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Lettin It All Hang Out

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  457 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
The world's best-known drag performer tells of his rise from poverty to superstardom and offers beauty tips, positive thinking tools, and his unique sense of humor in a first book filled with photographs. Tour.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Hyperion (first published 1995)
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Everybody say Love!

I seriously love RuPaul. Ru is a stunningly beautiful woman with the best pair of gams since Betty Grable. In this engaging chatty and glamorous (this book is overflowing with glamour thanks to an abundance of photos) autobiography he shares his path to fame and superstardom! Despite a few bumps, like working for Michael Alig and that VMA debacle Ru stays true to Ru and becomes the shiniest campiest diva since Liberace. How delightful it all is!

I must admit for years it has
Rachael Martin
Jan 20, 2013 Rachael Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is exactly what you think it is. It's not deep literature. It's not a psychological study. It is simply the story of a man who looks stunning in a dress.

RuPaul discusses his early years, working in the drag scene. He struggles emotionally and financially. Talks about his family. Talks about the success of his drag.

I was hoping there would be an in-depth explanation about all the secrets of the beauty of drag, but I suppose those secrets are the key to his success.

An easy read. No more
Mar 25, 2012 Molly rated it liked it
I love Ru. I didn't think this was the best writing I've ever read, and I always like more salaciousness in my memoirs, but who cares- he's so great. For a man who makes a living wearing what some could consider to be a costume, he manages to be anything but fake.
Mar 21, 2016 Renata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off: I get why this is out of print and hard to come by. It's a little less polished than Ru likes to come off today, and there are some bits that haven't necessarily aged well, in terms of language? But whatever, I'm not here to tone police RuPaul, I'm just here to adore.

It's fascinating how much of RuPaul's TV persona/catchphrases/etc are here fully formed 20+ years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Mar 28, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it
I loved reading about Rupaul came to fame. I loved how honest and down to earth he is about his childhood. I would have loved if there was more about his romantic life as I felt he avoided it until the very last page.

The book was written in 95, I would love to read something recent although from watching his reality show he hasn't changed.
Bekki Mills
Feb 05, 2008 Bekki Mills rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I thought this book would be just a fun read, but Who has a better outlook on life than RuPaul?! Just love him!
Also, neat pics of him inside, including as a kid with a fro that takes two pages:)
Jan 23, 2011 Cedarlakeinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book. Fascinating individual.
Brandon Gaukel
Oct 16, 2014 Brandon Gaukel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This I read when I was in Hawaii a couple of years ago. Never has a book been so funny and inspiring at the same time. Ru really does have the best message behind his story and that is love.
i love rupaul. i loved this book.
Nov 13, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate learning more about Mama Ru!
Jul 20, 2010 Brittomart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I just have one thing to say: You better work.
I love Rupaul.
Jun 26, 2013 flannery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#1 book. Believe.

"In this book I'm going to show you that I am just like everybody else. I hope when you are done reading this book, you'll put it down and say 'Oh my god! I've just read my own life story.' That's what I mean by letting it all hang out."

"One of the questions I am so often asked is, 'What do I call you? He or she?' And I say 'You can call me he, you can call me she, you can call me Regis and Kathie Lee, just so long as you call me.'"

"My immediate family, who were my role models
Olivier Barrette
If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else! Can I get an Amen up in here!

This book is a real wonder. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the world of drag and who is an advocate for self-love!
Andrew Marshall
Rupaul's story from childhood poverty, parents divorce, smoking dope at ten, living on the streets and clawing his way up to international pop stardom. Sadly, as it was written in the nineties, it does not cover his reinvention as a reality TV host. I'd enjoyed the book enough when it came out to keep it on my bookcase (rather than pass it onto someone else) and because I felt it contained some wisdom that might come in handy (although today I didn't remember what it might have been).

Feb 26, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
All of a sudden I am obsessed with RuPaul. I suppose it started when I was twelve and saw him on the MTV Video Music Awards and first learned what a drag queen was. I still remember feeling starstruck and thinking, "WHO is that gorgeous giant woman!?" I guess that feeling has been dormant until now. It all began when I was recently home with a cold and started watching RuPaul's Drag Race. I was hooked and binge watched six seasons (currently getting through All Stars and waiting for season seven ...more
May 14, 2016 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summary: RuPaul is gorgeous, sexy, and glamorous. In his witty autobiography, RuPaul goes behind the paint, powder, and pumps to tell how he overcame setbacks to find success as a celebrity and human. Throughout the book are warm anecdotes of his remarkable rise to stardom, his relationships with celebrities, and his secrets for creating sex appeal. Photos and lists of his favorites are included.

