What I've Learned working for RuPaul (LESSON #1)
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
In September of 2018 I got a call to interview for a job as RuPaul's double/stand-in for the Netflix series AJ & The Queen. Ru and I are the same height with similar skin tones so it seemed like a great opportunity. Besides none of my personal projects were bringing in the big bucks at that time. Everyone knows consistent work in Los Angeles can be hard to come by. The interview was the following week on the Warner Bros lot with THE RuPaul Charles. I would have never guessed how that interview was going to shape the next three years of my life.
LESSON 1- Dress for the job you want.
I went on a crash diet (3 plain baked potatoes a day, water, and nothing else. Do NOT recommend) to better match his body type then I destroyed my closet to find the perfect thing to wear to this interview. Do I attempt drag? Do I wear heels? I didn't know. What I did know was that RuPaul loves a brightly colored suit so I pulled a few options and recruited my family and friends to poll my potential ensembles. My mother said wear a particular blue suit and we ALWAYS listen to mother.
I showed up to the interview in a tailored royal blue suit and my black Ferragamo Oxford dress shoes that make me feel like the "Wolf of Wall Street." I was light headed, nervous and STARVING but at least I was the first to arrive. There were six guys interviewing and I was the only one who wore a suit. I felt overdressed but I had to bring my A game. Did I mention I had never been anyone's double before? And someone of this caliber? Forget about it! My inexperience meant I had to make myself undeniable and that is what I intended to do. A few of the other guys even said they thought I WAS Ru when they first walked in. I felt good about it but every other guy in there had made longstanding careers as doubles/stand-in/impersonators for people like Samuel L Jackson, Will Smith, and Keegan Michael Key. I just didn't know what to expect.
We each met with Ru, took side-by-side photos, spoke with producers, and were sent on our way. A few hours later I got the call that I had been hired. I would later find out the decision was immediate...I had been hired because of my suit. That was my first lesson. DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT. It's a simple and well known concept but it changed my life. Do I think someone with more experience might have done the job better? Absolutely! Was I completely overwhelmed and scared out of my mind when the job began? Terrified! But I knew what I wanted and did everything in my power to meet the opportunity. The job turned out to be more than I could have ever imagined.
I would eventually go on to become RuPaul's Senior Executive Assistant...but that's another story...a lesson for another time.