To say that RuPaul's Drag Race has become a popular show is a total understatement. The glamour-filled reality extravaganza has been on the air for a decade now and gains more and more fans every day. From the personal drama to the chic, carefully crafted looks to the larger than life personalities, there's a lot to love about the show.
And, the format means that every season is a new adventure. Each season is different based on the particular queens who are appearing on the show. While not everyone can win, many of the queens come out of the show with a much bigger fan base than they would have otherwise had. It's a win-win!
For fans who are as hopelessly addicted to this juicy reality television show as we are, they just might want to hear about some of the things going on behind the scenes. While it looks like it's all fun and games and glitter, there's a lot going on that most viewers don't know about. It's still probably a great opportunity for queens to reach a wider audience and catapult their work to the next level, but it isn't all peachy keen.
Here are 14 rules that any contestants who are on the show must follow, and 6 things that are strictly forbidden.
20 Forbidden: Queens Can't Have Contact With The Outside World
This one isn't too crazy and is a fairly common rule on most reality television shows. The drama and details are what keep fans of any show tuning in each week. The producers obviously don't want anything to be spoiled by leaks, so they have a rule that contestants aren't allowed to contact the outside world.
After all, even if a queen managed to keep every detail hush-hush, who's to say that one of the friends who got the scoop on what's going on in the house wouldn't blab? In fact, this rule is so important to the show that any contestant who breaks it is disqualified—like William in season 4.
19 Rule: Queens Are Not Allowed To Know Where They Are (Literally)
This one may seem a bit over the top, but hey—Ru's show, Ru's rules! Most of the queens likely don't know exactly where they'll be filming the show. After all, the producers could very well mix up the location for a little extra interest. However, it turns out, the queens have zero knowledge about where they're located.
As former contestant Alyssa Edwards said, "they took us off the plane, blindfolded us, and got us here to the hotel so nobody would know where the girls are." It seems a little bit excessive, but the show has some serious fans—it's probably as much for the contestants' safety as it is to avoid spoilers getting leaked.
18 Forbidden: Queens Cannot Leave Their Rooms At Night
When you have a reality show, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. It's not the same as a scripted show where the talent shows up, works the day, and goes back to their regular lives. Reality contestants are often together, isolated, for weeks at a time, and can act in an unpredictable way.
Since the team definitely doesn't want any shenanigans to get in the way of a successful season, they have a rule that contestants are not allowed to leave their rooms at night. In fact, the production team literally puts a piece of tape over each queen's door so they can confirm if they have any rule breakers.
17 Forbidden: Contestants Cannot Have Phones
Most people in the modern world have their smartphone on them pretty much all the time. It's how we communicate with people, it's where our calendar is, and much more. So, it seems unthinkable to give up your phone for weeks at a time—but that's what queens have to do if they snag a spot on the show. And again, it's all about maintaining secrecy on set and ensuring nothing is leaked to the outside world.
Since they can't guarantee contestants wouldn't send discreet texts or find a way to get some leaked information out, they just don't take the chance. The only device that contestants have access to is a television since they can't use that to send out any spoilers!
16 Rule: Only Five Suitcases Are Allowed
Most reality television show contestants have to bring a fair amount of stuff with them, regardless of the show (except perhaps the castmates on Survivor). You would think that the queens on the show would have endless suitcases for all their stuff because they have to bring way more than the average amount of clothing and makeup. They have intricate costumes and gowns, endless amounts of makeup, accessories and wigs and shoes and everything under the sun.
However, there's a strict rule that queens can only bring five suitcases total with them. It seems like a lot, but once you start packing in all the pieces, that space probably goes quickly. It's so impressive that they create such dramatic looks, week after week, out of just five suitcases!
15 Rule: Queens Don't Know Who Has Won Until The Finale
The most anticipated episode every season is, of course, the finale, where fans get to find out who is crowned the winner. You might assume that the winners themselves have the inside scoop and know who has won before the episode airs, but it turns out that's not true.
