♫ Cover Girl, put the bass in your walk. Head to toe, let your whole body talk. And what? ♫
RuPaul: Welcome to the mainstage of RuPaul’s Drag Race for this extra special edition of RuPaul’s Drag Race: The World’s Next Head of State Drag Superstar!
Tonight, I’m joined by my dear friend Michelle Visage. Michelle, can I count on your vote?
Michelle: Ru, I love you so much, I’d vote for you twice.
RuPaul: My darling, I don’t think that’s allowed.
And our extra special guest judge, the silverest fox in primetime, Anderson Cooper! Do you have any hard-hitting questions for me, Anderson?
Anderson: Just one, Ru: how’s your head of state?
RuPaul: You know, I’ve actually had some complaints lately!
This week we challenged our heads of state to create a sickening PSA to combat the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. And tonight on the runway, category is: pandemic eleganza.
Heads of state, start your engines, and may the best queen…win!
First up, we have She Ginseng in a stunning red qipao gown and a beautifully embroidered gold facemask.
Michelle: Health scare, more like red scare, am I right?
Anderson: I think you may be mixing geopolitical threats, Michelle, but one thing’s for sure: Ms. Ginseng knows what’s the tea!
RuPaul: She Ginseng, let’s take a look at your COVID-19 PSA.
She: Hello, citizens of the People’s Republic of China. I am pleased to announce that the coronavirus outbreak in the Wuhan region has been contained thanks to the swift action of the government. We in China are now the global leaders in the pandemic response, and we have the charisma, unwavering loyalty, N95 masks, and testing procedures to show these other bitches how it’s done!
RuPaul: All right, She, let’s go to the judges. But first, take that thing off your mouth.
She: I’d like to keep it on, please!
RuPaul: You know, actually, I’ll allow it this time!
Michelle: She, you look stunning on the runway tonight. I love how you used the gold eyeliner to match the embroidery of the mask. It’s that attention to detail that the judges are looking for.
Anderson: However, the institutional culture of fear in your administration is what allowed the virus to spread so quickly in the Wuhan region, and many claim that your success in containing the virus is due only to your authoritarian style of governance.
RuPaul: So, I’d say they pretty much even out!
Next up, we have Miss Leda Hosen strutting the runway in a sensible navy pantsuit and a pair of generic blue rubber gloves.
Michelle: I don’t know about you, Anderson, but I am not glovin’ this look.
Anderson: I don’t know, Michelle, give her a second chancellor!
RuPaul: Leda, before we start, I’d love to know: how did you get your drag name?
Leda: Well, initially I wanted to be Joni Ernst, because I channel the raw sexual energy of Joni Mitchell and because “Est ist ernst!” But I was told that this is the name of an American congresswoman, so I just let the producers pick another name for me.
RuPaul: Well, Leda, let’s hope you blow these other hoes away! Here’s your PSA:
Leda: Fellow citizens, the coronavirus outbreak has fundamentally changed public life in our country, and some of you may be asking, “Is it serious?” I am here today to tell you that “Ja, es ist ernst.” Our society has not been tested like this since World War II, and I firmly believe that if we all take personal responsibility and act together in solidarity, we can pass this test. I have been speaking with our nation’s best scientists, and we are asking you to please see it as your task to reduce community infections by washing your hands regularly, by keeping a social distance of at least two meters from others, and by working from home if you are not an essential worker. Thank you, and I believe that together we will meet this challenge.
RuPaul: All right, it’s time for the judges critiques.
Michelle: Leda, what was this on the runway tonight? This is RuPaul’s Drag Race! There is a time and a place for simplicity, and this is not it! Did you even put any make-up on?
Leda: Ja! Normally, I wear lipstick in the shade of “varnished ash,” but tonight I decided to spice it up and wore “burnt taupe.”
Anderson: And Leda, your PSA was so clear and direct and measured, and, quite frankly, I was bored less than a sentence in.
RuPaul: Yes, it was missing a certain je ne sais quoi.
Leda: In German, we say, “Ich weiß nicht was.”
RuPaul: Yeah, it definitely wasn’t missing that.
Okay. Onto our next queen. Here comes Miss Syrup Pailin positively dripping in diamonds over a nude-illusion bodysuit that leaves precious little to the imagination. Oh! And some diamond-studded syringe earrings!
Michelle: Miss Syrup Pailin? More like the Marvelous Mrs. Maple!
Anderson: Michelle, she has both spile and substance!
RuPaul: Yeah, I’d tap that anytime!
