For introducing Sasha Colby as God to ushering in the reign of Sugar and Spice over the global chaos twink domain, among other things, RuPaul's Drag Race season 15 scored nine franchise Emmy nominations for one of the most exciting seasons on TV this year. Now, with a little help from its stellar cast, the 14-year-old reality competition series looks to reclaim its rightful throne amid, as Mistress Isabelle Brooks might say, its Winner Era.
It's not hard to see why the show resonated so much with TV Academy voters in the first place — it fronted one of its most-watched seasons in her-story with a big network move to MTV, bringing more queer joy to mainstream viewers amid a year filled with anti-drag and anti-trans legislation sweeping the nation.
MTV / Paramount + Sasha Colby, Salina EsTitties, Lala Ri, Jimbo, Malaysia Babydoll Foxx on 'RuPaul's Drag Race.'
"I think, right now, if you're doing drag and you're not an activist, are you doing drag?" Sasha says in EW's annual Emmys roundtable video interview (above), in which she reflects on the show's impact alongside season 15 sisters, Miss Congeniality Malaysia Babydoll Foxx and Golden Boot winner Salina EsTitties, as well as fellow 2023 franchise standouts All Stars 8 crowned queen Jimbo and Fame Games winner Lala Ri.
One immediate impact? Sasha's invitation to emcee a White House Pride event with Vice President Kamala Harris following her win. "It was really important to have a trans person there," she says of the celebration. "There's not a lot [of queer people in government], there's not a lot of people there that can speak for us, and I think that's why the show is so important. It's really the only show in history where it's a cast of queer people, it's not just one token queer person telling a story through the lens of a cis person, it's actually queer people and the stories are made by queer people. I think the that's the thing that rings authenticity, rings safe space, rings yourself, and make everyone else feel stronger while watching."
Salina adds that RuPaul's Drag Race is "the best show on Earth," specifically because it captures the vibrance and colorful qualities of the LGBTQIA+ community in the context of the competition, but also provides a safe space for more than just viewers watching at home.
"No other show requires people to come in with so much talent. It really is the best showcase in town of queer talent, and it's such an honor to be a part of it," she says. "I know it's changing lives out there, but it's also changing the contestants' lives as well. I know my life has been saved because of Drag Race. Had I not had Drag Race this year, I don't know where I'd be."
Watch EW's full Awardist roundtable interview with the queens of RuPaul's Drag Race above, and read on for even more highlights from the spirited conversation.
Mettie Ostrowski 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 15 winner Sasha Colby for EW.
2:43 — Malaysia, Salina, and Sasha reveal their favorite moments from the season's extended 90-minute episodes now streaming on Paramount+, which include "Mistress trolling me even more," according to Malaysia. Salina also praises "a lot more confessionals we didn't hear" the first time around, and "more shade we didn't realize was there" when the season debuted on MTV.
4:10 — Malaysia prompts fans to "just watch the ball, the walkthrough with RuPaul" for her favorite added dose of shade from season 15.
5:13 — Queen of the Fame Games Lala says she's too booked and busy and hasn't watched season 15 or All Stars 8 just yet: "I don't have the time right now to even watch TV."
5:45 — Jimbo hilariously misnames Loosey LaDuca as "Loosey DaLuca" in her assessment of season 15: "I remember loving all of the tension between Miss Loosey DeLuca and everybody," she says, before EW's panel corrects her. "You're not alone, because Michelle [Visage] was saying that the whole season, too," Sasha adds.
7:08 — Sasha reflects on the season 15 challenges that pushed her to the limit of exploring new talents as an artist, including the infamous girl group challenge that famously caused a clash between her group and Mistress Isabelle Brooks and Luxx Noir London. "We fought for it so we had to make it good," Sasha says. "Did we bite off more than we could chew?" She also says she was "freaking out" during the subsequent design challenge, and that Malaysia sweetly gifted her with a flamingo-print shower curtain to use on the runway.
MTV/World of Wonder Salina EsTitties as Virgin Mary on 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 15 'Snatch Game.'
8:24 — Malaysia cites "memorizing things" as her most difficult challenge on Drag Race "It brought something out of me that I didn't know that I had," she says. "I don't know the words to [Camila Cabello's] 'Don't Go Yet,' but I knew all the other eight songs, so, I'm proud of myself for that."
9:55 — Amid a year filled with anti-drag and anti-trans legislation, the queens discuss the importance of Drag Race on mainstream TV in 2023, as well as the establishment of the Drag Defense Fund. "It proves drag is not a crime," Lala says. "It helps heal the world."
15:00 — When EW asks the panel if they'd consider running for office, Jimbo confirms she's the only one with a potential political bone in her body-ody-ody. "I'd say probably. I would try it," Jimbo says. "I'd be curious to see what it would be like," while Sasha said Jimbo would be a "great prime minister" of Canada.
16:09 — Discussing the impeccable casting of season 15, including her new drag daughters Sugar and Spice, whom she co-adopted with Mistress, Malaysia reveals that there are some tough family matters under review. "I think I'm going through a divorce right now, exclusive!" she says. "The kids are going to come stay with me. I'm the congenial one, I'm the more nice one. We don't condone child abuse, so they won't be staying with Mistress Isabelle Brooks, she's on tour right now and they need a parent that's going to be with them consistently, because they're a lot to handle."
17:17 — Sasha again tells the story of adopting Justin, a set crew member, during production of season 15.
19:03 — Malaysia discusses being crowned Miss Congeniality, and the trio of season 15 gals reveals whether or not there was a group chat about who they'd all vote for. "One person was campaigning," Malaysia teases.
MTV Willow Pill, Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, and Kornbread at the 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 15 finale
20:30 — Jimbo and Lala speculate on who would've won Miss Congeniality if it was up for grabs on All Stars 8.
21:32 — After previously telling EW she had two tributes to her season 13 bag look planned for All Stars 8, Lala reveals details on what both outfits would've looked like.
22:19 — Salina confirms the fate of her Golden Boot-winning lamp look: "I was hoping Bob the Drag Queen would buy it," she says, adding that it's currently up for auction to whoever wants to buy it.
26:00 — The cast discusses everything they stole from set, with Jimbo confirming that Kandy Muse stole a crew jacket that (hilariously) had a very special set of keys inside it before it was returned.
27:30 — Salina opens up about filming the difficult season 15 reunion, in which she famously clapped back to a read from Irene Dubois and talks about the pain of losing her mother throughout the course of filming. Still, in the end, she says Drag Race saved her own life in the process of filming.