“The music video episodes are our main episode where we showcase the best queens from that season,” says production designer Gianna Costa. After winning an Emmy last year for Season 14’s music video episode “Catwalk”, Costa is nominated again this year for “Blame it on the Edit”, which is ideal for someone who grew up watching music videos on MTV. “My favorite part of the music video episodes is getting to look back at all these music videos I love.”
“Blame it on the Edit” features the final four drag queens of Season 15—Sasha Colby, Anetra, Mistress Isabelle Brooks and Luxx Noir London—performing a remix of RuPaul’s titular song. Each queen performs their own verse on the set of a spaceship. “It was very different from the rest of the season, but it was still in the Drag Race world.”
GIANNA COSTA: I come from a generation where I was raised on MTV, when they had music videos all the time. I would spend so much time watching videos and I was such a huge fan of George Michael, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson. Getting to look back at something that I grew up with in my past and getting to incorporate into the designs that I get to do for Drag Race… It’s just amazing to be able to marry my love of music videos with my work on the show.
In Season 14, our music video was an homage to George Michael, and this year we got to do an homage to Janet and Michael’s “Scream” video. Taking that homage into our drag universe, we really wanted to create something that was out of this world, but also really cool in the way that it is shot in black and white, with the help of our wonderful lighting director Gus Dominguez.
It was of course a strong homage, but I am also a huge sci-fi nerd. So I was thinking, ‘What’s a good drag spaceship?’ Not just drag, but also fun shapes that make it look like the ’90s. In the late ’90s/early 2000s, there was an upsurge of this sci-fi look, so the idea was taking it back to that ’90s sci-fi look.
DEADLINE: What’s your biggest highlight of the season?
COSTA: Every year is a different year, so you just never know what it’s going to be like. Having new queens can be challenging, like what designs are they gonna come up with on their own and what kind of looks are they savoring. So, I like to sometimes get a little inspiration from them. And then there were so many great, fun episodes that I got to design. Every episode I got to do something fun. Like when we got to do Daytona Winds again with Danny Trejo, it was fun to be able to look back onto the season prior.
Really, my highlight was changing the judge’s backing wall, which was a bit scary because everybody’s used to the honeycomb wall for the main stage. Anytime you change something, there’s gonna be people going, “Why did they do that?” But I wanted to just change it up and get to do something a little different behind the judges during the runway portion of the show, and copy something more circular since we’ve always been used to that linear honeycomb design.