Michelle Visage on wanting to be ‘the next Madonna’ and the power of Drag Race for ‘misfits’

Michelle Visage

Michelle Visage has spoken about her one ambition in life – and no, it wasn’t to become a judge on Drag Race.

In a new interview with Rylan and Ruth on This Morning, she spoke about her dream of becoming “the next Madonna” when she was growing up.

The Drag Race judge, who has recently taken up her own BBC Radio 2 slot on Friday nights, spoke about her role models on the daytime TV show. 

“That’s all I ever wanted to be, I wanted to be the next Madonna,” she said. “I grew up watching her, being obsessed with her, and before her – The Go-Go’s and Cyndi Lauper.

“When Madonna came out I just wanted to be her. My whole entire life and then my music, I was in a girl group and I was focusing so hard on being the next her.

“I think it took me until my forties to realise, I don’t want to be the next Madonna, I want to be the first Michelle Visage and it took me a long time to get there!”

Now Drag Race royalty, she also reflected on the impact RuPaul’s reality franchise has had. 

“It isn’t just what you think it is, that show is so much about heart and the tenacity of the human spirit and grit. It’s about the journey of these human beings and the majority of them haven’t had a really easy go of it.

“In the states a lot of them have been kicked out their homes or displaced or not welcomed or conversion therapy attempts, you name it. So it is wonderful and enlightening for them to share their experience.”

Michelle Visage said she feels “like an honorary mum to those who do not have one.”
She also added that while the show is “mainly” for the LGBTQ+ community, it can be an inspiration to people from all walks of life.

“There’s kids like myself who are out there and I was bullied growing up and I never fit in, I was a weirdo, a freak, a misfit but that was okay because my mother encouraged me to just be myself,” she added.

“If I had a TV show like Ru Paul’s Drag Race growing up I probably would not have struggled with things the way that I did.”

In December 2021, Drag Race broke the mould by introducing its first heterosexual cisgender man in season 14.

Speaking on the decision to cast Maddy Morphosis, Visage said: “It’s absolutely an extremely inclusive show and you don’t have be just part of the rainbow to understand this show, which is about humanity and love.”