RuPaul backstage at the Emmys: ‘It wasn’t easy getting here’

RuPaul, flanked by Ross Mathews, left, and Carson Kressley arriving Sunday at the Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Fresh off his first Emmy win for competition program, RuPaul Charles, along with a bevy of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” executive producers, arrived backstage at the press room, where he teased the possibility of future international iterations of the VH1 show.

“Ladies and gentleman, ‘Drag Race Israel’ is coming,” he said semi-jokingly. “There’s been talk for every [country], but if y’all want a ‘Drag Race,’ you’re gonna have to come up with the money, baby. Because we’ll do it. Hey, this is Hollywood. If you have the money, we’ll do it.”

RuPaul said the previously announced “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” will be fairly similar to the American version. “Our show has changed the pH balance of drag around the world,” he said, adding that this holds true in Britain too. “Not to say it’s homogenized. It has its own flavor, but it’s strangely similar to drag here.”


“Drag Race” is often lauded for being diverse and inclusive, but a reporter in the room called out the show for having a predominately white production team.

“The host of our show is black, gay and a drag queen, so check, check and check,” RuPaul said. “But we’re pretty diverse. There are lots of different types of people here.”

He pivoted focus to his own struggle.

“It wasn’t easy getting here,” he said. “You know what I had to do. And some of the things I’m not going to even repeat that I had to do. But I think we got it covered.”

After being asked to comment on the current political landscape, Charles politely declined but doubled down on his onstage remarks about registering to vote.

“I think that’s the least we can do with our show,” he said. “Our television show really is about the freedom of expression and love and colors and music and movement, and it does sometimes feel like those things are going away. So we feel it’s our duty to at least show young people how to preserve that great tradition.”