This is Week 2 of the test run for the “RuPaul” talk show airing on Fox 9+ (WFTC, Ch. 9.2), at 8 p.m. Tuesday. And this is the second of two parts of my interview with the cultural icon and host of the eponymous, Emmy-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The first installment was in last Tuesday’s column.
He’s always been a brave man, but he would not take more credit than he thought he deserved for moving from San Diego to Atlanta as a teenager to attend performing arts school at a young age.
Q: Would you let your 15-year-old move across the country?
A: I moved with my sister, though. My sister, who had kind of been a parental figure for me; she’s seven years older. In essence, I did have some adult supervision. It would depend on the kid, though, you know? I wasn’t coddled as a kid. I was taught how to stand up for myself and how to check in with my own inner GPS. My mother was secure knowing that I could take care of myself. I don’t know if a lot of kids today can do it. Kids are a lot younger today than they were when I was 15. They’re a lot less mature.
Q: Nowadays parents don’t let their kids get knocked around so they can learn how to get back up after being bounced around by life.
A: That’s right.
Q: You were named after the roux that is the base for gumbo. Do you know how to prepare gumbo?
A: I don’t. I’ve seen it made. I have never made a gumbo myself. If pushed, I could probably do it. [Long laughs.] But I’m not a cook. My husband [Georges LeBar] does all the cooking.
Q: Speaking of your husband, what on earth do you do on his ranch in Wyoming?
A: When I’m up there, I do nothing. He owns a 60,000-acre ranch. I wear a lot of western wear. No one appreciates my western outfits. I read books. I’m very quiet. He and I both are people who can work well with stillness and with quiet and peace and tranquillity. I read a lot when I’m up there.
Q: What’s the last book you read?
A: I am rereading “Respect” by David Ritz, a book about Aretha Franklin, because I loved it so much the first time. It’s very funny. Did you read that book?
Q: I have not, but on your recommendation I will.
You strike me as someone who would prefer cremation, but play along with me now. When the time comes for you to be stretched out in one of those extra long caskets, how will you be dressed — like RuPaul in “Supermodel (You Better Work)” or unadorned with the freckles?
A: Well, you know, that’s interesting. You started off with the whole cremation thing. I grew up with the concept I am not my body. This body is just a vessel. That’s why, for years, I’ve said “You’re born naked and the rest is drag.” The point of that is to not take all of this superficial stuff too seriously.
There are things to take seriously, and those things are love and kindness. But I don’t take the body thing too seriously. I would be cremated. In fact, in my will, this may sound morbid, [I stated] that I would be cremated and my ashes would just be tossed away in the garbage.
Q: You have been quoted saying, “You can call me ‘he.’ You can call me ‘she.’ You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee.” Are you surprised that some gender nonconformists want to be referred to as “they” or “them” these days?
A: [Extended laughter. He took a breath and continued to laugh.] Just like me, whatever you want to be called is fine with me. [More laughter.] You can call yourself whatever you want.
Q: I don’t know if you have ever seen Holly Robinson Peete’s adorable youngest boy, Roman. He looks so much like young RuPaul.
A: Huh. I’ll have to go look at that.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.