From international drag superstar and pop culture icon RuPaul, comes his most revealing and personal work to date—a brutally honest, surprisingly poignant, and deeply intimate memoir of growing up Black, poor, and queer in a broken home to discovering the power of performance, found family, and self-acceptance. A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag.
Central to RuPaul’s success has been his chameleonic adaptability. From drag icon to powerhouse producer of one of the world’s largest television franchises, RuPaul’s ever-shifting nature has always been part of his brand as both supermodel and supermogul. Yet that adaptability has made him enigmatic to the public. In this memoir, his most intimate and detailed book yet, RuPaul makes himself truly known.
In The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul strips away all artifice and recounts the story of his life with breathtaking clarity and tenderness, bringing his signature wisdom and wit to his own biography. From his early years growing up as a queer Black kid in San Diego navigating complex relationships with his absent father and temperamental mother, to forging an identity in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York, to finding enduring love with his husband Georges LeBar and self-acceptance in sobriety, RuPaul excavates his own biography life-story, uncovering new truths and insights in his personal history.
Here in RuPaul’s singular and extraordinary story is a manual for living—a personal philosophy that testifies to the value of chosen family, the importance of harnessing what makes you different, and the transformational power of facing yourself fearlessly.
A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag. “I've always loved to view the world with analytical eyes, examining what lies beneath the surface. Here, the focus is on my own life—as RuPaul Andre Charles,” says RuPaul.
If we’re all born naked and the rest is drag, then this is RuPaul totally out of drag. This is RuPaul stripped bare.
About the Author
RuPaul Charles is a Tony Award® -winner and the 12-time Primetime Emmy Award® -winning executive producer of one of the world’s largest television franchises, RuPaul’s Drag Race. He holds the Guinness World Records title for most Emmy wins for Outstanding Host of Reality/Competition Program, and most Emmy awards of any Black artist in history.
A San Diego native, RuPaul became a popular fixture on the New York City nightclub scene and achieved international fame with the song "Supermodel (You Better Work)" from his 1993 debut album. He has written and recorded 18 studio albums to date.
RuPaul gained notoriety as a captivating and influential figure known for breaking down barriers and promoting self-expression and acceptance. In 1995, he became the first face of MAC Cosmetics, raising millions for the MAC AIDS Fund and becoming the first man to land a major cosmetics campaign. The next year, he landed a TV talk show on VH1. In 2017, RuPaul was named one of the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people.
RuPaul has appeared in over 50 films and television shows both in and out of drag. As an author, he has published three books: GuRu (Harper Collins, 2018), Workin' It! RuPaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style (Harper Collins, 2010), and Lettin' It All Hang Out (Hyperion Books, 1995).
"RuPaul writes with a maturity that readers can sense he earned early in life and a memory that brings alive moments both outrageous and transcendent. Touching also on belonging, love, and sobriety, this vibrant and multifaceted celebrity memoir will have readers rapt." — Booklist (starred review)
"A probing, emotionally raw memoir that’s an introspective examination of RuPaul’s family and the issues he confronted before embracing self-love." — Library Journal (starred review)
“[In The House of Hidden Meanings] RuPaul excavates his childhood, early romances, and rise to fame in this unvarnished personal history…intimate, almost conspiratorial, readers eager for a peek behind RuPaul’s glamorous persona will get just what they came for.” — Publishers Weekly
“RuPaul is a beautiful soul, and never has that beauty been more on display than in the pages of The House of Hidden Meanings. This memoir contains all the nuances of RuPaul’s story previously unknown, filled with universal and necessary truths everyone should embrace about identity and acceptance.” — Jane Fonda, Academy Award winning actress
"RuPaul will live forever. Like Cleopatra. Like Shakespeare. Not only as a creator but as a teacher and great source of inspiration. His memoir is deeply felt and beautifully written." — Isaac Mizrahi, producer & fashion icon
"More invaluable wisdom from my favorite GuRu." — Thandiwe Newton, Emmy & BAFTA award winning actress
“RuPaul’s memoir is brilliant, bold, beautiful, and brave. This book has balls." — Michael Patrick King, writer/director Sex and the City and ...And Just Like That
"RuPaul has poured his soul into his biography. And it’s a beautiful one." — Lee Daniels, director
"There are few people in history who can invent themselves and, through sheer love and determination, can transcend that invention. Bowie was one of those people and so is RuPaul. His taste is impeccable, and his soul is a shining thing. This book crisscrosses the United States like a cross-dressing On The Road. Pathos, wisdom and humor collide to enlighten the reader—it sounds like a cliché, but I just could not put it down." — Daphne Guinness, fashion designer, actress, and musician