Variety has announced that, for his impact in business and culture, RuPaul has been selected to receive their Vanguard Award at Mipcom saluting innovators in the global television market.
“Everything I know I learned from television,” RuPaul says. “I grew up watching television. I was groomed for it before I ever stepped in front of a camera. The first time I did, I knew exactly what to do.”
Chimes in WOW’s Randy Barbato:
“RuPaul is this intoxicating combination of everything you want in a star,” says Barbato. “He’s a work horse. He’s smart, focused, incredibly spiritual and with a depth and wisdom that is startling.”
“You want him in front of the camera and behind the camera,” Barbato says. “He’s a smart producer. He understands that drag is not just dressing up and looking pretty: Drag deconstructs the pop culture world we live in.”
And from Fenton Bailey:
“It’s fantastic to see this show recognized for shining a light on something that is so universal — seeing people who have been marginalized get lifted up,” Bailey says. “Drag queens have been around for hundreds of years but rarely have they been taken seriously as entertainers and artists.”
Barbato and Bailey first met RuPaul in 1985 when all three were broke and just starting to claw their way into entertainment industry careers while living in Manhattan’s East Village. It was a heady time, overflowing with future celebrities, artists and ground-breaking works. Even in this environment, RuPaul stood out — and not just because of his 6-foot-4 frame.
“Ru was fully realized even then,” Bailey says. “He took his work to a level of ambition and grandeur that seemed impossible.”
Says Ru, in conclusion:
“There were so many times when it looked so dark and the clouds were not parting. I’m so happy that I didn’t give up,” RuPaul says. “I’m so practiced now at staying in the moment. Your next job is not promised to you. You could show up for work and the doors are boarded up. Man, everything in this life is temporary. I’m just having a blast getting to work with my friends on all these brilliant shows.”
More news from tonight’s big ceremony tomorrow.