“In this MasterClass, I’m going to teach you to be your most powerful self. Trust me, this is what you were born to do.”
RuPaul is one of the most iconic drag queens of the 21st century. And Ru’s Drag Race has inspired millions of people all over the world.
But exactly how good is the RuPaul MasterClass on self expression and authenticity?
Will you end up finding your true self and living life unapologetically? Or will you just be left looking for a refund?
What will you actually learn, is the RuPaul MasterClass really worth the money, and above all — is it right for you?
This balanced RuPaul MasterClass review is here to help you decide for yourself.
But first, the highlights:
Learn how to:
- Find your true self and express it confidently
- Be mindful of how past hurts influence present actions and identity
- Attract people on your wavelength
- Overcome setbacks and let go of what’s not working
- Nurture and reassure your inner child
- Break free of bullies
- Use meditation, breathing and visualization to manage anxiety
- See failures as opportunities to improve
- Understand your proportions so you can correct your silhouette
- Identify clothing that emphasizes your best points
- Refine your makeup
- Unique opportunity to learn directly from RuPaul
- Lots of universally applicable advice
- Inspiring guest appearances
- Genuine and passionate delivery
- Upbeat and positive feel
- A fairly short class
- Some aspects geared more towards drag culture
- Lacks ‘How To’ advice in some areas
Course length: The course consists of 16 lessons divided into four sections. The run time is 2 hours (or 1hr 59m to be precise)
Best for: Gay men, RuPaul devotees and women will gain hugely from this class. That said, anyone who is struggling with confidence issues or just looking to reboot their lives will find a wealth of universally applicable tips and advice. Ru’s been there. And he’s got a lot to share about being your happiest authentic self, even in the face of adversity.
Overall: An uplifting and motivating MasterClass with a wealth of takeaways. Ru will push you to discover your authentic self and share it with confidence!
Here’s what’s in store in this Ru Paul MasterClass review:
- A look inside the RuPaul MasterClass
- Pros and cons of the course
- Is the content unique?
- Is there anything better?
- Verdict: Is the RuPaul MasterClass worth it?
First the basics:
“You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Cathy Lee. I don’t care. Just so long as you call me!”
RuPaul Andre Charles experienced early success as a model, singer/songwriter, actress and TV personality.
But it was his show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, that elevated him to legendary status in 2009.
Since then, Drag Race has become the most awarded reality competition show in Television Academy history. Clocking up 19 Emmys – six of those in 2020 alone – with a total of eight for outstanding host (making RuPaul the person with the most wins in that category).
He is also the first drag queen to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – which Jane Fonda said should have been three times bigger than anyone else’s!
And he’s made Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.
For all that, his journey to self realization has not been easy. He’s had more than his fair share of challenge and prejudice to deal with on the way.
In his MasterClass Ru shares his personal life story and uses his experience to help you learn (and love) who you really are, and live life to the full.
And if you haven’t seen the trailer, I recommend you check it out here:
“Online lessons from the world’s best”
MaterClass is an online learning platform. Launched in 2015, its key aim was to give everyone access to genius.
Unlike other online courses, MasterClass is headlined by those receiving global recognition in their fields of expertise.
Classes consist of recorded video lessons, a companion workbook and online access to a community of fellow learners so you can share thoughts and feedback together.
The production values of every MasterClass are outstanding. Making every class an immersive, compelling experience.
Even the trailers are captivating. Look at the comments below them – many say they are the only ads they ever watch to the end!
With more than 150 classes from instructors such as Gordon Ramsay, Tan France, Brandon McMillan, and Bobbi Brown. MasterClass provides a unique opportunity to learn from the highest achievers in their fields.
That being said, MasterClass definitely isn’t for everyone.
So in this RuPaul MasterClass review, I hope to highlight both what I loved and learned, as well as what I thought needed improvement. The aim is to help you decide whether this is the right course for you.
Inside the RuPaul MasterClass
The RuPaul MasterClass consists of 16 lessons varying between 5 and 12 minutes long.
It’s a fairly short class,clocking in at one minute short of two hours.
Alongside the video classes, you’ll get:
- A 42 page PDF work booking with extra reading and assignments
- Access to the online learning community where you can share your learning experience with others
The course is broken down into 4 key sections as follows:
- Meet Your Instructor
- Unleashing Your Inner Confidence
- Becoming Your Own Lighthouse
- Making Your Drag
To give you an idea of what’s included I’ve summarized key takeaways from each lesson below:
Section 1/4: Meet Your Instructor
Against a dramatic backdrop of stills and footage of some of RuPaul’s most quintessential moments, RuPaul lays down what he wants you to gain from his MasterClass.
Which is how to:
- Unlock your confidence
- Discover your powerful self
- Embrace and nurture it
- And have fun with lips, make up and chiffon along the way
As Ru says, we are all born naked. Whatever we add to our bodies is a construct. And all of us, whatever our sexual or gender orientation, ‘add stuff’ to our bodies.
