TLC (DStv 135) – home to popular wedding shows like Say Yes To The Dress – has a brand-new show for wedding lovers and people who just love love. Dragnificent! (also known as Drag Me Down The Aisle) features RuPaul’s Drag Race superstars Jujubee, Alexis Michelle, Thorgy Thor and BeBe Zahara Benet as fairy godmothers, helping women prepare for their upcoming wedding days, along with some other major life events.

It’s a full-makeover extravaganza as the awesome foursome help their clients with embracing the positive aspects of femininity, and finding their inner diva to allow them to do the stride of pride down the aisle. “We’re using our drag superpowers to help people look and feel great,” says Jujubee. Alexis adds, “We can help you find something that will make you feel really comfortable and confident in your own skin on your wedding day.”

In some respects, the queens offer practical assistance, in others, spiritual. They’ll be bringing their own vulnerabilities to the fore as they show the brides how they confront body image issues, and self-esteem issues stemming from not fitting into current gender norms. Expect pauses for tears throughout the show, as for many of the women, this will be their first time articulating some of the pain that they’ve lived with their whole lives. When a bride-to-be cries during a wedding dress try-out, digs her heels in and hates everything she tries on, the Queens don’t see a bridezilla; they see a girl who’s looking in the mirror and seeing every single way that she doesn’t fit the picture of bridal beauty. It’s like being told all about the most exciting party ever, as a child, for weeks and weeks and weeks, and then being told to your face that you are not invited.

Watch now on Catch Up

If that breaks your heart, hang in there, because the awesome foursome will be going all-out to turn things around for their brides. There will be no weeping willows left by the wedding day (or the dreaded high school reunion, or weight loss celebration), only tears of joy.

It’s not all tears, either. The queens will be sneaking in little makeovers on the side. In episode 1, for example, a tough bride saw her fiancé enter the wrestling ring in full drag for the (re)proposal of a lifetime.

And after a joyful wedding, the queens will find their own way to celebrate their victory at the reception. “It's just very engaging. It is very exciting. It's full of heart. It's full of compassion. It's full of fun. I'm very excited that people get to see drag in another light, on another platform and get a better understanding of the different layers that make us who we are as individuals. Take away the make-up and everything and what are you left with? We also have other gifts other than just looking the way we look and performing the way we perform and with Dragnificent!, you get to see a lot of that,” says BeBe. Now meet the Queens…

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Jujubee (Airline Inthyrath)

Speciality: Fashion. Jujubee teases out exactly what the brides are looking for – which they’re often confused about – then helps them snatch that gown.

What about Jujubee? If you had to get some terrible news about your look, your behaviour or even your personal hygiene, we’d recommend getting it from Jujubee. She’s one of the most charmingly shady queens on TV – a hard act to balance. Her playfulness and curiosity balances sharp observation so that even when she’s been painfully precise at unpicking your character, it’s done with such naughty wit that you can’t take offence. Jujubee can also trot along the tightrope between sexy and silly without putting a foot wrong. In RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S5, she gave a perfect demonstration of this with her seductively sensible Eartha Kitt impression.

Weak spot: On Drag Race, ironically for Jujubee this was looks. Jujubee dresses like a rich lady who owns a shopping mall, which is actually really low key for a Drag performer. But on the show, this works to her advantage because if anyone knows how to get a bang for your buck and still look delightful, it’s budget-savvy bargain shopper Juju.

You know her from: RuPaul’s Drag Race S3, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S1, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S5, RuPaul’s Drag U S1-3.

What we know from stalking her Insta: The love of Jujubee’s life – well, there are two – are her cats Mister (tuxedo cat) and Priss (tabby).

Jujubee says: “It’s not about a makeover because you can take off a makeover. What I love and what I think is so special about Dragnificent! is that it's a transformation show. We really work with people spiritually and then we dress them up to match their spiritual bodies.” She adds, “I used to think of myself very poorly. I thought I was ugly and stupid and all that. Those were things that I learnt to think about myself, and anything that you learn can be unlearnt… We teach what we’ve done with ourselves because, I mean, look at us! We’re fabulous!”


