BeBe Zahara Benet is the drag name of Nea Marshall Kudi Ngwa, a performer, former male model, Season 1 winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, and one of the contestants of All Stars 3, where she placed 3rd/4th. She was born in Cameroon and later moved to the United States in her teens.
Growing up as a child, BeBe said she was always curious about fashion and makeup, even sneaking into her parent's room after they left the house and playing around with her mother's shoes and makeup products.
BeBe worked as a model in Paris, France, and in the US. In her modeling career, she once walked the runway as a woman after one of the models failed to show up at a Paris fashion show. At this time, she did not know that what she was doing was considered drag.
In 2009, Zahara got another big break. She was approached by casting directors for the inaugural season of RuPaul's Drag Race three times. Declining twice, she was eventually persuaded to join the show after RuPaul herself approached her and told her that her voice, point of view, and aesthetic was needed in the show. After competing in the show, she was crowned as the first "America's Next Drag Superstar", beating her fellow competitors.
Prior to 2018, BeBe was invited back to appear on All Stars 3. Skeptical of joining the show once more, she eventually accepted the invitation and was introduced to a now massive audience of the show she helped launch. BeBe made it to the final episode and placed 3rd/4th overall with her competitor Shangela.
Since 2006, Zahara has been the subject of a feature-length documentary titled "Being BeBe". The documentary followed her journey: from her early days in Minneapolis to winning Season 1, to her inner struggles and all the way to competing on All Stars 3. Filmmaker Emily Branham met BeBe when she was just starting at the Gay 90s club.
BeBe continues to tour the world and produce her own shows and performances, influenced by her African culture, currently residing in Minneapolis.
Drag Name Origin
The name "BeBe" randomly popped up in her mind while driving and she has stuck with it since, saying it represents her American side. "Benet" represents her French side. "Zahara" came after she went to Las Vegas and was in awe of the beautiful scenery, which reminded her of Cleopatra and the Sahara desert. She also wanted a name that connected her to her African roots and flowed well with "BeBe Benet".
RuPaul's Drag Race
|Season Competed||Season 1||All Stars 3|
|Times as Team Captain:||0||0|
|Times Placed High:||1 (Ep. 4)||1 (Ep. 2)|
|Main Challenges Won:||2 (Eps. 3, 6)||2 (Eps. 5, 6)|
|Times Placed Low:||0||0|
|Times in Bottom:||1 (Ep. 5)||1 (Ep. 7)|
|Episode Eliminated||N/A||Episode 8|
- "I bring a lot of international influence, and right now I really feel like I'm ahead of the game."
- "I want to win this because there is pride and dignity in what we do. Dressing up for a living does not make us less of a man."
- ♪ "Face, face, face, I give face, beauty face, you can't take? It's ok, watch my body go insane! Everyone keeps looking at me, you know I am Sarah P, If you wanna come for me and you feel the need, come right now now and walk the beat!" ♪ (BeBe's verse in "Cover Girl")
All Stars 3
- "Mother, another day; another slay. Who's first?" (to RuPaul)
- "I'm not going to read Morgan McMichaels, life already has." (BeBe's reading Morgan)
- "Everybody, I'm the only African here. But why does it look like with Kennedy Davenport you can sponsor her for 30 cents a day?"(BeBe's reading Kennedy)
- “Mother, she looks homeless.” (In the Reading is Fundamental mini challenge about Thorgy Thor)
- "Hahaha, bitch you got jokes!"
- "Paramedics! Paramedics, make sure she's okay because I was not ready!" (reacting to Aja's dip in the Variety Show)
- "Miss Thorgy drew the...a very like, you know, a picture of what the...*laughs*...she drew a picture!"
- "That's the gag of the season."
- "So RuPaul, when are we going to FUCK?" (as Grace Jones on All Stars 3's Snatch Game)
- "Oooh, the drama in the pageant!"
- "Bitch, I'm a performah!"
- "Rrrrra-ka-ta-ti-ti-ta-ta, yeah, I'm pussy, bitch! Ooh la la la la la la, c'est bon, c'est bon! Do-go-choco-la-ta-la, you can't take my snatch, drag it up, wild it up, give me more, bring it to the ball!" (BeBe's verse in "Drag Up Your Life")
- "Who's Ornacia? I don't know who that is."
