RuPaul | Srivideo
Born Name: RuPaul Andre Charles
Date of Birth: November 17, 1960
Place of Birth: San Diego, California, United States
Height: 1.93 m
Occupation: Drag performer,actor,model,singer,songwriter,television personality,author
Television: RuPaul's Drag Race
Spouse(s): Georges LeBar (m. 2017)
Origin: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Genres: Dance-pop,dance,disco house,R&B,eurodance,electro house
Labels: Funtone,Every,Tommy Boy,Rhino,RuCo,World of Wonder
Associated acts: Lady Bunny, Michelle Visage
RuPaul Andre Charles (born November 17, 1960) is an American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, and television personality. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, for which he has received six Primetime Emmy Awards, in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. RuPaul is considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2019, Fortune noted RuPaul as "easily the world's most famous" drag queen.
RuPaul was born and raised in San Diego, California and later moved to Atlanta, Georgia to study performing arts. He settled in New York City, where he became a popular fixture on the nightclub scene. RuPaul achieved international fame as a drag queen with the release of his debut single, "Supermodel (You Better Work)", which was included on his debut studio album Supermodel of the World (1993). In 1994, he became a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics, raising money for the Mac AIDS Fund and becoming the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign. That year, he received his own talk show on VH1, The RuPaul Show, which he hosted for over 100 episodes, while co-hosting the morning radio show on WKTU with Michelle Visage. He has had continued success as a recording artist, releasing 14 studio albums to date (as of 2017), including Foxy Lady (1996), Champion (2009), Glamazon (2011), Born Naked (2014), and American (2017).
As an actor, RuPaul has made appearances in films including Crooklyn (1994), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), Hurricane Bianca (2016), the Comedy Central series Broad City (2017), and the Netflix original programming Girlboss (2017) and Grace and Frankie (2019). He has also published three books: Lettin' It All Hang Out (1995), Workin' It! RuPaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style (2010), and GuRu (2018). Additionally, RuPaul's Drag Race has produced eleven seasons to date (as of 2019) and has inspired several spin-off series, including RuPaul's Drag U and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars. He is also featured as a host on series such as Skin Wars, Good Work, and Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul. In June 2019, his daytime talk show RuPaul premiered, which was cancelled after a three-week test run.
RuPaul is indifferent to gender-specific pronouns about him, writing: "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me." RuPaul has also played male roles and makes public appearances in male and female drag.
RuPaul was born in San Diego, California, on November 17, 1960. He was named by his mother, Ernestine "Toni" Charles, a Louisiana native; the Ru came from roux, which is the term for the base of gumbo and other creole stews and soups. When his parents divorced in 1967, he and his three sisters lived with their mother.
At the age of 15, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his sister Renetta to study performing arts. In the ensuing years, RuPaul struggled as a musician and filmmaker during the 1980s, where he worked at Atlanta's famed Plaza Theatre. In 1982, he debuted on an Atlanta public access variety show called The American Music Show, in which he made frequent appearances over the years.
In the early 1990s, RuPaul worked the Georgia club scene and was known by his full birth name. Initially participating in gender bender-style performances, RuPaul performed solo and in collaboration with other bands at several New York City nightclubs, most notably the Pyramid Club. He played opposite New York City drag performer Mona Foote (Nashom Benjamin) in the one-act science-fiction parody "My Pet Homo" written and directed by Jon Michael Johnson for Cooper Square Productions. He appeared for many years at the annual Wigstock drag festival and appeared in the documentary Wigstock: The Movie. In the 1990s, RuPaul was known in the UK for his appearances on the Channel 4 series Manhattan Cable, a weekly series produced by World of Wonder and presented by American Laurie Pike about New York's wild and wacky public-access television system.
1993–1997: Supermodel of the World, Foxy Lady, and Ho Ho Ho
In 1993, RuPaul recorded the dance/house album Supermodel of the World. It was released through the rap label Tommy Boy, spawning the dance track hit "Supermodel (You Better Work)". The music video was an unexpected success on MTV channels, as grunge and gangsta rap were popular at the time. The song peaked at 45 on the Billboard Hot 100. It charted on the UK Singles Chart, peaking on the top 40 at 39. The song found the most success on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, where it peaked at 2. Radio airplay, heavy rotation of the music video on MTV and television appearances on popular programs like The Arsenio Hall Show popularized the song.
