There’s no denying that RuPaul is one of the most recognizable Hollywood stars of all time, a feat that even granted him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After such a successful career as a musician (jumpstarted by the success of “Supermodel (You Betta Work)” in 1991), Ru launched his very own MAC Cosmetics makeup line and landed a talk show on VH1, The RuPaul Show, which went on for over 100 episodes.
But oddly enough, it wasn’t until 2009 that RuPaul’s career would reach new heights by releasing the RuPaul’s Drag Race reality show competition, where he serves as the main host, judge, and mentor. After 13 seasons, All Stars and Drag U spin-offs, and several international versions, Drag Race has propelled RuPaul to the mainstream once again. And yet, there is still so much that fans don’t know about this fierce entertainer.
Updated on December 19th, 2021, by Hannah Saab: As the art of drag continues to become mainstream around the world, RuPaul’s empire continues to grow. With Drag Race versions all over the globe, from Italy to the Philippines, it’s not surprising that more viewers are becoming interested in the queen behind it all. RuPaul still manages to host the original show and Drag Race UK, so it’s clear that he’s still very involved in the franchise that bears his name. With the highly-anticipated release of the 14th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s the perfect time to learn more about Mama Ru’s life and career.
RuPaul Married His Long-Term Boyfriend In Secret
RuPaul is a famously discreet person when it comes to his personal life. One of the most notable examples of this discretion is his long-term relationship with Georges LeBar. RuPaul and Georges have been together for over 25 years, spending time not only in Los Angeles and New York City, where RuPaul works but also in Wyoming, where Georges owns a ranch. Georges LeBar, who is Australian, met RuPaul while dancing at a nightclub in 1994.
What’s even more curious about Ru and Georges’ relationship is that they only decided to get married 23 years in, and pretty much no one connected to RuPaul was informed or invited. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, RuPaul referred to the fact that they married to protect their assets, particularly “in light of what’s happening in Washington.”
RuPaul Wasn’t Particularly Fond Of Winning An Emmy (Or Any Award)
RuPaul has won the Emmy award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program more than once. He and his team actually kind of dominate the competition now. However, prior to 2016 (his first win), Ru was famously uninterested in awards of any kind. To Vulture, he once said that he’d “rather have an enema than have an Emmy.”
Today, RuPaul is the most awarded Black artist in Emmys history, with 11 wins in his bag, including six consecutive awards for outstanding host (according to USA Today). Whether he likes it or not, his talent continues to be lauded in the industry and around the world.
RuPaul Took A Break From Hollywood
In the late 1990s, RuPaul worked as a radio host alongside Michelle Visage to help launch the New York City radio station WKTU. However, in 1998, Ru decided that it was time for him to step away from Hollywood for a little while, moving to Wyoming with his then-boyfriend Georges LeBar and reevaluating his place in showbiz.
Around 2004, RuPaul had a soft comeback with the release of the Red Hot studio album. Then, in 2006, he released his first-ever remix album, ReWorked. During that period, Ru expressed a particular distaste for media in general, noting that mainstream outlets were purposely shutting him out. Finally, 2007 saw the release of Starrbooty, which has since become a cult classic. It wasn’t until 2009 that RuPaul found his place on television again, with the release of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That was 11 years after the end of VH1’s The RuPaul Show.
RuPaul Andre Charles Is His Real Name
Many superstars change their names upon entering showbiz. With such a whimsical name such as RuPaul, many fans – and even media outlets – are quick to assume that this is merely Ru’s stage name and that he surely has a different legal name in real life.
However, that is not quite the case. RuPaul is indeed Ru’s real, legal name, and the fact that it fits so perfectly with the entertainer that he’s become is pure coincidence (or destiny?). Another fun fact that RuPaul often brought up in his What’s The Tea podcast is that his full name (RuPaul Andre Charles) is composed of three first names.
Judge Judy Is RuPaul’s Favorite TV Show
This may seem like an odd combination, but Judge Judy is, indeed, RuPaul’s favorite TV show (according to Vanity Fair). According to Ru, he “learned from Judge Judy to get real. Get real with what your intention is. Figure out what the other person’s real intention is, and then, you can proceed.”
On RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio impersonated Judge Judy during the Snatch Game challenge, much to RuPaul’s delight. In 2019, Interview Magazine published a conversation between RuPaul and Judge Judy, where Ru revealed that the most special accolade he’s ever received was the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
RuPaul Is 6’4″ And Wears Size 13 Shoes
If you’ve ever watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, you already know that RuPaul is a very tall person. To be more precise, the queen is 6’4” in height, and gets even higher when he wears heels (which, when in drag, is nearly always). Speaking of shoes, RuPaul wears size 13, which is, unfortunately, an uncommon size for shoes made for women.
More often than not, you will see RuPaul looming over even the tallest of guest judges on Drag Race, including the very tall John McHale who was featured on the judging panel for season 11.
RuPaul’s Memory Is Both Phenomenal And Terrible
RuPaul has never shied away from opening up about his memory skills, often even referring to himself as dyslexic. During Ru’s several interviews and What’s The Tea podcast episodes, fans have witnessed him remembering with acute precision the name of lesser-known actors who were in obscure movies from four decades ago. And yet, RuPaul sometimes struggles to remember the names of his own queens on Drag Race.
