On Monday, added to the list of things I didn’t know I needed in my life but now can’t live without, RuPaul was revealed dressed as Queen Elizabeth I for Vogue’s May issue.
Seriously, me when I saw this image.
The puffed sleeves! The gold brocade skirt! The (wake up) pearl jewelry! The red wig of curls!
As we get closer and closer to the Met Gala and its camp theme, RuPaul’s exaggerated, regal outfit is no mistake (even if Kim Kardashian being on the cover was). And while this isn’t Ru’s first major magazine interview, this Vogue profile is different. For one, we get a rare glimpse into RuPaul’s personal life and relationship with Australian husband Georges LeBar. Ru’s boo owns a 60,000 acre ranch in Wyoming! Oh, and they’re also in an open relationship. After this Elizabethan photoshoot, all I can think of is a re-creation of The Favourite with RuPaul as the queen and the pit crew as his lovers. I’d watch that in a heartbeat. We also get to see how RuPaul orders coffee and it’s exactly as ridiculous as you would expect.
Vogue’s profile is an up close examination of Ru’s process. When I read it, all I could think of was how I would love to hear a Show Your Work episode of RuPaul (@Lainey and @Duana) because he sees the world in such unique and strange way. Per Abby Aguirre, the writer of the piec:
Indeed, a conversation with RuPaul can leave you with the sensation that there is infinite wisdom to be wrung out of just about everything, provided you shed your earthly hang-ups and get hip to the glorious freedom of category collapse.
Aguirre calls the current era of RuPaul, “The Second Reign,” following his popularity in the 90s and 00s. The Second Reign is really where we see the results of the work that RuPaul puts in for decades, from the beginnings of Drag Race to an upcoming Netflix series called AJ and the Queen. Along with RuPaul’s Drag Race UK that’s coming this year, he’s also running Drag Con in both NYC and LA, debuting a makeup collection with Roncal, and is even working with JJ Abrams and Hulu on a dramedy based on his career.
If you watch a lot of Drag Race, and I do, RuPaul always seems fully formed and extremely polished. He’s the tough but loving mother who doles out advice to her children. A seasoned star helping those who are just at the start of their career. There are parts of this article that showcase this side of Ru, notably the exchange between him and Annie Leibovitz where she asks him to take off his headpiece, and he refuses because he claims it ruins the aesthetic. Spoiler: he wins. What I love about this profile is that it also showcases another, more vulnerable side of Ru, one that reveals his fears and insecurities.
In last week’s episode of Drag Race, Plastique has an enormous breakthrough about her struggle between the strict expectations placed on her by her Vietnamese upbringing and her desire to unapologetically be her authentic self. She sobs into Ru’s arms as he consoles her. In every season, RuPaul is always on the queens about showcasing vulnerabilities and breaking down walls, but he never seemed to follow his own advice. At least he never showed us that he did, until now. This is how the profile ends:
“In my career, I’ve been able to show certain angles. I’ve been able to paint on a face and edit what I presented,” he explains. “I thought by doing this acting project, I would be exposing myself to the world: the raw, unfiltered self.” He goes on: “But what I found out yesterday was that I was exposing myself to myself. I got to see the parts of me that even I didn’t allow myself to recognize or acknowledge. I had thought, I’m going to be naked to the world. No, I was naked to myself.”
That sounds exactly like something Ru would say to one of the girls, but it means so much more as a self-reflection. The Second Reign of RuPaul is going strong, and with an attitude like this, I don’t think it’s ending anytime soon.
Click here to read the article and see photos.
Attached - RuPaul at PaleyFest in March.