His next two singles/videos, "Back to My Roots" and "A Shade Shady (Now Prance)", both went to the top spot on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and furthered his campy persona. Between them, "House of Love" was released without a video. It failed to place on any U.S. charts, despite rising to 68 on the UK Singles Chart.
RuPaul was signed to a modeling contract for MAC Cosmetics. Various billboards featured him in full drag, often with the text "I am the MAC girl". He also released his autobiography, Lettin' It All Hang Out. He promoted the book in part with a 1995 guest appearance on ABC's All My Children, in a storyline that put it on the set of Erica Kane's talk show "The Cutting Edge".
The next year he landed a talk show of his own on VH1, called The RuPaul Show, interviewing celebrity guests and musical acts. Diana Ross, Nirvana, Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Mary J. Blige, Bea Arthur, Dionne Warwick, Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton-John, Beenie Man, Pete Burns, Bow Wow Wow, and the Backstreet Boys were notable guests. His co-host was Michelle Visage, with whom he also co-hosted on WKTU radio. On one episode, RuPaul featured guests Chi Chi LaRue and Tom Chase speaking about the gay porn industry.
Later in the year he released his second album, Foxy Lady, this time on the L.A.-based Rhino Records label. Despite his growing celebrity, he failed to chart on the Billboard 200. However, the first single "Snapshot" found success in the dance market and went to number four on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. It also enjoyed limited mainstream success, charting at 95 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was his second and only other Hot 100 entry to date (1996?). The second single "A Little Bit of Love" only charted at 28 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The album featured covers of a 1981 Diana Ross song "Work That Body", co-written by Paul Jabara and "If You Were a Woman and I Was a Man", originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler. Because of his strong fan base within the gay community, RuPaul has performed at gay pride events and numerous gay clubs. During this time RuPaul helped launch the return of WKTU radio in New York City and would serve as host of the morning show until 1998.
In 1997, he released his third album, a Christmas album entitled Ho Ho Ho. He has had guest appearances in many films, including both Brady Bunch movies, in which he played Jan's female guidance counselor. In 1997 RuPaul teamed with Martha Wash to remake the classic disco anthem, "It's Raining Men". The song was included on the 1998 compilation CD RuPaul's Go Go Box Classics, which was a collection of some of his favorite dance songs by other artists; this would be his third and final release through Rhino Records and a major record label. It was during this time that he appeared in Webex TV commercials and magazine ads. In 2002 he recorded with Brigitte Nielsen, credited as Gitta, the Eurodance track "You're No Lady".
2004–2007: Red Hot, ReWorked, and Starrbooty
In 2004, RuPaul released his fourth album, Red Hot on his own RuCo Inc. music label. It received some dance radio and club play, but very little press coverage. On his blog, RuPaul discussed how he felt betrayed by the entertainment industry, particularly the gay press. In one incident, it was noted that Entertainment Weekly refused to review the album, instead asking him to make a comedic contribution to a fashion article. He likened the experience to "a black person being invited to a party, but only if they'll serve." Despite his apparent dissatisfaction with the release, Red Hot showed RuPaul returning to the top of the dance charts in the US with the lead off single "Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous" hitting number two on the dance chart. The second, "WorkOut", peaked at number five. The third and final single from the album "People Are People" a duet with Tom Trujillo peaked at number 10. The album itself only charted on the Top Electronic Albums chart, where it hit number nine. When asked about this in an interview, RuPaul said, "Well, betrayed might be the wrong word. 'Betrayed' alludes to an idea that there was some kind of a promise made to me, and there never was. More so, I was disappointed. I don't feel like it was a betrayal. Nobody promises anything in show business and you understand that from day one. But, I don't know what happened. It seemed I couldn't get press on my album unless I was willing to play into the role that the mainstream press has assigned to gay people, which is as servants of straight ideals."
On June 13, 2006, RuPaul released ReWorked, his first remix album and fifth album overall. It features reworked versions of songs from his back catalog, as well as new recordings. The only single released from the album is a re-recording of "Supermodel (You Better Work)", reaching number 21 on the U.S. dance chart. June 20, 2007, saw the release of Starrbooty (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) in the United States. The single "Call Me Starrbooty" was digitally released in 2007. The album contains new tracks as well as interludes with dialogue from the movie. The film was released on DVD in October 2007.
