Drag

Michelle Visage opens up about her ballroom beginnings and the lessons it can teach us today

Gary Grimes January 2, 2022
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Michelle Visage poses on the red carpet during the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards in London, England. (Photo by Attitude Magazine/Attitude Magazine via Getty Images)

Michelle Visage reflected on her early years in the New York ballroom scene.

Visage reflected on her status as a gay icon in a new interview with themrevealing that she believes the term is used too frivolously.

“First of all, the word ‘icon’ is tossed around way too glibly,” she said. “I am hardly an icon, my darling, but thank you very much for the consideration for that word! Hopefully, one day, my work will lead me there, but, for now, I am simply me.”

Visage, who became a household name as Mama Ru’s right-hand woman on the RuPaul’s Drag Race judging panel, also fondly recalled her early years coming up in the New York City ballroom scene in the 1980s. In the piece, Visage mourned the era for the mentality of acceptance and tolerance that she feels has been lost in recent years.

Speaking about the first time she met her ballroom house, Visage remembered: “What I discovered were 20 to 30 of the freakiest, fiercest, most flawless people I had ever laid eyes on and they welcomed me with wide open arms. I had been brought into the House of Magnifique, and it all started that night.

“We lived, loved and laughed for years, hitting ball after ball, supporting one another. The mentality of those days is something we could use now: forgiveness, love, acceptance and tolerance,” she recalled. “You could always sit with us.”

Visage spoke to the publication while promoting her new documentary Explant, recently releasedon Paramount+, which invetigates the dangers of getting breast implants and her experience of having hers removed after suffering myriad implant-related health issues.

The TV judge hopes that the documentary will help to educate young people about the importance of doing your research before proceeding with a plastic surgery procedure.

“You need to advocate for yourself because nobody else will,” she said. “There are plastic surgeons out there who care more about mortgages for their McMansions than about your health.”

“If you are considering getting implants, know that the majority of people don’t experience any issues, but the risk is there for things like autoimmune disease, connective tissue disorders, disfigurement, capsular contracture,” Visage continued.

“And please read about breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is a breast implant-related form of cancer.

“Most doctors don’t explain any of this before we go under the knife and I find that outrageous!”

Earlier this year, on an episode of Red Table Talk, Visage revealed she had her implants removed after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that damages the thyroid gland.

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