks later, the Drag Race universe welcomed its third transgender queen into the winner’s circle: Drag Race Holland winner Vanessa Van Cartier.
Vanessa Van Cartier rose to prominence in the international pageant scene. She won the coveted Miss Continental title in 2019 — a title previously won by other well-known queens, including Canada’s Drag Race host Brooke Lynn Hytes — and enjoyed an extended reign through 2021 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She took home the crown on season 2 of Drag Race Holland, following in the footsteps of her drag daughter, season 1 winner Envy Peru. Vanessa Van Cartier was crowned Holland’s Next Drag Superstar just two weeks after stepping down as Miss Continental.
Willow Pill was the first trans winner of a regular US season
In 2022, Willow Pill made herstory as the first trans winner of a regular season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in the US. Season 14 of the show notably featured five trans queens among its cast, and many felt that a trans queen taking home the crown was long overdue.
Willow Pill made a bit of herstory for another reason: with her win, she and Yvie Oddly became the only drag mother/daughter duo to win seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. They weren’t the first in the world, however, with Envy Peru and Vanessa Van Cartier being the first to achieve the feat.