This artist recreates iconic ‘Drag Race’ moments with elaborate, miniature paper sculptures
The RuPaul’s Drag Race subreddit is best known for its legion of “Nancy Drews” who can figure out which queens will be on the show before they’ve been announced, but it also serves a number of other functions. It allows die-hard fans to theorize about twists in future episodes, gives fans a platform to swap their best inside jokes — and now, it’s surfacing some pretty breathtaking fan art.
The most recent example popped up Tuesday, when Rachael Cross — a graphic designer based in the U.K. — posted a picture of an elaborate sculpture she made by hand, inspired by Thursday’s gag-worthy episode of All Stars 3. It depicts BenDeLaCreme as a Christ-like figure, in reference to her decision to eliminate herself in lieu of a different queen. Behind her is a Renaissance-inspired golden disc-shaped halo. The whole thing is made with paper.
“I just had this idea of doing it as a slightly tongue-in-cheek thing, and I didn’t realize at the time #BenDeLaChrist was actually going to take off as a meme outside my own head,” Cross said in a phone interview. “But as I was watching [the subreddit], these other Photoshops and memes started popping up and I was like, ‘I have to do it. It’s too funny.’”
Cross has actually been making these Drag Race-inspired paper sculptures for a long time, honoring iconic moments throughout the series’ history.
“I think [season eight queen] Acid Betty was the first one I did, because she had such crazy colors and I knew it was going to look really cute in paper,” Cross said. “And it just took off from there.”
On Cross’s Instagram, you’ll find more than a dozen examples of these sculptures, each of which is just a few inches tall, immortalizing things like Alaska’s “Lil’ Poundcake” alter ego from season five, Valentina’s infamous face-covering mask from season nine and Sasha’s iconic rose petal wig from season nine’s finale. The largest sculpture is Alaska’s finale look from All Stars 2, which stands at about a foot tall, Cross said. That one took nearly 12 hours to make over the course of two days, though they typically take Cross somewhere in the neighborhood of four to eight hours to complete.
But Cross said it’s all worth it for the wonderful feedback she gets from Drag Race superfans on Reddit.
“I think [Reddit] is where i’ve had the most success because I’m taking it straight to the people I know are going to like it,” she said. “They’ve given me the most support. ... Every time I post one, I get nothing but positivity and it’s just been really lovely.”
Unfortunately, for those of you hoping to get your hands on one of these for yourself, Cross said she currently doesn’t have plans to sell her work.
“It’s just something I’ve always done for myself because it keeps me entertained,” she said. “It’s my little creative outlet. I never thought it would be anything to anyone else. ... I don’t build them to last. I’m just a crazy person who sits in her room for too many hours, making things up.”