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Alexis Michelle (Alex Michaels)

Speciality: make-up and body image. Aside from being a professional make-up artist specialising in brides in her off-drag life, Alexis has battled body image issues and the struggle of dressing a bigger body for long enough to really understand a lot of the doubts that the brides are feeling. But just look at hurr! Alexis, like Jujubee, understands how to get those curves and swerves that make a womanly figure appear queenly and glamorous instead of frumpy-dumpy.

What about Alexis? Alexis Michelle is a Broadway baby. As a trained musical theatre performer, she’s about the razzle dazzle, putting on a show and being big, bold, beautiful and joyful. She also makes her own drag costumes. Alexis is out there to entertain, but she also knows when to tone it down and be gentle, one on one.

Weak spots: If you’ve seen Drag Race, you’ve seen Alexis being her Extra self – bossy, stubborn and she has a touch of that Kris Kardashian-style momager about her. She’s controlling! But in Dragnificent!, Alexis uses that power for good. She’s supportive and kind and when she does steer the brides, she does it with a subtle firmness that allows her to talk them into all sorts of new experiences.

You know her from: RuPaul’s Drag Race S9 and she’s the drag mother of S12’s sweetheart, Jan.

What we know from stalking her Insta: Alexis has set up an Insta account for her dog, George Bouvier Beale (Grey Gardens, hello!). His favourite activities appear to be napping and picnics.

Alexis says: “I do think there is some education about humanity and about the fact that we, as queer, gender-bending performance artists, have a lot of love and compassion to share. It’s a daily journey. Seeing your own beauty, and your own worth, is something that takes practice. It’s not just something you can artificially put on, like a dress on your wedding day.”


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Thorgy Thor (Shane Thor Galligan)

Speciality: music and entertainment. Thorgy has performed with a symphony orchestra in drag. Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser’s Symphony Novia Scotia was the first “Thorchestra” to welcome Thorgy as a guest performer (violin, viola and cello). But as a member of the Brooklyn arts scene, she’s tuned into the latest street and club music, too.

What about Thorgy? “Fashion clown” Thorgy is the ultimate party guest as she just radiates positive energy and exuberance. If you want people off their chairs and on the dance floor, Thorgy is the one who’ll be beckoning even the stuffiest stuffed shirt to have a good time. And as a drag clown, she has a gift for the fun and unexpected. If a bride wants to make an impression, Thorgy can show her how she can really make an entrance at any event.

Weak spots: During their season of Drag Race, Bob The Drag Queen proved that Thorgy was easily distracted and prone to getting snippy when things don’t go her way. Thorgy is your classic poor loser. But the show also revealed that she always has a million details in her head, so if anyone can understand how overwhelmed most women feel by wedding planning, it’s Thorgy.

You know her from: RuPaul’s Drag Race S8 and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S3. And if you’ve seen Mozart In The Jungle S3, Thorgy appears as herself, a drag violinist, in episode 9.

What we know from stalking her Insta: She and Jujubee have a love-and-dating-advice show together on Insta called Love Hotline!

Thorgy says: “No matter who you are or where you are from, you deserve to feel fabulous. Drag is one way of getting there.” She adds, “In every episode, we meet and fall in love with whoever we are taking care of. So, if their families are involved and it makes somebody more comfortable to meet me out of drag or in drag, I’m comfortable either way. I’ve always found this, doing drag for 17, 20 years – when I meet somebody, it’s [often] like, all right, let me let down the armour for a second – and then I suck them in.”


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BeBe Zahara Benet (Nea Marshall Kudi Ngwa)

Speciality: event planning. Off the drag stage, Nea is a professional event planner (he has his own company, Revel Entertainment) with an eye for glamour. And despite looking like a million dollars, she can do budget, darling. Never fear.

What about BeBe? Persnickety BeBe is a bride’s best friend because she understands perfectly what it is to watch everything “just so” at your reception. BeBe is detail oriented down to the last diamante sparkle and she understands elegance and opulence. Above all, BeBe is about understanding and projecting your self-worth.

