The first season of Drag Race nearly had the queens compete alongside ‘sidekicks’

Drag Race season one

RuPaul’s Drag Race OG Shannel has revealed that the show’s inaugural season in 2009 originally cast each queen alongside a costume designer, who would appear with them – but the idea was scrapped.

Way back in the late 2000s, pop culture shifted forever when nine drag queens walked into what seemed to resemble RuPaul’s garage to film the first season of a little show called RuPaul’s Drag Race, with nothing but a vaseline covered camera filter, some heels and a dream.

Now, the TV juggernaut and all its global and interglobal spin-offs are a completely different set of beasts – but they could have been even more different, had the original season one plans been realised.

The first queen ever to strut into the Werk Room, Shannel, appeared at Roscoe’s Tavern, in Chicago, to watch episode seven of All Stars 9 (which she’s starring in) and spilled the tea on her third time on Drag Race… as well as the first.

Speaking to host Naysha Lopez, Shannel revealed that the queens who starred in season one all auditioned (and were cast) alongside a costume designer, who was meant to appear on the show with them.

Naysha, who starred on season eight of both the flagship franchise and All Stars, said: “Do you remember [for season one] we auditioned with a sidekick?” which Shannel confirmed.

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“Originally, the premise of the show was you and your costume designer were going to be competing as pairs against other queens and their costume designers,” the Las Vegas based queen explained in full.

Shannel’s sidekick even prepared for the show, before the idea was scrapped.

“My costume designer, Coco Vega, has done my costumes for 100 years and has made probably 90 per cent of everything I own. At the time, we had got the letter, the phone call and she was like: ‘We’re going on television’.

“She got a nose job, got her teeth fixed, everything.”

Shannel also revealed that it was only “four, maybe five” days before the queens started filming that the sidekicks concept was given the boot.

Naysha confirmed that she too auditioned with a sidekick, Joshuan Aponte, adding that the queens had the option to bring a hair/makeup artist instead.

All Stars 9 is available to watch on WOW Presents Plus.

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