How Much Does ‘Drag Race’ Owe to ‘America’s Next Top Model’?

Before there was the “other Tyra,” there was Tyra Banks.

Though Drag Race has become a sensation in its own right, the show’s earliest seasons lampooned other reality shows, chief among them America’s Next Top Model. When you get down to it, Top Model’s DNA is a huge part of Drag Race’s. You have larger-than-life hosts, a dash of camp and a cast of 14 hopefuls vying for a bevy of glamorous prizes, including a $100,000 contract.

Drag Race started campy as hell, but as the show’s gone along it’s been stripped of a lot of those campier elements,” host Kevin O’Keeffe says on the latest episode of “The Kiki,” INTO’s web series about RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Together, hosts O’Keeffe and Mathew Rodriguez draw a straight line from Top Model, which didn’t shy away from bringing queer people of color like Miss J and Mr. Jay onto people’s TV screens, to Drag Race, the queerest show in the history of reality television.

Whether it’s conversation about what it means to be transgender, fights about race or ruminations on queerness, the two shows share so much. With all that in mind, take a look at this week’s “Kiki,” which tips its wig to the queen of reality television, Tyra Banks.

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