Zaldy Interview: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ costume designer
For costume designer Zaldy, the stakes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” keep getting higher, but “we started to do this project for fun,” he explains. “We weren’t thinking about awards or anything. It was just about having fun,” and that’s the attitude that has persisted throughout its 11 seasons. Watch our exclusive video interview with Zaldy above.
In this reality competition series, RuPaul Charles sets out to find the next great drag queen, and it has grown in popularity in recent years, expanding its viewership and collecting Emmy gold. “A lot has changed since the show started,” Zaldy points out, both “in the way the show has developed” and “the way drag has developed.” The contestants in particular have upped their game. “Everyone is really out to compete. So in a way, it does get more intense … but I still approach it in the same way as always,” which is trying to figure out “what do I want to see RuPaul wear this year?”
This year he wanted to play around with RuPaul’s famous persona. “The classic image of Ru is the big blonde hair, the long gown,” he says. “We opened the door into showing legs and making short dresses and slits. We’re opening the door a little bit more, and breaking away from that complete iconic image.”
Zaldy has won two consecutive Emmys for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (2017-2018), and he was also nominated in 2016. He won the Costume Designers Guild Award for the series earlier this year. And prior to his television work he served as the costume designer on concert tours for Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson.
In addition to Zaldy’s victories, “Drag Race” has earned three straight Emmys for RuPaul as Best Reality Host (2016-2018), and it claimed the award for Best Reality Competition Series for the first time in 2018. It has won additional prizes for its directing, hairstyling and editing.