Rupaul’s Drag Race – Red Runway (video by VH1)


Rupaul’s Drag Race is an American TV show hosted by the world’s most famous drag queen, Rupaul.

Level: High
Language: Slang, Jokes, Fashion, Society

In each season of Rupaul’s Drag Race, performers from across the United States (and Puerto Rico) battle it out to be selected as the winner of the coveted title “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. To help the judges decide, the contestants take part in lots of different challenges such as performing songs, acting, doing comedy routines and – of course – modelling their fabulous costumes in a weekly runway.

In this lesson, students will watch five contestants taking to the runway. Each week, the clothes for the runway need to follow a particular theme, which for this episode is the colour red. As they walk down the runway, we hear the contestants explain their costumes. We can also hear the ridiculous, funny comments from the judges. Get ready for lots of colloquial language and more than a few jokes with double-meanings!

Oh, and just in case you’re confused by the term “drag queen”, the label refers to a person (usually a man) who dresses in a style of exaggerated femininity. This usually involves lots of make-up, a large wig, high-heeled shoes, an eye-catching costume, etc. Drag queens often perform shows in bars or nightclubs and are very popular in cities like New York, London, Berlin, or Sao Paolo.

WARNING: While the tone of this video is generally quite innocent, it does feature some mild adult content. The dialogue contains several jokes which are vaguely sexual in meaning (although the video does not contain any rude language). The tasks on the worksheet do not focus on these risque jokes. It would probably be a good idea to quickly watch the video before you decide whether to use it with your class.

Post-lesson discussion questions:

Did you enjoy this lesson? Perhaps you’d like to talk a bit more about the topic. As mentioned at the end of the worksheet, below are some questions for students to discuss in class:

(to make the questions appear bigger on your screen/board, simultaneously press the Ctrl key and the + key)

• Can you name any famous drag queens? If so, describe them.

• Does your country have a tradition of drag queens (or similar)? Explain.

• Drag queens have existed for hundreds of years and they love to shock. These days, is it still shocking to see a drag queen?

• Some critics don’t like Rupaul’s Drag Race because they say it has turned an underground activity into something commercial. Why do you think they feel this way?

• Many people think that the difference is decreasing between clothes for males and clothes for females. Why do you think this is the case?

• For young children, are gender stereotypes stronger or weaker than they were twenty years ago? Explain.

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