WATCH: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 15 Queens Speak Out on Attacks On Drag Community; Talk Meeting Ariana Grande, Share Favorite MTV Moments Ahead of Season Premiere

A new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is upon us -- and it's on a new channel. The Emmy award-winning reality competition is leaving VH1 but keeping it in the Paramount family and racing to MTV with a two-part premiere on January 6 at 8pm ET/PT with 16 new queens that are sure to give us plenty of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, talent – and lots of drama – as they compete for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”

The queens were Ru-vealed at the end of 2022 in a special “Meet the Queens” livestream hosted by season 14 winner Willow Pill. The 16 queens of season 15 include Amethyst, Anetra, Aura Mayari, Irene Dubois, Jax, Loosey LaDuca, Luxx Noir London, Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, Marcia Marcia Marcia, Mistress Isabelle Brooks, Princess Poppy, Robin Fierce, Salina EsTitties, Sasha Colby, Sugar, and Spice.

In addition to moving to MTV, the 15th season also includes the first identical twin contestants, the Los Angeles-based TikTok superstars Sugar and Spice. This season will also include the 200th episode and on top of that, this year’s winning queen will receive $200,000 --  the highest amount in the herstory of the original franchise.

RuPaul’s Drag Race continues to be a beacon for the queer community as it celebrates the LGBTQ community. The series will expand its reach in its move to MTV, continuing its message of love, peace and drag. The new season couldn’t come at a better time as the drag queens have been a target for right-wingers. The LGBTQ community has always been a target of the right but as of late, there have been conservatives pushing bills to outlaw children from attending drag shows and even a ban on drag story hour at libraries. GLAAD recently released a comprehensive count and analysis of the increased threats, protests and violent action against drag events nationwide.

Former cheerleader and New York queen Jax points out that drag is a celebration of love. She told GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos in a recent interview that drag “is so many things that we love about ourselves and our life experiences… [we] create these characters to just continue to highlight our own personal journeys.”

She continued, “I went to art school and I'm combining all those aspects together to create this entity that can take people away from the harsh things that are happening in the world and make them happy and make them want to live bi-curiously live through me.”

Texas, in particular, has been the center of many anti-LGBTQ legislation. In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families of trans youth for providing gender-affirming care. GOP lawmakers in Texas have filed a bill to classify drag show venues as “sexually oriented businesses”. Mistress Isabelle Brooks, who hails from Houston, points out that you can carry guns everywhere in the state but this isn’t where the right’s attention is. Instead, it’s focused on drag queens reading books to children during story time.

Queen Brooks urges people not to live in fear because “these things are inevitable”.

“I’m gonna utilize my platform and continue to just bring light and joy to people and take everyone out of their everyday life,” she said. “At the end of the day, there's just stuff that we can't prevent but we still have to take a stand and try our best to just keep spreading that positivity.”

Loosey LaDuca comes from Connecticut, which is a blue state, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t conservatives lurking about. “I think the common thread between all of these people who think that there's an issue with drag have never actually been to a drag show,” she said. “I know that every single drag show that I have ever been to, I leave feeling better, more empowered.”

“I don't know any drag queen who's trying to hurt nobody,” said Los Angeles queen Salina EsTitties. “Yeah, there's different kinds of drag – I know my drag can sometimes be very sexy too, but it's like I am not trying to hurt nobody. People who are swearing by their guns and their bibles are hurting more people than they know.”

Seattle queen Irene Dubois points out that drag is a way to express a connection to either the opposite gender or the breaking down of gender barriers. “We for so long, in our culture lived in a very gendered way,” she said. “And to break down those barriers; to of move into this world where gender is not something so rigid is very frightening and I think that drag in that way can seem like a new world that they're not ready to live in yet.”

Dubois continued, “I understand the fear but if I could just say one thing to people who are afraid of drag: it is not inherently sexual. It is not inherently adult. The only thing that it is inherently is fun.”

The queens will see plenty of guest judges this season  – one of them being the one and only high pony priestess Ariana Grande. It goes without saying that the queens were excited.

“One of my favorite songs is ‘Break Free’  because there's something about that beat when it drops… you feel your pussy down in your soul,” admits Sugar. “I will say I loved being around her because she made me feel really tall.”

EsTitties is a personal friend of Grande and being with her on the show is a full circle moment for her. She auditioned for season 11 with a Snatch Game performance of the songstress and EsTitties showed her the tape. “For her to see me now -- five auditions later --  is ridiculous. It's so beautiful.”

However there is one queen that is the biggest Ariana Grande fan of the bunch.

“The banshee scream I let out when I saw her -- I could not believe it,” said New York queen Marcia Marcia Marcia. “I've been a fan since 13: The Musical back in early ‘00s. She has truly been such a big part of my life [and] such a huge artistic inspiration for me.”

With the move to MTV, the new season of Drag Race will bring about some historic moments on the iconic network. We asked the queens what some of their favorite iconic MTV moments and a lot of them pointed to Lady Gaga performance of “Paparazzi” at the 2008 Video Music Awards while Sugar and Spice gave a shout out to Miley Cyrus’ 2013 performance.

Nashville’s Aura Mayari put some shine on one particular 2011 VMA performance that had the world squealing with delight. “When Beyoncé did ‘Love On Top’ and told everybody that she was prego. That was iconic.”

Sasha Colby also had a VMA moment on her list but hers is not only iconic but it is legendary. “When a very inebriated Courtney Love [threw] her shoe up at Madonna while she was being interviewed.”

For Dubois, she went the unscripted route. “I remember growing up watching all of My Super Sweet 16 and it wasn't even ever a question of ‘will I be on it?’. It was just a question of when and to be here now in this place in my life -- it's so incredible.”

Malaysia Babydoll Foxx remembers episodes of TRL fondly while Robin Fierce brings one specific TRL moment to light.

“How can we not forget Mariah Carey strolling up in her little T shirt with her ice cream,” chimed Fierce. “People did not get her sense of humor.”

Season 15 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" premieres Friday, January 6 at 8pm ET on MTV.