Eye Candy :: RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Pit Crew
Perhaps you've noticed. Season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race has been slightly... retooled. It's not just the fiercely competitive queens with their sights on the crown and the $75,000 cash prize which has certainly up the ante, and it isn't the superstar wattage of judges that Ru has locked in to preside at the table either. Nope - the latest accessories most getting our attention on the weekly reality-competition show - are this year's finely tuned 2011 models of RuPaul's Pit Crew.
Truly, let's face it... in previous seasons, you didn't even blink when those charming, yet unobtrusive stallions entered into the room. Audiences were mostly riveted to the shenanigans center court as the fiercely competitive drag racers duked it out. The Pit Crew of previous years, though easy on the eye, weren't meant to pull focus. Now that the show has proven, it's got legs (I mean have you seen some of those girls?) It's much easier to add elements to spruce things it up a bit.
And if RuPaul has proven her skill at anything, it's mastery of the reinvention. After all, who's going to argue with the Supermodel of the World - she knows how to work it! And the boys donning those hefty tool belts and filling this year's speedos (they only come in one size... tightly fitted) packing their guns and brimming with personality are Jason Carter and Shawn Morales (the furry one).
"This show is so popular around the world - RuPaul is a legend," Jason Carter, one of the dreamy duet, joyously enthused, "but suddenly everyone has noticed the Pit Crew." Well, Duh!
In previous sessions the crew was little more than a Chelsea-fide set of Vanna Whites that carried the (um) packages around the set and did the heavy lifting - then suddenly: enter season 3’s and the Pit Crew are getting just as much air time as the contestants.
Jason Carter, the self-admitted 6foot3 "tall drink of chocolate milk" hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico before transplanting to Los Angeles. "I’m a dancer/choreographer and I also hosted an event with one of the queens [competing on the show]." As fate would have it, in true classic Hollywood fashion, a casting director caught the act. "But I didn’t know that," Carter tells me. "I got an email asking me to audition, but because of other commitments I kept missing my opportunities, until one of the casting directors threatened to hunt me down." A manhunt many across of America would have happily joined in on, and Carter couldn’t be happier. "It’s been a blessing and a wild ride."
Something new to the Pit Crew
And then there’s Shawn Morales. "I was raised in Southern California," he tells me, and you can thank his parents for his boldly attractive charm. His mom is German and American Indian, and his father is Puerto Rican, "but I don’t speak Spanish." Truly we can pardon this handsome specimen this one fault. "A friend of mine submitted my info to a friend of his," Morales shares about his casting experience, "and then all of a sudden I got called in. It’s been a lot of fun."
Morales is himself heavily in tune with the LA nightlife scene. "I’m also a go-go dancer outside of the show." He and his partner actually promote throughout several popular bars in Los Angeles the now more masculine aesthetic that is gaining a fan-following within the scene. Morales cheeringly admits, "We’ve certainly brought in something new than previous Pit Crews."
About their Pit Crew gear, or lack there of. The gentlemen won’t be sizing themselves up for any designer fashion lines just yet - simply because there really isn’t much for them to get into. "Well our costumes had been described as ’pretty cute’," Carter tells me, "and on the first day of shooting I got handed these Aussiebums - which are famous for accentuating certain parts of the male anatomy... so now all the world gets to see what Jason Carter is packing." He laughs. "I just said let’s go with it." So much of the show’s budget is clearly spent on make-up and additional raw material for the contestants, perhaps next year someone will help sponsor the crew’s wardrobe. Not!
"I don’t have a problem with that," jests Carter, "being eye candy."
The guys have also learned a lot since joining the show. "This is fierce competition," Morales reveals, "there is some pretty major drama that goes down." Certainly that drama has made RuPaul’s Drag Race destination viewing on Monday nights. "When those girls go on - it’s take no prisoners," Carter tells me.
Many surprises to come
Of course, as fascinating as the boys are there is so much more going on at the center of this television phenomenon. "I never really knew what it entailed," admits Carter. "They have to work at being these personalities all the time. I have a whole new understanding and respect for the craft." Carter went on to add, "It takes a lot of talent, dedication and hard work for these ladies to go out and do what they do."
Raising the stakes and adding even more glamour to the show this year, is the cast of celebrity judges that have graced RuPaul’s stage. "It was kind of mind blowing having someone like Latoya Jackson right there," Morales shared how star-struck he was at meeting the pop icon. But this year Latoya was just the tip of the iceberg. "This season is on fire!" Jason happily revealed, "There are so many surprises and turns around the bend." Shawn on the other had deflected the question: "I’ve had to be told not to laugh so much," he says with a smile, "but we can’t tell you everything."
And on their newfound fame, the Pit Crew couldn’t be humble or appreciative of how well received they’ve been. "I’ve had people on Facebook tell me they pause [the show] when we appear...just to oogle us," Carter candidly admits, "for me to blush... well it takes a lot." Morales says about his crew mate: "Jason is more the outspoken high-energy let’s go get ’em kind of guy." And in kind Carter reveals, "Shawn is so quiet - he’s very natural and down to earth; he walks by and people’s jaws just drop. People around him act like hungry wolves."
Both men are especially prepared by the notoriety that the role on the show is creating for them within their community, and they are prepared to step up and represent. "My older brother is stationed in Iraq, and he loves the show," Jason Carter proudly shares. "We all want to be accepted; we all want to be loved - and it’s important for me to out and part of the community." Morales added, "I’m very proud of what I’m doing."
And with Season 3 gearing up to be one of the most memorable yet, you can bet that RuPaul’s got all the bases covered and her Pit Crew can ably handle any drag emergency.
Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Monday nights @ 10pm/9c on LOGO and you can catch more of the gorgeously new and improved Pit Crew by visiting www.logotv.com.