"What appealed to me was that it's so punk rock," RuPaul says of discovering drag

By Jeff Nelson
October 26, 2018 03:28 PM
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Credit: Mathu Andersen

RuPaul has always known how to make a statement.

In his new book, GuRu, the RuPaul’s Drag Race star opens up about how drag helped him find himself.

“As a kid, I knew this whole world was an illusion and everyone’s playing a role. And I thought, ‘I can do that,’ ” the entertainer, 57, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “And then when I found drag, I thought: ‘Oh, this is a way that I can play that role and sort of mock society at the same time.’ ”

“What appealed to me about it wasn’t just dresses and whatever — what appealed to me was that it’s so punk rock,” continues the icon, born RuPaul Andrew Charles. “It’s so counter to what society wanted me to do. ‘Oh, they want me to be this way? I’ll be the opposite. It’s really a big F-U to the masculine, systematic dominance. For a black man, too, it is like: ‘F— you!’ ”

  • For more on RuPaul, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE
| Credit: Mathu Andersen

When he’s not slaying onstage and on-camera, the Emmy winner — who married longtime partner Georges LeBar last year — leads a much quieter life.

“I’m way more introverted than people would think,” he says, “and more intense and introspective.”

RuPaul with husband Georges LeBar
| Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstoc

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Adds RuPaul: “Drag allowed me to lighten that s— up. It allowed me to have more fun. And when you’re in drag it reminds you that all of this life is an illusion except for love and kindness and the love you allow yourself to receive.”

Now the TV star shares mantras, affirmations and philosophies in GuRu (out now) to teach a new generation how to similarly “experience humanity and side-step the emotional land mines.”

The author hopes the book helps fans realize “there is a way to get through this, and it doesn’t have to be the old, traditional ways of doing it, of getting a 9-to-5 job and 2.2 children and that thing,” he says. “There’s a way to live life on your own terms.”