Before Michelle Visage became known as a producer and judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” she was a singer — with quite a few hits under her belt. As one-third of the late 1980s/early 1990s group Seduction, she hit the top 40 four times, and also performed on hits for other artists such as TKA and the S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. When Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast asked Visage about a solo album, she admitted, “I was thinking about it today. ‘What am I waiting for?’ I think I’m stopping myself and talking myself out of it. I’m my own worst enemy.”
Emmy-nominated for “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Visage is also eager to expand her roles as an actor, and wants to spend the next year breaking into scripted. “That acting bug is something that lives inside of me,” she said. “And this year, after the pandemic, and it was the first time that I consciously said out loud to my husband, ‘I want to spend the next year focusing on breaking into scripted.’”
Visage can be heard on the latest episode of Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, along with a chat with “The Flight Attendant” star and executive producer Kaley Cuoco. Listen below!
Audiences got a teaser of Visage as an actor when the team behind “Drag Race” launched “Dragging the Classics: The Brady Bunch.” In the special past queens re-enacted the “Brady Bunch” episode “Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up?” and Visage had a line written in just for her. She has also appeared in the West End production of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.”
Besides sharing her take on what keeps audiences coming to the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” franchise (“It’s the queens,” she says), she shared background about how she grew up in the Harlem ballroom scene and witnessed the evolution of drag over the years.
“Drag wasn’t even a thing back then,” Visage said. “It was marginalized, even within the community. I’m gonna use the word ‘a joke’ lightly, but it wasn’t respected or revered the way it is now.”
Visage said she can’t recall her first drag show because she was always around it. “It’s the power of makeup, hair and transformation. It’s always been to me, one of the highest art forms,” she said.
Earlier this year, Visage also released the book “Explant,” where she opened up about her decision to have her breast implants removed. She announced the news in 2019 after experiencing health issues – particularly with her immune system.
“The reason I did it is because I knew I wasn’t alone,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that we were all taking advantage of, so much so. Not just by the FDA, but also the medical institution, [they] just don’t listen to us. We women constantly have to fight to be heard. And there are so many women that are sick and dying.”
Also on this episode of the Awards Circuit Podcast, Variety editor Diane Garrett joins Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano to discuss this year’s Emmy nominations in the limited series acting categories.
Variety’s Emmy edition of the “Awards Circuit” podcast is hosted by Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in television. Each week during Emmy season, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.