Back when supermodels really did rule the world, RuPaul sashayed down his own rarefied runway: He went from New York nightlife celebrity to something beyond a drag queen lip-syncing other people’s songs for his life when he released his debut album, Supermodel of the World, 25 years ago on June 8, 1993.
This was not an androgynous, sexually ambiguous artist like David Bowie, Boy George or Prince. This was an out gay man who looked like a glamazon but sounded like a baritone. Sixteen years before he shifted the culture with his reality-show competition RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ru was taking himself seriously as a dance-pop artist.
But while the idea of a drag queen taking on the music world may have been novel, Supermodel was no novelty. In fact, the album held its own with other LPs of the era -- from Black Box’s Dreamland and C&C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat to CeCe Peniston’s Finally and Crystal Waters’ Surprise -- that were finding house music a home outside of the clubs.