A major media presence thanks to his outgoing persona and campy theatrics, RuPaul was a popular attraction on '90s dancefloors as well, scoring several club hits with Hi-NRG Euro-disco pop. Born Rupaul Andre Charles, he grew up in San Diego, learning fashion tips from his mother and three sisters. After some time spent in Atlanta as a used-car salesman, RuPaul moved to New York and grew interested in the Manhattan club scene of the '80s. By the early '90s, he had begun performing and signed a contract in 1991 with the hip-hop label Tommy Boy Records. Though RuPaul's debut album, Supermodel of the World, was released in 1993, it failed to score with pop audiences until the following year, when the club success of the single "Supermodel (You Better Work)" carried over to a spot just outside of the Top 40. His duet with Elton John, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," also placed on the American charts but proved more successful in Europe, where the two co-hosted England's Brit Awards and RuPaul taped a popular Christmas special. He also appeared in two films, The Brady Bunch Movie and Spike Lee's Crooklyn; the exposure gained him his own show for VH1, The RuPaul Show. After moving to Rhino for his second album, Foxy Lady, RuPaul scored in the clubs once again with the single "Snapshot." In 2000 RuPaul was in Times Square, New York City, for the unveiling of his Madame Tussaud wax replica. In 2001 he was approached by both the A&E and Bravo networks for profiles of his life. It was exhausting completing both and RuPaul only watched one before falling into a deep, month-long depression. When he came out of it, he felt free to move on to act three of his life. Ready to share his creativity with the world again, RuPaul released the album Red Hot in 2004 on his own RuCo, Inc. label. The 2006 release Reworked featured remixes of tracks from Red Hot along with a new version of "Supermodel."
In 2008 RuPaul started producing RuPaul's Drag Race. The premise of the program has drag queens compete to be selected by RuPaul and a panel of judges as "America's next drag superstar".
In 2011, RuPaul released the album Glamazon and then two years later he released a unisex fragrance with the same name.
Since the start of RuPaul's Drag Race he has hosted several other television shows. He has also been in various short films and music videos.
He has won the GLAAD Vito Russo Award and Outstanding Reality Program Award, The NewNowNext Best New Indulgence Award, TV.com's Best of 2012 Best Reality Show Judge/Host Award, Entertainment Weekly Best Dressed Reality TV Judge Award, Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality of Reality-Competition Program, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame Television Award.
He won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Reality Host for his role on RuPaul's Drag Race.
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