2008–2010: RuPaul's Drag Race and Champion
In mid-2008, RuPaul began producing RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality television game show which aired on Logo in February 2009. The premise of the program has drag queens compete to be selected by RuPaul and a panel of judges as "America's next drag superstar". The first season's winner was BeBe Zahara Benet, and first runner-up Nina Flowers was chosen by fans as "Miss Congeniality" through voting via the show's official website. In publicity preparation for the new show, RuPaul made appearances as a guest on several other shows in 2008 including as a guest judge on episode 6 of season 5 of Project Runway and as a guest "chef" on Paula's Party.
In March 2009, RuPaul released the album Champion. The album spawned four singles "Cover Girl", "Jealous of My Boogie", "Devil Made Me Do It" and "Tranny Chaser". The album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums as well as 26 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. Logo's second annual NewNowNext Awards in 2009 were hosted by RuPaul. There he performed "Jealous of My Boogie (Gomi & RasJek Edit)". In March 2010, RuPaul released his second remix album, Drag Race, the album features remixes of songs from the 2009 album Champion.
2011–2013: Glamazon, make-up and perfume line
In April 2011, coinciding with the finale of season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul released his sixth studio album Glamazon, produced by Revolucian, who previously worked with RuPaul on his album Champion. The album charted on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums and the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart at 11 and 8 respectively. In July 2011, RuPaul released another remix EP entitled SuperGlam DQ, which features remixes of tracks from Glamazon, remixes of the "Drag U Theme Song", and a new song, "Sexy Drag Queen". Starting in June 2011, the second season of RuPaul's Drag U aired. In late 2011, promotions for season 4 of Drag Race began. RuPaul made appearances on The Rosie Show and The Chew, and also attended a Drag Race NY Premiere party at Patricia Field's store in New York. Season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race premiered on Logo on January 30, 2012, with RuPaul returning as the main host and judge. After season 4 ended, TV.com declared it was the best reality TV show on television.
In the fall of 2012, the spin-off RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars premiered after a large fan demand. The show featured past contestants of the previous four seasons to compete. Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race premiered on January 28, 2013, with a 90-minute special and RuPaul returning as the main host and judge. On April 30, 2013, RuPaul released a single "Lick It Lollipop" featuring Lady Bunny, who RuPaul previously collaborated with on Champion. On October 25, 2013 RuPaul reported via Twitter that the new album would be released in January 2014.
In fall of 2013, RuPaul joined forces with cosmetic manufacturers Colorevolution to launch his debut make-up line featuring ultra-rich pigment cosmetics and a beauty collection. Released alongside the line was a unisex perfume entitled "Glamazon". Talking to World of Wonder, RuPaul said: "Glamazon is for women and men of all ages and preferences who share one thing in common: They are not afraid to be fierce. For me, glamour should be accessible to all, and I am committed to helping the world look and smell more beautiful." The line was exclusively sold on the Colorevolution website in various gift sets.
2014: Born Naked, What's The Tee?, and Skin Wars
RuPaul and Revolucian both confirmed through their Twitter and Instagram accounts that they had been working on an upcoming seventh studio album. Born Naked was released on February 24, 2014 to coincide with the premiere of the 6th season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Prior to the premiere, an album of RuPaul cover songs performed by the Season 6 cast was released on January 28, 2014. The covers album is titled RuPaul Presents The CoverGurlz and contains RuPaul songs from 2009–2013. To further promote the Drag Race season premiere, RuPaul, representing Logo TV (and parent company Viacom) was chosen to ring the NASDAQ closing bell on February 24, 2014. The week of its release, Born Naked reached number one on the iTunes dance album chart. The following week it placed at number 4 on the US Billboard dance chart and 85 on the Billboard 200 chart. In a profile by The New York Times it was revealed that RuPaul is currently working on a porcelain statuette of his likeness. On April 9, 2014 RuPaul and Michelle Visage released the first episode of their podcast, RuPaul: What's the Tee? with Michelle Visage. In August, he joined the reality competition show Skin Wars acting as a judge.
2015: Realness, Good Work, and Slay Belles
On March 2, 2015, RuPaul released his eighth studio album, Realness. The release coincided with the premiere of the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race. In April, he launched and began hosting a new show, Good Work, a plastic surgery-themed talk show for E!. In October he released his second Christmas album, and ninth studio album, Slay Belles. The album contains ten original Christmas-themed songs and features collaborations with Michelle Visage, Siedah Garrett, Todrick Hall and Big Freedia. The album charted at 21 on the US Billboard Dance chart.
