Who Is RuPaul? 21 Lesser-Known-Facts About The Drag Race Superstar

She's a super queen. And 'she done already done had herses'!

These lines are not enough to sum up the flamboyant and powerful personality that is RuPaul Andre Charles. Of course not! Because Mama Ru is quite the enigma, both on-screen and off.

Cause, honey, after that six-way "lip-sync for your life" she threw at the losing queens a few episodes back on Drag Race, she has definitely proven that she is just as unpredictable now as she was 11 years back when season 1 aired. And the queens better take her seriously.

So here are 21 lesser-known facts about RuPaul, the Drag Race super queen. Because reading is fundamental!

From his early days as a punk rocker with a struggling side gig in drag to getting the green light for RuPaul's Drag Race after his very first pitch (which almost never happens in the show biz), RuPaul has come a long way through the decades. And has taken the entire LGBTQ community forward with him (well, and her!).

So get ready for some interesting tidbits and Mama Ru facts, because it's time to pull back the covers and find out more about the world's favorite (and most powerful) drag queen!

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21 A Psychic Told His Mom He Would Be A Star When She Was Still Pregnant


No kidding. This is exactly what happened when Mama Ernestine Charles was still pregnant with baby Ru.

Only–unlike most people–she didn't discount what the psychic said. Instead, she made sure her baby had a unique name that would make him stand out. A one-and-only-on-the-planet kinda name. Just like a star.

Well, history is a testament to the accuracy of that prediction. After all, when we say RuPaul, you immediately know who we are talking about.

But here's another fun fact. The "Ru" in "RuPaul" is derived from "roux," a Cajun stew that touches upon RuPaul's Louisiana heritage from his mother's side of the family.

20 His Shoe Size Is 13


It's no surprise that dressing up in drag is a lesson in pain tolerance. But if we were to name the most painful things about being a drag queen, strutting around in towering heels designed for narrower feet would definitely come in at second, after all the tapes and tucks.

So, of course, Mama Ru prefers wearing open-toed shoes whenever she can. After all, at 6' 4'', she is one tall queen. And so needs big pairs of shoes!

But her towering height has never stopped her from wearing tall heels. In fact, RuPaul regularly clocks in at 7 feet in drag, and sometimes even more!

19 He Was In A Struggling Punk Rock Band In The '80s


Before he rose to astronomical fame as a drag superstar, RuPaul struggled for many years as a punk rock singer. He was the lead singer of the band Wee Wee Pole in the '80s and performed primarily in the Atlanta region and surrounding areas.

While the band never really made it big, RuPaul did speak about his punk rock days in an episode of Drag Race, saying that their music was inspired by The B-52s, The Plasmatics, and his all-time favorite, Blondie.

Well, the internet being the internet, soon dug up a really old clip of him singing "Funky for a Honky" and "Body Heat" at an Atlanta club. And it was totally fabulous!

18 He's Married To A Rancher In Wyoming


You may not know this, but when he's not filming Drag Race or off recording hit albums, RuPaul retires to his husband Georges LeBar's ranch in Wyoming, South Dakota, where he spends his days watching movies, reading books, and relaxing in the quiet.

According to Nicki Swift, the pair have been together for more than 23 years now and met in a nightclub where LeBar caught Ru's eye with his extraordinary dance moves and towering 6'7'' frame.

RuPaul once said in an interview that he always wanted a sweet and sensitive partner, and LeBar, a gentlemanly guy from Australia, turned out to be that for him.

17 He Dropped Out Of High School When He Flunked 10th Grade


RuPaul may have been the Dean of Drag U, but he never graduated high school in real life.

According to The Frisky, he was popular in school for his talent in the field of performing arts, earning the titles of "Best Dancer" and "Best Afro" in junior high. But he was never really inclined towards the more basic aspects of school education.

So when he flunked his 10th-grade exams, he decided to drop out and pursue a profession in the entertainment industry. But don't worry—having left high school didn't stop him from returning on prom night and totally slaying it.

16 He Met Michelle Visage When She Was A Teenager


Michelle Visage met RuPaul in 1988, but their friendship didn't spark until they started working together on a radio show in 1996. And after all these years, the two know each other so well that they can practically finish each other's sentences!

In an interview with Gay Times, Ru said that he never saw Michelle as a straight ally because when it comes to friendship, he does not care who someone is and where they come from as long as they are delightfully complicated and follow the Bohemian creed of beauty, love, and laughter. That's definitely an interesting perspective on friendship!

