Controversial Drag Race winner Tyra Sanchez comes out of retirement after stepping away from limelight

RuPaul’s Drag Race season two winner Tyra Sanchez is making a return after previously renouncing her drag alter ego.

Performer James Ross won Drag Race as Tyra Sanchez in 2010, beating out Raven and Jujubee for the crown. He later distanced himself from both Drag Race and the drag persona with which he won, announcing his retirement in 2020 and requesting that fans call him James.

It came after years of controversy for the performer. He was criticised for telling a fan to “go kill yourself” in 2016 and for pretending Morgan McMichaels had died in 2017.

Memorably, Ross was also banned from DragCon in 2018 after allegedly posting threats ahead of the event.

Having returned to drag in 2022 under the name King Tyra, Ross announced Tyra Sanchez’ comeback on Thursday (26 January), with the launch of Club Tyra.

In a letter to fans, Ross wrote: “Club Tyra is an ultimate night of glamor dedicated to reintroducing you (the fans) to drag superstar Tyra Sanchez.

You may like to watch

“Although I believe King Tyra is fabulous in every way imaginable, I know she is truly misunderstood, so I’m putting Tyra up close, face to face with you (our party guests) to allow you to know Tyra a little better.”

He continued by clarifying that although the club nights will feature both Tyra Sanchez and King Tyra, the night is “presented by me… James Ross; the star of the show!”

Ross has also posted casting calls for drag queens, DJ’s that “keep the party pumping” and promoters that “host the livest parties” to help the Club Tyra tour, which will visit 20 cities.

Ross apologised for his behaviour in 2019.

“The judgement, criticism, and opinions I received daily really affected my vibes and it began to control my environment,” he wrote.

“I was on an extreme roller coaster of emotions. So many ups and too many downs. Exhausted, I was just ready to get off the ride.”