RuPaul’s Drag Race fans fell in love with Adore Delano in 2014 while she was on the show’s sixth season. So much so that she became the first queen to have 1 million followers. Almost a decade after that initial launch, what is Delano doing today?
Let’s get one thing straight: “Drag Race” might have been Delano’s first ru-deo, but it was a far cry from her first reality TV rodeo. On the contrary, before she entered RuPaul’s Drag Race as a contestant, she tried her hand at another competitive show: American Idol. Delano, who Billboard says is non-binary and continues to identify with both her first name and her chosen drag name, appeared as Danny Noriega. Unfortunately, as Reuters reported at the time, Noriega fell just short of the top 12 for season seven — despite becoming a household name among ‘Idol’ fans for the famous back-talking Simon Cowell. But even after his elimination, the rising star was keen to remain authentic. Speaking to the publication, Noriega explained, “I can’t change for anyone.”
Six years later, Delano returned to viewers’ screens for Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. There she became a firm fan favorite, even making it into the top 3 of the season. It’s been a long time since 2014 though – so what has she been up to since then?
She returned for RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars
Adore Delano was a hit on RuPaul’s Drag Race. So it only makes sense that she was welcomed back for the show’s spinoff, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly ahead of the Season 2 premiere, she doubled down on her desire to be authentically herself. “I just wanted to go to All Stars, be myself if anything, step it up a little bit more and be a little bit extra weird because now they need to know who I am,” she said. However, in the same interview, she also hinted that her return came with some challenges. “You go through it once and then you come back and think it’s going to be the same vibe… it’s very different. It’s definitely more pressure because they’re on top of you, they expect you to do everything and it’s just a lot.”
Sure enough, only two episodes into All Stars, Delano chose to fly away of his own accord. At the season’s reunion, she gave her co-stars a tearful explanation as to why. “I didn’t prepare for this…bringing myself back to the whole elimination process, the critique process, the G*****n catwalk.” She also shared that it was difficult to hear critical feedback from Michelle Visage, who was with the she was touring prior to joining All Stars. She continued, “Before I could even say, ‘Girls, bye, I’m going to my dressing room’ … here I have to sit there and f***ing take it.”
She has done great things
Despite her heartbreaking departure from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Adore Delano has made an exciting path forward.
In 2019, she returned to her reality TV roots by joining the cast of the fourth season of Ex on the Beach. At the time, she told Entertainment Weekly that appearing on a dating show meant a lot. “I remember being a little kid and never seeing anyone like this [trans co-star La Demi Martinez] or myself on a show like this — and with such confidence.” She also told the outlet that being the representation she wanted to see was her biggest motivation. “Even when I was unsure, I’d go into the bathroom and say, ‘There’s kids looking at this’… I want them to know, ‘You’re a part of society too! And your gender is valid.'” Alongside her groundbreaking presence on Ex on the Beach, Delano has worked hard in her music career — and for those who missed her live performances, she has good news. Speaking to A Modern Gay’s Guide, she gushed about being able to tour again after the pandemic. Look out Australia: she’s coming to you this November!
Perhaps the most exciting development for her fans, though, is that she wouldn’t rule out a return to RuPaul’s Drag Race in some ways. Even better, the show’s producers are on board too. Although there are no concrete plans yet, we look forward to their return.