May 12, 2021

In Vintage Clip, RuPaul Explains How He Became A Drag Queen ‘By Accident’

RuPaul may be one of the country’s best known drag queens, but the show biz veteran has said that drag wasn’t always in the plans when he envisioned his path to stardom.

It’s a point RuPaul made more than 20 years ago when he appeared as a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1995. While he’d fully embraced his uniqueness, RuPaul had assumed he would follow a well-trodden path to fame when he was young ― through the mainstream media.

“I always wanted to be a star ever since I was a little drag queen growing up in Georgia,” he told Oprah back then.

So, RuPaul began taking acting classes. Then, when he was 21, the budding entertainer wrote into a public access variety show. Appearing on free-spirited “The American Music Show” was RuPaul’s television debut, and he was hooked. Emerging on the drag scene, however, still wasn’t top of mind at the time.

“The drag thing, so, it really happened by accident,” RuPaul said. “I was doing punk and I’d had a mohawk and I’d play with makeup and stuff. Then, some people on a lark said, ‘Why don’t you do drag and see what it looks like?’”

As RuPaul quickly discovered, switching from his punk rock style to drag-queen glam drew rave reviews. “Honey. The reaction I got from people was amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it!”

As RuPaul experimented with his identity, he found not just success ― he’s the charismatic host of the award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” after all ― but he also found more of himself.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said of dressing in drag. “I think everybody ought to get in some type of drag… It brings out different aspects of your personality. And I think when you’re on this planet, in this lifetime, it’s important to try different things. Life is a banquet and most people are starving to death.”

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