CULTURE

RuPaul Explains Why He Didn’t Wear Drag to the 2019 Met Gala

He finally explains why he opted for a suit for this year’s Met Gala.


Neilson Barnard

There were a lot of surprises at this year’s camp-themed Met Gala, but few attendees surprised the world like RuPaul, who showed up in a hot pink suit. After the host of RuPaul’s Drag Race walked the pink carpet, many people put forth theories as to why he had decided not to wear drag. This very publication hypothesized that it was because RuPaul has said before that he only wears drag these days when he’s being paid to do so. “If somebody’s ready to throw down some serious cash, I am there,” he’s said in the past. As it turns out, that was part of the reason why he decided not to wear drag to the Met. The other part? It would have been “mean” to everyone else.

When asked about it on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, RuPaul explained, “I thought about getting up in drags, but then I thought, You know what? Every man’s gonna dress as Divine from the John Waters films. And I thought, I don’t want to be where everyone else is in drag. But no one dressed in drag, except for two of my [Drag Race] girls, Aquaria and Violet. And I decided I can do drag not in drag.”

Ultimately, RuPaul focused on his comfort throughout the evening. If he had worn drag, he says, he would have been much more uncomfortable and, therefore, “so mean to everyone…because it hurts, I’m not getting paid, and then we sit in these very small bar mitzvah chairs, you know? I thought I’d be angry.”

There’s also the fact that RuPaul doesn’t often step out in drag anymore. His last time doing so was for a performance at Sydney’s Mardi Gras, in 2012.

Still, without the drag, RuPaul managed to nail the theme—although many other attendees struggled with it, as he noted. “Most people don’t understand camp,” he said. “It requires you to break the fourth wall, and most people don’t have it within themselves to see themselves from outside of themselves.… You have to see the world from outside of yourself to understand camp, and most people can’t do that.” There you have it.

Met Gala 2019: The Campiest Looks on the Red Carpet

Billy Porter wearing a custom “Sun God” ensemble by the Blonds at the 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City.

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Jared Leto and guest wearing Gucci at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Katy Perry wearing Moschino at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Lady Gaga wearing one of many Brandon Maxwell ensembles at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Ezra Miller wearing a Burberry suit and harness, plus five extra eyes, at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham wearing Christopher Kane, accessorized with latex gloves, at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Janelle Monáe wearing Christian Siriano at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Hamish Bowles wearing Maison Martin Margiela (and a head of pastel hair) at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Moschino at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Joan Collins wearing Valentino, dressed as her own character in Dynasty, at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Ryan Murphy wearing Christian Siriano, in tribute to Liberace, at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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Lupita Nyong’o at the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” in New York City, May 2019.

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