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RuPaul opens up about ‘tumultuous and traumatic’ childhood as he gears up for Drag Race season 12

Reiss Smith February 28, 2020
RuPaul as a young boy, and appearing on Drag Race

Drag Race host RuPaul revisited his childhood. (Masterclass/BBC)

Drag Race icon RuPaul speaks candidly about his difficult early years in a new series of online lectures.

RuPaul opens up about the “shame, trauma, and hard emotions that many people carry with them” during his new series of online lectures for Masterclass.

The 16-part series is billed as “an intimate look at RuPaul’s personal journey to self-realisation”, with one episode reflecting on his “very tumultuous and traumatic” childhood.

“My parents were always at war,” he says in a trailer. “So my thinking was: ‘This is all too much for me, just wake me when it’s done.'”

RuPaul explains that he felt this way until he realised that he wanted to be “present for my life”, and credits the experience with forcing him “to understand my own value”.

“Everything starts with know thyself — know what works with you.

“You have to be present enough to know what feels right.”

During the series, RuPaul is joined by Drag Race alum Raven to teach fans how to turn “real, Glamazon drag”.

“Drag doesn’t change who you are, it actually reveals who you are,” he teases.

RuPaul says the drag fun is over.

RuPaul’s Masterclass arrives ahead of Drag Race season 12, which premiers on Friday, February 28.

The self-appointed “queen of drag” will welcome 13 new contestants and a slate of A-list guest judges, including Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, actors Jeff Golblum and Whoopi Goldberg, and musicians Chaka Khan, Robyn and Normani.

Ahead of the show’s return, RuPaul confessed that “the drag fun” ended for him a long time ago. 

“When I got famous, that’s when the drag fun ended for me, honestly,” he told late night host Seth Myers.

I couldn’t terrorise y’all’s neighbourhoods anymore because I became the face of drag.

Fans needn’t worry too much, because RuPaul stressed that he made the decision to clean up his act in order to success.

“I’ve always been ambitious,” he said.

“I’ve always liked to look under the hood to see how things actually worked.

“I knew that if I was was going to do drag and make it above 14th Street, I had to calculate the image.”

This ambition recently backfired when it was announced that the upcoming series of All Stars will air on a pay-for cable network.

Fans bemoaned RuPaul’s apparent greed, with a number of the show’s former stars joining in with the criticism.

More: Drag Race, drag race season 12, masterclass, rupaul

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