Michelle Visage

Michelle Visage (born Michelle Lynn Shupack; September 20, 1968)[1] is an American Radio DJ, singer, actress, media personality, television host and show girl.

Michelle Visage
Rupaul Dragcon 2018-223 (28203478058).jpg
Michelle Visage in 2018
Michelle Lynn Shupack

(1968-09-20) September 20, 1968 (age 51)
  • Radio DJ
  • Singer
  • Actress
  • Media personality
  • Television host
  • Show girl
Years active1988–present
Spouse(s)David Case (m. 1997)
Musical career
Associated acts

Originally gaining recognition as a member of the band Seduction, she earned five singles with the group that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 before reaching the top of the dance charts in 1993 as lead vocalist in The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.. She co-hosted The RuPaul Show from 1996 to 1998, alongside frequent collaborator RuPaul. After working as a radio DJ across the country from 1996 to 2011, she returned to television in 2011 on the American reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, where she has served as a permanent judge since the show's third season. She has also served as a judge on each season of its spin-off series, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars and RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

She served as a judge on the first two seasons of Ireland's Got Talent from 2018 to 2019[2][3], as a contestant on the fifteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother, and participated in series 17 of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK on the BBC.[4]

On stage, Visage made her West End debut in Everybody's Talking About Jamie in 2018.[5] Her first book, The Diva Rules, was published in 2015.

In 2019, she received her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Competition Program, after becoming a producer of Drag Race starting from its eleventh season.[6]

Early lifeEdit

Visage grew up in New Jersey, was adopted and was aware of this from an early age.[7][8] She attended South Plainfield High School in South Plainfield, New Jersey, graduating in 1986.[9] She then moved to New York and attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan for two years.[7] When Visage was 16 she won a Madonna look-alike competition.[10] Growing up, Visage looked up to Madonna, Belinda Carlisle, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper and Dale Bozzio. Visage's mother died when she was 30. Shortly after finishing her studies she stayed in New York City to pursue a career as an actress.[11]

In New York she was active in the club scene and her mother, Arlene, even gave her a fake ID so she could make connections to help further her career.[12] Visage became prominent in the New York ball scene and learned voguing from various people including Willi Ninja.[12] She also became involved with Cesar Valentino and the pair appeared voguing together on the television show The Latin Connection in 1988, which they said was the first time voguing had appeared on national TV.[13]

Michelle adopted her surname, Visage, after gaining the nickname "cara" ("face" in Spanish) from the people she spent time with in the New York ball scene. However, because people pronounced it incorrectly she decided to change it to "visage" ("face" in French), a name she has stuck with.[14] Visage also met her future friend and co-star RuPaul for the first time in the late 1980s, when she attended club nights and parties hosted by Susanne Bartsch.[15] In 1989, Visage performed at "The Love Ball", which was organised by Bartsch as a benefit for the Design Industries Foundation For AIDS. It is said that The Love Ball is where Madonna first witnessed voguing, the inspiration for her song "Vogue".[7][16][17] However, participating in New York night life was not Visage's sole occupation and during the day she worked as a receptionist at the shop Casablanca and Fundamental Things in the New York garment district.[12]


Music recording and music videosEdit

Visage auditioned and won a place for Seduction, an R&B and dance vocal trio assembled by Robert Clivilles and David Cole that signed with A&M Records in 1990.[11][18] The group had several hits, the most famous being "Two to Make It Right". After the group's breakup, Visage collaborated with the freestyle dance act TKA as a guest vocalist on the song "Crash (Have Some Fun)".[19] Visage provided lead vocals and was the recording artist of another dance act assembled by Clivilles and Cole, The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The song "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day", which was a cover version of the Bill Withers song "Lovely Day", was included on the soundtrack to The Bodyguard.[18] "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" became a No. 1 dance single and peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1993.[20]

Visage has also been featured on several of RuPaul's music albums, and appears in the music videos for "New York City Beat" [21] and "From Your Heart", which originally premiered on RuPaul's Green Screen Christmas Special (2015), and were later uploaded to World of Wonder's YouTube channel.[22] Visage has also made guest appearances in the videos for RuPaul's songs "Glamazon",[23] "Responsitrannity",[24] "The Beginning"[25] and "Nothing for Christmas".[26]

Radio and podcastsEdit

Visage was the co-host of The Jamz Session on Hot 92 Jamz (KHHT) in Los Angeles between 2002 and 2005.[27]

