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RuPaul: ‘Learning to love yourself is the most important thing’

Figuring out our personal motivations makes us human.
RuPaul chats about Season 9 of his hit show. | Getty Images
RuPaul chats about Season 9 of his hit show. Getty Images

The world's most famous and successful drag queen, RuPaul, premiered the ninth season of the hit show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on March 24 on VH1. He chats with us about the most concerning battle facing the LGBT community and how he stays centered in a world of Trump and division.

How do you keep the show fresh?
That’s thanks to the participants. They are really the soul of the program. With their energy and freshness, they are the ones that have kept the show in force all this time. It is very interesting to meet them because many come from small towns from the U.S., where they have had to fight their own battles and demonstrate that they can live on their own terms. So, when they arrive to the show, they're superheroes and that's what makes them special in my eyes. Of course, after that comes what I call their death and rebirth because they will begin to do things that they had not done before and that is when their breaking point comes to them.

Do you remember any particular story?
Yes, in this eighth season Kim Chi, the queen of Korea, talked about her problems in a very funny way, acting them out and that was a great moment. Now we have many queens who are internet stars, that is, they know about makeup, costumes but they do not have experience on a catwalk, acting or live presentations. So watching them evolve into more complete artists is a lot of fun.

The LGBT community continues to face many battles, which one concerns you most?
The same one that every human being faces, which is not a gay right but a human right and that is why everyone must raise. Beyond laws and legislations, we must discover that we have more in common with each other than what we believe. I believe that the greatest misunderstanding of human beings is believing that we are separated from one another or that we are different from each other. We are a single entity and people forget that very easily and that is what hurts my heart. And if you think about it, it's the same thing that hurts us all. We must understand that we are not separate.

And speaking of laws, is there any change that you think is urgently needed?
Many things. But I must go at the same pace as the rest of the people on the planet and talk about the human experience and that we are not separated. When I was twelve, I felt like an alien because nobody was talking about the real problems. People get lost in details and forget that the real purpose of laws is to explain what it means to be human on this planet, the responsibilities of it, how to live in harmony with others. And it seems very strange to me and hypocritical of human culture when they tell us that some people can do some things and others cannot. When they tell us that if you are a man you can do one thing and if you are a woman or if you are white or black or one religion or another, [you cannot]. These separations are illusions as a consequence of ego and that is the number one problem. It's what we have to start solving.

Now that you talk about separations, there are also nationalities and there are those who even want to put up a wall...
Yes, that's right. But since we are talking about the wall, I must tell you that this is an emotional wall. The media speaks of a wall that may happen and that only responds once again to the ego of some because they feel that because they live on one side, they are better than the other side and that’s not so. At thirteen I made a promise that I would never join the "Matrix.” I would always see the world through a perspective that did not compromise what is in my heart. There is a phrase that I like that says "Never drink the Kool-Aid,” which means never believe in other people’s concepts without questioning them.

How do you maintain that mental clarity? Do you meditate?
Keeping myself faithful to what is in my heart and yes, it’s achieved through the practice of meditation. One must always take the time to find balance and clarity in everything that is being lived. And believe it or not, I lose myself, I also go through moments of confusion but the point is always to return to the center, through a compassionate form, but always come back.

What is the message you would like to convey to younger people?
The same message I have had from the beginning: “Learning to love yourself is the most important thing you can do in your life.” Learn what you are, what makes you happy, what moves you, what motivates you to get out of bed and pursue it. What motivates me is love, laughter, beauty, dance, acting. Discovering those personal motivations is what makes us human.

What did it mean for you to win an Emmy?
The important thing was for those who work on the show. Recognition for them opens many doors and puts them in a better place to aspire to bigger things as a company. I felt pride because they were happy. I as an artist always work out of the box, I have never done things for the awards. My biggest prize is the 114 drag queens who left a small town to become international artists. It is a pride for me to launch their careers.

On March 24, the ninth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” premiered on VH1 at 8 p.m. This is the first season on VH1 as the series moved from Logo network, where it was aired exclusively for the first eight seasons.