By now, you’ve probably seen VMA host Miley Cyrus surprise everyone with a performance of her brand-new song, “Do It.” She was joined by some pretty fantastic backup dancers too.
And Miley’s posse of 30 are a fabulous group of performers in their own right. Among them there are drag queens, burlesque performers, trans activists, actors and also a couple of high-fashion models. We knew you’d want to get to know them a little bit — every single one has a story to tell.
1. Alexis Mateo
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Alexis Mateo performed in its gay nightclub circuit before moving Stateside. Fun fact: Mateo worked at Disney World before ending up on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The only question is: Which princess did she play?
2. Alyssa Edwards
Texan drag performer and dancer Alyssa actually owns a studio called Beyond Belief Dance Company, which could be getting a reality show, so watch out for that.
3. Amazon Ashley
Why is burlesque dancer Ashley an Amazon, you ask? Because she’s 6’7″, that’s why. Her friendship with Miley was written in the stars — she claims to have taught Cyrus how to twerk. Ashley was also part of Miley’s infamous 2013 VMAs performance and appeared in the video for “We Can’t Stop.”
4. Barbie’s Addiction
Barbie’s Addiction, in addition to having an awesome name, tours LA, West Hollywood, Las Vegas and San Francisco, where the dance act performed with stars like Kelly Osbourne, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Now you can add Miley Cyrus to that list!
6. Cake Moss
Ohio native Cake Moss is relatively new to the drag world but in just over three years, she has already made a name for herself, booking gigs all over Los Angeles. She’s also worked with MTV’s own Todrick Hall on viral videos for his YouTube channel.
7. Carmen Carrera
Carmen Carrera is a model, actress, singer and burlesque performer who appeared on the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” when she presented as male before coming out as transgender. Currently, you can find Carrera posing for such photographers as David LaChapelle and in magazines like Moda and Elle as a signed Elite Model.
8. Courtney Act
Drag performer Courtney Act was a contestant on two different reality shows: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (where she was runner-up, losing to Bianca Del Rio) and “Australian Idol.” She’s a singer, releasing her first LP, “Kaleidoscope” in July. Her single “Rub Me Wrong” peaked at #29 on the ARIA singles chart.
9. Cupcake Canne
Cupcake Canne is an LA-based drag performer who describes her persona as “a more ballsy version of myself. Everything that is off limits to my boy-self is fair game for Cupcake.” Her style can be described as “vintage with a little rock n’ roll.”
10. Delta Work
Drag performer Delta Work is known for being part of Season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” She was part of the infamous Heathers clique along with Raja, Manila Luzon and Carmen Carrera.
11. Gia Gunn
Gia Gunn is a drag performer who placed 10th in the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Most recently, she can be seen gracing the cover of Queen magazine, a high-end international magazine covering the artistry of drag.
11. Jaidynn Diore Fierce
Nashville drag queen Jaidynn Diore Fierce appeared on the most recent season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Her stage name is a combo of three things: her favorite girl’s name, her favorite fashion brand and … well … fierce, which is what she is. The performer placed 8th in the competition.
12. Jasmine Masters
Drag performer Jasmine Masters was part of the most recent season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” placing 12th. Masters is also well known for holding her composure after her elimination when Twitter trolls were particularly nasty to her, sending her such awful tweets that RuPaul herself sent her some Twitter love.
13. Jessica Wild
Puerto Rican drag queen Jessica Wild, in addition to appearing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” has appeared on “No Te Duermas,” a variety program and “Objetivo Fama,” a singing and talent show that airs in Latin America and the United States.
14. Jiggly Caliente
Drag performer Jiggly Caliente placed 8th in the fourth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Born and raised in New York, Jiggly named herself after the Pokemon Jigglypuff, explaining, “I dropped the puff and I’m hot so Jiggly Caliente [is my name.]”
15. Laganja Estranja
Laganja Estranja is a drag performer who placed 8th in Season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Recently, Estranja released a single with American rapper Rye Rye and designed a marijuana-inspired jewelry line.
16. Mariah Paris Balenciaga
Mariah Paris Balenciaga is a drag performer who placed 9th in Season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Since drag race, she has been writing music and performing all over the country.
17. Melissa Befierce
Drag queen Melissa Befierce is the mother of the drag house Befierce. She often performs with her drag daughter, Deliliah Befierce.
18. Miss Fame
Miss Fame is a stunning New York-based drag performer who placed 7th in Season 7 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” She just dropped a single, “Rubber Doll,” available on iTunes and Amazon.
19. Monica Beverly Hilz
Monica Beverly Hilz is a trans woman and performer who placed 12th in Season 5 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Hilz is perhaps best remembered for publicly announcing she is in fact a trans woman during taping of the show. She’s also an outspoken opponent of using transphobic slurs in the drag community.
20. Pandora Boxx
Pandora Boxx is a drag performer who placed 5th in Season 2 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The popular fan favorite can now be found hosting “The Pandora Boxx Show” on UBN Radio.
Pearl Liason (also known by the mononym Pearl) was runner-up on Season 7 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” losing out to Violet Chachki in the end. Pearl just released an album in June called Pleasure, where she posed for the cover out of drag makeup.
Victoria “Porkchop” Parker is a female impersonator that is known for being the very first contestant ever eliminated from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in Season 1. In addition to drag shows, she also performs in pageants, of which she’s won more than 100.
23. Shangela Laquifa Wadley
Shangela is a drag performer who has the distinction of being eliminated from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” two separate times (once in Season 2 and again in Season 3). She also acts — in addition to her comedic viral videos, she’s appeared on episodes of “Community,” “2 Broke Girls” and “Glee.”
Kylie “Sonique” Love is a female showgirl and former drag performer who placed 9th in Season 2 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Since coming out as a trans woman, she has started acting on television and once appeared on “The Tonight Show.”
25. Tammie Brown
Tammie Brown is a performer and fixture of the Southern California drag scene who appeared on Season 1 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race.” She also is a member of the band the Rollz Royces with Kelly Mantle and Michael Catti.
26. Trinity Bonet
Trinity Bonet is a drag performer who placed 7th in Season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” She came out as HIV-positive during her season, and received support from her fellow contestants.
27. Violet Chatchki
Violet Chatchki is the current title-holder of America’s Next Drag Superstar, winning Season 7 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The fashion-forward and gender-fluid performer was recently awarded a Zimbio Reality TV Emmy for her appearances on the show.
Vivacious is an androgynous drag performer who placed 12th in Season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The performer, heavily influenced by the ’90s club scene, can now be found in New York City DJing, hosting and performing around the city.
29. Vivienne Pinay
Vivienne Pinay is a drag queen who who placed 10th in Season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Pinay can also be seen on YouTube, offering beauty tutorials. Fun fact: She’s the personal assistant of Alyssa Edwards, another VMAs backup dancer of Miley’s.
Willam Belli (also known by the mononym Willam) is a drag queen and actor (in and out of drag) who appeared on Season 4 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The performer has had quite a career so far, appearing on acclaimed shows like “Nip/Tuck,” “CSI,” “Criminal Minds,” appearing in Rihanna’s video for “S&M,” releasing music and appearing in an ad campaign for Magnum Ice Cream.