‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ to feature Philly queen Sapphira Cristál in season 16

Sapphira Cristál.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” will feature Philadelphia’s own Sapphira Cristál this upcoming season — but this queen may not necessarily need to lip sync for her life. As a performer who is classically trained as a composer and operatic singer, she’s known for an impressive six-octave vocal range and chose to spook other queens with haunting, ghoul-like moans during her season premiere entrance. She strutted into the Werk Room adorned in a blue-feathered leotard and thigh-high boots, placed her hands on her hips, and announced, “I think this place is haunted!”

In her introduction, she called herself Philadelphia’s crown jewel, adding, “My hair is big. My drag is big. More is more and bigger is better.” Her local appearances often include over-the-top outfits that accentuate a vivaciously curvy silhouette and highlight her eclectic sense of style. She’s been photographed in bold, modern takes on historic ball gowns, playful leotards, and elegant evening wear — always paired with an iconic hairstyle.

Cristál reigned as Miss’d America 2020-2021 — a coveted winner of Atlantic City’s legendary drag pageant — and is Philadelphia Magazine’s 2023 “Best Drag Queen of the Year Who Actually Sings.”

Of her drag persona, she previously told PGN, “She and I are the same person basically; she’s a loving, effervescent, full of energy personality.” Fans are already excited to watch her on “Drag Race,” commenting on the reveal video she posted to Instagram:

Philadelphia queens who previously competed on “Drag Race” include Willam, who was disqualified in seventh place during season four, and Honey Davenport who placed 13th in season 11.

Season 16 premieres Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. on MTV. Tune in to see Sapphira Cristál and her competitors: Amanda Tori Meating of Los Angeles, CA; Dawn of Brooklyn, NY; Geneva Karr of Brownsville, TX; Hershii LiqCour-Jeté of Miami, FL; Megami of Brooklyn, NY; Mhi’ya Iman LePaige of Miami, FL; Mirage of Las Vegas, NV; Morphine Love Dion of Miami, FL; Nymphia Wind of Taiwan and New York; Plane Jane of Boston, MA; Plasma of New York, NY; Q of Kansas City, MO; and Xunami Muse of New York, NY.

Cristál could not be immediately reached for comment.

Newsletter Sign-up