caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers,” RuPaul tweeted. He added, “In the 10 years we’ve been casting Drag Race, the only thing we’ve ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent. And that will never change.” Born on Nov. 17, 1960, RuPaul Andre Charles spent his childhood in San Diego. When he was 15, he moved to Atlanta and attended the North Atlanta School of Performing Arts. Charles didn’t finish high school, but in the mid-1980s, he resettled in New York where he went on to make a name for himself as the larger-than-life fab-diva drag star. His first eye-catching national exposure came in 1989 with a featured role dancing in the B52’s “Love Shack” music video. “That summer, I f—ing ruled downtown New York. I switched my look from genderf—k to Soul Train dancer slash black hooker. I got the shortest skirts, highest hair, and everybody f—ing lost it. And I thought, ‘Okay, I know what’s happening now,’” Charles told Entertainment Weekly about his underground success as Queen of Manhattan. In 1991, World of Wonder’s Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey became his managers. “When I first started doing drag, I could be messy and have a lot of unbridled fun. But once I got famous, I had to represent what people expected of me. I still have
fun in drag but it’s in a very controlled atmosphere,” Charles told the Los Angeles Blade. “Drag is language that communicates with your immediate environment. I’ve always said ‘you’re born naked and the rest is drag’ and I truly believe that. Everything you wear once you get out of the shower is drag. By articulating the clothes that I wear, I can curate how people react to me. A suit and tie gets one reaction, while a nautical or western wear look gets another,” Charles said. At 6’4,’Charles stands seven-feet in heels, making him a natural as “Supermodel of the World” -- the title of his first album. By the mid ‘90s, Charles reached international superstardom with the Billboard Hot 100-charting single “Supermodel (You Better Work).” He went on to grace the covers of magazines, produce over a dozen albums, ink modeling contracts with the likes of renowned beauty line M.A.C. Cosmetics, raising millions of dollars for the M.A.C AIDS Fund and becoming the first man to land a major cosmetics campaign. He’s also the author of “Lettin’ It All Hang Out” and “Workin’ It! RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style.” Plus he’s a talk show host on VH1’s, “The RuPaul Show” and of course the star of the history-making reality show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”– now in its tenth season.
Photos courtesy Andre Charles
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Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 5, March 9, 2018