Before Michelle Visage lets her gays have it at the Divine Rules Pageant search for Atlanta’s “filthiest” drag queen, the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge and sharp-tongued Ru bestie tells us – quell surprise – what she really thinks.
Atlanta’s gay-run, gay-beloved Pets Are Loving Support put out the call last month for drag contestants who want to show how vulgar, obscene and disgusting they can be in front of one of the harshest judges known to drag. Joining Visage at the judge’s table for the pageant will be B52’s frontman Fred Schneider and local drag fave Phoenix. Nicole Paige Brooks plays emcee.
Finally, the time comes on Saturday at Jungle for Divine Rules, named after the late, great, filthiest of all drag queens made famous by gay filmmaker John Waters. Visage tells us what she looks for in a queen, and lets us in on backstage “Drag Race” secrets, keeping it real at the judges’ table, being raised by drag queens instead of wolves, showing Atlanta her tits, her lesser known life, and what RuPaul is really like.
What will you be looking for when judging “Atlanta’s Filthiest Drag Queen” on Saturday?
When I think of dirty queens, I think of the dirtiest; the legendary Divine. I am looking for raunchy yet polished, campy yet seamless, personality plus and inner beauty beyond drag. Most of all, someone who “gets it” and is in on the joke.
And what can the queens expect from you in your critiques?
As per usual, honesty. It all comes from love. It never serves me to be a bitch for no reason, so whatever comes out of my mouth in the end, is to better their craft to take it to the next level.
What do you bring to the judge’s table that makes you so good at clocking greatness and epic fails?
I am a drag queen! I was literally raised by queens rather than wolves. When I moved to NYC at the tender age of 17 I assimilated into the drag queen way of life. I have lived it on the streets, in the clubs and the after hours with the legendary ones who sculpted and created the Visage monster.
As a longtime, personal friend of drag’s most famous entertainer, what’s RuPaul really like?
The most accurate description I could give of Ru is “evolved.” He is more like Dr. Ru than anyone really knows. He is my backbone, spiritual guide, sister and best friend.
What’s it really like behind the scenes on “Drag Race”?
The atmosphere is rather intense. They are standing up there, not allowed to communicate with us at all, and Ru and I, or a guest judge or two are carrying on with each other. We will kiki until the cameras are ready, and the girls are just left standing in silence. It’s tough, and my heart goes out to them, but they will be getting the 100K, not me.
Who do you think is the best contestant on “Drag Race” so far, and who was most underestimated?
Darling, I could never ever pick just one, that would be ludicrous. I have so much respect for every single queen in the world and specifically the ones on “Drag Race.” I couldn’t lie and choose simply one. I can however, say that one of my favorites in the unsung talent category, whom I wasn’t even a judge for her season, was Tammie Brown.
What are you up to when you’re not doing the show or guest appearances?
Being a wifey and mommy to my lovely, amazing daughters.
Who is the real Michelle Visage? Can you share something that people are often surprised to hear?
I am not a man.
Anything else you want to say to Atlanta’s gay boys before you hit town?
Boys, the South will rise again – as soon as I show them all my tits!
Divine Rules Pageant tickets are on sale now for the Saturday, Sept. 22 event at Jungle. Doors open for a meet and greet at 8 p.m. and the pageant and 9 p.m., followed by a DJ Alyson Calagna afterparty at 10 p.m.