Who is RuPaul? 7 things you need to know about the host of RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul’s Drag Race is one Netflix’s most popular box sets. We found out everything you need to know about one of the world’s most loved drag queens.

Forget Dame Edna, RuPaul Charles is the drag queen whose name is on everyone’s lips

So much so, his name has even been included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell gushed of the first time she met him: “Ru was different. Not just because he had perfect, precise clothes and make-up, or because he was the only man I knew who could look that good in a wig and heels.

“There were no rough edges to be found. But as I got to know him better, I got to experience first-hand his wit and his intelligence - he’s like an encyclopedia.

“And his beauty is far beyond skin-deep.”

As fans of RuPaul's Drag Race prepare to find out this season's winner, we reveal everything you need to know about the drag superstar.

[Read more: What you need to know about the Time 100 list of influential people for 2017]

1. His not-so-glamorous career beginnings

RuPaul was born and raised in San Diego, Califonia but moved to Atlanta, Georgia at 15 to study performing arts.

When he made his first television appearance on The American Music Show in 1982 with his singing group RuPaul and the U-Hauls he made his two backup singers their costumes.

He starred at Riff Raff in an Atlanta theatre production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show before moving to New York where he worked as a short order cook as well as dancing and playing at the city’s nightclubs.

In 1990 he was named Queen of Manhattan.

2.  Singing his way to success

Though he’d been a popular fixture on the nightclub circuit in New York, RuPaul first broke into mainstream consciousness with his 1993 single Supermodel (You Better Work).

The song went to number 39 on the UK Singles Chart and video featured him in drag on the streets of New York.

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain even called it his favourite song of the year.


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He later dueted with Elton John on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, and released 10 albums of his own.

3. He was one of the first drag queen supermodels

He became the face of MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam initiative which supports the company’s AIDS fund through the sale of lip products in 1994.

RuPaul returned as the initiative’s face in 2013.


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4. He had his own talk show

The RuPaul Show ran for two series between 1996 and 1998, recording 100 episodes.

His high-profile guests included the likes of Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Duran Duran and Mary J. Blige.

It was one of the first national television programmes in America to be fronted by an openly gay host.

5. His long-lasting friendship with Michelle Visage

Fellow Drag Race judge Michelle Visage is a favourite among fans, though this is not the first time the two have worked together.

The Celebrity Big Brother star has been featured on RuPaul’s songs, co-hosted The RuPaul Show, and co-hosts the podcast RuPaul: What’s The Tee? With Michelle Visage.

6. He got married secretly after 23 years with his partner

RuPaul met his partner, Australian rancher Georges LeBar, in 1994 at the Limelight nightclub. The club has since closed down.

The pair have been together ever since, marrying in secret earlier this year.

7. His fabulous dolls


13 Customized Dolls! Each pumping one of Ru’s epic looks. EXCLUSIVELY at DragCon RuPaulsDragCon.com

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Would you expect anything less than fabulous from RuPaul?

Not only has he had dolls made of himself in full drag, but the dolls’ outfits were designed by none other than Jason Wu.

Wu also famously designed Michelle Obama’s inauguration ball gown.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is available to stream on Netflix now.

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