Here’s everything you need to know about RuPaul, the mother of modern drag.
“It’s true in everything, not just in drag: To be a success, you have to understand the landscape. You have to know thyself, and you have to know your history so that you can draw from people who have figured out the equation you are faced with. It’s not rocket science.” – RuPaul
And if anyone knows success, it’s RuPaul. While many of us know RuPaul from his hit reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, he is way more than just that. Many queens look up to RuPaul. He is one of the most successful drag queens and queer people in the world. He has seen the ups and downs of gay rights and discrimination, and none of that has ever stopped him. From his amazing looks to his heart-felt advice, here is why RuPaul is the mother of modern drag.
The Early Years
RuPaul Andre Charles was born November 17, 1960, in San Diego, California. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was 15 and went to a performing arts academy. As a teen who started wearing his older sisters’ clothing, he was fascinated with stars like Diana Ross and Jane Fonda. In the 80s, he began to make his way into the entertainment world through small music and movie gigs. His career didn’t begin to pick up until he moved to New York City.
As mentioned above, RuPaul was already experimenting with drag when he was just a teenager. Atlanta didn’t have a big enough drag community for him, so he packed his bags and moved to New York City in 1987 to become part of the festival called Wigstock. By the late 1980s, he was a popular drag club performer in New York. In 1989, he was crowned the Queen of Manhattan.
In the 90s, RuPaul’s drag career took off. In 1991, he joined a recording label called Tommy Boy Records, and two years later, his debut hit Supermodel (You Better Work) reached the Top 50 on pop charts and No. 2 on dance club charts. After the success of this hit, he starred in many movies like Blue in the Face, Crooklyn, and more. Then in 1995, he became the first drag queen spokesmodel for a cosmetic company. From 1997-1998, he hosted The RuPaul Show on MTV and many other television shows. And from 1996 to the 2000s, he continued to produce music.
Start of Rupaul’s Drag Race
After his stardom in the 90s, his fame started to wane once the 2000s hit. However, he wasn’t going to let that deter his passion. Instead, he hosted and co-produced the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race trying to look for America’s next drag superstar in 2009. The show has gained so much popularity that it has twelve seasons with more in the making. RuPaul won many awards due to Drag Race like two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host for a Reality Competition Program, Critics Choice Award winner for Best Reality TV Host, and MTV 2017 Movie and TV Award winner for Best Reality Competition.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Spinoffs
RuPaul didn’t stop at just RuPaul’s Drag Race. Instead, he continued to pop out spinoff shows to RuPaul’s Drag Race such as RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Canada’s Drag Race, Drag Race Holland, and RuPaul Vegas Revue. His franchise continues to grow, and you never know what he may be coming up with next.
Just because he is busy with his franchise, that doesn’t mean he stops working. He continues to host other shows like Skin Wars and work on podcasts and talk shows. One of the biggest reasons why many drag queens and queer people look up to him is because he is teaching people of all colors, genders, sizes, and sexuality that is okay to embrace yourself and love who you are. He also teaches many contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race the ins and outs of showbiz. If you ask most of the queens on Drag Race who their mentor or role model is, they will say RuPaul.
Seeing how RuPaul continues to slay in everything he puts out, there is no stopping him anytime soon. And honestly, we can’t wait to see what he has coming next.