RuPaul, the host and executive producer of VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” winner of four consecutive Emmys in the host category and two consecutive Emmys in the competition program category for the reality-competition series, received the Variety Vanguard Award at TV market and conference event Mipcom in Cannes Monday. The award recognizes television industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to the global business of entertainment.
In an onstage interview that followed with Cynthia Littleton, business editor of Variety, he spoke of the spirit of the show, which is one of “communality.” “We were all boys that society said: There’s no place for you here. So we start there. We start in that communality of the struggle,” he said. “Things are said sometimes that are salty, but it always comes back to: You are my sister, you are my brother, and we come from the same place.”
Although he had “been through some rough times,” he said that what got him through was “the belief in magic.” “I have always believed in magic, and the ability to create the life that you want to have on this planet.”
Despite his success, he had always retained the awareness that “the emperor is not wearing any clothes” and that it is what’s inside that counts, although “a little makeup doesn’t hurt.” “I was always able to see beyond the superficial, which is what drag is about. Drag reminds our culture that the real you is not what’s on the surface. Look deeper. And that has served me very well,” he said.
He joked that at Mipcom, as the “Drag Race” franchise looked to grow, they’d be pitching “Drag Race: Prison Break,” “Drag Race: Junior” and “Drag Race: The Elder Years.” “There are so many platforms and people want drag, and guess what: We’re gonna give it to them.”