Michelle Visage talks lingerie, RuPaul and the phenomenon that is RuPaul’s Drag Race.
We’re close to the final of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10. What a season it’s been! Miss Vanjie’s elimination in the first episode turning into a viral meme. Aquaria’s turn as Melania Trump. Snatch Game. Monique not knowing how to lip sync for her life. Carly Rae Jepsen. The tenth season of the show continues to draw in high viewers and trends weekly on Twitter during each episode.
Michelle Visage has been a judge and stable of the panel since 2011 and has seen the show transition from Logo to VH-1. Visage has also seen the show’s appeal and reach through RuPaul’s DragCon, which broke records in May when over 50,000 fans attended the three-day convention. ” I feel it’s the little engine that could” Visage said of the show’s phenomenal success. We scratch our heads thinking of shows that increase with popularity as they get deeper into their run, this show is one that continues to grow in viewers, fans and it’s a show that continues to get stronger with every episode.
Visage also talked about her enduring friendship with RuPaul. Whether you’re watching the show and seeing their banter, listening to RuPaul: What’s The Tee or observing them together, their love runs deep. “Trust, communication, love, honesty.” Visage says when asked about the qualities that make their bond run deep.
Read my chat with Visage below and yes, we talked about my first time at DragCon and her lingerie line, we also talk about her thoughts on Drag King…
I lost my DragCon virginity, and it was the best thing ever. What was so incredible was seeing all these young girls in line waiting for you. It was so family friendly and so incredible to see that DragCon had such wide appeal whether you were a little girl, a little boy, teenagers and everyone. What’s it like being part of a phenomenon?
It’s been a miraculous journey. To watch it grow, I feel it’s the little engine that could. I can’t remember the last time a show has steadily grown from season one to season ten. Every year it’s topping its ratings. Every year it’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s season ten and having its highest ratings yet with no stop in sight, it’s an anomaly and something that’s never seen nor been heard of. It’s been an amazing journey and such a gift to be a part of.
How much fun was it for you?
I always have so much fun. I always have meeting fans of the show and watching the love these people have. It’s not just for the queens of the show and Ru, but also for the community in general and everything that we’re doing. They’re living their truth and their life and it’s such a reward to me.
That was such a great thing to see and hear, speaking to people who felt DragCon and the show RuPaul’s Drag Race giving people a sense of community, belonging and identity. I truly don’t think, like you say, any show in history has accomplished that.
I don’t think so. I think that’s what makes it so special. People talk about it being mainstream, it’s not mainstream and it never will be. We don’t really care about it being mainstream. What we care about is it reaching the people who need the message of the show, who love it, believe in it and really get something from it. That’s who we are and that’s who we are and what we’re about.
OK, we have to talk about Miss Vanjie and that moment and what it has become. Were you at all surprised by what it went on to become?
I’m surprised by what the meme has become. There was a moment when she did it. People know, they listen to the podcast and they listen to mine and Ru’s relationship. I knew the minute she did it. I knew it was something I could have in my pocket to make Ru laugh forever. People know us, the sarcasm that came out of Ru after she did it, it made no sense, it was ridiculous. Ru said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t get the name.” He was being sarcastic and funny and that’s when I re-did it. I think if I didn’t do it, I think if Ru didn’t react the way we reacted, nobody would have even noticed. The fact that I knew it would make Ru laugh and Ru reacted the way he reacted and they kept it in was magical. It launched a thousand memes.
You and Ru have such an enduring friendship to watch, to listen to on the podcast and just to see. What’s the secret to that lifelong bond and there’s so much love?
I think there’s an essence of a soulmate in there. I think the real truth is trust. I think Ru knows and I know that Ru loves me unconditionally no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing. I think that’s what you need in a friend and us getting to work together is just a gift. Trust, communication, love, honesty, that’s what friendships are about and reciprocity. I think if you don’t get it back. It’s hard to give.
I got such a kick out of so many things this season, but I think Asia O’ Hara’s fish mask is going to haunt me forever. What have you gotten a kick out of so far this season?
I really was enjoying Monet X Change. She made me laugh. I get a kick, when you say kick you think of a pick me up or funny. Having lived through it live versus what they’re seeing is so much fun to see such as the work room or the confessionals. For me, I get a kick out of seeing who the girls really are. I don’t know them at all. I haven’t spent any time with them. I don’t know what they’re doing in the work room. I haven’t seen the confessionals so I see the show when you do. I get a kick out of seeing what these queens are really like. What their story is and seeing how funny they are and seeing whether they’ve gone through trauma in their lives. That’s the stuff that really intrigues me. It’s such a fun journey.
Who continues to surprise you?
RuPaul. Always. Every time he walks out on that stage I get surprised. As far as the queens go, they all do. I get asked Who’s my favorite queen? I literally don’t have one. They all amaze me and they all do something different that each week opens my eyes or I learn something from. Watching the competition through their eyes is eye-opening, rewarding and amazing.
You’re an international sensation. You’ve just done Ireland’s Got Talent and you see the global impact of the show. What is that like?
In one word, it’s pride. I’m so proud that this show has been touching so many people’s lives. The further it goes and the more people that experience it, the different kinds of people come up to me and have something to say about it. It’s so rewarding when mothers come up with their little kids or their teenage kids and say “Thank you” because my kid didn’t feel like they have a place where they fit in. Thanks to Drag Race, now they do. They’re not necessarily queer kids, they just don’t fit on the hetero spectrum and it’s amazing to have that. I’m really proud to be part of a show that is changing the world literally.
We had the Cher episode. Are you gunning for a Madonna episode?
We had the two Madonna runways, right? So, the only thing left would be the Unauthorized Madonna musical. I’m sure it’ll happen at some point. Who knows when and that will be a fun one. I’ll be hyper-critical on that one.
On the podcast, you mentioned the lingerie line you plan to do. Let’s talk about that.
It’s going to take a while. It’s not a fast turnaround that I can just go to Victoria Secret and say, “Listen guys, you are being biased.” I’m actually working with a designer right now and I have to come up with the capital. It’s something that is really important to me and I’m passionate about it because it’s something I hear at every stop of the world. They’re all saying, “Where do you get your bras?” “How do you get your lift like that?” It’s out there. They want it and they need it and the bras aren’t there for us. If it’s not there for us, then I need to make it happen for women with cup sizes bigger than a D.
It’s definitely something I’m going to do.
Are you having fun with Whatca Packing? Every time I watch it, I’m wondering when you’ll be getting a talk show.
I have so much fun doing it. Even when it started in the hotel rooms with shitty lighting. Even now on a bigger VH-1 platform, we have the full set. The girls take it really seriously. It’s been really enjoyable and I get to see another side to the girls where they’re free.
At Ru’s keynote speech, someone asked about Drag King. What are your thoughts on that?
I agree with Ru. I don’t see it on Drag Race. I see it on its own show. They deserve their own show. The challenges are going to have to be different so we’ll have to create something new. I’m all for that.
RuPaul’s Drag King coming soon.
Well, what about Michelle Visage’s Drag King? They can give it to me. I’ll do anything Ru does.
Yes! Michelle Visage’s Drag King. That needs to happen and we are going to put it out there in the universe.
Consider RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s All-Stars in the following:
RuPaul’s Drag Race
10s Across The Board
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
Outstanding Casting For A Reality Program
Outstanding Costumes For Variety, Nonfiction Or Reality Programming
Outstanding Hairstyling For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special
Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Outstanding Picture Editing For A Structured Or Competition Reality Program
Outstanding Production Design For A Variety, Reality Or Reality-Competition Series
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked
Untucked – Snatch Game
Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
Untucked – 10s Across The Board
Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars