RuPaul Charles Interview: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’
RuPaul Charles has reason to celebrate. Not only is he a four-time Emmy winner for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (three for Best Reality Host, one for Best Competition Program), but his reality TV show was just picked up for a 12th season by VH1. “We’re shooting 12 right now, so thank God we got picked up!” RuPaul exclaims when I congratulate him on the good news during my recent set visit to the “Drag Race” runway. Watch our exclusive video interview with RuPaul above.
If RuPaul wins a fourth consecutive Emmy this September for Best Reality Host, that would tie him with the all-time record holder, Jeff Probst (“Survivor”). “Really? Wow!” he declares before adding, “I didn’t choose the game, boo, the game chose me. I’m just happy to have a job, honestly!”
What was that moment like last year when “Drag Race” won its first-ever Emmy for Best Competition Program? “It’s an out of body experience,” RuPaul notes, “because you’re not sure if it’s really happening. I wasn’t. I’ve seen pictures of us all on stage. I don’t really remember it. But it’s very exciting to have worked on this show for so many years. A lot of crew members have been here for years and years and years, so for their peers to recognize our show is lovely.”
After more than a decade on the air — first on Logo, now on VH1 — what is it about “Drag Race” that keeps RuPaul coming back for more? “We do it because we love it,” he says matter-of-factly. “We do this show because it’s exciting and we love creating a platform for all of these incredible queens to get introduced to the world and start their international careers.” Among the queens that we dish from the Emmy-eligible 11th season are winner Yvie Oddly, runner-up Brooke Lynn Hytes, Miss Congeniality Nina West and returning favorite Vanessa “Miss Vanjie” Mateo.
Since Season 12 is currently shooting, I ask RuPaul if he can give us any teasers on the new queens, but he’s predictably tight-lipped. “Every year our girls make it special,” he reveals. “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.”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is nominated for nine Emmys this year: series, host, casting, cinematography, costumes, directing, editing, hairstyling and non-prosthetic make-up. That’s more than any other competition program. In addition, many of its spinoffs are also nominated, including “All Stars,” “Untucked,” “Out of the Closet” and “Portrait of a Queen.” RuPaul humbly admits, “The real prize has always been being able to do it, and to do it for so many years.”