(Rupaul Andre Charles)
- Born: 17-11-1960
- Birth Place: San Diego, California, USA
Outrageous, outspoken, fabulous Rupaul has been entertaining us on both sides of the Atlantic for more than 20 years.
Rupaul was born in California, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 15. Regularly wearing his three sisters’ clothes, the young Rupaul began to seriously cross-dress and started working as a used-car salesman.
He also became friendly with the circuit surrounding such bands as the B-52s, appearing on local cable television as a female.
Rupaul moved to New York, becoming involved in the 1980s Manhattan club scene, and associating with the counter-culture crowd known as Wigstock, of whom the band Dee-Lite were members.
Starting a music career, he was signed by the hip-hop label, Tommy Boy Records, in 1991. His debut album, 'Supermodel of the World', was released in 1993 and, the following year, his mix of Euro pop and electro-disco crossed over into the mainstream.
The single 'Supermodel (You Better Work)' was a hit in 1994, followed by a duet with Elton John, on 'Don’t Go Breaking My Heart'. A massive gay star, his following was particularly large in Europe.
Hosting the 1994 Brit Awards with Elton John, he appeared in the films 'The Brady Bunch Movie' and 'Crooklyn'. After landing his own VH1 show, he released a second album, 'Rhino', enjoying success with the single, 'Snapshot'.
An outspoken figurehead for the US gay movement, he led marches against the Ku Klux Klan in full drag.
In 1995, he released his autobiography 'Lettin' It All Hang Out', which is no longer in print today but has sold over 450,000 copies on Amazon. He was also signed on a modeling contract with MAC Cosmetics the same year. Over six years, Rupaul opened ten stores and raised over $22 million for the MAC Aids fund.
He then landed his own chat show on VH1 called 'The Rupaul Show' which saw him interview famous faces such as Duran Duran, Dionne Warwick, Bow Wow Wow and the Backstreet Boys. His show ended in 1998.
In 1997, Rupaul released his third album - a Christmas record entitled 'Ho Ho Ho'. He then teamed up with Martha Wash to record a cover of 'It's Raining Men' in 1998.
His fourth album 'Red Hot' was released on his own record label RuCo Inc in 2004. Singles 'Looking Good Feeling Gorgeous' and 'WorkOut' performed well in the US Dance charts.
On 13 June 2006, Rupaul released 'Reworked' - his first remix album featuring reworked versions of his back catalogue. This was followed by the release of his fifth studio album 'Glamazon' in April 2011.
From mid 2008, Rupaul has been producing, presenting and judging reality television game show 'Rupaul's Drag Race', which has the premise of drag queens competing to be named America's next top drag superstar. Season four of this show started on 30 January 2012.
Rupaul remains a chat show favourite.