RuPaul looked back at his career, and shared why he believes drag is so important
He might be the Supermodel of the World, but RuPaul has been opening up about his early career, and sharing his thoughts about why drag is so important.
In a new cover feature for our friends Entertainment Weekly celebrating their LGBTQ issue (just in time for Pride!), RuPaul, the iconic and legendary drag queen, performer, and reality TV host, got super candid about his 30-year-long career in the spotlight, and shared some of his famous witticisms and some of his wisdom.
The star discussed how he wouldn’t run for public office, noting that he felt like “on television I can reach more people.”
However, things weren’t always so glam(azon) for Ru. In fact, the star recalled how, when he was in his late-20s, things had reached a pretty low point.
“Everything came to a screeching halt when I turned 28. I moved out to LA because nothing was happening for me. I was sleeping on my baby sister’s couch, not a penny to my name,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘Could it be that this is not meant for me?’ It was this horrible existence. And one day, my friend Larry Tee called me and said, ‘Ru, what the f–k are you doing? You are a star. Get your ass back to New York and get your s–t together.’”
Continuing, he added: “And I did. I got a plane ticket and decided I was going to shave these legs, I’m going to shave my chest, I’m going to put some f—ing titties in – rolled-up socks, not implants – and I’m going to go back to New York and give those bitches exactly what they want from me.”
RuPaul, of course, has had one illustrious career. From hosting a talkshow on VH1, his varied recording career, and now his Emmy-winning streak with RuPaul’s Drag Race, he epitomizes the American Dream.
Yet, despite having a career that’s lasted 30 years, the star still feels that there’s importance in what he does, specifically in the power of drag.
“Drag was a tool—it was the most punk-rock antiestablishment thing we could do,” he said. “It had nothing to do with being gay, nothing to do with wanting to be a woman. It was about challenging the ideals of identity and making a political statement against the Reagan ’80s and the existing drag community.”
Things, he said, changed during the in the ’00s and during the Bush-era. However, there’s still a transformative power in drag.
“On our show [Rupaul’s Drag Race], what people really relate to is the tenacity of the human spirit,” he suggested. “These are kids on our show who are, a lot of times, disenfranchised from society and their families, and they’ve found a way shine. They’ve found a way to make their dreams come true. And that’s what the bigger picture is, that’s what the bigger message is. So more visibility really shines a light on being yourself.”
RuPaul is so right here. As we know, visibility and representation can actually save lives, and it allows people to know that they’re not alone to be themselves.
And, in the immortal words of Ru himself, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
Amen to that, girl.
You can read more about RuPaul, plust more, in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, which is out today.