When it gets down to the final few contestants, the production team actually films fake endings with every possible winner 'winning.' Then, they end up airing the episode with only the actual winner's footage—which means that the winner doesn't even know she's won until she sees it on air! That must be such a bizarre experience.
14 Rule: Queens Must Be Prepared For Long, Long Days
The queens may make the whole experience look like fun, but in reality, it's a lot of hard work. Each season takes about four weeks to film, but that's not four easy weeks. It's weeks of 11 or 12 hours of filming per day, at the minimum. Those types of days are long enough on a regular show, but when you're wearing super high heels, intricate and uncomfortable costumes, and endless layers of makeup, those hours probably feel a whole lot longer.
As former queen Sharon Needles said to Phoenix New Times, "we were in drag from 7:30 in the morning to 11:30 at night. That's not normal, so the conflict was truly there."
13 Rule: Queens Must Help Other Contestants With Makeup If Asked
In any reality television show that featured a competition aspect, it's pretty much expected that you won't help the other contestants. After all, you want to win—why would you try to help someone else score an advantage so they can potentially beat you? Well, for the producers, it seems that stunning makeup overshadows any competitive drama that could get stirred up.
You see, if there are a few queens who aren't the most skilled at applying their makeup, the producers will actually get the pro queens to help them out a little bit. Former contestant Detox was asked to help fellow contestant Jinx Monsoon in her season, and while she refused, she did have to give her a few pointers. What a tough situation to be in!
12 Rule: Queens Must Provide Their Own Food
The queens on the show sacrifice a lot to be there. They're taking time away from their own lives to try to make their dream happen—and it's not always easy. So, you would think that while they have to bring their own makeup and costumes, they'd get catering on set like a regular television show, right? Well, not exactly.
It turns out, there is no craft service available for queens looking for a mid-day snack. Though they do get paid a small fee per episode of around $400, the contract they have to sign stipulates that they must provide their own food and drink, as well as their own clothing. Uh, what? Seriously, the show is super popular, it seems crazy that they can't spring for catering for the queens.
11 Forbidden: Queens Cannot Book Other Media For A Year After Being On The Show
For many queens, the show is a bit of a launchpad—it allows them to reach a much larger audience and level up their following. Many queens book a ton of gigs after their season has aired. However, the producers made sure to include a particular rule in their contract—contestants are forbidden to book other media without approval for a full year after they've appeared on the show.
It seems a bit tricky to navigate, but overall, it's just because the show wants to protect itself and control some of the messaging that goes out there. After that year timeline is up, though, the options are endless.
10 Rule: Queens Shouldn't Expect A Ton Of Cash Per Episode
When it comes to salaries, reality television is a total mixed bag. There are some shows where the stars receive tens of thousands per season, like many of the Real Housewives. Then, there are competition shows where contestants receive a small amount based on where they finish—and it can be a financial hit if they don't make it close to the end.
On Drag Race, the contestants are all paid a certain amount per episode—but it doesn't add up to much. They reportedly get about $400 an episode for the first season they're on, $420 an episode for the second, and so on. So, they're not raking in thousands and thousands a season, even though they're the main draw of the show.
9 Rule: Queens Must Repeat Themselves Or Situations If Requested
Even though the individuals behind the camera are professionals, reality television can be a tricky thing to film. Sometimes, a moment happens that you just didn't have the best angle on, or that you missed because you were filming something else. In order to make sure fans get the most drama possible, the producers have a rule in the contract that contestants must agree to repeat themselves or re-stage scenes.
What exactly does that mean? Well, if they deliver a particularly juicy line, they may have to repeat it a few times in order for the cameraman to get the best shot. It definitely takes some of the 'real' out of reality tv!
8 Rule: Any YouTube Queens Must Give The Producers A Cut
In this day and age, more and more individuals are choosing to have their own YouTube channels as a way to build their brand. Drag queens have personas that are perfectly suited to the medium—having their own channel allows them to connect with their audience, entertain them with their larger than life persona, and maybe even share a makeup tutorial or two.
