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RuPaul opens up about his “naughtiest” encounter in the 1980s

RuPaul at the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018
RuPaul (Photo: Shutterstock)

RuPaul was a guest on The Ellen Show yesterday. The Drag Race legend, 61, took part in the show’s regular Burning Questions slot, wherein Ellen DeGeneres fires some quick questions to whoever’s in the hot seat.

One query challenged RuPaul to recall his the “naughtiest thing he’d done in the 1980s”, prompting RuPaul to remember a cab ride he took back in his clubbing days in New York City.

“I was working at a club up on 55th street called Red Zone and I finished my shift and was going to a club in the East Village called The World,” he explained.

“This is about a nine-dollar cab ride. So he said ‘Listen, hey if you put your foot over the front seat, he will give me the fare for free.’

“Ellen, it was a $9 fare, so I just put my front over the front seat, he did what he needed to do, and I got out of the cab without having to pay.”

“Nine dollars was a lot in the 80s,” he adds by way of explanation.

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The show’s musical director, DJ tWitch, appeared shocked, prompting Ru to ask him if he’d have done the same thing. DJ tWitch vigorously shook his head.

“I guess I should have said that I was wearing some gorgeous high heels. They were beautiful. And a lot of people are into that kind of thing,” added Ru.

Ellen, lost for words, simply says, “Wow.”

Other questions included who RuPaul would want him to play him in a movie of his life (“The Olsen twins”), and what he would have called himself if it wasn’t RuPaul (“Cupcake”). You can watch a snippet of the interview below.


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Talking more seriously in a separate part of the show, RuPaul talked about how he believed his successful career had come about.

“I guess all those years ago watching Johnny Carson, I sort of made this come into fruition. Sitting here on a talk show, sipping delicious spring water out of a mug on a talk show. So you know, I think I manifested all of this stuff.”

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RuPaul was born and raised in San Diego, California. He later studied performing arts in Atlanta, Georgia, before settling in New York City, where he became a fixture on the club and drag scene in the late 1980s.

If you want to see a clip of a baby RuPaul in his 20s, you can see him dancing as an extra in the B-52’s ‘Love Shack’ video from 1989. He went on to find worldwide fame in his own right with the 1993 release of the song ‘Supermodel (You Better Work)’.

In 2009, he launched RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has achieved success beyond anyone’s expectations. It has won 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and spurned franchise spin-offs in Canada, the UK, Australia and Italy.

Season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premieres this Friday.