The 15th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on Friday, January 6, on MTV, and this latest iteration of the reality franchise is just a bit different from what fans are used to.
First, there are more contestants than ever, as 16 queens are vying for the crown and the title of America’s next drag superstar.
There is also a bit of a shake-up on the judging panel, as trans musician, actor, reality personality, and producer Ts Madison has officially joined the club and will be featured on a number – if not all – of the episodes this season.
Ts Madison is the first new member of the Drag Race judging panel in years, and she joins fellow regulars Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, Ross Mathews, and of course, Mama Ru herself.
Many Drag Race viewers will already be familiar with Madison as she has appeared on the program in the past two seasons, but now the whole world will be able to fall in love with her, and she will surely brighten up the series and breathe some new life into it.
Read on below to find out where Madison came from, what she’s done, and what’s next for the superstar in the making.
1. Ts Is Her Birth Name
Yes, that’s right, Ts Madison is actually her birth name. The multi-talented performer typically uses that moniker, dropping her original last name of Hinton. In some instances, she has also gone by simply Maddie, though these days she is almost exclusively referred to as Ts.
2. She Found Fame On Vine
Madison first became well-known on the internet thanks to her presence on the social media app Vine, and a number of her uploads went very, very viral, including one in which she coined the phrase, “New weave, 22 inches!”
Madison has been able to parlay her popularity on the site into a full fledged career, unlike so many who only found momentary notoriety.
Vine allowed Madison to showcase her unique take on her life and the world, and millions fell in love with her and found her hilarious. After Vine, Madison also became successful on YouTube and other social outlets as well.
3. She’s Featured On The New Beyoncé Album
Throughout her years, Madison has released a number of singles, but she is not typically thought of as a musician first and foremost. That may be true, but she did manage to land a placement on one of the most critically applauded and commercially successful full-lengths of 2022 nonetheless.
Madison’s voice is featured on the song “Cozy” on Beyoncé’s latest album Renaissance. The superstar simply sampled Madison as opposed to asking her to come into the studio and record something new.
Because of this, Madison is not credited as a featured artist on the song, but rather as a background vocalist and writer.
Sadly, because her moment on the track is not original to the recording, but rather just a sample, Madison is not nominated for Album of the Year alongside Beyoncé, unlike all other featured artists and writers of original material.
4. She Made History With Her Reality Show
In 2021, as Madison’s star was continuing to rise, she launched her first proper reality TV show on WE Tv. Titled The Ts Madison Experience, the series was seemingly successful, and there are rumors it has been renewed…though nothing official has been shared just yet.
The program was great for her career, and it also helped her make history. Madison became the first openly trans black woman to both star in and executive produce her own reality series, and hopefully she will not be the last.
5. She’s In Demand
After more than a decade in the entertainment industry, Madison is hotter than ever and the future looks incredibly bright. In addition to becoming an official member of the judging panel on Drag Race, she also hosts Turnt Out with TS Madison on the network Fox Soul, she stars in the TV show Hush, and she is expected to appear in Gabrielle Union’s new movie The Perfect Find, which will premiere on Netflix at some point (though a release date has not been revealed).
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