How Do RuPaul And Michelle Visage Know One Another?

How did RuPaul and Michelle Visage? Let's take a look at the Drag Race stars' friendship, from how they met to whether they're still friends.
Credit: Alamy & @michellevisage/Instagram

RuPaul and Michelle Visage are best known for presenting the hit reality competition show RuPaul’s Drag Race but the pair actually go way back. Let’s take a look at their friendship…

Reality TV is about to get a whole lot better as RuPaul Drag Race UK’s line-up for season five has officially been announced following four successful series.

The 2023 season will see 10 new queens compete to become the UK’s next Drag Race Superstar, with celebrity guest panellists, including Carol Voderman, judging whether they have the right amount of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to have what it takes.

The series will also see some familiar faces, including Alan Carr and Graham Norton returning.

Visage has been a long-standing judge in Drag Race and its many spinoffs – but her friendship with RuPaul goes way beyond the franchise.

Related Article: What Is RuPaul’s Real Name?

RuPaul and Michelle Visage.
RuPaul and Michelle Visage are friends and judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race and its many spinoff shows. Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Let’s take a look at how RuPaul and Michelle Visage met, how long they’ve worked together and whether they’re still close below:

How did RuPaul and Michelle Visage meet?

RuPaul and Visage’s enduring friendship traces its roots back to the late 1980s.

Their initial encounter took place within the legendary New York City nightclub circuit, where they were both integral figures in the iconic vogueing movement.

Recalling their initial meeting, Visage shared with Vulture: “1987, ’88. We can’t really pin it down. I was voguing with my kids. I was the first biological female to vogue in the ballroom scene and compete.”

Susanne Bartsch, the nightlife event producer, later invited Visage to showcase her vogueing skills at her parties, where RuPaul would also be present.

Their paths would frequently intertwine, ultimately leading to the formation of an iconic friendship that would transform them into one of the entertainment industry’s most prosperous best-friend duos.

RuPaul and Michelle Visage Careers: When did the pair begin working together?

RuPaul’s Drag Race isn’t the first time that RuPaul and Visage have worked together.

The pair actually began working together in 1996 on The RuPaul Show – a talk show that ran for 100 episodes on VH1.

So when it came to RuPaul launching Drag Race in 2009, it didn’t come as a shock that he wanted Visage to join alongside him as a judge.

However, the Strictly star wouldn’t end up being a permanent judge until the third season in 2011.

Michelle Visage on RuPaul's Drag Race.
Michelle Visage began working alongside RuPaul once again on Drag Race in 2011. Credit: WOW Presents Plus

Visage reportedly had a five-year contract with CBS Radio at the time, and her boss wouldn’t let her take part.

Recalling her disappointment at not being on the show, Visage told Vulture: “This show was conceptualised with me next to him, and he’ll be the first one to tell you that.

“So then I sat there and watched the first two episodes, and I was like, ‘I can’t watch’. It was painful.”

Visage has now been a judge on the programme and its many spinoffs for over a decade.

Are RuPaul and Michelle Visage really friends?

RuPaul and Visage have been friends for over 30 years and continue to remain close, with the mum-of-two even describing RuPaul as her ‘soulmate’.

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, she explained: “There’s soulmates on different levels, just because you’re not lovers doesn’t mean you can’t be soulmates.

“Ru’s my soulmate as a best friend, we complete each other in many ways.”

While RuPaul also says they have a ‘natural chemistry together’, telling Cosmopolitan: “Over the years she popped up in different situations and I thought, ‘My goodness, this is someone who I really need to get to know’. I like her a lot.”

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