15 He Almost Quit Drag When He Was 28


In his early days of drag, RuPaul tried to make New York his playground twice. But it flopped both times because of the high cost of living and other difficulties.

In fact, things were so bad the second time around that he actually considered quitting drag.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ru explained that he had considered quitting because his work had stagnated by then and every day was a struggle for money. So he moved back to Los Angeles, into his sister's apartment, where he spent some time sleeping on her couch without a dime to his name.

Thankfully, he decided to give drag one last shot and went back to Manhattan. That's when things started to change for him.

14 He Was Once Known As The 'Queen Of Manhattan'

RuPaul's Drag Race

After nearly quitting drag at 28, RuPaul decided to give it one last shot in Manhattan. And much to his surprise—and maybe thanks to a dose of good luck—he quickly became the most popular drag queen in town. So much that club owners even gave him the prestigious title of "Queen of Manhattan."

That title helped him build a solid space for himself in the New York drag scene. And all because he had decided to switch up his style and, in his own words, wear the "shortest skirts" and "highest hair." Clearly, the new fashion moves worked for him, because it was only a steady rise to fame from there.

13 The Punk Band 'The B-52' Helped Skyrocket Him To Fame


While the crown of "Queen of Manhattan" did make RuPaul quite famous, what really pushed him into stardom was a chance encounter with The B-52s, the punk band that inspired his own stint as a punk singer back in the early '80s.

According to Fred Schneider of The B-52s, Ru was the best performer on set when they were filming the music video for "Love Shack." And that energy and personality translated really well in the final video, which skyrocketed RuPaul's fame and got everyone talking about him.

Fortunately for us, the footage can still be found today, and we can all watch Ru slay!

12 He Was The First Drag Queen Who Modelled For A Major Cosmetics Company


The 1990s was a great decade for RuPaul's work as a drag superstar. And one of the biggest wins of that decade for him was his contract with MAC for modeling their cosmetics. The move made him the first drag queen to ever model for a major cosmetics brand in a public campaign.

But that wasn't the only big thing about his contract with MAC. The bigger detail was that this contract was for the VIVA Glam Collection, which was championing LGBT rights and raising funds for their AIDS Fund at a time when people still didn't speak so openly about it.

The collection is in production even today and has, over the years, added products created by many other celebrities, like Lady Gaga, Elton John, and Nicki Minaj.

11 He Had An On-Stage Awkward Moment During The 1993 MTV VMAs


The 1993 MTV VMAs was Ru's first big award show where he had not only been nominated for the Best Dance Video award for his hit song "Supermodel" but was also invited to present the People's Choice Award alongside comedian Milton Berle.

Only, the night didn't pan out exactly as he had hoped.

According to Rolling Stone, RuPaul made a snide comment about Berle "wearing diapers rather than gowns" while onstage, which led to an awkward exchange between the two, including some immature behavior from Berle.

RuPaul later explained that Berle had behaved inappropriately with her backstage first. But no one knows for sure what exactly happened between the two.

10 He Made History With The RuPaul Show Which Ran For 3 Years On VH1


If you thought RuPaul became a cultural icon in the entertainment industry after Drag Race, you would be wrong. The truth is, he was making big waves even before Drag Race was an idea. And it was through his very own chat show on VH1–The RuPaul Show.

The show was the first of its kind to have a host who openly embraced his identity. And it was fun and fabulous in every way imaginable. Which is the reason why it ran for 3 years for a total of 100 episodes.

The show had some big-name guests too, like Cher, Olivia Newton-John, and Diana Ross. Michelle Visage made an appearance in an episode too!

9 Kurt Cobain And His Bandmates Once Created A Special Christmas Video For Ru


The 1993 MTV VMAs may have been a weird experience for RuPaul, but one great thing came out of it. He became friends with Kurt Cobain and his bandmates from Nirvana.

This surprised many people because Cobain and company were known to not get along with other musicians. But they loved RuPaul right from the start. So much that they even made a special Christmas video for Mama Ru, asking for her autograph.

And while that relationship was not meant to last for long, RuPaul is still great friends with Courtney Love, Cobain's wife, and even invited her to guest judge on one of the more recent seasons of Drag Race.

8 He Has Had A Few Run-Ins With Stalkers In The Past


One of the downsides of being famous is that the public sometimes neglects to realize what is appropriate fan behavior and what is a legitimate invasion of privacy. And stalkers are the more dangerous manifestation of that obsessive love.

In an interview with Vice, RuPaul revealed that he has had two run-ins with stalkers in the past. The first one had to be taken away by the police and "had to go to prison for a long time." But the second was more of a harmless fan who had RuPaul's name tattooed on one leg and Cher's on the other.

7 A Period Dramedy Based On RuPaul's Life Is Currently In The Works

Vanity Fair

Here's the scoop. Warner Bros TV, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, and World of Wonder are currently producing a fictional dramedy based on the life of RuPaul and his journey from club kid in the '80s to the most powerful drag queen in the world.

The project, titled Queen, is currently in the works and so a release date has not been announced yet. But you can bet that with RuPaul as one of the executive producers, the show is going to be a mega-hit whenever it comes out.

As for whether it will be streamed online, yes it will be. On Hulu. So when Queen finally comes out, you know where to find it.

6 Children May Or May Not Be In The Cards For Him And His Partner


Although RuPaul and his husband Georges have been together for over 23 years now, the two don't seem to be in any hurry to have kids yet.

In fact, when asked about this in interviews, he has always said that though he doesn't have anything against having kids, he knows that raising them requires a lot of time and attention, which he cannot spare at the moment.

But every time he has said that, he has then thrown the media a curveball by saying they might just decide to adopt kids! Because his husband, Georges, is really fond of children and apparently wants them.

5 He Has His Own Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame


RuPaul has made history quite a few times in his life. And one of the biggest ones was that of being the first drag queen to get her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018.

So yeah, if someone still thinks RuPaul isn't relevant, they should know what to do with their opinions. #werk

Also, here's a fun fact. RuPaul invited his junior high teacher, Bill Panell, to the ceremony as a mark of respect and admiration because when he was a kid, his teacher had advised him to not take life so seriously.

According to The Irish Examiner, RuPaul holds that advice close to his heart even today.

4 He Idolizes Judge Judy


Anyone who has watched "Season 6" of Drag Race knows that when Bianca Del Rio chose to play Judge Judy for the "Snatch Game," she was warned that RuPaul would judge her the most critically since Mama Ru was a big fan of the judge and watched the show every night.

More recently, when RuPaul was on the CBS Sunday Morning Program to promote season 10 of Drag Race, host Nancy Giles had a special surprise for him. A video message from Judge Judy herself!

"When I think about RuPaul, I think about three words, 'talented', 'brave' and 'always honest," Judge Judy said. "He knows who he is, he understands life, so I’m glad you’re celebrating him this morning."

3 He Sleeps With A Stuffed Toy Every Night

RuPaul's Drag Race

In an interview with People back in 2015, RuPaul played a simple game of "5 Truths and A Lie" with the team. And one of the truths was that he slept every night with a stuffed toy donkey named Jimmy.

According to the story, RuPaul found the toy lying on the street near a toy donation bin in Atlanta on the night of Christmas in 1986. Someone seemed to have ripped the bag open and it was one of the toys that had spilled out.

Well, RuPaul kept that ancient toy, which seemed to be almost 25 years old at that time. And now he has had it for over 30 years!

2 He Once Rang The Closing Bell At Wall Street

Getty Images

Ringing the closing bell of Wall Street can be awkward when it's a bad trading day and great on a good one. But everything changes when it's a banner day and the person ringing the bell is a superstar.

Well, that's exactly what happened when RuPaul was invited to ring the bell at the NASDAQ Exchange to celebrate season 6 of Drag Race.

The occasion was also to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of VIACOM registering on NASDAQ, which brought on 42 more companies over the years and a net total of $250 billion. And since Logo TV, the channel which aired Drag Race at that time, was owned by VIACOM, it was a double celebration for everyone involved.

1 His Pitch For 'Drag Race' Was Given The Green Light In The First Meeting


And finally, here's one last awesome fact about the gorgeous drag superstar named RuPaul. He was given the green light for RuPaul's Drag Race on his very first pitch meeting with VH1.

The show was premiered in February of 2009 soon after that and became the most viewed show on Logo TV. And over the years that popularity has just grown, along with the prize money, which used to be $10,000 in the first few seasons and then became $100,000.

Season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race is currently airing on VH1 every Thursday and on Netflix every Friday. So if you want to stay in the loop and be fabulous, you know what to do.

Sources: Nicki Swift, ET Canada, People, Vice, Rolling Stone

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