RuPaul Andre Charles, born November 17, 1960, rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with his music and daytime talk show. He made it big in the late 2000s with his world-famous reality T.V. drag competition show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and its multiple spin-off series in the 2010s. He’s an accomplished author and actor in his own right. The star has brought the art of drag into mainstream popularity and championed L.G.B.T. rights worldwide. RuPaul was the most celebrated drag queen in the U.S. in the 1990s and early 21st century.
RuPaul Andre Charles, born November 17, 1960, is the world’s most famous drag queen and a household name in the L.G.B.T. community. He is an accomplished musician, model, and T.V. judge. He was born and raised in San Diego, California, to Ernestine “Toni” Fontenette and Irving Andrew Charles. He and his three sisters were raised by their mother in San Diego after his parents divorced. He initially attended Patrick Henry High School in San Diego but moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in his mid-teens with his sister Renetta to study performing arts. He made his first television appearance on the variety show “The American Music Show” in 1982. RuPaul always had a knack for dressing up and started performing in drag across the nightclub circuit in Atlanta. After small gigs and appearances, he finally got a chance to be a background dancer in the video ‘Love Shack’ by The B-52s in 1989. In the early 1990s, he performed in nightclubs across Georgia and New York.
In 1993, RuPaul recorded his song ‘Supermodel of the World,’ which was an instant hit on M.T.V. and peaked at #45 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. He paraded around in a blonde wig and other glam ensembles, and the song unexpectedly became a popular hit. He then acted in several films like “Crooklyn” (1994), “Blue in the Face” (1995), “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995), and the drag-themed comedy “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” (1995). In 1995, he released his autobiography “Lettin’ It All Hang Out.” RuPaul landed his talk show, “The RuPaul Show,” the following year, where he interviewed celebrity guests, including the grunge band Nirvana to his musical idol, Diana Ross. In 2009, he hosted the first season of the hit reality T.V. drag competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” for which he achieved international fame. That same year, he guest-starred on multiple other reality T.V. shows, including “Project Runway” and “Paula’s Party.”
In 2012, RuPaul produced the first season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” which starred eliminated queens from the original series. The following year, he collaborated with beauty brand Colorevolution to release his debut line of cosmetic products. In 2014, he released his seventh album, “Born Naked,” which reached the number one spot on the dance album chart on Apple’s music streaming service iTunes. That same year, he started his podcast “RuPaul: What’s the Tee? with Michelle Visage,” his co-judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” In 2016, RuPaul won the first Emmy for his reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” In 2017, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. The same year, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by “Time” magazine. In 2019, “Fortune” noted RuPaul as “easily the world’s most famous” drag queen. He married painter Georges LeBar in 2017, whom he met at a nightclub in New York City in 1994.
RuPaul makes his first T.V. appearance on the variety show "The American Music Show."
The musician's single "Supermodel of the World" reaches the 45th position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
RuPaul releases his memoir titled "Lettin' It All Hang Out."
The T.V. host begins his daytime talk show, "The RuPaul Show."
RuPaul stars as the host and primary judge of the reality T.V. competition show, earning him international fame.
RuPaul wins the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.
RuPaul is awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to T.V.
RuPaul expands his T.V. repertoire to include the Netflix comedy-drama show "A.J. and the Queen."
RuPaul hosts the comedy skit show "Saturday Night Live."
Why We Love RuPaul
He put drag on the main stage
Charles brought the art of drag to the world of mainstream media. The show's success has contributed significantly to the fight for L.G.B.T. rights around the globe.
He's an advocate for American democracy
Charles actively supports voter registration and participation in elections. Contestants of "RuPaul's Drag Race" can often be seen on the main stage at the end of episodes holding signs encouraging people to vote during election years.
He's successfully battled addiction
The queen of drag has revealed that he started smoking marijuana around 10 or 11 years old. He has been sober since 1999.
5 Surprising Facts
Cory Booker and RuPaul are cousins
The T.V. show host learned that he and Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey were first cousins when they appeared on the T.V. show "Finding Your Roots."
He has a GLAAD Media Award
The drag queen won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program; these awards are dedicated to the best L.G.B.T.-related television series and promote L.G.B.T. rights in media.
His name is based on Creole cuisine
His mother named him after roux, a key ingredient in gumbo (a Louisiana stew).
He was a M.A.C. spokesperson
He was the first drag queen to represent the cosmetics brand M.A.C. Cosmetics in the mid-1990s; he raised money for the M.A.C. AIDS Fund.
He has 11 studio albums
The drag queen is also a successful recording artist and has been releasing music since 1993 and has 11 studio albums to his credit.
Does RuPaul have a child?
Although the T.V. star has been married for many years, he and his husband do not have any children together.
Does RuPaul have tattoos?
The drag queen does not have any tattoos.
Are Michelle Visage and RuPaul friends?
In addition to their on-screen friendship, the judges of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are friends in real life.
RuPaul’s birthday dates