Michelle Visage in an internationally renowned television personality, radio show host, platinum-selling recording artist, and now author.
She will be signing copies of her new book The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top on Tuesday, November 17 at W.H. Smith in Churchill Square, Brighton at 5.30pm.
Michelle Visage is not only glamorous, she’s a savvy woman with serious business credentials. From her days vogueing in the downtown Manhattan clubs in the ’90s to her successful career in radio and her ultimate cult status as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Michelle has achieved her dreams.
In The Diva Rules, she shares her hard-won expertise and advice for living life to the fullest and finding success no matter the hand you’re dealt.
With her no-nonsense style and super sassy voice, Michelle tells readers to “Give Good Face,” and “Be Thankful You’re a Misfit,” in addition to 23 other invaluable life lessons on finding your power and sparkling your way to the top.
Now the one-woman powerhouse known for her role as a judge on the hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, finalist in 2015’s UK Celebrity Big Brother and as a member of the bestselling vocal group Seduction has written The Diva Rules, her advice for living life to the fullest and finding success no matter what hand you’re dealt.
The book, subtitled “Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top” takes examples from Michelle’s own colourful life and channels them into 25 Rules that readers can use to guide their lives in a positive and fulfilling direction. With her distinctive voice Michelle encourages her readers to “Be the Honey and Wait for the Bees,” “Celebrate Your Competition,” and “Stop Relying on That Body.”
She also gives advice such as “Make Your Boss Look Good,” “Find Your Scene” and “You Do You.”
The Diva Rules includes a foreword by her long-time friend and international superstar RuPaul.
Gary Hart puts a few questions to Michelle before her book signing at Churchill Square.
Q: You credit your mother Arlene as “giving you your voice” and supporting you and your efforts even when you had blue hair and wore spiked necklaces and miniskirts. What lessons did you learn from her about being a good parent and friend?
A: She was amazing. She let me have my voice and be me 100% of the time. I try my best to be as open-minded as my mother was and it is a test every single day of the year. I look at my daughters knowing they may regret the choices they make right now, but they are their decisions to make. I will always be their parent before I am their friend. Another lesson I learned from Arlene.
Q: Your mother obtained a fake I.D. for you when you were 17 and encouraged you hit the New York club scene. Why? What did you get out of it?
A: What I got out of it was a career! We didn’t have the internet, we didn’t have cell phones. The ONLY way to network was to hit the clubs or parties and the only way in for a 17-year-old was a fake ID! She knew I didn’t drink so she wasn’t worried about that, she was more worried I wouldn’t get my big break.
Q: In Diva Rules you tell of turning on the TV to discover your Vogueing moves and personal style had been co-opted by a famous entertainer. Rather than get angry, you celebrated it. Why?
A: I didn’t turn on the TV to discover it, we all knew it was happening, but when we finally saw the video and the extent of how it was everything we were, it was the biggest compliment ever. The biggest pop star in the world, almost of all time, was doing our moves!
Q: Your quote “stop relying on your body” not only has become its own meme, but is also a rule in the book. What do you mean by that?
A: What that means quite simply is stop relying on what’s on the outside and try focusing on what really matters: your soul. The outside is pretty for a little while in life, but the soul is what is with us forever. Ugly soul = ugly exterior no matter how pretty God made you.
Q: One of your Diva Rules is “Give good face.” It’s not about looking pretty all the time, but being your true authentic self. Why is this important?
A: Because in the end we only have us. If we can’t sit in a room alone, or lay our heads down at night completely satisfied with how we live each day, what’s the point? Why are we doing what we are doing? What’s the takeaway? If all we can do every day is be an ego driven narcissist, we will lead a very unfulfilled, lonely life.
Q: You have been friends with RuPaul since the 80s, and worked together on TV and radio. What’s a typical day like when you hang out together?
A: Typical day starts with a catch up. We don’t talk every day, or text every day, so when we see each other it’s a catch up first. Then we move on to updates on business ventures for a bit. After that we just sit and free flow, whatever comes out of our mouths, comes out. There is never a lull in conversation. Not ever.
Q: You were one of the few female DJs in the male-dominated world of hit radio. How did you navigate sexism in the industry to become a success?
A: It’s a tough one because it is SO very prevalent, especially in radio. I always knew that I was good at what I did and I was validated after signing my first contract when my boss told me that I had the ability to have a very long career in radio. I fought for every dollar I made and it wasn’t easy. I had to stand there and literally say “why does HE get more money than me when I work longer hours and harder than he does?” I never took no for an answer.
Q: You recently revealed that you have an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis). How has it changed your life and how do you manage it with your exhausting schedule?
A: I found out I had Hashi’s when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time and wasn’t. We thought it was just infertility issues but it turned out to be my thyroid. I have had it for 16 years now and I just recently decided to get serious about my healing. I believe in natural medicine. I am attempting to reverse it through diet, supplementation and exercise. Every place I travel, I know where I will be eating and I never veer off course. It’s too important. If we can change it, then why wouldn’t we?
Q: Over your career you have been a brunette, a blonde, a redhead and now have beautiful black tresses. Do you feel people perceived you differently with each look? Did the hair color reflect different parts of your personality?
A: For some people yes, but not for me. I am always the same person no matter the hair color. I do LOVE changing it up, but that usually happens out of boredom. I have literally tried highlights thinking I could look just like Jennifer Lopez no less than 10 times and every time I pour black hair dye over it because I look hideous.
Q: Many readers may recognise you as a member of the band Seduction, or for your guest appearances on RuPaul’s albums. If you could sing a dream duet with anyone who would be?
A: Wow. That is a great question. I would have to say Madonna and Bernadette Peters. And Chita Rivera. And Patti LuPone. Clearly the list is not containable. Too many legends, too little time.
Q: You recently competed on the British TV show Big Brother. However that wasn’t your first time in England. When did your love affair with Britain begin?
A: My UK love affair began at the tender, confused age of 13. My parents brought us (my brother and I) over to the UK for a summer holiday and I fell in love. I knew I was meant to be there. I can’t explain it, it is just a feeling I have when I walk the streets. I am British in a former life and probably a Scouser at that.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: World domination. Quite literally.
The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top by Michelle Visage is published by Chronicle Books, in hard back, £15.99.