In 2005, Visage returned to New York City, where she served as co-host of The Morning Mix on WNEW-FM until December 2006. She also hosted on Sirius Satellite Radio's The Beat 66 from 2003 to 2006 [28] On March 12, 2007, she became a co-host of the morning show on SUNNY 104.3 in West Palm Beach, Florida.[29] On January 10, 2011, she joined 93.9 MIA in Miami as the host of the new MIA Morning Show.[7] She left Miami and MIA in December 2011, moving back to Los Angeles.[30]

Visage started co-hosting the weekly podcast RuPaul: What's the Tee? on April 9, 2014.[31] The pair interview celebrities and discuss many topics ranging from their personal lives to RuPaul's Drag Race.[32] The podcast won a 2018 Webby Award.[33]


Visage has worked with RuPaul on a variety of television shows throughout her career. In 1996, she became the co-host of RuPaul's VH1 talk show The RuPaul Show.[34] She also co-hosted WKTU's morning show with RuPaul from 1996 to 2002. And when Ru began casting judges for season one of RuPaul's Drag Race he invited Visage to become a permanent member of the show. At the time she was on a five-year contract with a CBS radio station in West Palm Beach and after asking her boss if she could join the show he said no, which Visage put down to the show's links with the LGBT community.[15][35]

Two years later Visage was contacted by RuPaul again and invited to appear on season three of the show. After her boss once again said she was not able to appear, she was persuaded by her friend Leah Remini to contact CBS officials who allowed her to join the show as a judge.[36] So on January 24, 2011, Visage debuted as a permanent judge, along with Santino Rice and Billy B, on season three of RuPaul's Drag Race, replacing Merle Ginsberg. She has also appeared on all four seasons of the spin-off show, RuPaul's Drag Race: All-Stars, and RuPaul's Drag Race UK, which began airing on BBC Three in 2019.[37]

On January 7, 2015, Visage became one of the contestants on the fifteenth series of the British reality series, Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5. On February 6, 2015, Visage left the house in fifth place.[38] Since leaving the house she has appeared on some episodes of Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side, a companion show that airs straight after Celebrity Big Brother.[39]

Visage has made several other TV appearances including hosting VH1's red carpet coverage of the 1998 Grammys and in 2002, Grease's 25th-anniversary re-release party.[40] On May 13, 2017, she and Ross Mathews were the commentators for Logo TV's coverage of the Live Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest.[41] And most recently she has appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of Ireland's Got Talent, the first of which began airing on TV3 in February 2018.[42][43]

On August 5, 2019, it was announced that Visage would be taking part in the seventeenth series of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK on the BBC.[44] On September 7, it was confirmed that she was partnered with Giovanni Pernice.

  • Green number indicates Michelle & Giovanni were at the top of the leaderboard.
  • Red number indicates Michelle & Giovanni were at the bottom of the leaderboard.


Visage performed in her West End debut as "Miss Hedge" in Everybody's Talking About Jamie between October 18, 2018 and January 26, 2019.[45]

Personal lifeEdit

In her early years, Visage suffered from an eating disorder which she says began when she was around 13 years old and continued into her adult life.[7][46] On Episode 214 of What's the Tee?, her podcast with Ru Paul, Visage says that as an adult, she has had sex with both men and women. "I've been with women; I've had sex with women," she says. "All of it. All of it. Hands, items...not food, no. I don't do the food thing. ... But I realized I never wanted to have a relationship...it was just sexual for me, 'cause women know what women want—so I understand it—but...or there'd be a man involved, but it was never...I never had a relationship, um, never been offered one, to be honest … so I've never been tempted to be solely that, but I think women are very sexy and sensual and beautiful, so I can still look at a woman and say, 'She's hot.'"

She now lives in California with her husband, David Case, and her two daughters, Lillie and Lola.[47] On November 10, 2015, she published her first book, The Diva Rules.[48] In late 2019, the book was released in Swedish through the rainbow company Tallbergs Förlag.[49]

In April 2019, Visage revealed she had Hashimoto's disease, which led to getting her trademark breast implants removed.[50]



Album Year Group Notes
Nothing Matters Without Love 1989 Seduction


Song Year Artist Album
"Seduction Theme" 1989 Seduction Nothing Matters Without Love
"(You're My One & Only) True Love" 1990
"Two To Make It Right"
"It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" 1992 The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The Bodyguard soundtrack

Guest appearancesEdit

Song Year Artist Album
"Crash (Have Some Fun)" 1991 TKA Single
"Hard Candy Christmas" 1997 RuPaul Ho, Ho, Ho
"With Bells On"
"Let the Music Play"[51] 2014 Born Naked
"Manila Radio (Interlude)"[52] Manila Luzon Eternal Queen
"New York City Beat"[53] 2015 RuPaul RuPaul Presents: CoverGurlz2
"L.A. Rhythm"[54] Realness
"L.A. Rhythm" (Remix)[54]
"From Your Heart" Slay Belles
"Category Is..." 2016 Butch Queen


