It’s exactly nine years this month since RuPaul’s Drag Race first sashayed onto American television screens, courtesy of the Logo TV network. Since then the show has not only become a pop culture phenomenon, but a triumphant new strand of queer programming, credited with helping change the face of LGBT+ representations and educating a new generation about the fight for queer rights.
Sitting firmly but fabulously by RuPaul’s side since season three of the show has been Michelle Visage, and over the course of seven seasons of the, and two seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, her persona as a straight-talking ally who takes no shit has become part of the show’s overall ethos. Alongside RuPaul, Michelle has evolved into a kind of straight mama to the gays, helping mend the broken kids who come through the Drag Race doors to lip-sync for their lives.
Michelle chatted to us on a break from her filming schedule with Ireland’s Got Talent, on which she’s a judge. Impeccably made-up for the cameras, jet-black hair coiffed, eyeliner sequined, her Drag Race persona is fully intact. She talks a mile-a-minute, her opinions forthright and peppered with expletives, but at the same time she’s warm, funny and approachable.
“It’s hard not to want Mama Michelle to like you.” says Brian Finnegan, the man behind the mic. “What I loved most about her most was the way she focused all her attention on getting her message about inclusivity across. In her role on RuPaul’s Drag Race she’s a mentor to many queer men who’ve been rejected by their families, and as that show is broadcast across the world, she’s become a kind of beacon for LGBT’s who don’t have the privilege of being safe in their communities and countries. It’s a role she takes very seriously.”
In between the serious stuff Michelle wants to get off her chest, there’s plenty of laughs too. We wouldn’t have expected anything less. Tune in below!
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