If you’re looking for glam camp vamps, look no further than the gorgeous Michelle Visage.
An LGBT ally like no other Visage has become a bit of cultural icon. For most, she’s famous for her stint on 2015’s Celebrity Big Brother, where she managed to nearly reform Katie Hopkins into an almost acceptable pundit and for her role as RuPaul’s second hand woman on RuPaul’s Drag Race. However Visage has a legion of fans harking backing to her time as one of New York’s original club kids of the 80s. She was also lead singer for The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M and Seduction selling millions of records globally. THEGAYUK’s Glasgow correspondent George McPhail caught up with Visage during a recent stay in Scotland to spill the T on “SheMailGate”, boob jobs and why Ru can’t remember her children’s names.
GM: Does it annoy you that Ru always gets the names of your children wrong?
MV: No it makes me laugh. I notice there’s a whole subreddit on people who get upset as Ru can’t remember my children’s names. He actually can, he just can’t remember which one’s which. He’s going to be 55 bless his heart. My kids are Lillie and Lola. I know it’s similar. if I’d had a third girl she would have been Lana so it would have just sealed the deal, but that said, no of course it doesn’t bother me. He can’t even remember what he had for lunch.
GM: I have to ask. You want to take your implants out?
MV: Yeah, I want them taken out. I’m going through this time in my life where it’s like I’ve become this more natural organic person and I have this autoimmune disease and so why not make it better? There’s nothing wrong with them, I don’t need to get them out, but why keep them in? I know people love them. Trust me my husband’s like ‘are you sure you want to…’ look it’s not gonna happen anytime soon but I’ll give the community fair warning.
GM: I just want to say what a pleasure it is to meet you because I love Drag Race and I’ve been watching since the first series.
MV: Yeah, we don’t really talk about the first two series. I wasn’t on them, (laughs). They came into their own in season three and it felt like everything really started to gel.
GM: I think it was season 4 where it took off.
MV: I agree, season 4 was the one that turned it.
GM: It must be amazing to be part of it?
MV: It’s not only amazing to be part of it, but to see what my best friend has done and to work with him and to be part of his vision and dream. He’s amazing.
GM: Did it bother you the outcry over the ‘You’ve Got She-mail’ and having to take it out?
MV: This Country looks at things very differently than our Country. In our Country a few people like to be very vocal. This Country they realise the words are never meant to hurt and they get it. We changed it because we of all people, especially Ru, would never want to be considered offensive.
GM: The whole show isn’t meant to hurt anybody.
MV: Are you kidding me? That show is nothing but love. So it bothered me because I didn’t think it was necessary, because you knew it wasn’t coming from a place of hate. It was having fun with gender identity and f**king around and being poky poky and tongue in cheek. The whole show is irreverent. Drag is irreverent. If a drag queen can’t take a f***ing joke then you’re in the wrong industry bitch.
GM: So how did you feel about Free Pride Glasgow, the alternative to Glasgow Pride, who banned drag queens?
MV: Are you kidding me? I was real vocal about it, it was disgusting. People come to see the drag.
GM: They banned drag queens because some in the trans community might be offended by them.
MV: Let me tell you something. I have a gazillion trans friends. M to F, F to M and back again some of them. None of them are offended by drag. Some of them still work as drag entertainers.
GM: I don’t understand how you can be offended by drag?
MV: It’s a few squeaky wheels that want to be oiled.
GM: I need to ask about ‘Tranny-Gate’.
MV: Oh, god. It’s the same thing, we’ve talked about it on the podcast. For me, I’m not a gay man, I’m not a trans woman, but I can tell you growing up with many trans women to this day the trans girls will still call me that ‘T’ word. Growing up the ‘T’ word was a sign of affection, It was never meant to be the ‘N’ word. I don’t know how all of a sudden you can switch the word and its meaning. But again, I don’t want my trans sisters to think that I support negativity, so I don’t use the word any more. But trans girls are the ones that still call me that word and I look at them like ha, “how come you can still call me that word” and they’re like “I’m not on that bandwagon. This is who I am and I’m gonna wear it like a badge of honour”.
GM: Do you have any teasers for next season?
MV: You know I can’t tell you anything. But, what I can tell you is it’s amazing. It’s a different energy. It’s a really big ferocious energy so I think people are going to be very pleased with season 8.
GM: What do you think of Azealia Banks outburst?
MV: I don’t know what she’s going through. I only know her to have one song, and I love that song. I think anger and rage is at the root of it, because all of my gay friends call each other the ‘F’ word. I don’t, and she being a female shouldn’t so it’s wrong and it’s offensive. If she were a gay man and said it with the same venom it would still be offensive. I wish her well but I don’t know what she’s doing with that attitude. Who’s booking her? I just wish somebody could sit down with her and say ‘girl, it’s not ok’. By the way I think the gay community are the only people booking her so I don’t understand that, what are you doing?
GM: How did you find Celebrity Big Brother?
MV: It was definitely surreal. I had a really good time and I’m glad I did it. I did it for me and for the gays.
GM: Are you still friends with Katie Hopkins?
MV: No. I told her when we were leaving the house, “you have the perfect opportunity now. Everybody loves you, you can change your whole thing you know? But, if you cause some shit I’m gonna call you out on it”. About three or four time she did and then she just wasn’t answering my texts or tweets. Her feelings are hurt because I called her an idiot in a public issue, because what she’s doing with all these people is not helpful it’s hurtful. You can’t say you want to be a gay icon on one hand and then support Dolce and Gabbana on the other. It just doesn’t make sense. And the Holocaust comments, the immigration comments, it’s just too much for me.
GM: Do you think she does it on purpose?
MV: Yes she does it on purpose because the person I met on Big Brother is the person I love. That’s the real Katie Hopkins. It makes it worse because she’s doing it for money. I believe she’s a really great person, but I can’t forgive. I’m done now with making excuses. She can still be her and I’ll still be me and if I see her it’ll be “hi”, but I can’t co-sign the shit. I can over look a majority of it because it’s ridiculous, but she crosses the line. At one point in the house she wanted something from me and I said you have to say that you love Glasgow, because of the whole Scottish thing, and she said it, but they didn’t show it. It’s such a shame as she really is a nice person and she’s ruined it with this public persona when she had every opportunity to turn it around. When she saw that she didn’t win she went balls to the wall.
GM: Do you think that’s what it was?
MV: Yes completely if she’d won I think she would have been more the person we saw. I made her a more likeable person that’s for sure (laughs).
This interview appeared in a previous issue of THEGAYUK. Subscribe today and never miss an interview