Michelle Visage, the faithful sidekick to the world’s most famous drag queen, RuPaul, has been helping to judge RuPaul’s Drag Race since season 3.
But who is the infamous, no-nonsense judge on the Emmy-winning reality series?
Born Michelle Lynn Shupack, Visage grew up in New Jersey, attending an arts high school and pursuing a career as an actress.
She tapped into the New York City club scene at an early age, hoping to make connections that would further her dreams.
It was during this time, in the late ’80s, that she met RuPaul for the first time. The two often attended the same nightlife and parties, though they only exchanged pleasantries for the next few years.
Visage’s musical career
In 1990, Visage auditioned and won a place in the singing group, Seduction, and signed with A&M Records.
Produced by Robert Clivilles and David Cole of C+C Music Factory, the singing trio consisted of April Harris, Idalis DeLeon, and Visage.
The group was assembled to produce dance club hits, balancing talent with sex appeal. They sang such hits as “Two to Make it Right.”
After the trio broke up, Visage collaborated with other groups and producers.
She sang on the popular soundtrack for the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston film, The Bodyguard.
She also produced a #1 dance single that same year, peaking at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100.
During that time, RuPaul had just put out his popular strut song, Supermodel, and two were attending a dance music convention.
They met in the green room where Visage reintroduced herself and asked if he remembered her.
“Are you kidding me, you are a superstar,” exclaimed RuPaul. “I’ve been watching you for years.”
The rest, as they say, is history
Visage continued working with RuPaul on television and radio.
In 1996, she became the co-host of the VH1 talk show, The RuPaul Show. The two also hosted WKTU’s radio morning show for six years.
When RuPaul received his own show, suitably titled RuPaul’s Drag Race, he invited Visage to be on the judge’s panel. However, due to a five-year contract with CBS radio in Florida, the station denied her request to join the reality show.
Two years later, when RuPaul asked again, she contacted CBS officials, who allowed her to join the show as a judge.
Visage joins Drag Race
In January of 2011, Visage debuted as a permanent fixture in the world of drag queens, replacing Merle Ginsberg and sitting alongside her BFF, RuPaul.
Her sharp tongue and keen attention-to-detail seemed to breathe new life into the competition series.
Along with her queen counterpart, the duo created a new drag lexicon, while also building awareness and understanding for the LBGTQ community.
Since that time, Visage has been featured on several of RuPaul’s music albums, making appearances in the music videos for “New York City Beat” and “From Your Heart.”
She appeared on all seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race from season 2 to the present, as well as all four seasons of the spin-off show, RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
Visage net worth
In 2015, Visage wrote The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top.
In the book, she dishes on finding success, seizing the day, and living life to the fullest. She offers advice using her empowering, albeit sassy style.
For more than three decades, Visage has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry, becoming a renowned recording artist, radio host, television personality, and author, and amassing a net worth of more than $800 thousand.
Now, at age 50, Visage resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.