Pros: Really enjoyed this quick read of RuPaul's life. So inspirational and fun yet heart breaking a
Clay Bryce
Very entertaining memoir about the rags to riches story of RuPaul, drag queen extraordinaire, super model of the world. Filled with mucho photos and the occasional gossipy tidbit about a handful of celebrities, however, one does get the feeling that, twenty or so years ago, when the book was written, Ru was holding back. Maybe not a lot, but, one definitely gets the feeling that Ru had plenty more to say about certain incidents described here that are lightly touched on. Perhaps one day soon, he ...more
Amy Adams
Apr 13, 2013 Amy Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a RuPaul fan since I first saw her on television. I just thought she was a magical creature, and, as it turns out, she pretty much is! This book was definitely written in the mid-90s, but it's all Ru! The end gets a little bit preachy, but overall it's a great message from someone who could have turned out really messed up but who, instead, has an amazingly positive outlook on life, is a real go-getter, is truly uplifting, and is the glamazon supermodel of the world. Everybody say, "Lo ...more
Aug 06, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013, aoc
This was about you'd expect. There's a lot more to it than there is to Workin' It!, and I learned a lot about RuPaul's career than I didn't know. Because it's RuPaul, there's a lot of advice about the value of self-affirmation. There isn't, however, much about his personal relationships, besides those he had/has with his parents. He barely mentions any romance at all, so it does seem a little more superficial than it could have been.
Jun 18, 2013 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without getting too personal, my life has been in flux for some time. Reading RuPaul's book helped me put some aspects in perspective. Seriously. It's not a self-help book but he has good common sense advice for those lacking in that precious gene.

This was a welcome and fun read. There are some serious parts because his life hasn't always been fun but he sees the lessons in everything and applies what he's learned to having a joyful, healthy good time.
Lorra Fae
Jun 03, 2015 Lorra Fae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I ordered this on Abebooks (at a pretty low price, considering how expensive it tends to be these days!) and I am so happy I did. This book was a very fun read, great anecdotes about clubbing in the 80s and 90s, and of course, really cool to see how Rupaul made it all happen for himself.

This book was surprisingly inspiring - a couple of real gems that made me glow with happiness. Worth a read - it's so fun! If you can find a copy....
Rebecca Dull
Nov 29, 2016 Rebecca Dull rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book for fluffy airplane reading during a recent trip. I loved it! RuPaul's story is so inspiring. I never thought I'd have so much in common with a drag queen but the way he talks about never really fitting in and his struggle to love himself really hit home.

The ending got a little self help, preachy but thinking of the time it was written and the target audience, I can see how that makes sense.

Great, easy, quick read. I'd recommend!
Mar 15, 2013 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
The tone is so personal you feel like a voyeur. But very warm and positive in addition to being frank.
It also feels very young compared to the Ru you see on TV in Drag Race who rarely reveals personal things and is all refined-persona-on-display. It's got that "I'm in my mid 30s now and I have so much more figured out than I did in my 20s vibe.
If you're a (big) RuPaul fan, you'll probably enjoy learning about his childhood/young adulthood. It's interesting to see how he went about crafting his persona. The writing quality is not fantastic -- I bet if he wrote another one now he'd probably hire a much better ghost writer ;)
Krista Nepenthe
Sep 03, 2015 Krista Nepenthe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Ru-Paul is a wonderful human. This bit of honesty was insightful, encouraging, and FUN. we are let in on some industry bits, a success story, humility and pride. Recommended pleasure reading.
Kyla Li
Jan 16, 2014 Kyla Li rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, drag
This book let me pretend that I was hanging out with Ru, maybe drinking some coffee, conducting the world's most laid-back interview. I wish that had really happened, of course, but this book is the next best thing. LOVE HER.
April (The Steadfast Reader)
See full review here:

Fabulous. Conveys a positive image while looking into the life of a Superstar. Bravo, RuPaul.
Jason Coffman
Very interesting to read about RuPaul's upbringing and history leading up to her breakout success in the 90s, but it's pretty glossy when it comes to Ru's personal life and it feels dated. An updated edition could probably fix these minor complaints, though!
Phil Devereux
Feb 08, 2012 Phil Devereux rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous look at Ru's early life. I particularly relished the insight into his early adventures with a young Lady Bunny and others, tearing up the streets of Atlanta and Manhattan in the 80s. Also, the various lists of RuPaul's Favourite Things are a great look back at the early 90s camp zeitgeist.
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RuPaul (born RuPaul Andre Charles) is an American drag performer, dance music singer, actor, and songwriter who gained fame in the 1990s; appearing in a wide variety of television programs, films, and musical albums. Though a catty attitude is often associated with drag queens, RuPaul intentionally displayed a "love one another" attitude to be set apart from them. Although primarily known for an e ...more
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“We're born naked, and the rest is drag.” 74 likes
“You want to know the truth about drugs? You can only go one or two ways. You can go up, or you can go down. That's it. After a certain point, though, no matter what you do, what you take, you don't go anywhere, and that's when you've got to sit down and face yourself.” 18 likes
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