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.