Despite the fact that this has often landed him in hot water, it is safe to say that RuPaul does not intend to be so forgetful about his own Drag Race children, and is often apologetic about his shortcomings whenever he confuses or forgets certain queens. Indeed, every brain is wired differently, and Ru’s memory seems to be more fit for certain types of information rather than others.
RuPaul Has Been Sober For Two Decades
RuPaul made his fame in the New York City club circuit during the 1980s, which was the height of the “club kid” era. Needless to say, substance abuse is certainly something that he struggled with for most of his life, and Ru has never shied away from talking about his experiences with alcohol, marijuana, and acid, among others. To the New York Times, RuPaul revealed that he started smoking marijuana as early as 11 years old.
Somewhere in the late 1990s or early 2000s, RuPaul made the decision to embrace sobriety, meaning that he has been sober for around 20 years. On RuPaul’s Drag Race, fans have seen many queens also talk about their struggles with sobriety – most notably Katya and Miss Fame on season 7 and Blair St. Clair on season 10.
RuPaul Knows That Other Shows Have Ripped Off Lip Syncs
Following the immense success of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its iconic lip syncs, non-LGBTQ+ shows started to take notice that pitting two people to ‘lip-sync’ against one another was indeed a very fun format for TV. In recent years, Jimmy Fallon began introducing lip sync battles to NBC’s The Tonight Show, and Spike TV created an entire series called Lip Sync Battle.
When asked about those segments and TV shows during an interview with Vulture, RuPaul put it simply: “Oh, I think don’t of it. It’s a poor ripoff of our show. Regular, straight pop culture has liberally lifted things from gay culture as long as I can remember. And that’s fine because guess what? We have so much more where that comes from.”
RuPaul’s Favorite Moment On Drag Race Was In Season 5
It’s no secret that RuPaul’s Drag Race often tackles deep issues and one of the queen’s stories has particularly moved Ru. When asked by Vulture about what his favorite moment on Drag Race is, RuPaul responded by saying that he always thinks “about Roxxxy’s story when she revealed she was abandoned at a bus stop as a 4-year-old.”
In season 5, contestant Roxxxy Andrews broke down on the main stage after a challenging Lip Sync For Your Life, revealing that she had been abandoned by her mother. Given that Drag Race judge Michelle Visage was also made an orphan as a young girl, Roxxxy’s story resonated on a very deep level with the judges.
RuPaul Was Part Of A Punk Rock Band
While RuPaul regularly releases pop songs like “Call Me Mother” and “Born Naked,” fans may be surprised to learn that this musical style is drastically different from Mama Ru’s punk rock roots. Thanks to the immortalizing power of YouTube, fans can glimpse into the queen’s rock n’ roll past from the 80s, when he used to perform with his energizing band called Wee Wee Pole.
A feature on Far Out Magazine details how the Atlanta-based band would regularly play around the Ponce de Leon Avenue, which had legendary bars that were LGBTQ+-friendly. Their first ever concert was in a small bar called The Nitery, which is a stark contrast to the kind of stages Ru finds himself on today.
RuPaul Loves Cars
As a superstar who serves stunning looks on a regular basis, most fans may expect Mama Ru’s interests to revolve around designer bags and clothing, but one of her lesser-known obsessions is actually centered on cars. According to WatchMojo, RuPaul has loved cars since he was a kid, even ‘borrowing’ his dad’s car at age 11 to go on a joyride.
The queen will sometimes post photos of his dream cars on his Twitter account, which include a ’76 Cadillac Seville and a 1970 Benz 280 SL. In fact, he even used to star in a web series called RuPaul Drives (still available on YouTube), which features some of his lovely automobiles as he interviews celebrities and drag queens.
RuPaul Was Kicked Out Of High School
Fans can add RuPaul to the growing list of successful individuals who didn’t exactly fit in during high school. In a now deleted portion of the queen’s bio on her eponymous site, RuPaul.com, Ru recounts how he used to win awards like “Best Afro” and “Best Dancer” at Gompers Jr. High School. He then “enrolled at Patrick Henry High School” but was soon “kicked out of that school for ‘never once attending a class.'” The original story is still accessible via the Wayback Machine.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock for his fans, as RuPaul isn’t known to be one who conforms, which is a huge part of what has made him so successful. That said, he did eventually study theatre in the North Atlanta School of Performing Arts, so fans shouldn’t get any ideas about skipping classes based on Ru’s story.
RuPaul Was Named After An Ingredient
In one way or another, RuPaul was always destined to be a star. He reveals in an interview with NPR how his mother gave him his iconic name with the intention of him become wildly famous someday, which he has definitely done.
What fans may not know is that his name is inspired by his parents South Louisiana home, particularly its food. He explains how “the ‘Ru’ is literally the roux in a gumbo,” which a tasty classic Creole dish. Fans who know this fun fact can’t be blamed for remembering the queen everytime they have the yummy stew.
Ru Has A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
RuPaul’s spot in the Hollywood Walk of Fame speaks volumes about his contribution to the art of drag. He’s the first ever drag queen to get his own star, which underscores everything he has worked for not only in his career, but for the success of other performers who found fame through his shows.
The 2,631st star was awarded to Ru back in March 2018, with a representative from the committee rightly praising him for being a “Ruvolutionary performer who brought the art of Drag into the American public eye and made it mainstream.”
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