Year Title Genre Role Notes
1989 Dance Party USA Television Herself
1990 Club MTV
1996–1998 The RuPaul Show
2002 Maybe It's Me Movie Tania
2011–present RuPaul's Drag Race Television Herself Judge (Season 3-)
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked
2012–present RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Judge
2013 That Sex Show
2013–2015 The Most Popular Girls in School Web Series Mrs. Zales
2015 Celebrity Big Brother Television Herself Housemate, 5th Place[38] (Series 15)
2017 Eurovision Song Contest Commentator for the United States
2018–2019 Ireland's Got Talent Herself Judge
2018 The X Factor Simon Cowell’s Judges houses guest
2018–2019 Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Theatre Miss Hedge West End debut
2019 The Only Way Is Essex Television Herself Cameo
Guest Grumps Web series Episode: "Playing Viva Pinata with Michelle Visage + Lillie"[55]
Strictly Come Dancing Television Contestant (Series 17)
2019–present RuPaul's Drag Race UK Judge
2020 How’s Your Head, Hun? Host
Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star Guest judge (Series 2, Episode 4)
Canada's Drag Race Guest judge

Awards and NominationsEdit

Awards and nominations for Michelle Visage
Year Award Show Category Work Result Notes
2015 The Icon Awards Straight Ally Award Herself Awarded [56]
2018 Webby Awards Best Host (Podcast) RuPaul: What's The Tee? Won as co-host[57]
2019 Critic's Choice Real TV Awards Female Star of the Year Herself Nominated [58]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Competition Program RuPaul's Drag Race Won as producer[59][60][61]
2020 Producers Guild of America Award Outstanding Producer of Game & Competition Television Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Competition Program Pending
BAFTA Award Best Reality and Constructed Factual RuPaul's Drag Race UK Nominated
British LGBT Awards Deutsche Bank – Celebrity Ally Herself Pending [62][63]


