Green peace: DragCon’s Michelle Visage, on color choices & coworkers

BY VICTOR O | New York City, already the epicenter of drag queen shows and shade, is about to get an unprecedented influx of glitter, gowns, sequins, wigs, weaves, makeup, and mayhem. From September 28 through 30, RuPaul’s DragCon — the world’s largest event celebrating drag culture — digs its high heels into the Javits Center. More than 300 vendors and exhibitors will offer “some of the most sickening shopping around,” alongside live performances, panels, and meet/greet opportunities with over 50 “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (RPDR) alums, including Ginger Minj, Trixie Mattel, Bob the Drag Queen, Alyssa Edwards, Detox, Jiggly Caliente, Monique Heart, Peppermint, Trinity Taylor, and Victoria “Porkchop” Parker.

With so many sparkly stars under one roof, choosing where to go and what to do can be a dizzying, tizzy-inducing proposition. So here’s a no-brainer: Saturday, 4pm, court is in session and the Reading Room is open, as radio host, artist, author, and brutally honest RPDR judge Michelle Visage presides over “Judgey Judies” — a panel gathered to discuss what it takes to assess RuPaul’s girls on their runway looks, lip-synch skills, charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Also, Visage and RuPaul will bring their “What’s The Tee” podcast to DragCon, with live recordings at 6pm on Saturday, and at 10am & 4pm on Sunday. But we’ve already got Michelle on tape. Earlier this week, our Victor O spoke with her in a freewheeling, far-reaching interview — some of which you’ll see below, and the rest of which we’ll be serving at a later date. Now… bring on — our girl!

Image courtesy of RuPaul’s DragCon

VICTOR: Well first, congratulations, Emmy Award winner [RPRD, Outstanding Reality Competition Program, 2017]. How does it feel?

MICHELLE: It’s amazing. You know, last year it was an honor to be nominated. This year, we were nominated with a great group of shows; and when they called our name it was like, okay, this is our moment. It feels amazing to be recognized by our peers, by the [Television] Academy, for what we do — because nobody expected it. It’s really an honor.

VICTOR: Where are you going to keep your award?

MICHELLE: Um, on the mantle where it belongs; a lovely mantle. It needs to be a showcase. That’s what it is.

VICTOR: Well, I wanna know — why do you hate green? [Visage is known to dissect a contestant’s use of that color, as she did on Season 4, with Madame LaQueer]

MICHELLE: (laughs) You know, that happened and it became something that’s not really real, but it makes me laugh. I don’t hate green. I don’t hate all greens. I hate yellow-based greens because of my ethnicity. My skin tone is yellow. So any time somebody with a yellow-based skin tone — or somebody who’s not darker-skinned — wears a yellow-based green, it’s not my favorite thing, because it makes, I don’t know, it makes people look not healthy. So if somebody with a darker skin tone wears a yellow-based green, it’s stunning. But on people who have yellow-based skin, it makes you look sick. So I always had a place in my heart that hated that kind of mustardy yellow-green. But emerald green, all jewel tones, look good on every skin tone. It’s just a matter of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong for you. But I feel green got a bad rap from me. I’m gonna have a reunion with green.

VICTOR: Okay, I’m throwing out my green outfit for DragCon. I’m afraid you’re going to criticize me.

MICHELLE: (laughs) Oh, I only do that when I’m getting paid to.

VICTOR: I want to know a little more about your panel at DragCon. How will you prepare?

MICHELLE: I don’t have to prepare, honey. I’m just me. It’s my job. It’s what I do; it’s what I was born to do. So, basically, since I’m moderating, it’s me talking to my friends. Ross [Mathews] and Carson [Kressley] are very dear friends of mine. I stay at their house. We hang out, outside of the show. And Todrick [Hall] is like my child. I think the beauty of this panel is that we really, really enjoy each other, and love each other, and we can make fun of each other — and we can take it.

VICTOR: When you’re on the set with those people for such long hours, what goes on between takes?

MICHELLE: Because we do spend so much time together, it’s like hanging out with your friends. So Ru and I will shoot the sh*t about regular stuff, and the same with Ross and Carson. They’ll talk about going to Palm Springs, what’s going on this weekend, can I stay at your place in New York, what should we do? You know, it’s like all of that. It’s regular talk, and that’s the beauty of working with your friends. Whereas if you don’t work with friends that you hang out with, who don’t really care about you, you’re not going to ask about their day. There’s awkward silence. There’s never any of that with Carson, Ross, and myself.

VICTOR: Anything else?

MICHELLE: I’m just excited about seeing everybody at DragCon this weekend. It’s at the Javits Center Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Come by my booth [#903]. New merch, very exciting, and I can’t wait to meet everybody.

Image courtesy of RuPaul’s DragCon

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