Drag queen and TV presenter RuPaul Charles won his first Emmy at the 2016 Creative Arts awards.
In July, the RuPaul’s Drag Race host received his first-ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program, and on Sunday, he won that award, beating American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, Dancing With the Stars’ Tom Bergeron, Hollywood Game Night’s Jane Lynch, Little Big Shots’ Steve Harvey and Project Runway’s Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.
His show sees competing drag queens take on challenges involving acting, crafting drag couture, ‘reading’ each other, and lip-syncing for their lives.
“I admire all of those people,” RuPaul said. “I’ve been in this business for almost 35 years and I know what it’s like to get to the point where all of these nominees are and it’s not easy.”
For RuPaul, the win means more than just a trophy for his cabinet.
“I think about all the kids who watch this show all over the world, who finally have an emotional navigation system,” he shared. “This show, and the hundreds of girls who have come through our show, have told their stories so graciously and have really helped young people around the world navigate their lives and I think I’m the most proud of that.”
On a serious note, RuPaul recognized that a win for Drag Race is significant in a year filled with social and political turmoil, from debates over bathroom bills to the tragic June 12 shooting at Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse.
“It’s really about the girls, all the 100 girls who have come through on this show who are so brilliant. I accept this for them,” he declared. “The significance [of this award] is we hear the stories of 100 queens — actually now 112 queens [counting the 12 contestants who will appear on the show’s upcoming ninth season] — who get to tell their unique stories of survival. It’s so important for all the young people around the world who get to see this show to hear that there is a way for you to navigate this life. This show is like a map — it’s like an emotional map to navigate the life of people who dance to the beat of a different drummer.”