Last Words With Chad Michaels, RuPaul's All Star
BY Daniel Reynolds
November 27 2012 7:00 PM ET
What are you going to do with the $100,000?
Well, after taxes… [laughs] I’m not sure. I’m definitely going to be setting up a trust fund for my little nephew, because I really want him to have a little bit of an advantage when it comes time for him to make his way in the world. At this point in my life, I think it’s really important to start planning for the future, so I’m going to put most of the money up… possibly some investing. I want to take care of the people closest to me. I’m definitely not going to spend it on booze and women [laughs].
What was going through your mind during your lip-sync with Raven?
You saw me look over at her. You saw that look on my face. It was hard. It was intimidating. Raven is very beautiful, and talented, and statuesque. She doesn’t need to do much when she lip-syncs; she’s very riveting. I’m more of an active lip-syncer. So it was a matter of ‘God, I don’t know what is going to happen right now.’ Also, something that didn’t air on the show, and I actually kept secret… I broke my toe that morning. So my toe was broken and shoved into a 6” heel boot for about 14 hours. The day was definitely a test of my endurance, both physically and emotionally. I almost cracked under the pressure. Shannel was pivotal in keeping me level. As you saw on Untucked, it probably wasn’t going to be her, and it probably wasn’t going to be Jujubee. So she really took a role in taking care of me, which was really sweet. I needed her to do that… She was definitely there for me… and that gave me that extra little push to get through it.
What was it like having her as a partner throughout the season?
I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Just to be clear — when we were drawing popsicle sticks for partners, you could see the name. It wasn’t random…and the objective was to match with your partner. I chose her right off the bat… As much as we love each other, there will always be a creative competitiveness between us… I think that little bit of static gave us the edge that we needed. Like I said, grab it and shake it. Raven and Jujubee just love each other too much… That’s great, but in the context of a competition, there has to be an edge.
Raven was a little bitter when he lost during season 2. Did you get a sense of that last night?
I saw her last night. Raven is young, but he’s done a lot of growing up since his season. He’s a person with a lot of integrity. He’ll tell you how it is and he’ll read you. But he’s your friend until the end. That’s why this season was so hard. We’re all friends, and we all work hard, and we all wanted it. He conducted himself with a lot of grace and dignity last night.
Why do you think RuPaul chose you as the winner?
Hmm…because he didn’t think I had another season in me? [laughs] I just have to believe that Ru sees something in me worthwhile. He chose to put his money on me, and I’ll take it. I’ll take the endorsement. I am so proud to be the first inductee into the RuPaul Hall of Fame. It’s a dream come true. It’s something where I look back to when I was 20 years old, watching RuPaul videos, never having an inkling of how fate would twist and turn to where it is today. Like I said, it’s surreal. I’m so, so happy.
How did you first get started in drag?
I was always a pretty theatrical kid, a draggy kid… a little sissy. I dressed up in my grandma’s heels and clothes… It's always been in me. When I went to a club when I was 21, and saw my drag mother, Hunter, performing, it was love at first sight. I admired her so much, but also, that spark was there. I knew that I could do this, too…Hunter passed away several years ago, but he was really responsible for teaching me the tools of the trade and all the secrets of the craft… I was very lucky to have someone who was so amazing in drag to help me get started.