The Babe is Back: A RuPaul Interview
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Do you feel like this is sort of a comeback? You’ve been working constantly, so do you just feel like you’ve never left, or do you feel like this is a way to sort of put your image back out there?
Well, this is a comeback in terms of real mainstream. I mean television reaches so many people, this show will be broadcast throughout the world and on the Internet, so in a lot of ways, it is a comeback. Obviously, you know that I’ve always worked. There was a time, though, when I took some time away from the business and focused just on my own personal life. But I’m excited that the time is right for me to be heard and be seen again.
Me too. I love some of your celebrity judges that you’ve picked, Tori Spelling, Lucy Lawless, Jenny Shimizu. Was there some way that you went about picking celebrity judges and did they bring something specific to the show?
Yeah, well…the choice of judges was really based on the challenges. We had this Oprah challenge where the girls had to channel their inner-Oprah and mimic Oprah’s rise in the media. The girls, in the course of four minutes, had to read the teleprompter like a news-caster, pitch a product like the My Favorite Things segment on Oprah, and then have a celebrity interview.…Prior to stepping onto the sound stage, they didn’t know what the copy was and so it was really interesting to see them do that. In the media challenge, we had Howard Bragman who is a very famous publicist who knows how to train people to do that, and then Debra Wilson, who does that great Oprah impression, she’s from MadTV. So they were chosen based on their link to the challenges.
You’ve personally reached a huge level of super-stardom as a drag personality. Do you think that that’s possible that we’ll see something similar for a drag king someday?
I hope so. I hope that, throughout this next phase of hope and possibilities culturally and politically in our country that that’s possible. I just think that we were on our way there before somebody hit the brakes. [Laughs] Honestly, I really do believe that that really has to do with our community. It’s really up to us because, you know, we all played a part in the Bush fiasco. We can’t just point the finger at what they did; we have to take responsibility for our part. That’s the only way we can advance and expand. And so, the future of there being a superstar drag king really has to do with all of us.
With the rise of the transgender community I think that there is a lot of confusion sometimes about the drag world versus the trans world. What do you see as the difference between drag queens and trans women?
Well, obviously trans women really, it emanates from the inside out for trans women. They feel like they’ve been put into a body that doesn’t fit who they feel like on the inside. For drag, it’s more of from the outside in, it’s more of playing with textures and having fun with colors and sparkly things and sometimes even performing. So, it’s different for transvestites and trans women.
How do you self-identify, Ru?
You know what, I’m Ru, That’s it, I’m Ru. I never forget the fact that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. I think once I forget that really, first and foremost that I’m spirit, once I forget that, I’ve really left myself wide-open to a lot of the human-bound afflictions like jealousy and doubt, and all of the things that my body comes fully equipped with. It’s such a, pardon the pun, drag to deal with, all of that human stuff. I’ve spent a lifetime and a lot of money in therapy trying to learn the tools to overcome some of those obstacles. Even this past weekend, it’s such a struggle for me, somebody said something to me or I read something about myself and it took me awhile to sort of come around—even though I know better. I know better. But, the human part of me wanted to take it to task.
Is there anything else that you’d want Curve readers to know?
I think people know so much about me. [Laughs] They know so much about me. No really, I hope everybody enjoys the show. It’s all in fun. I think it’s really going to be a blast for everybody to watch it.