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RuPaul: “My Show is Carol Burnett for A New Generation”

The ‘Drag Race’ hostess promises that the show’s new season goes ‘straight for the jugular’

RuPaul is the most glamorous lady on TV—and she isn’t even a woman, technically speaking. When RuPaul’s Drag Race kicks off its fifth season—which will be a competition between fan-favorite drag queens from previous seasons—Oct. 22 on Logo, viewers should brace themselves for a season of fierce fashion, industrial-strength makeup and one of the most entertaining reality shows being broadcast today. See for yourself on the trailer, below. 

RuPaul has been in the public eye since the early ‘90s, when her song “Supermodel” became a hit and its video made the tall, glamorous drag queen—a longtime presence on underground arts scenes in New York, Atlanta and beyond—an icon. Thanks to her TV presence on Drag Race and on sister programs Uncut and Drag U, RuPaul’s back in the spotlight. And she’s not leaving anytime soon. DuJour chatted with RuPaul about politics, travel and what makes her feel truly beautiful.


You’re about to kick off your first-ever all-stars season and the fifth official season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Did you ever expect the show to become such a juggernaut? 

I always expect everything I do to be a juggernaut. It’s not always the case, but I go into everything thinking it’s God’s gift to the planet.

Your cast members really have become famous in their own right, and posters for the new season are all over New York. Were you attempting to push drag toward the mainstream?

I hope so. Our goal in doing this show was really to bring drag back to the forefront and show people what an incredible art form it is and always has been. 

You have these incredible looks that you pull off week after week on TV. How do you pamper yourself and stay looking so glamorous?

The most luxurious thing I can do for myself is to be kind. I am kind to myself, and I do a spiritual practice every day. I wake up at 4 a.m., stretch, then go to the gym at 5, then go and meditate at 6:30, then I’ll go on a hike, then I’ll go to yoga. And I do that every day because if I don’t, I’ve found that my thoughts get a little crowded and I feel like I lose my footing. The most luxurious and important thing on this planet is having your health. You can have that Birkin bag, but if you’re on a respirator, it ain’t so chic.

It could be worse: a designer colostomy bag.

Somehow that doesn’t have the same cache. Not yet, at least.

With the upcoming all-stars season, how do you amp-up the show’s challenges for contestants who’ve already been through your ringer once?

At this point, these kids are TV pros. When they first came to our show, they had no idea what they were in for. They didn’t even know what their own personal rhythm read like on television. Now they do and they understand it. Also, for the production, we don’t have to spend as much time introducing their characters to the audience, the audience already knows them. So we go straight for the jugular.

Another thing about the show is that it introduces new language to its audience.

The way we switch words around, the portmanteaus, is really something. We say ‘sickening’ when we’re describing something we really love. It’s a whole new language and it’s really great. The thing I’m the most proud of is that we’re promoting drag and showing off these amazing creatures and their creative spirits. 

When I was growing up, the closest thing I had to that—and it was brilliant—was Monty Python and I thought, these are my people! And then of course I had The Carol Burnett Show, which was wacky and out there and left of center. Our show is that for a new generation.

What’s your take on people’s insistence on politicizing you, with the New York Times doing a RuPaul versus Ron Paul story and a Paul Ryan versus RuPaul chart as well as people changing Ron Paul signs to read RuPaul? 

I love that stuff. I love irreverence. And politics is a soap opera, it’s theater, and I love to make fun of it. My mantra is don’t take life too seriously, so when I’m included in that stuff I just love it—and it actually gives me a reason to care.

You’ve obviously worn many hats—singer, actor, TV host—what else is out there for you?

At its core, my career has really been about me being creative. This show has been the biggest example of who I am because you see me in drag and out of drag, you see me being creative and being compassionate. I’m all of those things. I wish people could actually see me in the production meetings when we’re coming up with ideas, because that’s when I shine. I really want to get into accessories and hair and makeup and things like that.

As someone who’s well acquainted with beauty, what is the one thing that makes you feel the most beautiful?

I love a great foundation underneath my clothes—the corset and then whole get-up—but my foundation on an emotional level, which is understanding your intention on this planet, is probably the most important thing. And I always walk out of the house with that.