National Hispanic Heritage Month — which goes from September 15 to October 15— honors the Latinx community’s achievements and contributions both domestically and globally. The theme for this year is “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America,” and it’s intended to emphasize the representational efforts made by the Hispanic community in the political, social, and economic spheres. Latinx individuals continue to make strides in all of these spaces, especially in the field of drag performance.
Whether you choose to learn about Hispanic culture this month through research or by listening to Hispanic music artists, it’s equally essential to highlight Hispanic voices in the LGBTQ+ community. While the art of drag has become more visible in recent years thanks to mainstream media like RuPaul’s Drag Race, it remains a severely stigmatized field, especially given the efforts of many state politicians pressing for measures that ban such performances in public places. Through activism and the act of performing, drag continues to challenge societal norms, promote inclusivity, and develop a sense of belonging to people who feel excluded.
Here are nine Latinx drag queens who are working to promote diversity and inclusion within their communities.
1. Adore Delano
Adore Delano was not just an American Idol candidate in 2008, she was also in the top three of RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s Season 6 in 2014. She later returned for the second installment of the show’s All Star edition. Delano is a well-known figure in the drag scene as she was the first drag queen to exceed one million Instagram followers, which has since increased to almost two million.
Vulture named her one of the top twenty most powerful drag queens in America. Delano is also a singer-songwriter who has made a name for herself not only among drag artists but transgender musicians, with her 2014 album Till Death Do Us Part debuting at No. 59 on the Billboard 200.
2. Kandy Muse
Kandy Muse is most known for finishing second on both Season 13 of Rupual’s Drag Race and Season 8 of the RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,. Muse grew up in the Bronx and made it clear through her work that she wanted to highlight and showcase her Afro-Dominican roots.
In a previous interview with PEOPLE Espanol, Muse said, “Anyone that sees me either on the show, prior to the show, or after the show, they can see that I have this little Latin flavor to me, because it’s important to be a representation for people that aren’t necessarily represented on television.” She continued, “I haven’t seen anyone that represents me on television, and that’s what I want — to go on there and just show people that you can be from the hood, and you can still make it out and be a fabulous entertainer and still chase your dreams.”
3. Bianca Del Rio
Bianca Del Rio is best known for winning Season 6 of Rupaul’s Drag Race. She is noted for being a stand-out comedian during the season and for having a certain boldness in her humor. Following her appearance on the show, the drag queen became a judge (along with Neil Patrick Harris and Haneefah Wood) on the 2023 Hulu series Drag Me To Dinner, which is a reality competition that pits two teams of drag queens against each other to create extravagant dinner parties.
According to Del Rio’s website, she’s continuing to build her brand through her numerous business ventures and acting roles. She launched a makeup removal brand in 2018 called The Bianca Remover, which became a top-selling Amazon beauty product. She also starred in her self-titled film Hurricane Bianca in 2016 and its sequel in 2018.
Valentina is a model, actress, and singer who was born in Southeast LA to Mexican immigrants. She attributes her artistic style and fashion to her American and Mexican culture. Valentina is best known for appearing on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she finished seventh overall, as well as being a contestant on the show’s fourth All-Star edition, where she finished seventh again. Valentina has gone on to host a spin-off, Drag Race: Mexico, alongside fellow queen Lolita Banana, which premiered in June 2023.
Valentina hoped the series would highlight Mexico’s diversity, as she previously stated in an interview with W magazine, “We can connect a divide in so many families and provide understanding for people who don’t know much about us.”
Valentina was named a Pride Honoree by the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus for her work as a brand ambassador for the Trevor Project – a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts and mental health initiatives for LGBTQ+ youth.
5. Olivia Lux
Olivia Lux first gained recognition for appearing on Season 13 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, which aired in Jan. 2021. Lux, who is Afro-Puerto Rican, was eventually eliminated and finished in fifth place overall. Olivia Lux’s drag personality is frequently attributed to the women in her family and particularly from the films she watched as a child with her grandmother where women of color starred as leading characters.
Lux elaborated on this in an interview with Yahoo’s In The Know. “I would also turn off the screen and see these women in my life, so I like to think of Olivia as all of that…I think that’s why Olivia has this classic, timeless, old Hollywood glaze to her” Olivia said.
Outside of drag, Lux has been interested in theater and performing since she was a child, and even studied musical theater in college. She continues to work in theater as she recently appeared as Angel in the musical RENT at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.
6. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo aka Miss Vanjie competed in both Seasons 10 and 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race where she finished 14th and 5th place, respectively. She has continued to work since her time on RuPaul’s Drag Race, making cameos in music videos like Iggy Azalea’s 2019 single “Sally Walker” as well as doing advertising for Chips Ahoy.
7. Alexis Mateo
Alexis Mateo appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 as well as RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Seasons 1 and 5. Mateo finished third in Season 3 and fifth in Seasons 1 and 5. Mateo currently works as an entertainer in Las Vegas, but her hometown is in Florida. She has also won Miss Florida Latina, Miss Orlando, Miss Central Florida, Miss Waterside, and Miss Suncoast, among many other titles.
8. April Carrion
April Carrion is a Puerto Rican Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 6 participant who finished eleventh overall. After Rupaul’s Drag Race, Carrion went on to become a judge on Season 1 of Versus Drag Queens: Edición México. The show is a Mexican spin-off of the Chilean drag program of the same name!
9. Crystal Methyd
Crystal Methyd competed in the 12th season of Rupaul’s Drag Race and finished as the runner-up. Throughout her time on the show, she drew attention not just for her quirky style and makeup, but also to her eccentric name.
Her name is a spin on the drug crystal meth, which is an epidemic that’s profoundly impacted the LGBTQ+ community over the years. When asked about some of the controversies surrounding her name in a 2020 interview with The Advocate, she said, “I just think that the reason I chose the name was because, in a weird way, I wanted to represent my community in a positive way. And although it’s something [that’s], obviously, really harmful and terrible to think about, it’s also something that we do need to talk about and discuss and let people know that they can get help.”
Methyd’s work continues to focus on helping people who are interested in the world of drag know that they can think beyond the box with their profession. In the same interview, when asked what kind of statement she would like to make about how drag affects the world, she responded with, “I would really like to inspire other out-of-the-box thinkers and other types of drag queens to audition and get on the show because drag has no rules and it has no boundaries and it’s more than just trying to look pretty and wearing a beautiful dress.”