“We’re shooting 12 right now, so thank God we got picked up!” RuPaul Charles exclaims when we congratulate him on VH1’s recent Season 12 renewal of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” After more than a decade on the air, the culturally significant “Drag Race” has continued its ascension in the ratings and at awards shows. “I didn’t choose the game, boo, the game chose me. I’m just happy to have a job, honestly,” declares a very humble RuPaul during Gold Derby’s recent set visit to the infamous “Drag Race” catwalk. Watch our exclusive video interview with RuPaul above.
Since Season 12 is currently shooting, we beg RuPaul to tease us with some spoilers on the new cast of queens, but he’s predictably tight-lipped. “Every year our girls make it special,” he concedes. “We create the show … but it’s not until we add the drag queens that it becomes its own unique animal. It makes it special every single year and I love it.” The popular spinoff series “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” has also been greenlit for a fifth cycle.
“The recognition by the mainstream culture was never part of my plan,” RuPaul explains about all of the show’s wild commercial success. “It’s great, but it was never something that was make or break. We knew our show was fabulous all those years that we were not nominated [at awards shows], which is fine. The real prize has always been being able to do it, and to do it for so many years.”
Did RuPaul have a tough time last year picking a winner between Yvie Oddly and runner-up Brooke Lynn Hytes? “It’s always a tough decision, but in reality, the truth is all the girls win,” he says, citing Vanessa “Miss Vanjie” Mateo as an example of someone who lost but still became an international star. “I know that sounds like a cop-out, but if you’re on television, you’re a winner. There are certain winners who you never hear from again. And then there are people who don’t win who become even bigger stars.”
For its 11th season “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards, including the two biggies: Best Competition Program, which it finally won last year, and Best Reality Host, which RuPaul has snatched up three times. In fact, RuPaul could tie the record of four hosting Emmys this year that was originally set by Jeff Probst (“Survivor”). The main series is also nominated for casting, cinematography, costumes, directing, editing, hairstyling and non-prosthetic make-up.
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