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Michelle Visage of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' talks all-stars
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Sitting on the judge's panel on RuPaul's Drag Race is the one-and-only Michelle Visage, who replaced Merle Ginsberg on season two. She is now scheduled to school drag queens on season five of the show as well as on RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race.

Originally from the girl group Seduction, Visage broke into the club scene with a few hits and then continued hosting radio shows. She met RuPaul years ago and has stayed friends ever since, changing the course of her life.

Nunn chatted with her right before her club gig at Spin in Chicago.

Windy City Times: We talked not too long ago but it was in the middle of last season. What did you think of the winner of season four?

Michelle Visage: I think if Sharon Needles didn't win, there would have been an uproar because so many people identified with Sharon. People identified with being an outcast and freaky. I understand that and I identify with it, too. I would have been equally as happy if Chad had won. I think Phi Phi needed to be in the top three but I don't think she needed to win, and I think the choices were clear. I do love Phi Phi, but not for the crown.

WCT: During the competition, when the other judges pick past eliminated contestants to return, people on the street say RuPaul gets rid of them right away to prove she was right in the first place. Is there any truth to that?

Michelle Visage: That has nothing to do with proving anything but has to do with my shit choices. I believe in my heart that the people we bring back have something to prove, but maybe that is why they are sent home—because it is getting too tough. [However,] I think any of the people I brought back are shit choices because I still believe in Kenya and Carmen.

It is not RuPaul going, "No, bitch, I am still in charge!" Our friendship is [more than] 20 years old. He doesn't need to do that. It's his show. Everybody knows he's in charge. It's RuPaul's Drag Race so in the end, of course, he has the final word. He will ask me my opinion off camera. I tell him my honest thoughts. In the end, he is drag queen. I'm just a wannabe girl drag queen. There is no shade involved.

WCT: RuPaul must have grown up a lot.

Michelle Visage: I met RuPaul in 1986. People don't know my personal life but they know the character I play on TV. I fight for gay rights and equality every day of my life. I love hair and makeup—that part is true. I live a very holistic life. I don't drink and have never done drugs in my life. I am a pretty evolved person but Ru is the most evolved person I have ever met. People wouldn't believe the person he used to be so, yes, he has grown quite a bit.

WCT: So no drinking at Spin?

Michelle Visage: I love our sponsors, like Absolut, but I don't drink. I never liked alcohol. It might be the Virgo thing in me.

WCT: What are you doing at the appearance?

Michelle Visage: There is a drag contest that I am judging. I am really just excited to be in Chicago. It is a city that has supported me since Seduction. I married a Chicago boy. My in-laws are coming to the show. [The radio station] B-96 was always being supportive of our type of music back in the day, so we used to always be in Chicago.

WCT: Were the All-Star Drag Queens picked online?

Michelle Visage: No; just Mimi Imfurst was voted in through Facebook. This is the first time we are doing it but I think it will be a hit and a regular thing.

WCT: You judge on it?

Michelle Visage: A lot people ask me that. You don't understand. My ass is glued to that chair. I am not going anywhere. It took me two seasons to get there. All Stars is going to literally blow your mind.

WCT: Season five of the show is already filmed, too?

Michelle Visage: Yes, all done. It never gets boring whether it is a pageant queen or a camp queen.

WCT: I know of at least one contestant who is from Chicago and a friend of mine.

Michelle Visage: Our Chicago queens have had lots of talent, from DiDa Ritz to Jade. I just hung out with Jade at Micky's for the first time and said, "Bring me to Chicago, bitch! We have to hang again!"

Come see the vivacious Visage judge live and in person at Spin Nightclub, 800 W. Belmont Ave., on Saturday, Sept. 8. The contest begins at 11 p.m. Visit for tickets and details.

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