RuPaul is already a legend, so even if this weren’t a history-making cover (I will go to lengths to avoid “an historic” because I hate it so much), it would be superb and striking. But when this was released in November, Ru also became the first drag queen to grace that space on Vanity Fair. And what a statement this makes. It’s a super and striking cover. It feels like a celebration, both of a person and of an art form, and yet the intensity of RuPaul’s face tells you that you’d best recognize the cultural importance of both. It’s great. I’m thrilled for him, and for the doors he’s opened.

The cover story delves into Ru’s background and also touches on a few of the controversies, such as whether there is adequate representation on the Drag Race staff (everyone on the Emmys stage other than Ru was white), and some comments Ru made about whether trans contestants who’d had gender confirmation surgery would be cast on his show (the answer: doubtful). And it admits that, yes, Ru does often retreat to the same anecdotes and quips and wisdom, sometimes as a way of sidestepping a question. I like when profiles aren’t afraid to do that — there’s nothing insulting in there; just honest, and observational, and that’s as it should be.

Here is some dish on Ru’s new Netflix show:

RuPaul instead followed his creative hunger to AJ and the Queen, a road-trip drag dramedy in the vein of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert or To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, only with a precocious little girl in tow, played by newcomer Izzy G. […] But this is not a show for children, really, RuPaul insists. “This show isn’t about a drag queen in a kids show. This is about a kid in a drag queen’s show. It’s edgy, and it has some dark themes in there.” He thrilled to the challenge of playing a fully realized person, removing the makeup of arch social commentary to get at a rawer truth. “It was something I was eager to explore. To prove to myself that I’m not dead inside,” he says with a wry laugh. “I proved to myself that I could pull those emotions up. It’s intoxicating.” Watching a 15-minute segment of the show on the Warner lot, I feel that ardency. The acting is solid and present. It’s a pleasant shock to see RuPaul so unhidden, expressing frailty and grief alongside the familiar fabulousness.

[…] “Our humanity, our laughter, our sense of irony. Fashion. Everything. It’s all in there. I couldn’t be more proud,” says RuPaul. [Michael Patrick] King agrees. “After [Ru] saw the first episode, he turned to me and said, ‘I thought this was going to be the show where I revealed myself to the world. It turns out it’s the show where I reveal myself to myself.’”

Michael Patrick King, you might recall, was involved with Sex and the City. I am here for this partnership.

[Photo: Vanity Fair]