RuPaul stands front and center, shining like a Rockette, on Vanity Fair’s holiday issue. The drag queen/actor/TV host/spiritual mother to millions shared his thoughts on the current state of drag and the grandest illusion of all—life.
The flavor of RuPaul’s Drag Race has seeped into the everyday lives of anyone with an internet connection, especially the language used by some of the contestants on the show, which has its roots in ball culture, and is repackaged for mainstream folks peeping in on a lifestyle they don’t fully understand.
While it feels like every teen girl with a substantial Tik Tok following is mindlessly repeating drag queen jargon and considering themselves an ally in bringing drag culture towards the mainstream, RuPaul thinks otherwise:
“A superficial aspect of drag is mainstream. Like, the ‘Ooh, girl’ or ‘Hey girlfriend!’ or ‘Yaaas.’ That’s mainstream culture. But true drag really will never be mainstream. Because true drag has to do with seeing that this world is an illusion and that everything that you say you are and everything it says that you are on your driver’s license, it’s all an illusion. Most people will never in their lives understand what that is. Because they don’t have the operating system to understand that duality.”
The interview is more than just a look into RuPaul’s history and status as a drag icon—it’s Mama Ru giving a master class on how to improve your own life based on how he’s evolved to live his. “You know how on the plane they say put the mask on your face before you put the mask on your child’s face? It starts with me. I cannot help someone unless I am first having fun or being fulfilled,” he said. Ru isn’t interested in becoming the next peace ambassador for the culture: “I don’t do this because I want to be a role model. If somebody can get something from what I’m doing, I say right on, sister. But that’s not why I do it.”
Read the interview here.