- "Mirror, mirror on the wall I'm the fiercest of them all Face, face, face, body and all Another day, another slay Meow meow, savage beauty Steppin' out on a mission Get fierce, stay ready The OG's back for another crown" (BeBe's verse in "Kitty Girl")
- "Oh HONEY! What are lanterns for? They're for searching through the forest at night for a beast!" (from the pilot episode of Dragnificent)
- BeBe is the original winner of RuPaul's Drag Race.
- After winning, BeBe moved from Minneapolis to New York City.
- BeBe has been doing drag since 2001.
- She is the only winner to earn a $20,000 cash prize, the lowest cash prize in series history.
- Bebe shares her birthday with Chad Michaels.
- Coincidentally, they both won the first season of two separate RuPaul's Drag Race series.
- As the winner of Season 1, she was given a featured cameo in the music video for RuPaul's song "Cover Girl (Put The Bass In Your Walk)". The version of the song featuring Bebe was included in RuPaul's 2009 album, Jealous of My Boogie - The RuMixes.
- According to BeBe, she never received her prize of $5,000 worth of MAC Cosmetics, though did receive everything else in the prize package.
- She was revealed to be the mysterious 10th queen on the premiere episode of All Stars 3. Thus, she is the first winner to compete in an All Stars season.
- On both seasons she competed in, she won 2 main challenges, placed high once, and was up for elimination once at the final 5.
- She is the first...
- ...winner on RuPaul's Drag Race. America's first Drag Superstar.
- ...queen to hail from Africa, from Cameroon.
- ...black contestant to win RuPaul's Drag Race.
- ...queen to win 2 ball challenges on 2 separate seasons.
- ...international queen to win a regular Drag Race season.
- ...winner to compete in an All Stars season.
- She lip-synced alongside both Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams and Miz Cracker during the Season 10 finale.
- She admitted to purposely messing up her lip-sync performance against BenDeLaCreme on All Stars 3, as she knew DeLa would eliminate herself.
- BeBe is on "Drag Me Down the Aisle" together with Drag Race-alumni Jujubee, Thorgy Thor, and Alexis Michelle.
Season 1 Looks
Season 5 Looks
All Stars 3 Looks
|2009||RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 1||Winner|
|2010||RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 2||Episode: "The Main Event Clip Show" (Special guest)|
|2011||RuPaul's Drag U||Episode: "Nominated by Loved Ones"|
Episode: "Mama Mia, I Need Help"
|2013||RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 5||Episode: "Reunited!"|
Episode: "RuPaullywood or Bust" (Archive footage)
|2014||Transformations||Episode: "BeBe Zahara Benet"|
|2016||RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 8||Episode: "Keeping It 100" (Special guest)|
Episode: "Grand Finale"
|2018||RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Season 3|
|2018||Hey Qween!||DragCon L.A. 2018 (Special)|
|2018||RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 10||Episode: "10s Across the Board" (Archive footage)|
Episode: "Grand Finale"
|2019||Drag Me Down The Aisle|
|2009||"I'm The Sh*t"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2010||"Cameroon"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2014||"Face"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2017||"Fun Tonite"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2017||"Get Fierce (Lose Yourself)"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2018||"Jungle Kitty"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2018||"Little Drummer Boy"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2020||"Banjo"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2020||"Body On Me"||BeBe Zahara Benet|
|2017||"Kisses & Feathers "|
|2009||"I'm The Shit"|
|2012||"Give That Body 2 The Music"|
|2017||"Fun Tonite"||"Kisses & Feathers"|
|2017||"Starting A Fire"||"Kisses & Feathers"|
|2017||"Get Fierce (Lose Yourself)"||"Kisses & Feathers"|
|2018||"Dirty Drums / Cameroon All Stars Mix"|
|2020||"Body On Me"||"BROKEN ENGLISH"|
|2009||"Cover Girl"||RuPaul||"Jealous Of My Boogie - The RuMixes"||Rap|
|2018||"Drag Up Your Life"||RuPaul Feat. The Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Season 3|
|2018||"Kitty Girl"||RuPaul Feat. The Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Season 3|
|2018||"Little Drummer Boy"||BeBe Zahara Benet||Christmas Queens 4|
- BeBe Zahara Benet's Site | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
- BeBe Zahara Benet on YouTube | Apple Music | Wikipedia | Spotify
BeBe Zahara Benet
Emanuel Palmer • Max "The Body" Philisaire
|Jason Carter • Bryce Eilenberg|