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Bebe Zahara Benet

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Bebe Zahara Benet
Bebe Zahara Benet

Drag Name

Bebe Zahara Benet

Real Name

Nea Marshall Kudi

Birth Date

March 20th 1981

Birth Place

Cameroon, Africa

Zodiac Sign



Minneapolis, MN

Current City of Residence

New York, NY

Season Cast

Season 1 & RuPaul's Drag U


1st (Winner)

Bebe Zahara Benet is the stage name of Nea Marshall Kudi Ngwa, a drag performer, and former male model. He is best known for being the first winner of Season 1 of RuPaul's Drag Race.

Bebe Zahara Benet was known for her flawless runway presentations, and her stunning outfits which led her to snatch the crown of America's Next Drag Superstar.


Bebe was born and raised in the Central African country of Cameroon. Four years prior to Drag Race, Bebe moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. After winning drag race, Bebe eventually moved to New York City.

Kudi's first experience with drag was at a Paris fashion show, where he was asked to put on a dress to walk the runway as a female at the last minute when a model didn't show up. Kudi describes his drag persona Bebe as "a strong and beautiful character illusion created for entertainment and the artistic expression of the feminine".

Bebe got her start in drag not long after she moved to Minneapolis. She first went to a gay bar and watched the queens before she'd performed shows, which got her attention. She later went in for an interview and was offered a part in the later performance "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper. Bebe then took the part and took the job as being a full drag artist.

Drag Name OriginalityEdit

Nea chose "Bebe Zahara Benet" as his drag name because

  1. The name "Bebe" comes natural to Nea. Nea was fascinated with the name Bebe and he thought it would fit his drag persona well.
  2. Nea chose "Zahara" as the middle name because he wanted something to represent her home country of Cameroon in her name, such as the Sahara Desert.
  3. "Benet" is Nea's favorite French name. Nea wanted a french name in her drag name because Nea speaks French besides English..

RuPaul's Drag RaceEdit

Benet won the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" on the first season of Logo's popular reality series, RuPaul's Drag Race, which premiered on the network in February 2009. Benet's prizes included an l.a. eyeworks print ad campaign, US$20,000 from Absolut Vodka and MAC Cosmetics, a fashion spread in Paper magazine, and a spot on the national Absolut Pride tour. In 2011, he appeared in two episodes of RuPaul's Drag U where he served as a drag professor.

RuPaul's Drag Race Stats:Edit

BeBe Zahara Benet
Season Competed: Season 1
Ranking: 1st Place (Winner)
Mini-Challenges Won: 0
Times as Team Captain: 0
Main Challenges Won: 2 (ep. 3, 6)
Times in Bottom Two: 1 (ep. 5)
Episode Eliminated: N/A
  • Bebe is the very first season winner in series history.
  • Bebe won the most main challenges during Season 1, with a total of two main challenge wins, more than any other contestant.
  • Bebe is the only contestant to win the $20,000 cash prize, the lowest cash prize in series history.
  • As the winner of Season 1, Bebe was given a featured rap cameo in the music video for RuPaul's song "Cover Girl (Put The Bass In Your Walk)".


Benet's first dance single, "I'm the Sh*t" was released on November 16, 2009. The single has been remixed by such notable remixers as Felix Baumgartner, Ralphi Rosario, and Mark Picchiotti. She released her sophomore single "Cameroon" in July of 2010. Benet made a cameo appearance in the music video for Erasure's re-release of their song, A Little Respect, in December of 2010 (which was a fundraiser for students of the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco). He released his thrid single "Dirty Drums" on April 17, 2012 via iTunes. 

Memorable QuotesEdit

- During the Show

  • "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."
  • "Right now I'm overwhelmed, because I can't believe it finally happened. Like a dream that you have been dreaming all the time, has finally come to life."

Fun FactsEdit

  • Before drag race, Nea was modeling as a woman at the same time he was in school. It originally was not planned that way. Nea was supposed to be a male model, but the female models did not show up in the studio, so "Bebe" took over and posed as a woman. However, Nea did not perform as a woman, nor make money off of it.
  • After winning RuPaul's Drag Race season 1, Bebe can choose just about any place she wants to go, whether it's for a show or for hosting at an event, as opposed to working 5 nights a week.
  • After Drag Race, Bebe moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to New York City.
  • One of Bebe's most memorable performances was performing "Circle of Life" from the classic Disney cartoon, The Lion King.
  • After Season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race ended, Bebe Benet was cast as a new professor for RuPaul's Drag U Season 2. Bebe was the only new Season 1 Queen to enter the show, but was reunited with her fellow friends and contestants Shannel and Ongina.
  • Bebe was signed a contract with Blueplate Global Records to record her single "I'm the Sh!t". Her music video is now released on YouTube and is available on Itunes and Amazon.

Follow BebeEdit

  1. Bebe's Official Website
  2. Bebe's Twitter
  3. Bebe's Myspace
  4. Bebe's Facebook

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1
Winner: 1st: Bebe Zahara Benet

Runner's-Up: 2nd: Nina Flowers (Miss Congeniality) & 3rd: Rebecca Glasscock
Other Contestants: 4th: Shannel, 5th: Ongina, 6th: Jade, 7th: Akashia, 8th: Tammie Brown,
9th: Victoria "PorkChop" Parker
Judges: RuPaul, Santino Rice, Merle Ginsberg

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