From shoe size to economic advice, the drag superstar shares words of wisdom
By Mike Siler
RuPaul, “Supermodel of the World,” has been in show business for two decades. He has been a recording artist, television personality, spokesperson, author and yes, even a movie star. His latest project, RuPaul’s Drag Race is in its fourth season and is on Monday nights on the LOGO Network.
How is this season’s Drag Race going?
It’s fabulous. The kids are dangerous and crunchy and they are risk-takers and not afraid to get ugly and ugly in the sense of looks, not in personality. They’re not afraid to get nasty.
How do you get your contestants?
Well, people audition without understanding that we are looking for motherfucking show girls, OK? We’re not looking for someone in a pussy-cat wig and high heels. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re looking for people who understand what it takes to be a producer, a spokesperson or a visionary. If you’re a show girl who’s done shows in a club, you’ve done all of those things. You’ve had to be a promoter, you’ve had to be a designer, and you’ve had to be a travel agent, even.
This is just a small world of drag. You would think with the show being in its fourth season, there would be people saying, “Oh, I’m the next big thing.” It’s not happening as fast as I think it would. I would think our show would have turned out hundreds of new recruits.
On Drag Race you do both drag and appear as a guy. How do you go from drag and back again. Is that a fake mustache?
The mustache you’re talking about is on Untucked. And it is filmed a long time after Drag Race. So that’s why. I have the mustache on Untucked and Drag U.
Is Drag U going to be on again?
I hope so.
Who styles your wigs?
Do you have a style in mind, or do you collaborate? And do you collaborate on the outfits you wear?
Zaldi does the outfits and Matthew does the hair and makeup. And I do whatever he wants. And he knows my face. He knows what I can do and what my face can handle. There’s a small collaboration, but I trust him after 20 years of him doing it.
What’s your shoe size?
I’m a 12 in men’s.
Where do you find your shoes?
Over the years I have collected a lot of shoes and I end up not having to buy a lot because I wear them for about 10 minutes (laughs) and then they go off. They are only worn for about 10 minutes. But I also designed a line of shoes for Iron Fist, which is now available. So I have a lot of shoes that I’ve designed myself. It’s called the RuPaul’s Drag Race shoe. They are for sale now. They go up to a size 14.
You’re the inspiration to many drag queens. Who were your drag inspirations?
It’s been documented that I grew up idolizing David Bowie, Cher and Diana Ross. I love the visual artists. I love a beautiful silhouette. My drag inspirations are the designer Valentino, Grace Jones and the films from the ’30s and ’40s.
Finish this sentence: I make a mean…
I make a mean game night. I don’t cook but I know how to be a fabulous host. I make a mean-ass event at my house and usually it’s a game night.
Who are your celebrity crushes?
I can’t remember his name. But he’s the black guy from Lost (Harold Perrineau). I think he’s got three names and each name starts with an ‘A,’ or something. He was on Lost and Oz. I don’t know who his agent or manager is, but I don’t know why they didn’t tell him, “Change your fucking name because no one can pronounce it.”
It’s crazy that…?
That people refuse to wake up from their dreams.
I’m not into…?
Coke or Pepsi?
Coke. My mother used to buy Pepsi because she knew we wouldn’t drink it and she could save it for herself.
Speaking of your mother, what’s the best advice she ever gave you?
She said, “Pay them bitches no mind. Unless they’re going to pay your bills, pay them bitches no mind.”
What’s your favorite place to be?
San Francisco. Because it’s so beautiful. It’s such a mixture of cultures and people. I think it’s the most beautiful city in the United States.
What celebrity do you think would make a good president?
Judge Judy because she’s smart and doesn’t put up with bullshit.
What’s your favorite television show of all time?
That would be very simple; Judge Judy.
What’s your favorite RuPaul song?
‘Jealous of my Boogie.’
What’s your favorite dessert?
What’s your greatest success to date?
Allowing a very special man to love me for the past 18 years.
How would you fix the economy?
I think it’s much deeper than just spending money. It has more to do with our relationship to money and to others. I know that sounds so abstract. But our relationship to things is at the core of our economic problems.
Who is your favorite musical artist of all time?
Barry Gibbs. I was listening to Barry Gibbs yesterday and it just brings tears to my eyes. Oh my God, his musicality, and the choices he makes. I could cry thinking about him. I love him so much.
What’s on your iPod right now?
It’s an Olivia Newton-John song called ‘Carried Away.’ It’s on the Physical album. Barry Gibbs wrote it for Barbra Streisand’s album, Guilty. She passed on it and ended up on the 1981 album, Physical. And I am obsessed with that song. I am absolutely obsessed. I wish I weren’t. I wish I could get it out of my head.
Why don’t you do a cover of it?
I wish I could. But I will only cover a song if it speaks to the image I have of the musical artist. This song doesn’t speak to my musical image.
Debbie Gibson or Tiffany?
Debbie Gibson. Just the other day I added ‘Only in my Dreams’ to my cardio playlist. I forgot that the (beats per minute) were so fast. And I need fast BPMs.
Boxers or briefs?
Madonna or Lady Gaga?
Madonna, because she has depth.
What’s your next career move?
I’m going on tour. I haven’t done it in two years because of the TV show. So I’m going around the world on tour.
Do you think you’ll stop in Salt Lake?
There’s just not that many clubs to perform in.
There’s some great clubs here. Do you remember performing here?
Yeah, I performed twice there – once for this kid’s birthday party and once at a club. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was a large upstairs and downstairs. And it was just outside of town.
Salt Lake City was recently named the gayest city in America by The Advocate. What do you think about that?
I think, right on, Mormons!
Is there salt in that lake?
And nothing lives in it?
Brine shrimp. And with all the salt in it, there’s more salt than the ocean. And you can’t really swim in it, but you can float. Everybody floats.
Oh it’s like the dead sea.
The last question I have is, what would you like your tombstone to say?
You’re born naked and the rest is drag.