Monday, June 22, 2009

Speakeasy with RuPaul

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 5:12 PM

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Longtime Atlantans fondly remember the days in the late ’80s when RuPaul was queen of the city’s genderfuck scene, performing in and out of drag with such bands as Wee Wee Pole and Now Explosion, appearing regularly on public-access TV, and starring in underground videos and low-budget movies. After moving to New York and making it big with “Supermodel (You Better Work)” and his own VH1 talk show, RuPaul Andre Charles continued to release albums, such as this year’s Champion, and make appearances in TV shows and films. He’ll soon start his second season hosting “Drag Race” on cable’s Logo network, a reality show in which contestants compete to be named the country’s top drag queen. RuPaul will appear at Primal Atlanta on June 25 at a fundraiser for the Atlanta Cotillion, which benefits AID Atlanta.

On “Drag Race,” you often appear in street clothes when talking to contestants. Is there any potential harm to a drag queen’s public image to be seen out of drag?

Appearing out of drag was to show my authority as an expert. If I didn’t appear out of drag, it would undermine my authority. I’ve appeared in and out of drag in movies and television for years. If I’d been smart, I wouldn’t have used my real name when I started my career in Atlanta 27 years ago. But I don’t think there are any real pitfalls with appearing out of drag.

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(Photo by Mathu Andersen)

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