Weak spots: Attitude? Cameroonian BeBe is African matriarchal grace, elegance and dignity. Or in the words of her Drag Race sister Shangela, she’s a little bougie. Okay, a lot bougie. Watch her face when she finds out that one bride’s (temporary) engagement ring cost just $7! But her regal attitude looks good on BeBe; she’s a lady. And when you’re a woman who’s been pushed into second place your whole life, you need a BeBe to pull you up right and show you how to be All That.

You know her from: RuPaul’s Drag Race S1 (the show’s first-ever winner), RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars S3.

What we know from stalking her Insta: You can listen to her new album, Body On Me, and watch some mesmerising YouTube videos from her tracks via the link at the top of her bio. Banjo slaps!

BeBe says: “This show, it’s really about celebrating others, touching others, bringing light, bringing love, and using our art form to do that. Every time I get up in the morning and I stare at the mirror, I always try to validate myself. I always try to be my own best cheerleader. I tell myself that I belong. I have a purpose… So when you go out to the world and it’s nasty to you, there’s always that voice that reminds you that you’re special and you should take some time to celebrate yourself.”


Watch Dragnificent! S1 on Tuesdays on TLC (DStv 135) at 21:00 or on Catch Up


And don’t miss

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Our Perfect Wedding

Weddings are still mostly on lockdown in South Africa, particularly with the evening curfew and alcohol bans coming back into effect in July and family gatherings aside from funerals still banned under lockdown level 3. But it’s time to get inspired for 2021. So, the new season of Our Perfect Wedding is looking back at some of its greatest hits, grouped around specific themes. Tune in to see the show’s most dramatic moments, or the most beautiful kisses. And get inspired by all the different ways that the couples have chosen to arrive on their big day.

Watch S10 on Sundays on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) at 19:00. The latest episodes are available briefly on Catch Up

For the nostalgia, S1-7 are available on Showmax. Showmax also has S1-10 of the Kenyan version of the show, and S1 of the Nigerian version of the show 


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Say Yes To The Dress: Lancashire

Stylist and bride’s BFF Gok Wan helps brides find the perfect dress, no matter what her wedding dreams are. Beauty And The Beast wedding? Sorry for your groom, but Gok knows just what you need. When it comes to rebuilding body confidence, Gok has a bride’s back. Gok even helps brides with seemingly impossible dreams like finding a match for a dress in a style that’s no longer available from the designer. Worth watching for all the practical tips that Gok has up his sleeve and for seeing how quick alterations can take a dress from meh to YES!

Watch S2 on Sundays on TLC (DStv 135) at 18:05


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Die Bruid-boetiek

South African designer Diaan Daniels, presenter of My Droom-trourok, has a brand-new show in which he’s not only helping brides find their perfect wedding dress, but extending his help to the whole wedding party including the guys, as well as young ladies looking for a Matric Dance wow-moment dress. With years of experience, Diaan can take on any bride, from a princess to a plaasjapie. And his glam squad shows each bride how she can look her best on the big day.

Watch S1 on Thursdays on VIA (DStv 147) at 17:30 or on Catch Up


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We’re Here

If it’s the idea of drag makeovers and the Queens themselves that keep you coming back for more, We’re Here brings you more “dragnificence”. Bob The Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka (all familiar faces from RuPaul’s Drag Race) are driving around small-town USA to get queer people, their families and their friends into drag and to help them put on a drag show that the entire town is invited to attend. The goal is to show people that they have more allies than they realise, and that while bigots have big mouths, most people would rather love than hate.

Watch We’re Here S1 on Mondays on 1Magic (DStv 103) at 22:15 or on Catch Up


Drag fan or in search of queer-friendly content? Also watch:

Drag SOS S1 on Showmax

The Boulet Brothers Dragula S2 on Showmax

Trixie Mattel: Skinny Legend documentary special on Showmax

Katya: Help Me I’m Dying comedy special on Showmax

Big Feedia: Queen Of Bounce S6 on Showmax

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