Anderson: I’d say Miss Syrup certainly has pancake by the pound!
RuPaul: Okay. We should probably stop now. Fine, just one more!
Michelle: I wouldn’t mind seeing this Canadian in a production of Full Mountie!
RuPaul: There we go. Now, Syrup, let’s see your PSA.
Syrup: Bonjour, tout le monde. Before we begin, I would like to wish a happy Orthodox Easter to all who observe it. Et je veux dire “je vous en prie” a tous que observent mes cuisses dans ce pantalon. As you know, my family has been directly impacted by this virus, and so I recognize that it is important that we hold our loved ones tight. Très, très fort, mes cheris. But while we hold our loved ones tight, we must show our neighbors our love by keeping our distance, washing our hands, and covering our mouths. Vous pouvez faire pousser une barbe rustique comme moi dans ce but. But, just remember: I got out of any serious repercussions for blackface, so I know I can get us out of this! Merci, and let’s get back to werk, bitch!
RuPaul: All right, Miss Pailin. Now it’s time for the judges’ praise.
Michelle: Tonight on the runway, you look perfect, you look beautiful. In fact, did you stone those tights yourself? Well, either way, if this look isn’t enough to stimulate the economy, I don’t know what is. You look amazing.
Anderson: Yeah, and I have to be honest: I’m not sure what you said in most of your PSA, but you had a very commanding presence, and your smile really put me at ease.
RuPaul: Excellent work, Miss Pailin. And now here comes our final contestant, Ivana Vall, orange as the day she was sworn, lumbering down the runway in a knee-length American flag dress with a long-ass red tie still managing to poke out the bottom and a tacky red hat. You know what it says. Oh, and she’s wearing what appears to be a bedazzled dog’s surgical cone around her neck.
Anderson Cooper: It looks like Ivana Vall is wearing the good ole stars and yikes!
Michelle: Yeah, Anderson, I think I may need to pledge allergic to this look because it literally has me gagging.
RuPaul: And I have no idea what that cone is for, but it has me in stitches! Miss Ivana Vall, wherever did you get that strange neckpiece?
Ivana: You know, Ru, my doctor said I was spending too much time licking my own wounds on air, so I thought it would be a good precaution. You can’t be too safe these days. I found this one left in the White House from when Bo was neutered—Naughty Bo, I call him. Worst dog in presidential history. I heard he was responsible for cutting the global health unit of the National Security Council. He was a very, very bad boy. Very bad. Sad.
RuPaul: All right. Well, let’s just take a look at your PSA, okay?
Ivana: My fellow Americans, you’re welcome. Pencey Dreadful and I have been working very, very hard—much harder than Crazy Nancy and the do-nothing Democrats—to protect you from the Chinese, reality, and nosy female reporters. But—and it’s a big “but”—the liberal media has—and let me tell you somethin’: I used to work in TV for many years, many, many years, just like you, Ru, and our ratings were through the roof. Speaking of which, we now have more confirmed cases than China, so take that She Ginseng! And testing is, testing, you know, to be honest, students always tell how much they hate testing, I know I did, so I think we’re better off without it, so you’re welcome. And live from New York, it’s your actual everyday life now!
RuPaul: All right, it is time for the judges’ critiques.
Michelle: Ivana, much like our non-essential personnel, it ain’t workin’ on the runway tonight. That dress must be at least two sizes too small. And your make-up. Girl, look how orange you look!
Ivana: It’s Ivanka’s dress, and it fits me perfectly. You’re just jealous. Jealous Michelle! Sad.
Anderson: And Miss Vall, I struggled to find a single coherent sentence in your PSA. It was like the script was written by a racist blender.
Ivana: Well at least I know something about ratings, Anderson. I tried watching your show once, and I didn’t understand any of the words either. I just fell asleep! Very boring.
Anderson: Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me, I—
RuPaul: Silence! I’ve made my decision.The winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the World’s Next Head of State Drag Superstar is…
…Miss Syrup Pailin!
Syrup: Thank you for this opportunity, Ru! I cannot wait to tell my kids all aboot it!
RuPaul: Condragulations! And remember: if you can’t control yourself, how in the hell you gonna control an entire government? Can I get an amen in here?
Gabe Gunnink (’14) lives in Seattle, where he works for a European travel company and gawks at the landscapes and skylines surrounding him. In his free time, he enjoys practicing Portuguese under his breath on city buses, running far enough to justify eating an entire pan of cinnamon rolls, and faithfully implementing Oxford commas.