RuPaul Andre Charles (born November 17, 1960) is an American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, television personality, and author. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2016 and 2017. RuPaul is widely considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen of all time. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
RuPaul was born and raised in San Diego and later moved to Atlanta to study performing arts. He settled in New York City where he became a popular fixture on the nightclub scene. RuPaul achieved international fame as a drag queen with the release of his debut single, "Supermodel (You Better Work)", which was included on his debut studio album Supermodel of the World (1993). In 1996, he became a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics, raising money for the Mac AIDS Fund and becoming the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign. That year, he received his own talk show on VH1, The RuPaul Show, which he hosted for over 100 episodes, while co-hosting the morning radio show on WKTU with Michelle Visage. He has had continued success as a recording artist, releasing 14 studio albums to date, including Foxy Lady (1996), Champion (2009), Glamazon (2011), Born Naked (2014), and American (2017).
As an actor, RuPaul has made appearances in films including Crooklyn (1994), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), Hurricane Bianca (2016), the Comedy Central series Broad City (2017), and the Netflix original series Girlboss (2017). He has also published two books: Lettin' It All Hang Out (1995) and Workin' It! RuPaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style (2010). Additionally, RuPaul's Drag Race has produced nine seasons to date and has inspired several spin-off series, including RuPaul's Drag U and RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars on LGBT network Logo TV. He is also featured as a host on series such as Skin Wars, Good Work, and Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul.
RuPaul is noted among drag queens for his indifference toward the gender-specific pronouns used to address him—both "he" and "she" have been deemed acceptable, as stated in his autobiography: "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me." RuPaul has also played men in a number of roles, and makes public appearances both in and out of drag.