RuPaul On Drag Queens' Special Ability to Connect With Audiences

Illustration by Britt Spencer

Drag is more than putting on a wig and a pair of cha-cha heels. It's really about deconstructing our experience as humans on this planet.

RuPaul is on a mission. The multiple Emmy-award winning drag icon, just nominated for 14 more for RuPaul's Drag Race, is bringing his own unique experience to audiences outside the world of drag, and in the process is changing Hollywood.

First, there's his daytime talk show RuPaul. Then there's AJ and the Queen, his new Netflix original comedy series co-created with Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King about a down-on-her-luck drag queen on the road with an 11-year-old orphaned stowaway. If that weren't enough, soon he'll be expanding the Drag Race franchise to include Drag Race UK.

His mission doesn't include making drag mainstream, but rather, using drag as a means to allow people to see who they are on the inside.

"Drag is deconstructing the idea we have of ourselves," RuPaul says. "When you're able to wipe all of that away and build it up, based on what you feel from the inside out, that's when you really understand drag."

What do you think RuPaul brings to daytime TV?
It's a real organic conversation, and I think that's what makes it compelling. We are actually vibing, you know? It's not over-produced in a way that every answer is thought out.

If Donald Trump were a guest what would you ask him?
Well, first of all, he would not be a guest because he wouldn't want to have a real conversation. Donald Trump is a con man. A con man would never want to be in the presence of a drag queen, because the drag queen is going to tell the truth.

Do drag queens have a special ability to connect with audiences on a deeper level?
Shamans, witch doctors, court jesters, drag queens are all there to remind culture to not take itself too seriously. We are able to break the proverbial fourth wall–we deconstruct what we're doing and then rebuild what we're doing on this planet into something better without all of the fear and superstition that marks our experience as humans.

What would you lip sync for your legacy?
A good lip sync song gives you drama and musical modulations. The content is sort of bittersweet, morose. So it would be Cher's "Save Up All Your Tears." Cher is phenomenal. She's a fantastic singer, and her voice is better today than it ever was.