RuPaul may have finally landed an Outstanding Reality TV Host Emmy nomination for his consistently stellar work on RuPaul's Drag Race, but as the legendary multi-hyphenate tells it, there's another honor that still manages to eclipse his landmark moment.
"You know, eight seasons in and we've got an Emmy nomination, but honestly, the truth is, the fact that we're still on the air is really the biggest award of all," he told E! News during a visit to the RPDR set, where he's hard at work on season nine. "In show business, the real holy grail is to have a job to come back to. Now, I understand that having an Emmy nomination or even getting an Emmy will help the show in the bigger picture, in how it's perceived by the industry. But honestly, I'm just happy to have a job to go to."
Drag Race has gained itself a cult following in its eight seasons on Logo, but, perhaps because of its home on a little-seen network or its subject matter, it's never managed to breakthrough to the mainstream. Could the two nominations this year (the show also scored a nod for Outstanding Costumes) be a sign that the show's begun reaching a wider audience? At the very least, Ru sees it as proof that the industry knows the show is here for the long haul. "I feel like the industry, who is the Academy, wanted to see if this was just a passing fad or if it was something that was substantial and had legs. I could've told them it has lots of legs, lots of legs. And a few wooden legs," he joked. "Honestly, I think it really has to do with your friends. You know, the truth is—I won Best Afro when I had hair in the ninth grade, and I won Best Dancer. And I did the best afro and I was the best dancer, but that's not what won me those awards. What won me those awards was that I had a lot of friends that were in the inner circle, and that's how it works. I don't want to burst anybody's bubble, but life is pretty much the same after junior high school."
While Ru may be in the midst of filming season nine, all eyes are on the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars, premiering tonight on Logo. The new season, which sees 10 fan-favorite queens returning for a second shot at glory, marks the first time the franchise has substantially shaken up its tried-and-true format. Rather than have the bottom two queens lip sync for their lives after each challenge, the top two will instead lip sync for their legacy, with the winner deciding which queen gets the boot that week. But don't expect the changes to inspire any shake-ups on the mothership.
"We considered making some of those changes for season nine of the regular show, but I think the format of lip syncing for your life works the best," Ru said. "That desperation, that last gasp, you know, that last hurrah makes for great, great television." If it ain't broke, don't fix it, hunty.
For more from RuPaul, including how the applicant pool has changed from season one, be sure to check out the video above.
RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars premieres Thursday, August 25 at 8 p.m. on Logo.