Ts Madison says RuPaul personally fought for her to join RuPaul's Drag Race
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Trans trailblazer Ts Madison done had herses in the entertainment industry — and partly because of RuPaul, the media personality, actress, and producer revealed in a new interview with the LGBTQ&A podcast.
"RuPaul was like, 'I want her on my show, I want her in this space, I don't care whatever pushback that you think you want to give me, this is my show and I want her here,' and RuPaul got it," Madison said on Tuesday's episode of the interview series, citing the record-breaking Emmy winner's affection for her classic, viral Vines as one of the reasons Ru asked her to be a guest judge on two episodes of VH1's RuPaul's Drag Race season 13 earlier this year.
Madison went on to praise RuPaul for taking up "the responsibility of other queer people" to lift up members of the community.
"Whether they're passable queens or queens who've not had a sordid past, it is important when you occupy positions of power in places of power that you reach into your community and you give opportunities to the girls who they will not give those opportunities to, because sometimes you're missing out on a gem," Madison explained.
Madison said the experience on Drag Race was a refreshing one, given her "messy" past with booking jobs both in the entertainment industry and beyond thanks to closed-minded perspectives regarding her trans identity as well as her history as a sex worker.
"They'd call me into the HR office and tell me to stop wearing fitting dresses because I was confusing the men," she recalled. "I was like, 'I don't got nothing to do with those men being confused, bitch! I came here to come to work! I'm sitting behind a cubicle!'"
Following her breakout success as a popular staple on the defunct video network Vine, Madison forged a path through Hollywood as the first Black trans woman to lead her own reality series on the 2021 We TV show The Ts Madison Experience. In RuPaul's Drag Race season 11, in 2019, queen Silky Nutmeg Ganache impersonated her on the fan-favorite Snatch Game challenge.
Madison's remarks come after RuPaul made headlines in 2018 for his comments on trans contestants competing on Drag Race.
"Each morning I pray to set aside everything I THINK I know, so I may have an open mind and a new experience," the Drag Race host and producer — who, in September, became the most-decorated Black artist in Primetime Emmys history — tweeted days after The Guardian published a controversial interview with the LGBTQIA+ icon in which he discussed the possibility of casting trans women on the show. "I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers."
Drag Race has featured several trans contestants in its history, including notable cast members Peppermint and Stacy Layne Matthews. Recently, Drag Race invited its first-ever trans man, Gottmik, to fight for the crown on season 13, while All Stars 6 saw season 2 veteran Kylie Sonique Love become the American edition's first transgender winner (Drag Race Thailand season 2's Angele Anang became the franchise's first trans champion in 2019).
"The trans guys I saw [in media before this] weren't me. Too masculine, too straight… I looked around like, all of my guy friends are so feminine, that means I can be feminine, too! When I realized that, it was game over," Gottmik previously told EW of joining the show. "I'm so excited and in such a good place and I'm ready to fight for my community and represent them down. The main thing I want to make so clear is that the gender spectrum is really crazy, and I feel like me doing feminine drag is confusing to a lot of people. I want to show everyone that no matter what you transition to, boy or girl, there's a whole gender spectrum in between that you can play with and have fun with, and it doesn't mean that your identity is any less valid."
Listen to Madison's full interview on the LGBTQ&A podcast above.
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including our new season diving into all five All Stars seasons, featuring exclusive interviews with Jujubee, Alexis Mateo, Shea Couleé, Alaska, Detox, BenDeLaCreme, Kennedy Davenport, and more. And be sure to catch up on our BINGE recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race seasons 1-13 with Symone, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more!