Sang-Young Shin, better known as Kim Chi in the drag world, and Maxwell Heller, who goes by Miz Cracker, earned fame on RuPaul Charles’s drag show — a satisfying blend of “Project Runway,” “Top Model” and “American Idol,” with an elaborate drag twist. The queens’ landmark Sabra spot is another sign of how the show has transformed the art of drag from nightclub delight to a profitable, mainstream enterprise.
After competing on the show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants can find themselves with a skyrocketing Internet-celebrity status, earning more money from club appearances and collecting more endorsements. Or, like Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, they can find themselves pushing delicious Mediterranean snack foods for one of the nation’s top hummus brands.
Jason Levine, Sabra’s chief marketing officer, told the Advocate in a statement that the company is showcasing a diverse group of people in its Super Bowl ads and is thus offering “something for everyone.”
Kim Chi and Miz Cracker are among seemingly unrelated celebrities who will be part of Sabra’s football promotional blitz. Another commercial includes rapper and singer T-Pain auto-tune singing about being ready for hummus before placing a hummus-dipped chip in his mouth. Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame also star in another ad where they icily say one another’s name in a way only cordial enemies do as they feast on bread dipped in Sabra hummus.
Neither Levine nor Sabra responded to requests for comment about how Kim Chi and Miz Cracker were selected out of the more than 100 people who have competed on the show, or the 11 who have been crowned since it first aired on Logo TV in 2009 and later switched to VH1, finding a larger audience. The queens didn’t win their seasons; Kim Chi placed in the top three of Season 8, and Miz Cracker came in fifth two seasons later.
Kim Chi, the first Korean American contestant, gave viewers a unique version of drag that emphasized her whimsical makeup talent and costume design mastery. It earned her campaigns with Lush Cosmetics, a video feature on Vogue magazine’s YouTube channel and a cosmetics line that launched last year.
Miz Cracker became a fan favorite because of her classic Hollywood glam aesthetic, innovative runway looks and sharp humor that often centered on her Jewish heritage. The feminist drag queen has upped the number of one-woman shows she performs across the continents and has continued to bring laughs on a show called Jewtorials for WOWPresents.
Kim Chi and Miz Cracker didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Kim Chi and Miz Cracker aren’t the only drag queens of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stardom to receive the spotlight from a major brand around the Super Bowl.
Kevin Bertin, known to fans as Monét X Change and Miss Congeniality for the show’s 10th season, nearly held the honor of being the first drag queen to appear in a Super Bowl ad last year with rapper Cardi B, plugging Pepsi and teaching people how to say “okur” with an exhaustively rolled “r.” The ad featuring Monét X Change, however, didn’t actually air during the game.
Monét X Change is known for realistic body padding that created a signature curvy drag figure, comedic lip-syncs that included splits, and controversial yellow-green sponge outfits that confused RuPaul.
The New York-based drag queen now hosts a popular podcast with fellow “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant and Season 8 winner Caldwell Tidicue, better known as Bob the Drag Queen.
Bob the Drag Queen was known for her bald head and delivering sidesplitting quips and her catchphrase, “Purse first.” Vulture named Bob one of the most powerful drag queens in America in June. She also brought her comedic flair to a star-studded Coach ad in November.
At the end of every “Drag Race” episode, RuPaul looks into the camera and asks the audience how they can love other people if they can’t love themselves. Sabra’s new commercial is an “amen.”