Sobriety Keeps RuPaul Balanced: 'Staying Clear Helps Maintain Equilibrium'

Exploring the depths of a cultural icon's journey

by Zain ul Abedin
Sobriety Keeps RuPaul Balanced: 'Staying Clear Helps Maintain Equilibrium'
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Renowned for his dynamic presence both on and off the screen, RuPaul Charles, celebrated host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' and author of the insightful new memoir 'The House of Hidden Meanings,' shares profound insights into his life's journey and the steadfast principles that have guided him.

At 63, with a remarkable 24 Emmy wins under his belt for 'Drag Race,' RuPaul has transcended into a realm where he's recognized universally by his first name, symbolizing not just his celebrity but the wisdom gained through a vibrant and challenging life.

RuPaul's philosophy on life encompasses lessons learned from various figures throughout his journey. One of the earliest lessons came from a high school drama teacher in San Diego, who advised him not to take life too seriously.

Another pivotal mantra, "You're born n-ked and the rest is drag," was imparted by Lakesha Lucky, a drag queen who influenced RuPaul during his early years as a club performer in Atlanta. Moreover, RuPaul recalls the blunt but meaningful advice from his late mother, affectionately known in the neighborhood as "Mean Miss Charles," who once told him, "You're too goddamn sensitive and reminisce too much." Reflecting on these words, RuPaul acknowledges the dual edge of sensitivity and reminiscence, recognizing them as both a curse and a blessing that shaped his intuitive and instinctive approach to life.

RuPaul: Reflections Unveiled

Recently, RuPaul has embarked on a journey of reflection, delving into his past experiences from a troubled childhood in San Diego to his evolution into a global icon of glam and pop culture.

His memoir not only uncovers the transformational path to his sobriety from drugs and alcohol but also celebrates his enduring 30-year relationship with his husband, Georges LeBar. RuPaul admits that revealing his innermost self has been anything but comfortable, yet he embraces his role as a seeker of truth and understanding, despite his inherent skepticism and caution in personal interactions, traits he attributes to his mother's influence.

Despite the complexities of his familial relationships and the early divorce of his parents, RuPaul has managed to carve out a space where he thrives as both an observer and a participant in life's grand spectacle. His sobriety since 1999 has been a cornerstone of his journey towards balance and self-awareness, enabling him to navigate the dualities of light and darkness within his emotional landscape.

Through meditation and prayer, RuPaul finds solace and grounding, asserting that the quest for truth remains unaltered by the haze of intoxication. "The truth was always there, no matter how high I got," he reflects, emphasizing the indelible presence of truth in his life's narrative.