Read You, Wrote You: 8 Things I Learned from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Read You, Wrote You: 8 Things I Learned from RuPaul’s Drag Race

By Danabelle Gutierrez

I have bought everything RuPaul has sold me since I was eleven years old, when I saw her duet with Elton John on MTV and thought, “Wow.” She is so fierce and fabulous. I was later informed that “she” was in fact a “he.” And although RuPaul’s Drag Race has been around for 8 years, I only got heavily into it two years ago. RuPaul once said in an interview that he thinks drag will never be mainstream, and I think that’s why I got into it so late, because it wasn’t readily available to me, and I didn’t actively seek out drag entertainment, mainly because I was naive and oblivious to the fact that it actually existed.

However, I’ve always been fascinated with things that didn’t fit the norm, so after binge watching six seasons, an All-Stars season, and watching seasons 7, 8, and All Stars 2 unfold with the rest of the world, I was hooked. And I mean hooked. I mean, keep all the receipts, and take all my credit card details, hunty, because I am buying it! All of it!

So, in honor of all 8 fabulous seasons, here are the 8 things that RuPaul’s Drag Race has taught me.

These are not pretty women, these are men in wigs.

I am in the belief that we do not owe prettiness to anyone. Kindness, yes. Prettiness, no. But on occasion, I do want to juj it up a bit, and after watching the show, and seeing the transformations, I saw all aesthetic possibilities. And realized that – “ANUSTHING is possible!”

Stop relying on that body and stop resting on pretty.

But okay, so now that I’ve learned how to paint my face and dress myself, I also learned that body and pretty can only get you so far. At some point, you need to deliver some personality or talent. Better yet, why not both? Or if you really want to reach for that crown, why not deliver the total package?

Read You, Wrote You: 8 Things I Learned from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent.

These are the 4 qualities required to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. But okay, so maybe I’m not aspiring to either be an American, a drag queen, or a superstar, I mean, hunty, some days I don’t even think I’m aspiring to be next… But there ain’t nothing wrong with being pleasant, being my true self, being brave, and of course having a little flair… That being said,

You betta werk!

I’ve learned that whoever it is that I choose to be or whatever it is that I choose to be doing with my one life, I gotta work! And hard! See, a strong work ethic covers many flaws. And even if I may have worked myself up to pretty, charming, and talented, (all debatable), but if I’m not working and turning it out, then it isn’t worth anything.

If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?

But it all starts with some self-lovin’. I learned that I have to love myself enough to know what I am worth, and to realize that I do deserve all that I am working for. I do! Hunty, I am a unicorn mermaid fairy! What’s not to love?

Reading is Fundamental

But okay, all-tea-all-shade, let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. In drag speak, “reading” means to wittily criticize a queen’s flaws to her face – the key word being wittily and the key phrase being “to her face”. I learned to read my own self. To see where I was lacking, and to poke fun at it, not just for the sake of self-deprecation, but to see how I can make myself better. But of course, whether you’re reading yourself, or being read by other people you need to let it roll off like…

Water off a duck’s back

Season 5’s queen Jinx Monsoon said that “when you’re dealing with people judging what you do, you just have to let it roll off like water off a duck’s back”. Some critiques may be helpful and some can just be disregarded. I have learned and am continually learning to distinguish which is which.

We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.

“Who do you think you are?” as Mama Ru’s song goes. Everything else is drag. Everything. We put on what we put on. And while it may be beautiful or grotesque, interesting or boring, it all can be taken off. I have come to accept that everything is temporary. So I’m just going to have fun with it and turn it out! Halleloo!



danabelle gutierrezDANABELLE GUTIERREZ

Danabelle Gutierrez is a vagabond, born in the Philippines and raised everywhere. She has been moving from country to country and taking photographs along the way since she was eight-years old. Her three-decade long life journey seems to have taken a longer pit stop in Dubai where she now lives, loves, and writes. She is the author of two highly acclaimed books of poetry: I Long to Be The River, which was published in June 2014, and & Until The Dreams come, published in September 2015.



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