RuPaul Andre Charles is known to the world as RuPaul, and to friends as just “Ru.” From the day he was born in San Diego, his mother predicted that one day her child would become a star. And she proved prophetic: RuPaul emerged as a multi-talented star in the ‘90s with a hit song, “Supermodel (You Better Work)” from his debut album, Supermodel of the World and roles in Hollywood movies like Crooklyn, The Brady Bunch movies, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. He even got his own talk show on VH1 and became the first face of M.A.C. Cosmetics.
These days, RuPaul is arguably the most famous drag queen in the world. He’s starring in the seventh season of the Logo reality series, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and he’s gone virtual in his second mobile video game with Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer Playboy’s Lucky 7 Questions in this exclusive interview.
How have you seen Drag Race evolve over the years?
The contestants have evolved; they’re people who grew up watching the show. What’s happened is we’ve gotten these savvy contestants who have mutated into these super smart gamers. So we have to be smarter than them. We have to work even harder to challenge them because they know what’s coming before it comes. But we are also very crafty stunt queens, so we still outsmart them every year. We have to get smarter every year to stay ahead of the curve.
What’s it been like working on these Drag Race: Dragopolis video games over the last couple of years?
It’s been a lot of fun. I always enjoy applying myself to different forms of media and to get my agenda into different ways of communication. Yes, it’s a game that people sit and play on the subway or in the airport, but there’s also a philosophy behind it of fun, and of not taking life too seriously, and it’s strategy.
What’s your history like with video games?
I’ve always loved games. Games are like a good analogy for life. Life is a game, and it reminds me to not take life so seriously and to remember to have fun and to strategize.
What was your first exposure to Playboy magazine?
My friends and I found a stack of them. We used to roam around our neighborhood in San Diego, and we found a stack of them at this mechanic shop where they fixed old trucks. We were probably about eight or nine years old, and we jumped over the fence and just roamed around like spies and found a stack of Playboy magazines there and ripped them off. We brought them back to our hangout, our garage, and coveted them. And this is probably 1968 or ’69.
What movie scared you the most as a kid?
A Vincent Price movie called Dr. Phibes Rises Again. It scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t sleep for a good six months after that. I think I was 10 or 11 when I saw it.
Heaven forbid you end up on death row, what would your last meal be?
It would be rice and beans from this place in San Diego that I grew up eating at called Las Cuatro Milpas. The first time I was there was probably 1966. And actually I tried to go there when I was in San Diego recently, and of course there’s a line down the block. You have to go at the right time because everybody knows this place.
What was your first car?
My first car was a 1972 or ’74 Fiat 124. It’s a little Spider convertible. I only had it for a few months before it was recalled — I ended up getting $1,600 for it, but I had bought it for $750. The recall made it into a windfall for me and then I ended up getting this 1964 Plymouth Valiant.
What would you consider your favorite mistake in life?
Well, my favorite mistake was to believe that love would conquer all. (Laughing.) I can’t even say it without laughing. Yeah. I wish I could give you a more specific one, but that would definitely have to be my biggest mistake. I’ve always loved pop stars and over the years I’ve gotten to meet all the people that I loved, and that’s always a mistake. It’s always important to keep your fantasies inside of you. Once you go up like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and look behind the curtain, that���s always a mistake. But that’s something you have to learn on your own. Nobody can tell you to avoid that. It’s just something that you eventually realize.
What’s the first song you knew the words to?
“Baby Love,” by The Supremes. I remember lip-syncing that song by the side of the garage of our house as a child.
What’s the biggest lie you ever told?
Probably that everything’s going to be all right. Listen, I guess it depends on your definition of what a lie is. Because the truth is everything is going to be all right, but it’s usually not going to be in the way that you imagined it to be all right.