June is pride month and that means it is time to highlight some important people within the community and what they have done. Kicking off this year with RuPaul. Now RuPaul might not be the easiest to teach about based on your comfort as a parent but he is one of the most recognizable in the LGTBQIA + community.
Biography of RuPaul
RuPaul Andre Charles was born November 17, 1960 and goes by RuPaul. He is an American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, television personality, and author. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which he has received eight Primetime Emmy Awards. He is considered the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2019, Fortune noted him as “easily the world’s most famous” drag queen.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, RuPaul later studied performing arts in Atlanta, Georgia. He settled in New York City, where he became a popular fixture on the LGBT nightclub scene. He achieved international fame as a drag queen with the release of his debut single, “Supermodel (You Better Work)”, which was included on his debut studio album Supermodel of the World (1993). In 1994, he became a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics, raising money for the Mac AIDS Fund and becoming the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign. That year, he received his own talk show on VH1 called The RuPaul Show, which he hosted for over 100 episodes while co-hosting the morning radio show on WKTU with Michelle Visage. He has had continued success as a recording artist, releasing 14 studio albums including Foxy Lady (1996), Ho Ho Ho (1997), Champion (2009), Glamazon (2011), and Born Naked (2014).
RuPaul has made appearances in films including Crooklyn (1994), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), But I’m a Cheerleader (1999), Hurricane Bianca (2016), the Comedy Central series Broad City (2017), and the Netflix original shows Girlboss (2017), Grace and Frankie (2019), and AJ and the Queen (2020). He has also published three books: Lettin’ It All Hang Out (1995), Workin’ It! RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style (2010), and GuRu (2018). Additionally to date, RuPaul’s Drag Race has produced thirteen seasons in the United States and 2 in the United Kingdom (as of 2021). The show has seen success globally with a further 6 international formats of the show in production. This has also inspired several spin-off series, including RuPaul’s Drag U, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, and RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race. He is also featured as a host on series such as Skin Wars, Good Work, and Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul. In June 2019, his daytime talk show RuPaul premiered, but was cancelled after a three-week test run.
RuPaul is indifferent to which gender-specific pronouns are used to refer to him and once quipped, “You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.” He has also played male roles and makes public appearances in both male and female drag.
Resources on RuPaul
Rupaul by Maria Isabel Sanches Vegara
Even before little Ru was born, a fortune teller told his mom that he would one day be famous… It was only a matter of time before he figured out how. Playing dress-up was his favorite game, and that’s where he felt most comfortable. Ru went on to study performing arts and then moved to New York to mix things up in a punk band. Later, drag was a way to express himself as an artist. He found success for himself, then wanted to help others find theirs. He inspires us to do what feels right and love ourselves. This witty and wise book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the inspiring performer’s life.
RuPaul Chalres (People of Pride) by Little Bee Books
In this beautifully illustrated board book series, parents can celebrate the accomplishments of LGBTQ heroes and introduce their little ones to the trailblazers who have shaped our world.
RuPaul is America’s most famous drag queen. Whether singing chart-topping dance hits, gracing the covers of magazines, or hosting award-winning television shows, RuPaul is always challenging the status quo and taking people out of their comfort zones. RuPaul has been instrumental in the recognition and acceptance of gay people and drag culture. He has performed at rallies, been the face of AIDS awareness campaigns, and has broken down barriers.
Who is RuPaul? by Nico Medina
RuPaul Andre Charles always knew he was meant to be a performer. Even as a young child, he loved to dress up and imitate the glamorous women he saw on television. When he turned 15, he began studying theater in a performing arts school in Atlanta and never looked back. Ru developed his drag-queen personality and launched his career in the 1980s.
He now hosts and judges the widely popular and long-running show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has raised the profile of the art of drag and drag queens around the world.
Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero by Ellie Royce and Hannah Chambers
Told from the perspective of their adoring nephew, Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero is the story of a courageous drag queen who saves the day, and brings two communities together.
The young narrator thinks it’s awesome that his Uncle and his Auntie are the same person. Uncle Leo is an accountant, and is great at helping with math homework. Auntie Lotta is a fabulous performer, and loves to sing and dance with her nephew. One day Lotta’s family comes to watch her perform at the local Pride parade. Suddenly, a dog breaks free of its leash and nearly causes a float-crash, but Lotta springs into action just in time to save the dog and the parade. The mayor wants to give her a medal for courage and to throw a big party for her and all her friends, but Lotta worries that her friends who only know him as “Leo” won’t get along with her fellow drag performers who know her as “Lotta.” With the help of their nephew they put together a fierce look that is both Leo and Lotta, the perfect ensemble for an Auntie Uncle. A sweet, uplifting story about fearlessley letting your true self shine.