BenDeLaCreme will certainly go down as one of the most memorable queens in Drag Race herstory. Her initial appearance on the show in Season 6 certainly gave fans much to remember. Not only did she win the title of “Miss Congeniality”, but there was also her memorable turn as Maggie Smith in “Snatch Game”; the fact that when she landed in the bottom two, RuPaul performed the rare trick of saving both queens — specifically noting a desire to see more from DeLa; and of course her often uncanny resemblance to Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.
It’s worth remembering that Visage called DeLa out during that season, critiquing that she didn’t feel like she’d gotten a sense of the queen’s identity. DeLa was hurt at the time, defending the BenDeLaCreme character as the embodiment of everything that she was. In retrospect, perhaps it wasn’t that we hadn’t gotten to know the character but that we hadn’t gotten to know the difference between her two characters. Where did realness of drag performer Benjamin Putnam end and the airy Mary sweetness of the DeLa character begin?
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Between Season 6 and her return on All Stars 3, each seemed to click into sharper focus. In talking head interviews as Ben — adorably attired in a purple bow tie and matching Jughead-style hat — he was smart, witty and thoughtful. Meanwhile, in drag, DeLa had become bigger, bouncier, funnier and more versatile than ever. This growth was rewarded with an incredible five main challenge wins and three “Lip Sync for Your Legacy” victories — certainly making her one of the winningest queens to ever compete on Drag Race.
In our exclusive interview, DeLa offers some rare insights about both the frenzied pace of the Race and the intensity of the competition overall. She also makes a thoughtful plea to viewers of Drag Race to watch with kindness that seems prescient considering the recent spate of racially-charged social media hate directed at one of the contestants of color. And though we would have gladly seen her take the All Stars 3 crown, it’s possible that she created an even more memorable moment than winning with her controversial decision to sacrifice herself and send herself home. Regardless, DeLa, you’ll always be a winner to us.
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Last modified: February 14, 2019