The first issue of OUT arrived in the summer of 1992. To celebrate its 25th anniversary the LGBT monthly publication tapped RuPaul to grace two covers of its commemorative issue. One was photographed by Herb Ritts in 1996, while the other by Mathu Andersen in 2016.
Inside, the 56-year-old Emmy winner talks about his early career success and about the future of drag. Check out a couple quotes from the interview below, along with the other cover.
On Early Career Success
“After the success of ‘Supermodel,’ VH1 asked me to present an award at their first fashion awards. The writers wrote something for me, but it was the old drag-queen shtick, very bitchy. I do sassy—I don’t do bitchy—so I rewrote the intro that they had, and it was a hit. In fact, I remember looking at all these people and they are laughing—all my idols: There’s David Bowie! And there’s Tina Turner! There’s Iman! And I could see Madonna right there, not reacting at all, by the way. She’s not even looking at me. And all of the people with her, her stylists and hairstylists, are seated all around her like a cocoon. They’re following her lead and just looking forward, not laughing.”
On Next Generation Of Drag
“At DragCon we get to see all these 13-year-old kids who are gay, straight, nonbinary, whatever, and they are the hope for the future. They don’t have the baggage that people from our generation—or even the generations right before theirs—had. That’s the revolution right there. These kids have their parents bring them to this event, and those parents are my age and younger even. Because all of our girls are so courageous, and they’ve been through so much—you see it on the show—these parents are smart enough to want their kids to learn these same tools to navigate life. Not just what’s happening outside of you but what’s happening inside of you. And I think that’s where the revolution is. It’s an inside job. ”
On Being A Loner During Childhood
“I always felt like a quiet kid, but I knew that I had a destiny to be in front of people—whether it was my mother telling me I was gonna be famous, as per the psychic she had seen when she was pregnant with me, or just the other kids in the neighborhood. I was always singled out. I could never blend in—never. Even in my family, I was the only boy, so there was them and then there was me. I like being alone and doing my own thing, but this is my destiny, you know? Being out in front. So I said, ‘OK. I’ll do it.’”
For more, head over to OUT.