Why RuPaul Walked the Met Gala 2019 Red Carpet Out of Drag

But Aquaria and Violet Chachki Still Carried and Came Through.

The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion - Arrivals
Neilson Barnard

RuPaul‘s policy on getting into full drag is pretty similar to the ’90s supermodels policy on getting out of bed: only if it pays. “I do it, if somebody is paying me I’ll do it,” he told Marketplace last year. “If somebody’s ready to throw down some serious cash, I am there.” Which is why he walked the Met Gala red carpet tonight not in a full gown, but rather an eye-catching pink and black zebra-stripped suit. Which, of course, is its own kind of drag in Ru’s eye. Remember, “We’re all born naked…”

Though, we shouldn’t be too surprised. The last time RuPaul has worn full drag on in public was in 2012 when he performed at Mardi Gras in Sydney Australia. If you want to go back before that, then you’d have to look to a book signing event in 2007, or, according to the Getty Image archives at least, the 2004 Dance Music Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony for a proper full drag red carpet appearance.

Not that RuPaul, 58, is necessarily a hermit. He’s appeared at several awards shows to collect trophies, as well as his own DragCon and other Drag Race related events, but almost always does so in recent years in his collection (of usually quite fetching) designer suits.

Though, the reason isn’t purely about money. There’s also the fact that Ru has an image and standard to upkeep, and going through that transformation takes a lot of time to perfect, not to mention money. “I am the Queen of Queens, and the Queen of Queens deserves to look, is expected to look, like a million dollars,” she’s said. In fact, on his podcast What’s The Tee, RuPaul has insinuated that he’s been invited to the Met Gala as a guest of brands before, but most of them wanted him to walk the carpet in drag.

Though, drag certainly was represented on the red carpet. Two previous winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race were on hand: Season 7’s Violet Chachki in Moschino and Season 10’s Aquaria in Maison Margiela.

US drag queen Aquaria arrives for the 2019 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York. – The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute. The Gala’s 2019 theme is Camp: Notes on Fashion” inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp”. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)


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