After eight seasons of Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” RuPaul finally scored his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. With the competition series already renewed for a ninth season and its “All Stars” spinoff kicking off its second season on Aug. 25, RuPaul admits he doesn’t understand why it took so long to get recognition. “I’m glad that the industry is taking notice, but that’s not why we do it. That’s not why I do anything that I do,” RuPaul says. “My whole career has never been about courting the status quo. I’ve really created my career outside of that concept.”
When your Emmy nomination was announced, you tweeted that it’s dedicated to “outsiders” everywhere. What does the Emmy recognition mean for the LGBT community?
Drag has always been exciting to me because of its implication in our culture since the beginning of time. So, that’s really the motivation — love drag, love queens, love people who dance to their own drum.
I’ve read that you only dress in drag if you’re paid to do so. Will you be dressing up for the Emmys?
I think you’re going to have to tune into see — I mean, is there a cash prize?! [Laughs.]
You’ve broken so many boundaries, but what has been the biggest challenge of your career?
There’s so much hypocrisy and bulls–t out there, do I really want to put myself forth and go for it? That’s the biggest struggle. The biggest struggle in my career has been still wanting to do it, especially when you come up against so much bulls–t and when you see that the unwashed masses don’t want to be challenged or don’t want to do anything different…And that’s fine, but when you come up with something that is very special that you put your heart and soul into and you can’t get the support around it, it’s very discouraging. That’s the inner struggle that plagues every sweet, sensitive soul that approaches a career in the arts.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in your career?
“Drag Race” launching the careers of 100 queens that are working non-stop, around the world this very moment.
Who are some of your role models?
The only person I look up to — and not just in show business but also in the world — is a little lady named Judge Judy! Honestly.
When “Drag Race” premiered in 2009, there was not as much LGBT programming as today. Why has the show resonated with viewers?
I think deep in the recesses of our souls, we all know that we are doing drag — we’re born naked and the rest is drag. In our subconscious, we all know we’re playing roles. It resonates because it shows tenacity of the human spirit.
You had a talk show on VH1 in 1996 way before the industry started to really embrace diversity. Why have people been listening to you for all these years?
Ultimately, whoever can stick it out gets the prize. It’s being able to stick around long enough until you ultimately beat people down and they give you a chance.
What do you recall from your pitch meeting for “Drag Race?”
We went to five different networks and Logo was the fourth I think. They basically bought it in the room and that’s never happened to me before.
What about the other four networks? Were they ready for a drag queen show six years ago?
I don’t think they would have been.
The show was just renewed for season nine. How many more seasons would you like to do?
Oh don’t get it twisted – I’m like an old prostitute. As long as they’re writing checks, I will be there!