What RuPaul Taught Me About Being a Businesswoman

RuPaul holding two live wires apart, She is the potential in the middle

Now that RuPaul’s Drag Race has begun it’s 6th season, I have set aside time to commit to one of my most enduring obsessions. Glamourous men in lipstick! Yassssss, Honey werk! The popularity of RuPaul’s drag race amazes me. Did you ever think that such an alternative form of artistry would completely re-enforce and underline popular culture? RuPaul is an enigma. She has introduced us to drag culture with the joie de vivre that only he can ( yes i’m purposefully mixing pro-nouns, it makes me smile). RuPaul retired from view for a few years only to re-emerge stronger and more powerful than ever. Today her brand and her ability to cross-over drag culture has influenced every avenue of popular culture; from the Kardashians, to the Real Housewives franchise and People magazine. And she does it by, unashamedly being her glittery self.

Here is a real and awesome truth that I have recently become aware of:  Each and every one of us is unique. That’s not something cute to put on a Hallmark card, that is a scientifically proven and measurable fact. There is a 1 in 400 trillion shot in the universe of you being who you are. There are a million molecules and fibers that needed to converge to create you into being, so now that you are here, are you willing to waste that shot? Each one of us is a necessary component to making the world go round. As such, we have a valid and real point of view that we are obligated to share. The fact that you have clicked on this article tells me two things: 1) you have desire for freedom in your working life and 2) you have a voice that is a bit louder than the people around you. So allow me to share with you, some of the lessons that Ms. RuPaul Esq., drag mother to the planet earth, has taught me.

1) RuPaul showed me that it’s okay to get loud, I mean really loud about who you are. In fact, just being who you are, and creating your unique business you are not only living a freer life, you are inspiring other people. RuPaul’s messages of glamour and art may seem trite to some people, but watching RuPaul live her truth has allowed countless young men and women to  emerge from their places of self-loathing and truly be themselves.

“Don’t be afraid to use all the colors in the crayon box.” – RuPaul

2) Anything is Possible:  With perseverance, clarity and focus, even a skinny black boy from Atlanta can become a world famous supermodel. Yes she can! Once you realize that truth, can you really doubt your ability to make your bake shop, your bike messenger service, or your financial counseling firm work? Come on, now!

“When you become the image of your own imagination, it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.” – RuPaul

3) Graciousness Can Be Your Sharpest Tool: On a recent episode of Drag Race, RuPaul and her panel found themselves locking horns with contestant, Magnolia Crawford. Magnolia has yet to learn the art of accepting criticism. The poorly dressed contestant was frustrated and surly. She testily pointed out her limitations: She didn’t have the proper materials, The fabrics didn’t work, and on and on. The interchange was telling. Graciousness is not only to be kind to others as part of a performance, but to be kind to yourself as well.  There is an art to not taking things personally, and tact to absorbing the healing parts of a message without falling victim to the hurtful parts of it. Being gracious to yourself allows you to remain strong in times of duress, and as a business owner you WILL face duress. Be kind to both yourself and accepting of your adversity. The contestant ( who did show some real talent in other area) completely dismantled herself by not realizing that fact.

4) Embrace your Flaws is it Truly Attractive: Part of RuPaul’s charm is that she very sweetly pokes fun of herself in a way that is truly disarming. In fact teasing and bratty allusions are part of the culture of the Drag Race panel. And RuPaul is never above laughing at her own expense. Working on celebrity clothing lines in New York years ago, and trying to get projects off of the ground, I would make the mistake of trying to seem to be more than I am in order to attract more work: More Experienced, More Connected, More Fabulous. I have found an incredible amount of freedom of being myself with my clients. And I am surprised at how forgiving they can be, as well as how much honesty has deepened my relationship with them. So be yourself, flaws and all. I highly recommend it.

5) “You are born naked, the rest is drag”.   This is RuPaul’s current slogan on her twitter account. To me this is telling. You come into this world as the unique person that you are; everything else is a decision. You create your life. Use those million dollar molecules of yours and make your life and your business the way you want it. If a man can turn himself into a glamourous woman to me that shows a lot of room for growth.

“I’m a regular Joe…I just have the unique ability to accessorize.” – RuPaul

PS. There is no such thing as a regular Joe, especially not RuPaul. There are just people who don’t recognize their potential. What he is saying here is that he is one of the ones that does.

6) Don’t take it Personally: Other peoples opinions have dealt the deathblow to dreams since the beginning of time. Revolutionary ideas come from people who ignore the naysayers. As the very talented and quirky winner of Season 5 Jinx Monsoon constantly repeats to herself all the negativity is just “water off a ducks back”.

7) It’s Never Too Late: You have never lost too many times before, you are never to old, and you are never do uneducated. I, myself have tried and failed at a number of ventures. RuPaul is the consummate survivor. That he is this popular and this influential as a drag queen at more than 50 years of age proves that without a shadow of a doubt. Never give up on your dreams. As RuPaul says,   “When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”

“When I think about my [inner] Glamazon, would that character get down if someone said her thighs were heavy? No, she knows what other people think is none of her damn business. –RuPaul

I have a little secret to share. The work folder on my computer desktop is a picture of RuPaul with one of her most devastating Smile/Grimaces. Instead of “Work” the folder is titled “Werk!”. It’s my daily reminder, that when I do my work I should werk it – do it with energy and flair. To me, RuPaul embodies, passion and fearlessness, graciousness and the commitment to always be herself in the face of a mountain of opposition. I know that there is no flaw that a little lipstick couldn’t cure and no criticism that my truth can’t dismantle. So to all of you reading this article, shut it down and get back to WERK! Do it with bravery and enthusiasm and remember….”Don’t F*ck It Up!

Contact me! Let me know what inspires you, I’m always up for a little Tea – No Shade.

Khia Jackson

Owner / Creative Director

The J+AM Group

twitter: @TheJamGrp

email: [email protected]

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