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RuPaul's Drag Race is every celebrity's guilty TV pleasure.

True fact: I’m an unashamedly, loud and proud, flag-flying fan for the reality TV genre.

Whether it’s a Survivor, a Voice, a Top Model, a Bachelor, a Real Housewife or a Project Runway it’s an odds on bet you’ll find me glued to my couch, transfixed by the goings-on of people you couldn’t dream up if you tried.

I love them all for different reasons. For Survivor it’s the intense strategic game play. For the Real Housewives it’s the vicarious look into an OTT life that I’ll never experience myself, for Top Model, Project Runway and The Voice it’s the theme of everyday people striving for big dreams, baring their souls along the way.

Listen to podcast hosts Laura Brodnik and Tiffany Dunk plead their case in this special podcast snippet. Post continues after audio. 

But there’s one show that ticks all of those boxes and more. And it’s one that has not only gone under the radar with a lot of people but it’s been written off as nothing more than a low-budget talent show (albeit with plenty of bling).

So today I’m hoping I can persuade you to jump on board the glittering train that is RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The concept? Thirteen drag queens compete in a variety of challenges to become “America’s Next Drag Superstar”.

via GIPHY

Hosted by legendary drag queen, model, singer and actor RuPaul and with a judging panel currently made up of long-time sidekick Michelle Visage, comic Ross Matthews and I’m a Celeb’s Carson Kressley in addition to a weekly celebrity guest, each episode sees contestants compete challenges which test their talent, skill and nerve before hitting the runway for a fashion show and, ultimately lip-synching their way to victory or elimination.

Even as I type I’m aware how ridiculous this all sounds to non-viewers but bear with me, there’s plenty of substance behind the sequins.

RuPaul and the Season Eight cast. (Source: Facebook/Logo.)

First up, who doesn’t love a drag queen?

There’s a reason Priscilla Queen of the Desert remains a staple Aussie film favourite. Being entertaining and larger than life form the very basis of their craft. The only thing bigger than the hair and the gowns are the amazing personalities.

Pandora Boxx, Jiggly Caliente, Laganja Estranja, Acid Betty, Coco Montrese and, of course, our very own Courtney Act in season seven, are just a few of the improbably named and utterly transfixing queens who have taken part in the show over the past eight seasons.
And it’s fun.

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A contestant on the upcoming season. (Source: Facebook/Logo.)

The double entendres come thick and fast, there’s more shade thrown than you can poke a beach umbrella at and the challenges are the perfect blend of comedy (my favourite for the record is Snatch Games – where the queens impersonate famous celebs in a game show format) and drama. But more importantly - there’s heart.

You know how some reality talent shows get critiqued for casting people for back-story over talent (*cough* MasterChef *cough* X Factor)? Drag Race is the perfect blend of both.

While the show is built for laughs, there’s plenty of tears to be shed along the way.

Over the eight amazing seasons we’ve heard truly heartbreaking and, ultimately, inspiring tales of coming out, the prejudices and judgment faced and the difficulties that come hand in hand with being seen as “different”.

via GIPHY

We’ve seen these courageous contestants share searingly honest stories of discovering identity, being disowned by family, cast out from their community, told they are not welcome in their church, struggling to find their place in the world.

But always – ALWAYS – there is the ultimate tale of how they came to love themselves and find love in return while enthusiastically following their passion. Because, as RuPaul signs off with each episode, if you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?

And that attitude is the crux of why I love Drag Race so much. And it’s why celebrities from Michelle Williams to Khloe Kardashian to Gigi Hadid to Aussie icon Olivia Newton John have clamoured to be part of the groundbreaking series.

So as the ninth season kicks off on Stan this Friday (same time, same date as the US) I can’t encourage you enough to give it a try. I promise you won’t regret it.

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