The Essential RuPaul: A RuPaul’s Drag Race compendium

RuPaul’s Drag Race is over for another year (yay Sasha!). It’s been a fabulous season, bringing us some truly unique talent. More than that though, it adds to a legacy and history of fabulous drag queens, a lexicon of lip syncs for your life and runway looks. It’s a vast history, one that only continues to grow with the popularity of the show.

Thank god then for somebody like Melbourne based John Davis and their new book The Essential RuPaul: Herstory, Philosophy & Her Fiercest Queens, a compendium of all things RPDR.

We caught up Davis to chat queens, conspiracy theory mind maps and just what their drag name would be (hint: it’s delicious!).

What led you to write this book?

Needless to say I am a massive RuPaul’s Drag Race fan. I’ve been really big on it since Season 2. So I was working in a nightclub and I had a lot of drag queen mates who said ‘Oh my god…you’ve got to watch this show. So I thought I’d give it a watch and from there I was obsessed.

It is one of the best shows on television, not just for the queer community but anybody who is creative or has an interest in art or fashion or music. It’s just such a fantastic show.

The book is really well researched: can you tell us your process in gathering content?

It did take a bit of time to research. You sort of go through people’s profiles on their social media and websites but you also have to go through all the interviews they’ve been doing over the years. And when you consider some of the queens are from a few seasons back it proved quite hard to find a bit of information about them. But it was mainly hours and hours of listening to interviews.

So how long did it take?

It was a six month process. Lots of re-watching the seasons on DVD too.

Who was the hardest queen to research?

Roxxxy Andrews, who is my all time favourite. So I really had to delve into the pageant scene to find out more about them. Then it was like hunting down YouTube clips of their pageants and it all just fell into place from there.

It sounds like you had one of those conspiracy theory maps going on!

Well it’s funny because everyone is connected, so while you’re writing about one queen you end up finding out all this stuff about others, so that mystery crime scene web of information does open up.

Every one of them is connected: it’s really quite interesting.

Tell me about the process of working with Libby VanderPloeg, the illustrator.

They’re a New York based fashion designer so my publisher matched us up. They pumped out some amazing fashion inspired illustrations, taking imagery you’re familiar with and really given it a new spin. The illustrations are really fashion forward.

So… now for the really important questions: favourite season?

Season 3, hands down.

Who would have been your top three for Season 9?

Trinity Taylor, Valentina and Nina Bo’Nina Brown.

And what would your drag name be?

Chika Roll.        

The Essential RuPaul by John Davis is available now from Smith Street Books in all fabulous bookstores and eleganza online booksellers.

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Support OUTinPerth

Thanks for reading OUTinPerth. We can only create LGBTIQA+ focused media with your help.

If you can help support our work, please consider assisting us through a one-off contribution to our GoFundMe campaign, or a regular contribution through our Patreon appeal.

Become a Supporter→     Make a contribution→ 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,