RuPaul Andre Charles is arguably the world’s most famous drag queen and as his drag family and fan base grows through the years, we are left wondering: how did the host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” really get the star status they have now?
At age 15 he moved in with one of his elder sisters in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended a performing arts high school. Always having a flair for dress-up, he began performing in drag while on the underground movie and nightclub circuit in Atlanta. In 1987 he moved to New York City and began his career in go-go bars and on television on The Gong Show and MTV.
After moving to New York, he found a way to succeed. One of his first notable gigs was as a dancer in drag in the music video for the classic “Love Shack” by the B-52’s,
In 1992, RuPaul’s hit single, “Supermodel (You Better Work),” topped the charts, which got the cosmetics giant MAC to take notice. MAC offered him a modeling contract (genius!), and from then on, the gigs, the exposure, and the money came rolling his way.
The world’s pre-eminent drag queen might not consider drag his greatest passion, but he’s still a big believer in its power. “All things to do with drag are inherently therapeutic because the realisation of your own insanity is the beginning of sanity,” he says.
Ru’s own transformation into drag is described by one of his staffers as a “mystical, magical process.” It is off-limits to press and all but the most select handlers. It involves a lot of bathing, shaving, moisturising, padding, tucking, corsets, makeup, ultratight panties, bodysuits, push-up bras, tape, shoes, hair, custom-gown-donning, and accessorising.
In 2017, RuPaul Charles was included in Time Magazine’s list of the most 100 influential people in the world. The blurb written on the behalf of his induction was done by no other than Naomi Campbell. She describes meeting Ru and immediately recognising him as a person who knew where he was going in terms of life and career.
RuPaul made history in March 2018 when he became the first drag queen to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the ceremony, he was introduced by Jane Fonda