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RuPaul Andre Charles, better known as RuPaul, is an American drag performer, actor, television host, and recording artist. RuPaul is well known for appearing in several films, and being the host and judge for her own popular reality television series RuPaul's Drag Race, for which she has received three Primetime Emmy Awards.

RuPaul is considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States. In 2017, she was included in the annual Time100 list of the most influential people in the world.

Biography

RuPaul, born RuPaul Charles, was born in San Diego, California on November 17, 1960. He was named by his mother, Ernestine Charles; the "Ru" came from roux, which is the term for the base of gumbo and other creole stews and soups. Finding global success in the 90s and again in recent years with his TV shows, including RuPaul's Drag Race, and his oversized personality, RuPaul has become a beacon in LGBTQ+ communities.

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Young RuPaul in genderfuck drag

At the age of 15, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia with his sister and her husband. There, he was studying at the School of Performing Arts - though never graduated - and worked in his family's business of selling used cars for six years. By the 1980s, RuPaul began crossdressing and was known to be a "gender bender", performing at Atlanta clubs either as a go-go dancer or with his new wave/punk band, RuPaul and the U-Hauls and later, Wee Wee Pole.

After spending a brief time in New York City, RuPaul moved back to Atlanta and participated in underground cinema, starring in the Starbooty film trilogy alongside his roommate Lady Bunny and DJ Larry Tee. RuPaul decided that he would make a name for himself before moving to New York, pasting posters and selling postcards of himself that said "RuPaul is Everything," among others, all throughout midtown Atlanta.

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“In the summer of ’89, one word could be used to describe me and my wigs; Thirsty.”

In 1987, RuPaul officially moved to New York City where he would become part of the burgeoning drag scene. RuPaul has said that he changed his image from "punk drag" to "black hooker drag" while in New York. He quickly befriended several Club Kids, a group of counterculture nightlife entertainers known for their flamboyancy and eccentricity, after Susanne Bartsch hired him to appear at her iconic parties. Here, RuPaul would meet Michelle Visage who would become his on-air sidekick and one of his closest friends. He continued to perform in clubs as a dancer and made many appearances at Lady Bunny's annual drag festival, Wigstock, in the East Village. His larger-than-life personality and ease on stage earned him popularity and he, along with Susanne Bartsch and Lady Bunny, became a staple within New York's nightlife. Before the decade was over, RuPaul would be hailed as the Queen of Manhattan.

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RuPaul performs at the LGBT March On D.C., April 1993

RuPaul gained worldwide fame with the release of his 1993 album, "Supermodel of the World". The album's first single, "Supermodel (You Better Work)", reached the Top 50 of the pop charts and no. 2 on the dance club charts. The single was also nominated for the Best Dance Music Video award in the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. In 1994, RuPaul landed a modeling contract as the first face of MAC Cosmetic's Viva Glam line. With his new "glamazon supermodel" drag caricature, RuPaul became one of the first drag queens to enter the mainstream and has subsequently become an icon of pop culture.

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Rupaul at VH1 Divas 2000: Tribute to Diana Ross

In 1996, he debuted his own TV talk show on VH1, called The RuPaul Show. Co-hosted by Michelle Visage, it was one of the first TV programs in the United States hosted by an openly gay person. His first guest was his number one icon and muse, Diana Ross. Other notable guests included Cher, Bea Arthur, and Nirvana. The show aired for 2 years. RuPaul continued his acting and music career throughout the 90s, though took a step back from the industry and moved to Los Angeles in 1998. Ready to return to show business, RuPaul released his fourth album, "Red Hot", in 2004 and starred in the 2007 film Starrbooty, which served as the fourth film in the Starbooty series.

It wasn't until 2009 when RuPaul truly made his mark on the cultural landscape with the debut of RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality TV game show that first aired on Logo. The success of the show has sparked several spin-off series including Untucked, RuPaul's Drag U, and RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars. RuPaul has been noted as having a large part in RuPaul's Drag Race's continuous television success. By pioneering queer representation on television, many believe RuPaul to have essentially revolutionised the portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community on screen. He first won an Emmy for his work on the show in 2016, and one year later the show garnered 8 nominations, including Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for the first time in its 11-season run, and a second consecutive win for RuPaul in the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.

