RuPaul: 'True drag' will never be mainstream

By Annie Martin

Nov. 20 (UPI) -- RuPaul says "true drag" will never be a part of mainstream culture.

The 59-year-old television personality and celebrity drag queen discussed the illusory nature of drag and the impact of his show RuPaul's Drag Race in the holiday issue of Vanity Fair.


RuPaul said drag's more superficial elements have made their way into mainstream culture, but most will never understand the underlying duality behind his concept of drag.

"A superficial aspect of drag is mainstream. Like, the 'Ooh, girl' or 'Hey girlfriend!' or 'Yaaas.' That's mainstream culture," the star said. "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, 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," he said.

RuPaul illustrated his point by describing a scene in The Matrix in which rows of people are shown living their lives in a pod but dreaming about another world.

"That is such a powerful picture. I think most people have the ability to understand that but dare not go there. Because then they would be forced to deconstruct their whole belief system and build another one," he said.

"Building a new belief system and then maintaining it is a tall order. A lot of times it means you have to leave your family and friends behind. Because they're not going to get it."

RuPaul hosts the reality TV drag competition RuPaul's Drag Race, which has aired for 11 seasons and inspired several spinoffs. Some credit the show with helping to popularize drag and connecting audiences to the LGBT community, although RuPaul isn't concerned with public reception.

"It's important for me to focus on my experience. 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," the star explained.


"I don't do this because I want to be a role model," he added. "If somebody can get something from what I'm doing, I say right on, sister. But that's not why I do it."

RuPaul's Drag Race was renewed for a 12th season, to air on VH1, in August. The new spinoff RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race will premiere in 2020. RuPaul will also star in the new Netflix comedy series AJ and the Queen.

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