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10/30/2016 10:22 am ET

Why RuPaul Was A Cultural Icon Long Before 'Drag Race'

RuPauls Drag Race is well-known for its combination of hilarious challenges, sickening runway looks and emotive biographies; a lesser-known fact, however, is that the show’s blueprint can be traced back to The RuPaul Show, a variety show which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The cult classic debuted in 1996 on VH1 and ran for a total of 100 episodes. In retrospect, the show was an early indicator of the potency of Ru’s star power – an impressive high-profile guest list includes the likes of Diana Ross, Cher and Lil’ Kim, all of whom made appearances to discuss life, female empowerment and, of course, fashion.

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