2016: Gay for Play, Butch Queen, All Stars 2
In January 2016, it was announced RuPaul would present a new game show for Logo TV called Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul which premiered on April 11, 2016 after RuPaul's Drag Race. In February 2016, RuPaul announced his tenth album, Butch Queen. It was released in March 2016, just prior to the premiere of the eighth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. A song from the album, "U Wear It Well" was featured in the teaser campaigns for the season and was later officially released as the first single on iTunes in February 2016. The album charted at number 3 on the US Billboard Dance chart, marking his highest position on this chart to date (2016?). "'Be Someone" featuring American singer Taylor Dayne was released as the album's second and final single. Additionally, Butch Queen: The Ru-Mixes was released.
In July 2016, it was announced that RuPaul was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. He would go on to win the award at the September Creative Arts Emmy Awards Ceremony. 2016 also saw the release of the single "Read U Wrote U" that features rap parts by the RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 2 finalists Roxxxy Andrews, Katya Zamolodchikova, Alaska Thunderfuck, and Detox Icunt with production by Ellis Miah.
2017–2018: Remember Me, American, return to VH1, and Essential, Vol. 2
On January 27, 2017, RuPaul announced that a new album would be released the week after. The album, named Remember Me: Essential, Vol. 1 was put up for pre-order on February 2 and eventually released the next day. It is a collection of new songs and remakes of classic RuPaul hits that feature new artists. Two singles have been released from the album so far: "Rock It (To The Moon)" which is a new song loosely based on the lyrics and the melody of "Hey Booty" which was released on the Starrbooty soundtrack in 2007, and an updated version of RuPaul's 1996 hit single "Snapshot" from the album Foxy Lady. The album failed to chart on the Dance Albums Chart but managed to debut at number four on the Billboard Dance Albums Sales Chart in the United States. It also charted at number eleven on the UK Dance Albums Chart, becoming RuPaul's highest charting album on that chart, after Realness managed to debut and peak at number 13.
On March 24, 2017, RuPaul released his eleventh studio album, American. Later that same day, the ninth regular season of RuPaul's Drag Race debuted on basic cable channel VH1, home of RuPaul's talk show in the 1990s. This marked a move from expanded cable channel Logo TV, which aired all previous seasons of the show. The season 9 premiere featured singer Lady Gaga as its guest judge and proved a success, with ratings of nearly 1,000,000 viewers, making it the series' most viewed episode. This figure was double LogoTV's season 8 premiere ratings from the year prior, and triple VH1's usual Friday night viewership in that programming timeslot. When the ratings were released, World of Wonder Productions announced they were casting contestants for a tenth season.
On June 2, 2017, Essential, Vol. 2 was put up on pre-order on iTunes. It was released on June 9 and preceded by the single "Crying on the Dance Floor" which is a re-recording of the 2010 single "Main Event" from the album Champion. On June 22, 2017, it was announced that RuPaul will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry. He was awarded the honor on March 16, 2018, making him the first drag queen to be given such an award.
In August 2018, it was announced that RuPaul will be releasing his third Christmas album in October 2018.
2019–present: Drag Race UK, AJ and the Queen and further TV shows
In June 2019, a daytime talk show titled RuPaul premiered, however it was cancelled after a three-week test run, since it was not picked by any Fox TV stations. He also appeared in Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down" music video.
In late 2019, the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race UK was released on BBC3. It was well-received, with The Guardian stating that the British version had "saved" the franchise. It was renewed for a second season to be released in 2020.
Rupaul also created and starred in the Netflix drama-comedy show AJ and the Queen as a drag queen touring the country with an unlikely young sidekick, which was released on January 10, 2020. On March 6, 2020, Netflix announced that the series had been cancelled.
Also in January 2020, it was announced that RuPaul would host Saturday Night Live for the first time. He hosted the episode airing on February 8, 2020 with Justin Bieber as a musical guest.
