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Remember that time RuPaul was busted AF?


TextDominic Cadogan

Category is: Butterface

Listen up, before I get into this I thought it would be important to note, I love RuPaul. Seriously, check my bylines. Despite all of her extremely problematic and disappointing views on trans people and that time she almost certainly watched a man drown, as a make-up-wearing queer person of colour, she’s the closest thing I have to an idol. 

That is why I know, hand on heart, that she would appreciate me doing this. Even if it means I’ll be blacklisted from ever interviewing her in future. RIP life goals. 

As a TV show, Project Runway has given us countless iconic moments. There was that time when All Star Anthony Williams convinced a random topless stranger to part with his shorts for one of the many ridiculous challenges, Michael Kors’s plethora of sassy quips, #BloodOrange, and most recently ‘Not Even To Dinner With The Kushners?’. 

Perhaps none are as solidified in our minds as RuPaul’s guest appearance in 2008. Almost unrecognisable, what appears on her head – I think it’s a wig? – can more accurately be described as a tumbleweave that has been violently blasted with a leaf blower before being jammed in a blender for good measure. Even Dida Ritz saw this wig and thought: ‘I’ll pass’. 

“Almost recognisable, what appears on Ru’s head can more accurately be described as a tumbleweave that has been violently blasted with a leaf blower before being jammed in a blender for good measure”

For years, Ru was painted for the gods by longtime collaborator Mathu Andersen – before an alleged bust-up over money, leading him to being replaced by season two’s Raven – but perhaps he was taking a day off. Instead of Ru’s usual glowing blend, the harsh contour makes her look old and, frankly, haggard and as for the lipstick, Naomi Campbell said it best: “You better check your lipstick before you come and talk to me.” 

So why do I love this clip, since it (literally) paints Mother Ru in such a bad light? Because I can still love her, and the clip – they’re not mutually exclusive. Despite the fact her legal team is likely writing a cease and desist right now, we (the fans) love to see our idols looking bad – schadenfreude and all that. 

It reminds me that it was actually OK the dozen times I left the house looking like a panda that had been paintballed directly in the face. It reminds me that even Ru has bad hair/face days. Because, to (loosely) quote the legend herself: “If you can’t love your busted self, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else’s busted self?” Ponder that while you watch the full clip below (if you dare). 

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