House of Ada John Johnson / HBO MAX
There's no denying the city has acquired a weird reputation. Where once Portland was a place people visited to sup on vegan delights and buy bird-adorned keepsakes, it has—for the past few years—gained a different notoriety.

But our girl's character is primed for a comeback, thanks partially to her most glamorous nightlife performers showing her best side—their best side. Portland icons made TV moves this year, sashaying across LED screens in record numbers.

Local stars Jinkx Monsoon, Flawless Shade, Jayla Rose, Kaina Martinez, and the House of Ada competed with peers from across the nation—and beyond—for global recognition and cash money. Some have been household names for more than a decade, while others are finally basking in the limelight after years of hard work behind the scenes.


Jinkx Monsoon

Appearing on: RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 7

Screens: Paramount+ (New episodes release on Fridays.)

Actress, musician and Portland’s drag superstar Jinkx Monsoon returned to the RuPaul Charles cinematic universe for Drag Race’s first winners-only "All Stars" season. Mother Monsoon’s comedic chops and musicality are already world-renowned, but this time she's competing for the chance at $200,000 and the title of Queen of Queens. With her hilarious Judy Garland impression for “Snatch Game,” and merciless lipsync assassinations, Monsoon is again one of the top girls to beat.


House of Ada

Appearing on: Legendary

Screens: HBO (The season three finale streamed Thursday June 9, so skip this paragraph if you don't want to read analysis of the ending.)

Portland’s kiki House of Ada brought it all to the ballroom runway—serving the five elements of voguing and self-styled creative twists to answer the challenges set before them. House of Ada competed against some of the ballroom scene’s most venerated houses for the chance to win $100,000 and international glory. SPOILERS: Their dreams turned to nightmares at the Whorror Ball. Judge-granted immunity forced Ada into the bottom two, and they were robbed of the five points needed to claw their way back to safety. But in a shady environment, the House of Ada’s father and children exuded grace and good sportsmanship. Maybe that’s why their tenth anniversary ball on Friday June 17 has been sold out for weeks, and why they're in Nordstrom’s Pride 2022 ad campaign.


Jayla Rose Sullivan

Appearing on: Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls

Screens: Amazon Prime (The first season dropped Friday March 25, so it's all ready to watch.)

Portland’s back-flipping patron saint of drag brunch, Jayla Rose Sullivan, was chosen to compete against twelve other women for a chance to tour as a backup dancer for the twerking pop flutist Lizzo. Sullivan’s experiences as a plus-size trans woman in the professional dance world, and her unwavering support of her castmates in their weakest moments, propelled a large portion of the Big Grrrls’ inspirational gravitas. It’s refreshing to see Sullivan accepted and respected by her cast and crew without question—only treated as a spectacle when Lizzo requires her to be the twirling phenomenon, of which many Portlanders already stand in awe. By the series’ end, Sullivan is clearly left standing on the strength of her own merits.


Flawless Shade

Appearing on: Painted with Raven

Screens: WOW Presents Plus (The first season of this limited series concluded on Thursday January 13, so it's all waiting for you.)

On the socially-distanced beauty competition Painted with Raven, Tajh Jordan—also known as Miss Gay Oregon XLVII Flawless Shade—competed against other premier makeup artists for the chance to win $25,000 and not insignificant social media clout. Judged by drag star and RuPaul’s go-to makeup artist Raven, Jordan and the other competitors self-painted takes on themes like monsters, paper dolls, and classical art, then sat for feedback from Mother Ru, her drag children, and a slew of makeup influencers.


Kaina Martinez

Appearing on: La Drag Queen Soy Yo

Screens: YouTube (Season two premieres August 7.)

The web series La Drag Queen Soy Yo bills itself as the first Spanish-language drag series recorded and produced in the United States. Though we also have RuPaul’s Drag Race: España, it was filmed in Spain, and came out nearly two years after. We're excited to see Portlander via Venezuela queen Kaina Martinez join an international cast of drag performers for a competition that’s part Drag Race, part old-school beauty pageant. Check out the season two announcement video. If you’re behind on your Duolingo, there's an option to automatically translate closed captions to English.