THE ‘ RACE’ TOWARD 100
Turns out there is at least one malady that not even America’s first drag superstar can overpower: jet lag.
But this is RuPaul we’re talking about, so even that travel term has gotten a drag makeover.
“I’m completely jet- hagged,” he says as he promotes the eighth- season premiere of Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race ( Monday, 9 ET/ PT) after returning from a two- week trip to Australia.
This season will mark the 100th- episode milestone for the mash- up of America’s Next Top Model, America’s Got Talent and Project Runway, in which drag- queen contestants do a little of everything: hair and makeup, costume design, stand- up comedy, acting, singing and, if it comes down to it, lip- syncing for their lives.
But he has noticed that there’s one quality that tends to go under the radar: “Kindness
will get you so far in this competition. We live in an ego- based society where the girls come on the show and say, ‘ I’m gonna cut a b - - - - !’ Honestly, if you are just your beautiful self, you’re going to be just fine.”
Drag Race, which premiered in 2009, has blossomed into the cable network’s top- rated original program, as well as an Emmy nominee ( for makeup). Celebrities campaign for guest spots on Drag Race’s judges’ panel, RuPaul says, and the new season’s crop includes models Gigi Hadid, Chanel Iman, designer Marc Jacobs and Blondie’s Deborah Harry and Chris Stein.
The judges’ conclave isn’t the only place stars pop up on the show. Every season there’s the “Snatch Game,” a drag parody of the game show Match Game. In RuPaul’s version, the celebrity panel comprises a motley crew of drag queens impersonating celebrities from Cher and Beyoncé to reality- show stars Snooki and Teresa Giudice and even Downton Abbey’s Violet, played by Maggie Smith.
Somehow, the queens have yet to fulfill RuPaul’s fondest “Snatch Game” wish. “I’m still waiting for someone to do LaToya Jackson,” he laments. “It seems so obvious tome! That’s who I’d do.”
Speaking of game shows, RuPaul is getting a real one, too. Logo rolls out Gay for Play on April 11 ( 10 p. m. ET/ PT), in which he tests contestants’ pop- culture IQs. Should they falter, they can turn to a celebrity panel — Drag Race judges Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews and viral- video star Todrick Hall. But unlike “Snatch Game,” this panel will contain celebrities such as Amber Rose, Rebecca Romijn, Cheyenne Jackson and other Friends of RuPaul.
“It’s sexy, it’s cheeky and so, so so gay,” he promises. “It’s a combination of Family Feud, Hollywood Squares, Match Game, Deal or No Deal. It’s all in there. ... It’s funnier than the Republican debates — with more useful takeaway.”
RUPAUL HITS MILE MARKER WITH ‘ DRAG RACE,’ STARTS NEW GAME SHOW