Gigi Goode, the early favorite to win the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is just 21 years old. That means that she was 10 years old when the show first premiered on Logo in 2009, and was a mere glint in her costume designer mom’s eye when RuPaul was hosting her own VH1 talk show and mixing and mingling backstage at the VMAs with Nirvana. That’s a big deal. Queens today have almost unlimited resources in terms of makeup tutorials, oversized heel emporiums, and streaming services playing all the RuPaul friendly drag touchstones they should know. Baby queens also have 11 years of Drag Race contestants to look up to, admire, and ask for advice before they enter the world of drag, something that can also be quite daunting.
The A.V. Club talked to Ross Mathews, sometimes Drag Race judge, about how he thinks the show has helped give America—and beyond—a look at a subversive subculture that once operated mostly in the shadows. We also talked about the ins and outs of life backstage on the show, the legal maneuvering that goes into making sure the show is fair, and how it’s decided which episodes he appears on. All that and more in the clip above.