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SPOILER ALERT: This contains spoilers from the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 16.

Charlize Theron expressed her strong support for the drag community in her debut as a guest judge on the season premiere of MTV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

In the opening episode of Season 16, the Oscar-winning actor and longtime LGBTQ told the queens that the groundswell of efforts to curb the rights of drag performers is driven by fear and ignorance.

“Given the climate in our country right now, there’s a lot of energy being put toward your community not existing. I truly believe that all of that is coming from a place of fear,” Theron told the contenders on the long-running competition series. “The beauty of what your community brings and the truth of who you are and represent will come out. Don’t give up.”

Contender Xuname Muse, daughter of Kandy Muse, praised Theron for speaking out. “I love that Charlize came here,” Muse said. “She is using her platform to protect our rights. It’s affirming as an artist when our allies share the message of love that we bring when we do this.”

Theron later sat down with the queens on “Drag Race’s” post-show “Untucked,” where she talked about having two young children. Theron said, “I want them to grow up in a world where they know what it means to accept what’s not you, what is different and love that, to not be scared of that, and to embrace it, and that’s my job as a mom.” She continued, “I feel like we’re living in a day and age where our words can so easily be weaponized against us. I worry about us as people and what we can do to each other, and how powerful it is when you love and how powerful it is when you hate. One destroys and one builds.”

As previously announced, “Drag Race” returned to its 90-minute format this season. In addition to Xuname Muse, queens competing for the title of America’s Drag Superstar include Amanda Tori Meating, Dawn, Geneva Karr, Hershii LiqCour-Jeté, Megami, Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige, Mirage, Morphine Love Dion, Nymphia Wind, Plane Jane, Plasma, Q and Sapphira Cristál.

The new season brings a twist to the show’s usual “Rate-A-Queen” process, in which contestants rank their fellow queens to determine the top and bottom contenders of the week. Host RuPaul announced that this time around, the week’s top two queens will face off in a lipsynch elimination battle. Sapphira and Q were chosen to “slay-off” by performing Beyonce’s 2022 hit “Break My Soul.”

In an Instagram post, Theron said it was “a dream come true” to have the opportunity to serve as a “Drag Race” judge.



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