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RuPaul and husband Georges LeBar

RuPaul is married to Georges LeBar, an Australian author and painter. The two met in 1994 at the Limelight nightclub in New York City, marrying in January 2017. Together, they live on a 50-acre ranch in Wyoming.

Memorable Quotes

  • Hello Hello Hello!!!
  • "We're all born naked and the rest is drag."
  • "You can call me he, you can call me she, you can call me Regis and Kathie Lee, just so long as you call me."
  • "As the two of us sat watching TV, Kurt Loder popped up on the tube, teasing an MTV News story with footage of me frolicking around a shopping mall in Jersey City. He said "Coming up next, she's er ah he's 6' 4" and supermodel of the world. Me and Mama both looked at each other, and in that moment we simultaneously realized that her prediction, made 32 years prior, had finally come true. I was a star. That was the last time I saw Mama. " - on his mother Ernestine Charles
  • "When I got into drag, straight men, straight women, everybody would go, “Bitch, damn."
  • "Every time I bat my eyelashes, it’s a political act."
  • "That is the key to navigating this life — don't take it too seriously. That's when the party begins."
  • "Remember, this country was founded by a bunch of men wearing wigs."
  • "I've dedicated my career to fighting the mundane. My hope is that my career will be a shining example to children everywhere that life is more meaningful when you are not afraid to see all colors of the rainbow."

In RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul's Runway looks from every season of RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul's Runway looks from every season of RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul's runway looks from the series

  • "Ooh, girl, you've got she-mail!"
  • "She done already done had herses!"
  • "Hello Hello Hello!"
  • "Oh, pit crew!"
  • "In the great tradition of Paris is Burning, "Get out your Library Cards!"
  • "Because reading is what?"
  • "Now listen, I gotta tell ya..."
  • "How are you going to make it funny?"
  • "Shake the dice and steal the rice, it's Santino!"
  • "Silence! I've made my decision. Bring back my girls!"
  • "Bring back my girlseses."
  • "Bring back my......girls?!"
  • "Ladies I have to ask, who should I send home tonight and why?"
  • "I've consulted with the judges, but the final decision is mine to make."
  • "I've consulted with the judges, but quite frankly, I don't give a fuck what they think."
  • "Condragulations, you are the winner of this week's challenge!"
  • "You're a winner, baby!"
  • "I'm sorry my dear, but you are up for elimination."
  • "The time has come, for you to lip-sync, for your life!"
  • "The time has come for you to lip-sync for your legacy!"
  • "Good luck, and don't fuck it up!"
  • "Shantay, you stay."
  • "Sashay away."
  • "If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen up in here?"
  • "Now let the music play!"

Season 1

  • "CAMEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!"
  • "Extravaganza Eleganza!"

Season 2

  • "Tyra Sanchez, the other Tyra!"
    Rupaul
  • "That's so Raven!"

Season 3

  • "RAJAAAA!"
  • "Ladies, I must admit...that made me feel uncomfortable."
  • "Drag is not a contact sport."

Season 4

  • "London, Paris, Milan!"
  • "May I call you Jiggly?"
  • "I'll have a Latrice Royale on the rocks."
  • "No T, no shade!"
  • "Time to push, ladies. PUUUSSH! Because I’m about to crown … moan … America’s Next Drag Superstar."
  • "I get worried when you do that ‘oh it’s going to be fine’ … there have been times when you’ve done that and then uh-uh *mumbles*"
  • "Impersonating Beyoncé is not your destiny, child."

Season 5

  • "IVYYYYYY WINTERRRRRRRS!"
  • "Alaska, the 49th state!"

Season 6

  • "G-G-G-Gia!"
  • "Blame it on Bianca Del Rio."
  • "Dip into the cool waters of Darienne Lake."

Season 7

  • "LaGuardia, Newark, Kennedy."
  • "Bitches Better Beware" – To Kennedy Davenport after lip-sync with Katya
  • "Fu Man Chu Betta Werk"- To Kandy Ho's bearded runway
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All Stars 2

  • "The time has come, for you to lip-sync, for your legacy!"
  • "You're a winner, baby!"

