How SCA has positioned RuPaul’s Drag Race as educational – By @marleygam

By Marley Muirhead


How SCA has positioned RuPaul’s Drag Race as educational


Potentially, this has been said already. However, this is a revelation that has struck me to my core since embarking upon this journey into ad-land, and I need to share it with the masses. There are a plethora of things that we were asked to do in preparation for this school. Learn Adobe, enter a scholarship competition (or two), read books, talk to alumni, read last year’s SCABS. But there was one piece of advice that I think would have properly prepared me for what SCA was about to be. So, to a future student that might be reading this, you’re about to get a whole damn gospel: 


Watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race.


There are some who might laugh at that. Trash TV compared to one of the most competitive ad schools in the world. Peh! Equally there are some that might think the comparison is apt for all the wrong reasons. You know, because creative stuff is “easy”. But the truth is that there is an uncanny resemblance between Ru Paul’s Drag Race and this here school.


The commonalities are there right from the start. Firstly, the queens selected as contestants are the twelve that Ru Paul – spearhead of the show – sees the most potential in. Those twelve are picked from thousands of audition tapes in which the queens are expected to capture the essence of what their drag is. Or what their creativity is. Like interview day. See where I’m going with this one?


Then episode by episode those drag queens are put through their paces to question everything they know about what they do to elevate their craft. They’re put through weekly challenges that can seem random and obscure. The workload piles on with every week as the competition becomes more and more fierce. The queens might get asked to put together three “looks”, to write their own rap and star in a music video and then bam! Ru Paul goes “by the way, you also have a rhythmic gymnastic style dance routine to learn for tomorrow plus a magic trick”. B*tch wha’!? You can see that mixed look of shock and determination in each of their eyes when that’s announced. A look I’d bet Marc has grown quite accustomed to. 


And the queens themselves! All weird and wonderful in their own ways and somehow all in the same place. Throughout the series, you see the ones who spend their journey learning how to implement the criticism they’re given. There are some that really come out of their shell through the process, and others who learn what it is to be a team player. Most of all you see how bad they each just want to be better, how most of the competing has to be done with themselves, not with the other queens.


The most beautiful similarity I find between the show and the school is what the queens learn. On the show, Ru Paul makes a habit of chatting with them each individually while they’re working. There is not one single interaction that is without an indispensable piece of advice. 


“Take what you’re great at and learn to apply it to every challenge you face, especially those out of your comfort zone.”


“Find your own rhythm and stick to it, that’s how you become your best.”


“Learn from what the other great queens are doing around you.”


“Bring yourself to every bit of work you do.”


So for that, I think Ru Paul’s drag race offers the biggest insight (ad joke) into what this school experience is like. You’re welcome.

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