RuPaul is considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States. He has been credited with creating wider exposure for drag queens from LGBT culture in to mainstream society, thanks to his early-career chart success, and later, the successive climb in viewership of RuPaul's Drag Race. His talk show The RuPaul Show was the first ever national talk show to have a drag queen as a host. Along with his partner Michelle Visage, he welcomed an array of high-profile guests such as Cher, Lil Kim, and Diana Ross over the show's 100-episode span. As well as having a variety of comedy skits, the show was noted for discussing topics such as black empowerment, female empowerment, misogyny, and liberal politics which were otherwise unheard of in 1990s television at the time. In 1999, RuPaul was awarded the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards for work in promoting equality in the LGBT community.
RuPaul has also 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 eight 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. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2019 Fortune noted RuPaul as “easily the world's most famous” drag queen.
Relationship with transgender community
RuPaul has a complex relationship with the transgender community, in part due to differing philosophies: through drag he seeks to mock gender and identity stereotypes, while in his view the trans community takes identity seriously. RuPaul's Drag Race has featured a number of contestants who are trans women, some of whom made their identity public while competing on the show, including Sonique, Carmen Carrera, Jiggly Caliente, Monica Beverly Hillz, Kenya Michaels and Gia Gunn. In 2017 Peppermint became the first contestant to compete throughout her season as an openly transgender woman. Other non-conforming gender identities expressed by former contestants include nonbinary (Jinkx Monsoon, Adore Delano, Aja and Valentina), gender fluid (Courtney Act and Kelly Mantle) and genderqueer (Violet Chachki and Sasha Velour).
In 2014 trans activists and former contestants Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverly Hillz criticized the show's use of words such as tranny and shemale, including the main challenge announcement phrase up to season 6, "You've got she-mail", which they described as transphobic. That year's season also included a "Female or She-male" segment which required contestants to guess whether various photographs featured cisgender "biological women" or "psychological women" (drag queens), causing further criticism. RuPaul and the producers issued a statement promising "to help spread love, acceptance and understanding" and Logo TV removed the "You've got she-mail" phrase from subsequent broadcasts. RuPaul criticized those attempting to police his language in bad faith and noted that tranny referred to transvestites and drag queens, not just trans women.
In 2018 RuPaul gave an interview to The Guardian in which he stated that a post-transition trans woman would "probably not" be accepted onto the show, noting that at the time of competition Peppermint had not yet had breast implants. After facing criticism on social media and from former contestants for his remarks, RuPaul compared trans drag queens who had transitioned to athletes who had taken performance-enhancing drugs. He subsequently expressed regret for the hurt caused by his remarks, and that the only screening criteria for contestants were "charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent".
RuPaul is gay. He has been with his husband, Georges LeBar, since 1994, when they met at the Limelight nightclub in New York City. They married in January 2017. They have an open marriage, with RuPaul stating he would not want to "put restraints" on the person he loves. LeBar is a painter and runs a 60,000-acre (240,000,000 m2) ranch in Wyoming.
He was criticized by environmentalists after revealing in 2020 that he and his husband lease mineral rights and sell water to oil companies on their ranch and allow fracking, an environmentally harmful practice. There are at least 35 active wells on the LeBar Ranch according to public maps. RuPaul previously held a climate-themed ball on his show to raise environmental awareness, leading to accusations of hypocrisy.
RuPaul publicly endorsed the Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. He expressed dismay at Clinton's defeat by Republican Party nominee Donald Trump, stating that "The America that we have all fought so hard for, the narrative of love and peace and liberty and equality, it feels like it is dead."
He has described doing drag as a "very, very political" act because it "challenges the status quo" by rejecting fixed identities: "drag says 'I'm a shapeshifter, I do whatever the hell I want at any given time'."
RuPaul has said he has been sober from alcohol and mind-altering substances since 1999, having started smoking marijuana at age 10 or 11.
The podcast RuPaul: What's The Tee? With Michelle Visage debuted on April 6, 2014. Ru-Paul co-hosts with longtime friend and fellow RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage. The weekly show features their thoughts on topics including behind-the-scenes of RuPaul's Drag Race, life advice, beauty tips, and conversations with featured guests from the entertainment world.
In 2018, RuPaul was one of the actors who voiced the audiobook A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.
Launched through production company World of Wonder, RuPaul's DragCon LA, is an annual drag-themed convention held in Los Angeles starting in 2015, followed by RuPaul's DragCon NYC as of 2017 in New York City, which allows members of the public to meet with RuPaul, former RuPaul's Drag Race contestants and other drag queens. The conventions feature performances, meet-and-greet booths, merchandise sales and panel discussions.
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