Apr 15, 2016 03:38 AM EDT

RuPaul’s Drag Career: From A Small Time Musician To A Hollywood Icon

By Jane Reed

"You know, I started out in this business in rock and roll bands and stumbled into drag. Drag just happened to be my vehicle for my creativity. So you know, it's afforded me the opportunity to create new shows, to make music," says RuPaul Andre Charles. Beneath his entertainment wardrobe and drag wig, his work-life wasn't always easy at first.

His persona was not widely accepted way back then and RuPaul found comfort in his tribe. He said he found sanctuary with them. "And that's how we stay entertained and that's how we stay engaged in what would otherwise seem to be a really cruel world. A really harsh world," said RuPaul, who goes by both "he" and "she."

That's his secret to his success - his tribe. He would not be the successful icon he is today if it weren't for his quirky group of people he found years ago. CNBC noted that RuPaul once thought the world was so cruel and mean. But he remains positive by not being bitter.

The first significant time when RuPaul dressed in drag was 1982. Later on, he starred in the reality TV show titled "RuPaul's Drag Race," which airs on Viacom's cable channel. Through his career, he had many mentors to guide him. One of which was his brother-in-law who taught him about business.

RuPaul wanted to tell everyone, the kids especially, that they are not alone and that their dreams are not silly. He was always a star but what he didn't count on was becoming an inspiration to other people. Drag Queens are now popular entertainers in the industry and he has paved the way for them. Now, everyone gets to meet everyone else - the tribe that successfully launched the careers of 100 more drag queens. "You know, my career really took off and really started to blossom when I got to meet my tribe," RuPaul said.

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