  1. ^ Bruce (2019-02-06). "Michelle Visage: Bio, Net Worth, Age, Height, Career, Husband David Case". Celeb Tattler. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2017-09-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Michelle Visage asks Ireland's Got Talent viewers to vote for talent not just acts from their area for season 2". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  4. ^ Debnath, Neela (2019-08-09). "Michelle Visage: Who is Strictly Come Dancing 2019 star Michelle Visage?". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
  5. ^ "Everybody's Talking About... Michelle Visage". Everybody's Talking About Jamie. 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  6. ^ "Michelle Visage". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Visage, Michelle (2015). The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top. Chronicle Books. pp. 22, 41, 89–91, 153, 191–193. ISBN 978-1452146850.
  8. ^ "5 Things We Learned from Michelle Visage's 'Vulture' Interview". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  9. ^ "Michelle Shupack, Class of 1986 – South Plainfield High School – Classmates". www.classmates.com. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  10. ^ "Michelle Visage Is Tough Because She Loves You". www.vulture.com. 2018. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  11. ^ a b "Bio". Michelle Visage (official site). Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c "'A Bitch I Have to Know': A Q&A With RuPaul's BFF Michelle Visage". Spin. 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  13. ^ "Cesar Valentino". Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  14. ^ "Michelle Visage Talks 'Diva Rules,' 'Drag Race,' and Friendship with RuPaul: 'I'm a Very Lucky Gal'". Yahoo. 10 Nov 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Michelle Visage on Meeting Mama Ru – "B*tch, I've Been Watching You for Years" – Her Fave "Drag Race" Lip Syncs & More". The WOW Report. 2018-03-09. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  16. ^ Hochswender, Woody (1989-05-12). "Vogueing Against AIDS: A Quest for 'Overness'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  17. ^ Nast, Condé. "The Historic, Mainstream Appropriation of Ballroom Culture". them. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  18. ^ a b Michelle Visage young: Strictly Come Dancing star looks completely different in old photos, Daily Express (5 August 2019)
  19. ^ "Discogs TKA". Discogs.
  20. ^ "Billboard Charts 1993".
  21. ^ "RuPaul and Michelle Visage New York City Beat Official Music Video". 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2016-11-04 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "RuPaul – "From Your Heart (feat. Michelle Visage)"". 2016-01-01. Retrieved 2016-11-04 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "RuPaul Glamazon music video (feat. Sharon Needles, Chad Michaels and Phi Phi O'Hara)". 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2016-11-04 – via YouTube.
  24. ^ "RuPaul Responsitrannity music video". 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2016-11-04 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "RuPaul's "The Beginning" music video (feat. Alaska, Jinkx Monsoon, Roxxxy Andrews)". 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2016-11-04 – via YouTube.
  26. ^ "RuPaul – "Nothing for Christmas" Official Music Video". 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2016-11-04 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ Williams, Bre; Articles, More; December 15, 2018 (2018-12-15). "Who is Michelle Visage From 'RuPaul's Drag Race' and What Is Her Net Worth?". The Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2019-04-08.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  28. ^ "Michelle Visage Radio Resume".
  29. ^ "Radio Industry News, New Music, Music Promotion, Radio Station Song Charts - AllAccess.com". All Access.
  30. ^ Nunn, Jerry. "Michelle Visage: Chicago is definitely represented with Phi Phi, The Princess, and DiDa". ChicagoPride.com. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  31. ^ "Michelle Visage – Interview". EQView.com. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  32. ^ "Episodes". RuPaul: What's The Tee?. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  33. ^ "RuPaul's "What's the Tee" podcast wins 2018 Webby Award". Metro Weekly. 2018-04-27. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  34. ^ "Who is Michelle Visage? Is she gay? RuPaul's Drag Race judge and longtime LGBT+ ally – PinkNews · PinkNews". www.pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  35. ^ "An Interview with the one and only Michelle Visage". Huffington Post.
  36. ^ "Leah Remini's Friend, TV's Michelle Visage, Says Scientologists Are "Scattering Like Roaches" | The Underground Bunker". tonyortega.org. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  37. ^ Earp, Catherine (5 February 2019). "RuPaul's Drag Race UK confirms Michelle Visage as judge". Digital Spy.
  38. ^ a b "Michelle Visage defeated by Katie Price in Celebrity Big Brother Final". Pink News.
  39. ^ "CBB: Michelle Visage and Bianca Del Rio throw shade". Gay Times. 2015-09-18. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  40. ^ Staff, The Daily Telegraph (2015-01-09). "Who is Michelle Visage? Meet the Celebrity Big Brother contestant". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  41. ^ "Eurovision returns to the United States". eurovision.tv.
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2017-09-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "Michelle Visage asks Ireland's Got Talent viewers to vote for talent not just acts from their area for season 2". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  44. ^ Debnath, Neela (2019-08-09). "Michelle Visage: Who is Strictly Come Dancing 2019 star Michelle Visage?". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
  45. ^ "Everybody's Talking About... Michelle Visage". Everybody's Talking About Jamie. 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  46. ^ "WISE WORDS: Michelle Visage On The Importance Of Loving Ourselves". HuffPost UK. 2015-11-06. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  47. ^ "Introducing Celebrity Big Brother Star Michelle Visage". Archived from the original on 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
  48. ^ Michelle Visage. "The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top by Michelle Visage — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  49. ^ "TallbergsFörlag on Instagram: "I senaste avsnittet av RuPauls Drag Race All Stars 4 så påminde Michelle Visage tittarna om att hon har en bok. Och nu vill vi på Tallbergs..."". Instagram.
  50. ^ Quinn, Dave (April 12, 2019). "Michelle Visage Says She Had Her Breast Implants Removed Due to Her Hashimoto's Disease". People. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  51. ^ "iTunes – Music – Born Naked by RuPaul". iTunes.
  52. ^ "iTunes – Music – Eternal Queen by Manila Luzon". iTunes.
  53. ^ "iTunes – Music – RuPaul Presents CoverGurlz2 by RuPaul". iTunes.
  54. ^ a b "iTunes – Music – Realness by RuPaul". iTunes.
  55. ^ Game Grumps (2019-07-24). "Playing Viva Pinata with Michelle Visage + Lillie". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-07-24.
  56. ^ ""Condragulations! Michelle Visage Receives Special Award at Glasgow's Icon Awards!"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  57. ^ ""RuPaul's "What's the Tee" podcast wins 2018 Webby Award"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  58. ^ Kimberly Nordyke. ""Critics' Choice Real TV Awards: 'Queer Eye' Leads Winners for Inaugural Show"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  59. ^ ""Michelle Visage - Awards - IMDB"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  60. ^ ""72nd Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  61. ^ ""Television | Reality & Constructed Factual in 2020"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  62. ^ {{cite web}url=https://www.britishlgbtawards.com/top-10-celebrity-allies-2020/%7Ctitle="Deutsche Bank – Top 10 Celebrity Allies 2020"|accessdate=July 30, 2020}}
  63. ^ ""British LGBT Awards 2020 nominations: full list of nominees including Sam Smith, Michelle Visage and Billy Porter"". Retrieved July 30, 2020.


  1. ^ In week 5 guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro replaced Tonioli

External linksEdit