Willow Pill Brings RuPaul’s Drag Race Crown Back to Denver
Before season fourteen of the reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race started streaming, contestant Willow Pill said Westword that she planned to follow in her sister Yvie Oddly’s high-heeled footsteps and bring home the crown. Last Friday, April 22, the Denver native did just that. Colorado’s gay bars erupted in applause and cheers when Pill was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar, three years after fellow Denver queen Oddly received the same title.
“Be certain drag race It was something that Yvie and I had been talking about for years,” Pill told us in January. “I think we both knew this was coming. I just felt like she was on and was going to pass the torch to me.” Pill will return to Denver in June to headline the Pride edition of Tracks’ monthly showcase, Drag Nation.
The 26-year-old pill faced off against four other queens in Friday’s final (the first five-person final in franchise history), where each queen performed an original number specially written for her. Pill performed the cheeky and charming “I Hate People,” wearing a dress with two mannequin heads that paid homage to Oddly’s iconic season 11 final look. British import Lady Camden, to compete in a final. lip-sync battle to a Cher cover of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. To raise the stakes even further, RuPaul announced that this year’s winner would not take home the usual cash prize of $100,000, but rather $150,000, the biggest cash prize in the show’s history. For the first time, the finalist also received a cash prize of $50,000.
fans of drag race were quick to notice the parallels between the final two contestants and those from season eleven, Oddly and Brooke Lynn Hytes. Oddly and Pill are both queens from Denver whose eccentric and offbeat drag styles are largely inspired by their struggles with chronic illnesses. Oddly, spoke openly about his battle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome while at drag race, as does Pill from his experience with cystinosis, a rare kidney disease (which also inspired the name “Pill”). Their opponents, Hytes and Camden, are both international queens (Hytes is Canadian) with a ballet background. Oddly and Pill were both considered underdogs, as they hadn’t won as many challenges as their competitions. As Oddly pointed out on Twitter, “Apparently Denver is giving birth to some iconically weird, chronically ill queens who don’t win challenges…we win SEASONS.”
Pill is the fourth queen from Denver to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Racefollowing Oddly, Kahanna Montrese and Nina Flowers, who was in the first season and also made it to her season finale.
While Pill recently moved to Chicago, she will always be a queen of Denver; she hopes her win will spur producers to recruit more drag performers from Colorado for future seasons of drag race. In the meantime, the Mile High City is thrilled to see the drag race The crown goes to another outstanding exponent of twisted, avant-garde psychedelic drag from Denver.
For more information on Willow Pill, visit their website. Follow Tracks on Instagram for updates on June’s Drag Nation, including when tickets will be available for purchase.