RuPaul’s new album “Rupaul Red Hot” is playing and burning up my stereo speakers as I sit here in my little apartment and reminisce. It amazes me that I still get a panty-ass-covered buzz, when I remember and write about that hot, sultry summer night when I went out tramping with my thrill-seeking gal pal Tasha LaBlush. All those years ago! Our destination that night was the notorious T-girl palace PEANUTS. Which is now CLUB 7909. When we arrived, we were greeted by Mistress Jennifer Antone, Santa Ana Sharon, Jim Thompson, and a group of scene illuminati who were out in front of the club enjoying the show! Parading and prancing up and down the concrete catwalk was a never-ending lineup of Hollywood T-girl hookers, tranny-chasers, and gender benders of all persuasions.
As we entered the club the scene, pure bedlam and the dance floor a mesmerizing mosh pit. A delightful disco track fueled the sexciting action on the floor and the vocals were oh-so-hot! “Work it. Work it Girl! Move those lips down the runway! Move to the left and move to the right!” Needless to say, I loved it all cause the song track was one of the jiggyest I had heard in some time. I can recall Tasha saying. “Oh this is great Dahling! They got that new RuPaul song playing!” From then on I was hooked and cooked on RuPaul, and I have been a fan ever since. Needless to say it is a major thrill for me to interview RuPaul and find out the 411 on her “Central Park Nights”. Life on the road, and more!
A few days after that party, I was looking around to find out more about RuPaul so that I could pen a photo story for TRANSFORMATION. When I received a PRESS KIT from M.A.C. Cosmetics with a sizzling photo of RuPaul on the cover of the folder. I was jazzed! I said to myself, “Finally we have a drag diva who is going mainstream with her success! This will be wonderful for her and everything that she does will put a positive light on our community.”
Since then RuPaul has never stopped “working it”. But for a well-needed occasional break to get some spiritual R&R and to spend time with her family and close friends. To pen all her accomplishments would have me writing a book, so I will just refer you to RuPaul’s best-selling book “Letting It All Hang Out: RuPaul: An Autobiography “. (HYPERION PUBLISHING-New York)
I really enjoyed Chapter 2. “Little Ruru”. Where Ru tells us how his mother proclaimed him a star. Ru goes on to recollect. “I was born RuPaul Andre Charles. Recently I was talking to my cousin who told me the story of when my mother proclaimed me a star. “Hey Toni”, Aunt Enorris yelled, “What you gonna call this baby?” “His name is RuPaul Andre Charles.” My mother replied. “And he’s gonna be famous ‘cos ain’t another motherfucker alive with a name like that!”
Truer words were never spoken! However, Ru’s mom did not tell us in her prediction that her son would be a supermodel, superstar, super-drag diva and MORE! Everyone I speak with in our community feels that her success is a rainbow reflection on us. So I am gonna do my best to “WORK IT” and ask RuPaul to fill us in on her new CD and the buzz that she’s working on a feature film or three!
You seem to have achieved things in your life that most queens only dream about. Now I hear you are not only “working it” for your new album “RuPaul Red Hot” but that you are also busy working on a new film. What’s going on with RuPaul these days and evenings?
I stepped away from my career for over four years to evaluate who I am and where I am. It was the smartest and healthiest thing I could do because it made me really appreciate my life, my family and my career. Now, I’m back in the game with a vengeance.
You’ve come a long way from Central Park and performing as a go-go dancer in Atlanta. Did you know from the beginning you were destined to be a stage diva and a mega star?
At what age did you realize that you were special and not like all the other boys?
All the kids in the neighborhood informed me that I was special (laughs).
Me and many of my crossdressing friends were teased and taunted for being a sissy. Did this happen to you and if it did how did you deal with it?
