Few performers in the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise’s history have been expected to downplay their self-assuredness as much as recent Season 15 finalist Luxx Noir London. In reality, this 23-year-old drag phenom isn’t ru-pologizing for a single thing.
Luxx entered the competition with a killer runway package, a sharp tongue, and an encyclopedic Drag Race knowledge that had fans posting clips of her Easter egg-style quotes all season long. She was prepared and she knew it. While many viewers recognized her sizeable strength as a competitor, some fans seemed set on being fed up with her driven demeanor from the very start.
First a wig-length dispute, then a fierce disagreement over roles in a group music challenge, then disagreements over who was the first alternate in challenges that others (usually Sasha Colby) won; at every turn, a certain faction of the Drag Race audience expected Luxx to back down—and made their rage apparent online when she didn’t.
In a moment when drag—and queerness in general—are being attacked at every level from anti-queer legislation to domestic terrorism, Luxx’s specific detractors are interesting. Do these people who enjoy a drag program not think drag performers are important? If they do, do they think those performers shouldn’t get to feel their own self-importance? Or is it something else about Luxx altogether that sets them off? Hint: it is.
The queen has spoken on some of the public’s perception of her in the past. At a Drag Race viewing party at Roscoe’s Tavern last year, she explained that even while attempting to downplay her success early in the season, some fans responded with the same complaints that she’d been trying to avoid.
“In the beginning of the season, when I would do well in Untucked, I was never coming back like ‘Oh my god, I did amazing, the judges were gagging over me,’ I would be like, ‘Yeah, I did a good job,’ and people would still think I was being cocky or whatever,” she says. “In the beginning, I knew how I could come off so I was trying to underplay how well I was doing.”
From Luxx Noir London to Megan The Stallion to Sha’carri Richardson, being THAT girl in a chauvinist society has its consequences.
“I had a big feeling about how I would be perceived, and it is pretty accurate. People think I’m a bitch, I’m cocky, I’m delusional – and they’re absolutely right, and they should feel those things. I know a lot of the time when people who look like me and act like me are given the platform to look like me and act like me, they are deemed as the negative or the aggressor, or that they shouldn’t think that they’re the best person in the room or amazing at what they do. So I knew people would be like ‘She’s this, she’s that’ – but keep thinking it, because it got me here today.”
There have been plenty of other talented queens in the past have been torn down by sects of the Drag Race fandom for their unshaken confidence: Bob the Drag Queen was often critiqued for her confidence with a judge even warning her against “showboating” just for doing well in the Snatch Game, Luxx’s drag mother Mo Heart was vilified online during her UK vs. the World run for her prideful moments, Trinity K. Bonét was derided for claiming she could give Beyoncé in season six (which she’s soundly proven to be true), and Shea Couleé was called “cocky” so many times by fans during her season nine run that she turned the term into a smash single.
There’s an audacity to being Black, queer, and unapologetically sure of one’s self that challenges insecure and bigoted people in a very specific way. How dare these people that they inherently deem beneath them feel so actualized when they themselves feel so inadequate?
The fact is that Luxx is beautiful, knowledgeable, funny, perceptive, and talented at such a young age. It took a record twelve maxi-challenges (12!) for her to even place below safe, a longer streak than some seasons’ entire durations. She knows how to be a great drag competitor as well as an engaging reality TV character. She knows how to exemplify her namesake of Black luxury and does it well. Any criticism one has to the contrary might just have more to do with the critic than it does with her.
Now watch her eat this Hayley Kiyoko lipsync: