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RuPaul by David Shankbone, 2007

RuPaul Andre Charles (born November 17, 1960), best known mononymously as RuPaul, is an American actor, drag queen, model, author, and recording artist, who first became widely known in the 1990s when he appeared in a wide variety of television programs, films, and musical albums. Previously, he was a fixture on the Atlanta and New York City club scenes. Usually billed as RuPaul Charles, he has played men in a number of roles, and makes public appearances both in and out of drag.


  • People ask, "Why do you dress like a woman?" I don't dress like a woman. I dress like a drag queen.
    • Quoted in Let's Talk about Sex: More Than 600 Quotes on the World's Oldest Obsession, Felicia Zopol, ed. (2002)
  • I will not be ignored. I am here to stay.
    • Quoted in Queer Quotes: On Coming Out and Culture, Love and Lust, Politics and Pride, and Much More, Teresa Theophano, ed. (2004)
  • What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn’t change what I decide to do. I don’t choose projects so people don’t see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me.
  • If you have goals and the stick-with-it-ness to make things happen, people will feel threatened by you, especially if your goals don’t include them. They believe that if you take a piece of pie, then that leaves less pie for them. Seeing you follow your dreams leaves them realizing that they’re not following theirs. In truth, there is unlimited pie for everyone!
  • The point about pop culture is that so much of it is borrowed. There's very little that's brand new. Instead, creativity today is a kind of shopping process—picking up on and sampling things form the world around you, things you grew up with
Look at me--a big old black man...
  • Look at me--a big old black man under all of this makeup, and if I can look beautiful, so can you.
  • I don’t have to explain myself. My frequency is very common and is open to anybody to tune in
    • Quoted by Joslyn Pine in: "Book of African-American Quotations"
  • Be very careful of what you allow to infiltrate your consciousness and subconsciousness. When you watch too much television, you'll start to feel inferior from all the commercials hard selling the idea that you're not complete unless you buy their product [...] The ad agencies appeal to your fear of not being wanted or loved. It's the same with the local news. They get you to stay tuned with a constant stream of fear tactics [...] It's as if our culture is addicted to fear and the flat screen is our drug dealer. Don't allow that crap into your head!
  • Drag is really about mocking identity. Drag is really about reminding people that you are more than you think you are – you are more than what it says on your passport.
  • We had a very hostile period [towards drag] after 9/11, especially in America, that was very fear based. And right now, we are enjoying an open window, politically and culturally. But don’t be fooled – all of this is cyclical. I’ve seen the window open in my lifetime and I’ve seen it close.
  • I’ve seen trends ebb and flow. I’ve seen progress and I’ve seen regression, not just in gay movements, but in all types of movements — whether it’s gender or sexuality or race. All kinds of different movements. And humans are fickle. Humans are very trendy. And they’re posers. If some economic change happens, it can all go to shit, honestly. And I’ve seen it happen in my lifetime. So do I trust that this is what it is and it’ll stick forever? I’m skeptical and I’m cautious.
  • Like I said before, there are windows of openness in our culture. And then our culture closes those windows down just as fast. And I’ve seen it in my lifetime, time and time again. Right now I’m enjoying the freedom that we all have. But it could really all end. What happened in Germany in the early ’30s, no one could have imagined that — except for the people who had lived through that kind of thing before. And it’s all cyclical. So we have a certain freedom now. And I’m not just talking about gay people. I’m talking about everyone. We have a certain freedom now. But that could all change in a heartbeat.
  • In a culture, you can choose fear or love. It’s been my experience and my observation that humans on this planet feel more comfortable with fear rather than love and openness... I do know what history tells us about humans. And humans, they actually don’t feel very comfortable with openness and freedom.
  • I have been discriminated against by white people for being black, by black people for being gay, by gay people for being too fem. Did I let them stop me from getting to this chair?
    • RuPaul's Drag Race - S10E13 (2018)


  • You're born naked. The rest is drag.
    • Quoted in Queer Quotes: On Coming Out and Culture, Love and Lust, Politics and Pride, and Much More, Teresa Theophano, ed. (2004)

This quote is a paraphrase of a line by Tede Matthews in the 1977 documentary Word is Out. Matthews said "We're all born naked, and anything anybody wears at any time is drag."[1]

About RuPaul[edit]

  • He/she is the host, mentor and inspiration of RuPaul's Drag Race, the ultimate drag queen competition. RuPaul reigns supreme in all judging and eliminations of the race. However, RuPaul, the man, guide the contestants in preparin for each challenge. The Nation's most outrageous, cutting-edge, talented and stunningly gorgeous drag queens are generally the participants. Rupaul also is the fabulous judge on the tv show Skin Wars and Skin Wars Fresh Paint.


  1. Youmans, Greg (2011). Word is Out: A Queer Film Classic. Arsenal Pulp. ISBN 1551524201. 

See also[edit]

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