In early February, I was lucky enough to interview drag-pioneer and generally flawless dance diva RuPaul for an article that later appeared in the Sydney Star Observer (read it here). It was a pretty nerve-wracking experience at first. I grew up worshipping the towering Glamazon and had to ask some relatively hard-hitting questions about relationships and gay politics. Ru's palpable kindness put me at ease and the interview went off without a hitch but I just couldn't put down the phone without probing the world's most famous Toy Soldier about our mutual idol, La Toya Jackson. What follows is about 10 minutes of unadulterated Toy Talk that didn't make the final article. It turns out that the average homosexual doesn't live to explore the Pope of Pop's era-defining impact on popular culture. Who knew? Please note - the Bruce we both refer to is a mutual friend who runs the best website on the internet. I'd like to thank RuPaul again for being so gracious and, dare I say it, toytastic.
Mike: I believe that my favourite, La Toya Jackson, makes several appearances on this year's Drag Race? [Note: Australia is only up to Season 3]
RuPaul: [Laughs hysterically]
Mike: I'm obsessed with Toy!
RuPaul: Are you the guy from Pop Trash Addicts?
Mike: That's me. Yes.
RuPaul: Oh my God! Of course! Bruce turned me on to that years ago. Actually, last year I guess. Oh my God that is so funny. I had no idea!
Mike: Bruce is a great friend. I was in LA last year and spent quite a bit of time with Bruce. I adore that man. But yeah, he's also the La Toya whisperer.
RuPaul: [Laughs] Oh my God!
Mike: It's so funny, I've got all of my serious Ru questions and deep down I just want to have this La Toya conversation.
RuPaul: [Laughs hysterically] Well, on Season 3 La Toya makes two appearances.
Mike: Oh my God, that's amazing! How do you utilise the power of Toy on the show?
RuPaul: [Laughs] Well, I tell you we couldn't get enough of her! She's a fabulous judge and her critiques are priceless as you would expect and it's amazing. She was on the once and I think someone fell through and I said 'please can we just have La Toya on again?' She's the only person we've had as a judge twice. [Laughs].
Mike: She needs to be a permanent cast member!
RuPaul: [Laughs] I wish, I wish! I'm not supposed to tell you this... [says something off the record]... She told them that World Of Wonder and Ru are the only associations that she's kept from the Jack Gordon period of her life. I've been obsessed with her forever. She was on my Christmas Special in...
Mike: I remember that. It's genius. You both look so amazing.
Mike: That blonde wig! [Laughs]
RuPaul: Yes, yes! Oh my God! And then she was on my talk show years later and I think I did something else with her in there because I try to always do something with her because I think she's so brilliant. She's amazing.
Mike: Can I ask... is she in on the joke? I wonder with Toy sometimes - does she get it or...?
RuPaul: I think slightly, in a remote way. But she is the girl that you think she is.
Mike: Is she as sweet as she comes across? My read on her is that seems like a gorgeous person.
RuPaul: Oh absolutely! A lovely person. Absolutely. I gotta tell you, I rate kindness high at the top on my list of human virtues and she absolutely is. She absolutely is. And you know, Bruce used to read my blog and the reason I know him is that my friend Tom and I had a La Toya Jackson film festival once...
RuPaul: The two of us! And I blogged about it and Bruce wrote me and said 'wow, that's awesome - you're a fan too. I'm a fan!' and I could tell he was someone I wanted to know and we became friends and we've been friends ever since and now he works on my show.
Mike: Isn't that crazy? La Toya brings people together!
RuPaul: Yes, that's right! She's bringing families of friends together.
Mike: One of her many virtues.
Mike: Can I ask, as a Toy Soldier, why haven't you done a duet with La Toya? The world is crying out for a chest-to-chest!
RuPaul: You know what? You're absolutely right and I've thought about and tried to do it and you know what, we're gonna make that happen. I've always wanted that and we're gonna have to make that happen.
Mike: [Literally crying and shaking] That is the most amazing thing I've heard all year. I'm beside myself!
RuPaul: [Laughs] It's great. I would love it!
Mike: No offence but it's gotta be better than the Brigitte Nielsen duet. That was an amazingly hot mess but Toy could take it to the next level!
RuPaul: It was... oh my God, I could tell you stories. Oh my God. It was so messy in so many ways. In ways that you couldn't even imagine.
Mike: I think Brigitte's albums were hilarious but I can imagine she would be an interesting person to work with.
RuPaul: You're very kind [Laughs].
RuPaul: You know, I've tried to erase that period of my life out of my memory.
Mike: It must have been a trainwreck!
RuPaul: Oh my God. OH - MY - GOD. You don't know the half of it!
Mike: One day I hope you'll share that. Can I quickly ask - What are your favourite La Toya songs?
RuPaul: "Wicked Love", "He's My Brother" and probably "You Blew".
Mike: That's a great song. I love that semi-urban kind of period in the late '80s. I think that stuff is great.
RuPaul: I only wish her Stock Aitken Waterman stuff were better, you know.
Mike: Yeah. She got the dregs, didn't she?
RuPaul: Yeah she did and I love, love, love Stock Aitken Waterman and they gave her crap.
Mike: I never really understood that because I think that if they had given her good material during that time she could have actually worked. That was her chance to click and have a couple of hits.
RuPaul: Yes, definitely.
The conversation then turned to our mutual love of Sneaky Sound System - particularly this song, which Ru discovered on my blog.
While you wait for the grand dame of drag to arrive in Sydney for Mardi Gras, watch clip from his iconic Christmas Special. La Toya's triumphant acting as RuPaul's long-suffering yet extremely glamorous much-younger sister RuPauline will rock you in ways that only Toy can!