RuPaul tells her story in the new Entertainment Weekly cover story. It was 1993 and RuPaul was booked to make an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. She already had a big following in gay clubs. Ru’s drag personae had evolved a glamazon supermodel and she was ready for the masses to gag. Ru says the key was
“I took the sexualized raunchiness out. The glamazon suoermodel was a caricature that you could bring home to meet mom and dad. I was well-spoken. I was Miss Black America.
I knew, based on the questions I was asked, that my days of having fun in drag were over. It was clear I had to represent a faction of society that didn’t have a voice.“
RuPaul’s Drag Race has won its namesake an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Show Host and as you (and Eureka) know, World of Wonder has signed up for a tenth season on VH1.
Wow’s Fenton Bailey says,
“When we met him in the ‘80s, he was wheat-pasting posters of himself that said, ‘RuPaul is Everything.’ I often think of that moment because it was so symbolic in so many ways because it was Ru, putting up a poster of himself that contained the fundamental message of Ru from the beginning: You have to hustle. You have to find and connect with your audience. When we met Ru, he wasn’t sitting around waiting to be discovered.“
Wow co-founder, Randy Barbato added,
“He was fully realized. He was working a total gender-f–k punk rock look, this incredible creature that you could not ignore. It was undeniable that we were in the presence of this huge star.“
Lady Bunny chimed in,
“Ru’s contribution to drag is unique in that Ru presented himself as pretty, and the only way that the mainstream had embraced drag was to have [men] in ‘Some Like It Hot’ doing drag because they were hiding. ‘Tootsie’, where Dustin Hoffman does drag because he’s unable to find work. ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’. There was always a reason a man had to do drag. Ru didn’t need a reason. The reason was,
‘I’m gorgeous. I’m a supermodel.’
That was a huge benchmark for him to say,
‘I want to do drag because I look great—don’t you agree?’ And for the world to say, ‘Yes.’
Ru sums up with,
“Our show exemplifies the movement of a bigger consciousness arising. Drag is part of that. It’s having fun and understanding who you really are. I think the audience relates to that without even knowing specifically that that’s the thing.
Watching a drag queen who has been bullied as a kid becoming a star on her own terms is a rush for a lot of people, because they too longed for something but didn’t know what.“
Check out the rest of the issue here and get your collectible LGBTQ special issue with Ru on the cover on newsstands now.