What RuPaul Can't Travel Without


What RuPaul Can’t Travel Without

A Prada suit “that doesn’t wrinkle,” doubled-sided tape and surgical masks to (temporarily) shroud his identity are among the things that the Emmy-winning “Drag Race” star takes with him on every trip.

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CreditCreditIllustrations by Estelle Morris

By Nell McShane Wulfhart

  • Nov. 9, 2018

The most famous drag queen in the world, RuPaul, has collected three Emmys for hosting the reality competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and is a singer and author to boot. His latest book, “GuRu,” a collection of essays with a forward by Jane Fonda, was just published by Harper Collins.

RuPaul Andre Charles and his husband, Georges LeBar, split their time between New York, California and their Wyoming ranch, a peripatetic lifestyle that RuPaul has embraced ever since he was a teenager. “I packed a bag when I was 15 years old and I’ve never unpacked it,” he said. “I knew from day one I was going to hit the road and never stop.”

A recent vacation saw the couple zipping around the West. “We stayed for three nights at the Hotel California, which is absolutely fabulous. It’s designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, whom I’ve known for about 24 years, and it is so gorgeous. And then we hired an air taxi to take us to Las Vegas where we stayed at the Mandarin Oriental.” Vegas, he says, “is fabulous if you know how to do it. Two nights is the limit.” Rather than hit the casinos, “we shop at the Crystals shopping center, and eat, and see shows and do zero gambling.”

RuPaul is a minimal packer, but he does shop when he travels, often shipping the clothes he buys home, or to his next destination, rather than packing them. He doesn’t check luggage ever, because, in his words, “Ain’t nobody got time for baggage claim.”

Here’s what he packs for every trip.

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“You just never know. It can be used for so many things, not just with the wardrobe malfunctions. I use it sometimes as a tie clip if I don’t have a tie clip, or sometimes I’ll put it behind a pair of earrings if the backing doesn’t fit. Anyway, it’s just one of those MacGyver tricks, that you should always have some double-stick tape.”

“I’ve learned over these 45 years of traveling that you really just need some lounge clothes to wear around the hotel. That could be a track suit that you could also, in a pinch, wear down to Starbucks in the morning. And then a suit. I have this old Prada suit that doesn’t wrinkle and I wear it like a pair of jeans. Spring, summer, winter, fall, it’s always good. Wear it with a black button-down shirt and then pack a white button-down shirt, with a pair of Gucci loafers and baby, you are set for anything!”

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“In every bag I have my doTERRA On Guard. It’s an essential oil. It heightens your immune system. It’s what they call a ‘protective blend,’ you put some under your tongue or you put it on the palm of your hands, and rub it and it keeps you from getting sick. So it’s another way to stave off all the things you come in contact with when traveling.”

“I will always have an eyebrow pencil because most of the time I shave off my brows, so I can paint them on properly. But when I’m out of drag, I will have another pencil where I can emulate natural brows. I do it very well, too. No one would know they’re fake brows.”

“I like to use them if I want a quick disguise. Unless I laugh, then people know who I am.”

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“I always, always, always have a flashlight with me, and matches, always. That’s the Boy Scout in me. I’ll go downstairs to Walgreens or CVS and buy a candle and light a candle, because you know, there are bathtubs and I want to light a candle. Or just as a human on this planet, if you get stranded somewhere, you’re going to need some water and you’re going to need some matches. And a flashlight would be lovely.”

“My iPad is filled with books. Ivana Chubbuck, my acting coach, has a book called ‘The Power of the Actor,’ and I’m reading that right now. I love the iPad because I can have books and my Golden Girls episodes on there, and do my banking, and everything on it. But I’m also reading ‘Calypso’ by David Sedaris, which is really, really fabulous.”

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: RuPaul Relies on Versatile Clothes and Small Items.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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