RuPaul knocks down and drags out not one but two Out covers in honor of the magazine's 25th year — one shot from 1996, one from 2017. In the interview, he really opens up ...
Just for Out, Ru and his World of Wonder overlords (JK, they're a family unit) Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey chat for a story meatier than Jiggly Caliente's left thigh.
In the piece, timeless piece RuPaul admits:
Drag has always been a tool for me. I realized early on that it worked really well to get the audience to react. I knew there was power in drag, like the Superman costume to my Clark Kent. Actually, when I met with J.J. Abrams about the show that we’re doing [based on RuPaul’s life], the whole pitch was explained to him and he said, “You know what? I got it! It’s the origins of a clan of superheroes.”
Ru, Bailey and Barbato, who have been tight since the '80s, recall how RuPaul first promoted himself in NYC, spreading posters around with the eerily modern slogan RuPAUL IS EVERYTHING. Who knew Ru was the first millennial?
Now, of course, it seems like Ru really is everything. He's every woman. He's every man. He's a trans and drag and everyone-in-between promoter. He's funny as hay-ull and also egghead-serious when he wants to be. Someone recently said he was one of the most famous drag queens ever. His response was to question why he was just one of, not the.
He chalks up his success in part to his powers of observation. On that topic, he says to Barbato in the piece:
Politicians do it all the time. Even with what’s happened with the trans ban in the military, it’s a classic distraction technique away from all the losses within health care. It’s a way to pull the hoi polloi, Betty and Joe Beercan, back to support you, because that plays to their fear and superstitions. That’s what’s happened with my career, and that’s why it’s so important to have people who you trust, who you can bounce ideas off of, who understand the template you’re working with. That’s why we’ve worked so well together.
Hilariously, RuPaul recounts meeting Miss Diana Ross — and cleaning up a public john to impress her:
It’s so Mahogany. And I heard her distinctive voice before I saw her: “I need to be in seat A1 because blah blah blah blah blah.” I froze. I knew one day I’d meet her, so I thought to myself, Ru, stay calm, cool, collected, and come from your heart. So I walked over and said, “Hi, Ms. Ross, I’m RuPaul.” She said, “Oh, hey!” She was really lovely and we talked and I said, “OK, I’m not going to bother you. I’m going to let you do your thing.” And she said, “No, come sit down!” So as we sat down [former Clinton adviser and civil rights activist] Vernon Jordan came over and said, “Hey, Diana,” and she said, “Ru, do you know Vernon Jordan?” I said, “Hello, pleasure to meet you. I should let you guys— .” She said, “No, sit down.” And she finished with him, and then right after that Robert De Niro came by and said, “Hey, Diana, how are you?” And she goes, “I’m fine. Bobby, do you know RuPaul?” And he said, “Yes, I do know RuPaul,” because I had met him a few months earlier at a Luther Vandross concert. We sat there and talked and it was lovely and then it was time to board the plane. So then when I got on the plane, she was in seat A1. After we got up to 100,000 feet in the air, I got up to use the restroom in the front of the plane, so I had to pass her in seat A1. As I got to her, there was a line. She said, “Well, Ru, I’m after you.” I said, “OK, all right.” So I got in the bathroom. It was a mess—nasty, horrible. So I thought, I gotta clean this up, because I wasn’t gonna let her think that I was the one who did this. So after I used the restroom I wiped things down and cleaned it up because she was gonna come in after me. [Laughs] So anyway, yeah, she was actually the first guest on the VH1 show.
Read every word at Out.
In case you missed it this week, make a point of watching the So You Think You Can Dance Top 8 performing RuPaul's “Call Me Mother”: