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Who Is RuPaul?
RuPaul Charles is a television icon, spiritual guide, and the most commercially successful drag queen in the history of the United States. Over a career spanning nearly three decades, Rupaul ushered in a new era of visibility for drag, upended gender norms, and highlighted LGBTQ talent from across the world—all while dressed as a fierce glamazon.
RuPaul hosts the Emmy-winning reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, where contestants compete to be named best drag superstar, and is the author of three books: 1995’s Lettin’ It All Hang Out, 2010’s Workin’ It!, and 2018’s GuRu. RuPaul uses drag to spread positivity, authenticity, and self-love—and to challenge notions about gender and identity.
RuPaul’s 4 Tips for Staying True to Yourself
Here are some life lessons from RuPaul for how to be true to yourself and live your best life:
- Embrace stillness. The best way to locate your own personal sense of self, according to RuPaul, is through stillness. “It’s as simple as being still and listening to your body, listening for that frequency. … You want to create space in your consciousness for your frequency to shine through.” If you spend just 30 seconds being quiet, listening to your breathing, and allowing your thoughts to come without directing them, you’ll find yourself more in tune with your body, your thoughts, your emotions, and your core values. “Now let me tell you something—it doesn't happen overnight,” RuPaul says. “You have to practice it. … You will find your frequency, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but keep practicing that and it will happen.”
- Listen to the positive voice. After you’ve found your frequency, you’ll need to filter out voices that try to pull you away from being true to yourself. While you can learn to ignore outside voices, it’s the voices that come from your own head that can do the most damage. When you hear voices that tear you down, RuPaul’s advice is to identify where those negative voices are coming from—because most often, they didn’t initially come from you. For a lot of us, negative voices were first introduced to us via the opinions of others, like parents, other family members, or kids in the neighborhood. “And our ego chose to believe [them].” The bad news? “Those voices will never go away,” says RuPaul. The good news is that once you’ve identified these unhelpful voices, you can fortify the good ones with voices of your own self-worth. “You infuse the other voices with positive voices. … When that negative voice comes up, this [positive] voice says, ‘Thanks for sharing, but that was never the truth.’”
- Recognize what isn’t working anymore. After finding your authentic self, you should focus on changing behaviors that no longer work. Change is healthy and can help you move on from parts of your life that are no longer relevant for you or were never good in the first place. From time-to-time, take an inventory of what does not work for you anymore—like ways of thinking, goals, ambitions, and even relationships. “Clear out the old messages,” says RuPaul. “When I turned 30 I realized something: I don’t have to like everybody and everybody doesn’t have to like me. … All of my twenties, even though I was a rebel, punk rock, all this, I still wanted people to like me—I still changed myself so that other people could feel non-threatened or that they would like me or that they would fall in love with me. It is such a waste of time.” It’s important that you can let go of old habits and mindsets—whether they’re unhealthy or just not right for you anymore—to keep growing as a person and become your best self.
- Don’t take it all too seriously. When things don’t work out the way we want them to, or when we realize that the world is different than we hoped or thought, you can start to become cynical. “For sweet sensitive souls like you and I, there are different levels of consciousness, different levels of recognition of this world. When we find out there is no Santa Claus … we sweet sensitive souls get angry,” says RuPaul. “Then the next level is we can become very cynical. The next level is we become bitter. And I’ve seen so many of my friends who get stuck in the bitterness there—so much so that they can’t move beyond it.” Bitterness is a powerful feeling that can take over other parts of your life—but it’s important that you push past these feelings on your journey toward self-realization. “They’re missing the next most important step of this realization. … That most important step is don’t take it all too seriously: ‘Yes, it is an illusion. Now let’s have fun.’” Be brave enough to take it to the next level, to make mistakes, and loosen up. “That’s where the joy is,” RuPaul says. “Have fun with it, you know?”
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