However, contestants on the show will want to be aware of a particular rule that the producers have put in place for YouTube-savvy queens. Apparently, if a contestant has a channel on YouTube, they have to allow the show to access it and must give the show a percentage of the profits.
7 Rule: Queens Must Allow Production To Misrepresent Them For Added Drama
No matter how talented they are, reality television show cameramen cannot actually invent fake dialogue. If a queen didn't say something, they won't be able to air them saying it on television. However, there is definitely a lot of wiggle room when it comes to amping up the drama on the show.
Apparently, the queens have to sign a clause in their contract that gives production consent to misrepresent them "for dramatic purposes." That could mean anything from splicing together bits of dialogue to taking a particular line totally out of context. Sneaky! No wonder they manage to stir up so much drama—half of it is manufactured!
6 Rule: Queens Must Be Ready To Help With Additional Content
The schedule that the queens must maintain on the show sounds pretty grueling. They have long days of filming, and you would think that they just want to collapse in their hotel rooms at the end of every day. It seems, though, that that isn't always an option for them. You see, in the contract they sign prior to going on the show, they give their consent to the producers to involve them in the creation of additional content.
So, as the producers are seeing the fan reactions and figuring out what's going well in a given season, the queens may be called on to create some additional content for eager fans. Their work is never done!
5 Forbidden: Queens Cannot Sue The Producers
This particular bit of the contract is definitely put in place to protect the producers of the show from any liabilities, but still—it's a little cray. Apparently, when they sign the contract that allows them to participate on the show, the queens sign away their right to sue any of the producers. You wouldn't think it would be a big deal, but you never know what's going to happen on a particular season.
If something truly negative occurs, the queens are basically forbidden from taking any legal action against the producers. Talk about a nightmare! Obviously, the positives outweigh the potential negatives, though, because many of the queens sign that contract happily.
4 Forbidden: Queens Cannot Take Pictures Or Video Of Their Fellow Contestants
You might assume that it's just a selfie-palooza behind the scenes of the show. However, it turns out, contestants are actually forbidden from taking any photographs or videos of their fellow contestants. Sure, once the show has wrapped, it's all fair game. They can feature their fellow contestants on their YouTube channels, take selfies with them for IG, and more.
While the show is actually being filmed, though, it's all forbidden. It's yet another attempt to prevent any leaks. The producers take secrecy seriously! Even having a makeup look or outfit get spoiled would be bad in their eyes, because that's what keeps fans tuning in.
3 Rule: Queens Must Be Ready To Be Replaced If The Producers Say So
Contestants know they have the potential to be eliminated from the competition every week, but did you know that they actually can be replaced for any reason whatsoever? Even if they're totally slaying it in the competition, the producers have the right to remove them and replace them with someone else at any time. Talk about crazy!
This rule is obviously in place to allow them some flexibility, but it must be so discouraging for the contestants. I mean, can you just imagine thinking you're doing so well and then unceremoniously getting yanked from the show? It's not something that happens often, but the sheer possibility is intimidating.
2 Rule: Queens Must Allow Cameras Into Their Homes
Most of the filming is done when contestants are all gathered for the actual taping of the show. However, there are certain situations where the producers want some additional footage or a little behind the scenes vibe. After all, the queens develop really devoted fan bases—a little peek into their actual lives can be a huge draw.
So, contestants must agree to allow filming in their home and business, in addition to getting filmed for the actual show. Once they read that in the contract, we have a feeling some of the queens might make the decision to spruce up their space a little, just in case!
1 Rule: Queens Must Assume All Responsibility For Any Damages From Other Queens
On the show, tension is high, and contestants can get really emotional at times. It's a recipe for conflict, and you just never know when a contestant might decide to lash out at someone they have beef with in their season. However, the producers don't have to worry about any potential liability that might come from physical drama, because it's already taken care of by a rule in the contract.
Apparently, the contestants must agree to assume all responsibility for any damages received from their fellow queens. So, if two contestants get into a physical brawl and end up scraped up or worse, that's their own problem—not the producer's problem.
Sources: Screen Rant, PopBuzz, RealityBlurred