RuPaul is much more than the most recognizable face in the drag world. He’s become a master of self-expression and advocate for living in your truth.
Ahead of the season three return of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Mama Ru sat down for an interview with the one and only queen Oprah Winfrey to unpack the life lessons he’s collected throughout his multi-decade career.
As you know, Ru ends every Drag Race episode with a very important question:
It took some time to find the answer himself. “My mother was very, very rebellious. She used to say, ’Unless they payin’ your bills, pay them Bs no mind.’ I was a sweet kid, so people would hurt my feelings. But you live long enough, you realize that, baby, that has nothing to do with you.”
For Ru, this lesson was hardest to apply to his distant relationship he shared with his father. “I grew up with a father who was completely shut down,” Ru recalls. “And I thought, ’Okay, you want joy? I got you.’ For years, I felt my job was to give people like that what they needed, to remind them who they are. But my father couldn’t see me because it would have forced him to get in touch with some very painful feelings. That was the hardest lesson to learn: Those people who are shut down, let them be. Let them figure things out on their own.”
Ru also dropped some gems about self-expression and identity. His mantra is that we’re all born naked, and the rest is drag. “[Drag] shows people that everything’s temporary. It’s just clothes, paint, powder. Drag is like fame: It doesn’t hide you. It reveals who you are.”
During their kiki, Ru says his interaction with the younger generation, especially at his annual DragCon conference, gives him hope for a better future. “There’s a new breed of young people out there…They’ve almost got a new belief system that’s completely of the 21st century. Our show speaks to that forward-thinking voice. They see the kids on our show overcoming adversities and realize, I can do that.”
Head over to Oprah.com to check out the full interview.
Before they click clack down the mainstage as All Stars watch as the queens remember their favorite lewks from their original seasons.