The way the kids in the neighborhood informed me that I was special was by telling me that I was a sissy. Maybe I have selective memory but the way I recall it, they weren’t too malicious and I think it had to do with the fact that I was always a sweet kid who had something to bring to every situation. I would tell jokes I would be the first boy to dance at a party and the first kid to shout “Hey, let’s put on a show!”
Please tell me about the first time you did drag and got all dolled up.
I grew up in a house with all girls so I always played around in my sisters’ clothes. Years later when I was in a rock band, all the band members dressed up in “gender fuck” drag to shock the audience but the reaction I got was not shock but awe. It was then that I realized I was on to something.
Was there a point in time when you said to yourself, “Yes, I’ve finally made it I have attained the success, respect and made my dreams a muthafucking reality?
When I was an answer on Jeopardy.
A friend in the Vanity Club asked me to pass on this question. Where did you learn to tuck?
I started doing drag professionally in Atlanta, GA, “Mecca” for drag queens. Any questions I had about doing drag were promptly answered by some of the reigning queens of the day: Yettivah Antoinette, Charlie Brown, Amber Richards, Lilly White and Apple Love.
How long does it take you to do your transformation from boy-to-sexciting stage diva?
Is there a special talent you wish you had?
I wish I could do hair.
Based on your work you love to perform. What is it like when you are in a holding pattern in the wings just before they announce you and you get your queue to hit the stage?
I stopped getting nervous about 15 years ago. But for about 3 seconds before I go on stage, I get a little ping of anxiety.
Three items you cannot go without?
My iPod, a black “Smolder” pencil from M.A.C. and Iman Moisturizer.
When you sleep you wear?
What inspires you?
Fun, kindness, beauty and creative people.
Breakfast in bed or a romantic dinner under the stars?
Romantic dinner under the stars.
What’s the difference between Hollywood and New Yawk Queens?
NY queens are more eclectic and bohemian. LA queens have a more traditional glamour.
Tell us something WE DO NOT KNOW about RuPaul.
I have a stuffed animal called Jimmy who I’ve slept with every night for the past 18 years. Jimmy is a donkey. I pee sitting down. I like my whole-wheat toast almost burnt.
What do you do when you need a break and some real good R & R?
I ride my bike around the lake or go on a hike or drive down to San Diego to visit my family. Another thing people don’t know about me is I am very “chill,” I don’t stress about things. So I can be very calm in the eye of a storm.
Some advice for gals out there who aspire to hit the stage and work it?
Find out the DNA of your energy/persona. Find the stage name and the material that suits your personality. For instance; at Peanuts one of the baby girls called Adrenaline, is a very big fan of Janet Jackson and that’s who she would perform as. But we in the audience saw that she clearly looked just like Paula Abdul. At my urging, when she finally did a Paula Abdul number the audience went bonkers. There wasn’t enough time in the song for her to collect all of the tips she was being handed, bottom line, know yourself, know your persona.
To me life is all about joy and blues and trying to find some peace on this planet as I feel happiness is fleeting. A few words on these thoughts please.
What’s helped me is to not judge experiences as “good” or bad,” but as just “experiences.” Obviously, I prefer joy over pain but what I have to say is some of my most painful experiences have been the most educational.
Oh, another from a VC member. What is your regimen for skin care and shaving.
I’ve tried everything. Luckily, my skin isn’t very sensitive. So I can wear make-up for hours and hours day and days and I can also use pretty much any moisturizer. For shaving, I get my electrolysis done by Ilene Chichios in Valley Village and have had a lot of success.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite sound?
What is the profession you would choose if you could choose another?
What profession would you least be interested in?
What advice do you have for young, visionary and struggling artists and people who are new to their job or career?
It’s imperative that you love what you do -and that you’d do it for no pay if you had to.
On that happy note I am going to call it a “Hollywood Wrap” by asking you, When you hit the proverbial “Pearly Gates”. What would you want said about yourself and your time on this planet?
Wow, Ru sure did squeeze every drop out of this life.
This article was originally published in Transformation 50 2005