"THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO ALL THE little Ru-Rus in the world who have a dream and may feel that it will never come true," says RuPaul Andre Charles, 34. "A lot of times your biggest defense is perseverance." That is the pop gender-bender's message as he criss-cross-dresses the country on a promo tour with a wardrobe full of custom-made, Chanel-esque suits. "I wanted to appear brainy and smart," he says, "but also sexy and kinda sleazy." After his book tour, RuPaul, the son of an electrician, raised in San Diego and Atlanta, will head to L.A. to make a video of his upcoming single "Free to Be" from the Wigstock soundtrack. While he is on the road, carpenters are busy customizing closets in his new Greenwich Village pad for his collection of couture gowns. "I can't wear the same thing twice, so storing things is a problem," he says. "And I do want to keep my clothes for a RuPaul Museum one day."
How longdoes it take to go from guy to goddess?
About 3 hours. First I take a hot bath I play music (Diana Ross, Donna Summer). I scrub my skin, then shave my legs. I moisturize my whole body before I put on my makeup—four shades of foundation to contour my face, three lipsticks, lots of tones of blush. All the time I'm thinking how gorgeous I'm gonna look.
Are you treated better as a man or a woman?
As a drag queen, I'm adored. But as an African-American man, I still have trouble getting a cab to stop for me at night.
When are you most comfortable?
When I'm in my boxers sitting in front of a television with a remote in one hand.