Season 9

  • "Valentina, this is a lip-sync for your life, we need to see your lips. Take that thing off your mouth."
  • "Valentina, I thought you had the stuff to go all the way"

All Stars 3

  • "Melk."

Season 10

  • "My safe word is, Chaka Khan!"
  • "Don't you start with me, Michelle!"
  • "VANJIE!!!"

Discography

Album Title Release Date Cover Art
Supermodel of the World June 8, 1993 RuPaulSuperModeloftheWorld
Foxy Lady October 29, 1996 220px-RuPaul - Foxy Lady
Ho, Ho, Ho October 28, 1997 220px-RuPaulHoHoHo
Red Hot September 21, 2004
Red-hot-rupaul-2004
Champion February 24, 2009 220px-RuPaulChampion-1
Glamazon May 3, 2011 220px-RuPaulGlamazon
Born Naked February 24, 2014 Rupaul-born-naked-400x400
Realness March 2, 2015 RuPaul - Realness (Official Album Cover)
Slay Belles October 23, 2015 RuPaul-Slay-Belles-album-cover-compressed
Butch Queen March 4, 2016 Rupaul-butch-queen-album-cover-2016-billboard-620
Remember Me: Essential, Vol. 1 February 3, 2017 C3nd4ykXAAA14eG.jpg-large-1486002448
American March 24, 2017 RuPaul - American
Essential, Vol. 2 June 9, 2017 EssentialVol2
Christmas Party November 1st, 2018 Dq7cnvjUwAAjxDE

Drag Name Origin

There is no drag name for this supermodel of the world. RuPaul decided to keep her birth name RuPaul, but without Charles at the end.

Trivia

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  • RuPaul can be seen in the B-52's music video for "Love Shack." He was acquainted with the band during his (and their) Atlanta days.
  • Other than RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag U, RuPaul hosted his own talk show/comedy sketch show on VH1
  • On the week of RuPaul's 40th birthday in 2000, a replica statue of him was unveiled at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in New York City.
  • He was the surprise guest at the VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross in an all star lineup that included Donna Summer, Faith Hill, Destiny's Child and Mariah Carey, performing Ross's hit song "I'm Coming Out".
  • Made a media comeback in 1996 after the tabloids dubbed him "The Wicked Witch of MTV" following his Milton Berle issue. He appeared in an exuberantly done gown by fashion designer Bob Mackie, who has appeared as a guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race, at the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards.
  • Ended his affiliation with MTV, shortly after the success of his debut album, which was supported heavily by the network. His departure came after a live telecast of the 1993 Video Music Awards, where he uttered negative remarks to co-presenter comedian Milton Berle. His representatives later made a public statement that his offense was provoked by Berle's vulgar comments and sexual assault back-stage during the show.
  • Scored four #1 singles from his debut album on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts, with Supermodel (You Better Work), A Shade Shadey (Now Prance), Back To My Roots and House Of Love.
  • Born at 7:58 PM PST.
  • His #1 dance single Supermodel (You Better Work) was covered by 80s dance sensation Taylor Dayne for the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack in 2003.
  • Ranked #85 on E TV's "101 Reasons The 90's Ruled".
    S1e1

    RuPaul's first runway look ever.

    Was voted "Queen of Manhattan 1990" by club owners, promoters and DJs.
  • Has appeared in four films with actress Stockard Channing in Smoke (1995), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), An Unexpected Life (1998) and The Truth About Jane (2000).
  • In 2002 he recorded "You're No Lady" a dance-club song with actress Brigitte Nielsen as Gitta
  • Featured in Lady Gaga's Christmas special 'Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular' and done a duet of her song Fashion! from ARTPOP.
  • RuPaul, along with Trixie Mattel and Alaska, was made into a Funko Pop! figurine.
    RuPaul Pop!

    RuPaul's Pop! figure.

  • In March 2018, RuPaul caused major controversy by saying she wouldn't accept transgender queens and cisgender women on her show.
  • On March 16, 2018, RuPaul got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is located in front of the World Of Wonder Offices on Hollywood Boulevard.

Follow RuPaul

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