You know this year RuPaul’s Drag Race was showered with seven nominations (plus an eighth for its aftershow, Untucked, in the unstructured reality category). Not the least of which are RuPaul‘s hosting duties and a shot at the big prize up against perennial winners like The Amazing Race and The Voice. The Hollywood Reporter chatted with Mama Ru whose life story is being developed as a J.J. Abrams-produced dramedy at Hulu. So, how does Ru feel about the odds of winning this year?
“Oh, I really don’t know. I just love doing the show and always have. We don’t do it for trophies. We do it because we love drag so much. We love what it means in this current political climate. Drag Race has become a touchstone for young people who are really the future leaders — forward-thinking people who are going to lead our humankind into the next level of consciousness. I know that sounds “California woo-woo,” but I really believe that.
How does the game change with so many competitors now coming out as transgender?
It doesn’t change it at all. That has always been an element of my drag experience and of working at clubs. There were always transgender drag queens in the drag world. Always.
The criteria for our show are charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. However you can bring that, you’re in.
Our mission was to celebrate all aspects and genres of drag. At the beginning, we needed an ensemble that could represent all the basic archetypes — so the audience who may not be familiar with it could get on board. There was the comedy queen, the body queen, the pageant queen, different races, different body types, all of that. As we’ve grown and educated our audience, we’ve added more esoteric forms of drag into the mix.
What is your relationship to drag these days? Do you no longer crave it?
I never craved it. It was always a tool for me. My whole philosophy has always been born naked, and the rest is drag. I use clothes and I use identity as tools to navigate this life, and to get what I want, and to entertain myself. But it’s never been something I crave. I realized that I could control the air in the room based on how I chose to shape my body. It was like Superman to my Clark Kent — I thought, ‘Hmm. I can use this. I could use some superhuman powers from time to time.‘”
Check out Ru at last year’s Emmy presenting with the legendary, Gloria Steinem and his big win and speech.
(Photo, YouTube/Oz; via THR)