In case you somehow missed the memo, we’re celebrating a pretty big milestone here at Instinct this November—our 15th anniversary!! Yes, 15 years of gorgeous—and gay!!—cover guys, countless blind dates and some outrageous Soapbox speakers! Since it began in May 2004, the Soapbox feature quickly became a favorite for readers, and we continue to strive and bring you interesting and expressive celebs and public figures today to keep our back page fresh, fierce and often pretty funny. So to celebrate Instinct’s big 1-5, we’re republishing some of the Soapboxes you’ve told us you love best, all throughout November!
Today’s Soapbox takes us back to 2010, when the one and only RuPaul werked her magic on our box.
Everything I learned in junior high school, the politics of junior high school, prepared me for a life in show business. It really hasn’t changed. In the span of the three years I was in junior high, I was popular, I was out, I was with the in crowd, with the out crowd.
I learned then that it didn’t even matter what crowd you were in, you had to make friends with yourself. You had to enjoy your own company. So whether it’s a hit show or not—and I’ve done both—you have to know thyself. You have to start there. You really can’t fake it after that. I couldn’t have gotten here if I cared that much about what other people think. And I can’t really define myself by what other people think of me. It has to come from the inside out. It’s an inside job.
Your style is definitely more than what you’re wearing. Style has to do with your frequency. Once you realize what your frequency is and get rid of all the things that block your frequency, then you can decorate it and actually hone it to your desired effects. Over the years, I’ve been able to work an image that somehow has translated worldwide. People get it. They understand it. Everybody can do that. Now, not everyone wants to do drag, but even if you work for the transit authority or on Wall Street, there is a correlation between your own frequency, how you present yourself and how people see you. And that’s what my book is about.
The book, Workin’ It!, was born out of all the letters I got over the years about, “How do you do this? How do you get the moxie to get up and do what you do? Especially in a male-dominated culture, using manufactured femininity as a palette, where do you get the courage to do something like that?” It was very therapeutic to write. I had to re-evaluate how I felt about certain things, as everyone should do on a regular basis. A lot of times we’re working on old ideas that were given to us by people who didn’t have our best interest at heart, so you constantly have to re-up who you are and how you feel about things. You must take inventory. You must!
Even when people didn’t care what I was doing, I was always working on something. I’ve always stayed busy. If you chronicle my 28 years in show business, even the 10 years before anyone knew my name, I was writing and doing movies and making records; I just love being creative. It’s just always floated my boat. So staying busy is great and it’s great that people are interested in what I’m doing. But that’s not the reason I do it. I do it because I have to.
And it’s still fun! But let me tell you, that is the biggest challenge—keeping it fun. Right around the time I turned 40, I stepped away from the canvas and really focused on my personal human life with my family, lovers, friends. My own existence. It brought me so much gratitude for this kind of work, to have the ability to make a living at this. I don’t take it for granted at all.
Moderated by Jeff Katz. Illustration by Dave Arkle