Michelle Visage Interview: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’
“Our show has changed the world!” declares Michelle Visage when we asked her about the lasting impact of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” In our webchat (watch the exclusive video above), she explains, “The change I see in the world is more acceptance and love for this art form. When I grew up in New York City, the art of drag was never considered artistry — it was in the margins, the outskirts of the gay community.” Her tenure as the motherly albeit tough judge of the competition series, now finishing up its 10th season in addition to three All-Stars seasons, began in 2011 with season 3.
Since then the show has seen a steady increase in worldwide appeal as well as viewership, moving networks from Logo to VH1 permanently in 2017, one year after RuPaul Charles won his first Emmy as host and the same year the show amassed a whopping eight nominations with the television academy (including its first for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program and another win for RuPaul as host).
What is Visage’s reaction to the show’s Emmy success? “Is this actually real? Our little queer television show is being recognized by the masses and so many power players and celebrities and important people in the world of showbiz love it and watch it.” In addition to how honored she is by the academy’s embrace of the show, she candidly discusses with us her need to provide the queens of “Drag Race” with tough love, her lifelong friendship with RuPaul and, of course, the reason that the “Miss Vaaaaaanjie” craze was instantly popular during filming.
This year, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will contend at the Emmys with episodes from both the current season 10 as well as “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 3” which aired from January to March. “All-Stars 3” includes two of the moments in series history that shocked Visage the most: BenDeLaCreme, the far and away frontrunner to win at the time, eliminating herself instead of one of her competitors and Shangela being voted out by a jury of her peers just short of the finale. Season 10 is currently down to the final six queens and will air its grand finale in early June.