The art of drag has been around for a lot longer than you'd think, with the earliest documented examples of traditional drag going back to the late 1800s. But since the new millennium, drag has begun to dominate not only gay culture, but pop culture as a whole.
There are few better examples of this than the unprecedented popularity of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' on Logo, a reality show competition that pits 12 hand-selected contestants against each other to see which queen has what it takes to reign supreme.
Although just about every drag queen who has appeared on the show has climbed to fame in their own right, it's ultimately about who ends up taking that dazzling diamond crown.
And this year, one special queen right from New York City clawed her way to drag royalty.
Christopher Caldwell, commonly known as his stage name Bob the Drag Queen, is a 29-year-old native New Yorker whose comedic stylings, over-the-top personality and creative compositions earned her the crown of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8, as well as the coveted $100,000 cash prize.
Bob is the second NYC queen to nab the title of America's Next Drag Superstar.
The hilarious and quick-witted Bianca Del Rio was the favorite to win Season 6 of Drag Race, and since winning the crown has toured the globe on her Rolodex of Hate Tour, now watchable on Vimeo.
Season 8 had some intense competition, filled with everything from acting challenges, where his portrayal of Cookie from FOX's Empire is now basically legendary, to making entire runway ensembles from scratch to an intense four-way lip synch battle to nab a spot in the Top 3.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Bob said, "I wasn’t even looking for who to do better than. I have to do my own personal best. If I do that, my creativity will come through," a lesson he first learned from his mother Martha Caldwell as a little boy.
“My mom said, ‘What you need to do is worry about yourself and not focus on anyone else, and you’ll end up shining.’" It was clear he took his mother's advice to heart because from the very first episode of the season, he showed to be a formidable competitor as well as a stand-out talent.
Bob stands by his tagline, "A Queen For The People," as he has been intimately involved in the gay rights movement, especially in NYC. Bob brought his experiences to his performances and stage presence, which only strengthened the resolve and desire to just be, well, Bob.
His latest success came in the form of a single on iTunes, titled "Purse First", an homage to his entrance into the Drag Race workroom on episode 1, and became a running mantra throughout the season. His collaboration with DJ Mitch Ferrino has made it a perfect victory lap for the NYC queen.
“I really value performing. In my opinion, it’s the most important part of my drag,” he said. “I got my start in drag doing stand-up, so for me, this is really exciting.”
You can catch Bob this month in NYC at the Gramercy Theatre on Saturday, June 18th at 8 p.m.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]