So we are all architects of how others see us.
In that sense, even the everyday person is in drag. Just not as obviously.
This is a great way to make the class feel relevant to a broader audience. And it left me eager to hear what else he had to offer.
Section 2/4: Unleashing Your Inner Confidence
Finding Your Frequency
“When your own frequency shines through, people with like-minded energy sources will just naturally gravitate to you.”
This lesson is about finding your own natural energy source, or as Ru puts it, your frequency.
If you do this, claims Ru, you will act as a beacon for like minded others. Then instead of trying to make other people like you, you can be at ease with yourself and effortlessly attract people on your wavelength.
In this session, Ru explains what he means by the concept of finding your frequency.
And he shares tips to help you tune into yours. These include:
- Stillness and meditation
- Remaining open to possibilities
- Moving past barriers
- Discarding what doesn’t work for you
There’s a lot of insightful advice in this lesson which will have you thinking deep into the night.
But there is a shortage of practical guidance. For example, Ru advocates you spend time reflecting and meditating. But he doesn’t demonstrate or explain any of the techniques he uses.
And whilst I can accept the idea of a personal energy or ‘frequency’. I’m not sure it was explained fully enough for me to grasp it.
The workbook provides a very short guide to meditation and suggests apps you can use to help… but it would have been helpful to see how Ru himself does it.
We are all products of our history.
Here, Ru encourages you to see your past as a source of wisdom, no matter how traumatic.
He opens up about the scars resulting from his own turbulent childhood. And how they once dominated his actions and self image.
Based on his own lived experience, Ru offers words of wisdom to help you:
- Be mindful of how childhood memories influence present actions and identity
- Nurture and reassure your inner child
- Understand your value for yourself, not your value for someone else
- Move forward and build an identity not rooted in a painful legacy
I found this lesson very poignant and moving and certainly relevant to anyone with painful or shameful memories.
And let’s face it, that’s probably most of us.
Navigating the World Around You
It’s a sad fact, but jealousy and bullying is everywhere. And in his life, Ru has certainly encountered it.
In this lesson, he helps you see bullies for what they are and break free – both of them, and the self doubt they engender.
This is a lesson and a life skill that we all can benefit from.
Owning the Room
“You are a life force. An energetic phenomenon, Your soul is made of stars. Stars shine.”
No one can deny that this is a subject RuPaul knows about!
Here, Ru reveals his secrets for projecting confidence and teaches you to:
- Channel your personal energy
- Use meditation and breathing to manage anxiety
- Deploy visualization to imagine an audience that loves you
- Overcome your fear of being in the spotlight
And these techniques aren’t just for the stage or the runway. The aim is for you to feel comfortable and confident about making a great impression in any situation.
I understood fully the idea of using visualization in the way Ru describes. But without more practical guidance on exactly how to meditate to channel my ‘frequency’ I was left a little unsure about how to do this.
There is No Such Thing as Failure
”Many of the worst things that happened to me were gifts. Because they taught me what worked for me.”
Ru relates times in his life when he’s hit rock bottom. And how he came to realize these occasions can, “give you the energy and gumption to fight for your position”.
This lesson is about reimagining failure and seeing it as:
- Mismanaged expectations
- An opportunity to improve
- Critical to success
And he encourages you to neither avoid, nor fear, failure. The message is that you need to stay in the game and be true to your heart to sustain yourself.
What I liked about this lesson is that you get a fascinating insight into Ru’s struggle for self expression. It helps you believe that anything is possible.
The lesson ends with Ru advising you to wear your identity like a loose garment and be open to change – “To die to your old self, and be reborn to your higher self.”
Proportion and Presentation and the Big Reveal
The tips in this lesson are really practical and anyone can benefit from them.
It’s about playing to your strengths and using your proportions to their best advantage.
You’ll learn how to:
- Work with what people expect, and use that to get what you want
- Understand your proportions so you can correct your silhouette
- Orchestrate what you want the viewer to see
- Position your body to emphasize your best side
What Ru has to say on this topic is definitely applicable to everyone. Not just drag queens and performers.
This section ends with a review of all that’s been covered so far and a plea from Ru that you find your inner truth, make your move and give the gift of you to the world.
“It’s time, We’ve been waiting for you.”
Section 3/4: Becoming Your Own Lighthouse
Cultural Lighthouses for the Soul
The focus here is on helping you to find icons who represent your secret self – the part of you that dances around in the mirror.
They can help you find a hidden aspect of your own personality, or exemplify what you want to achieve.
He helps you realize copying is OK, since your interpretation will be unique.
In an emotional reveal, Ru shares his heros and heroines with us. And they’re a pretty surprising crew!
Cultivating Your Tribe
“A civilization cannot work if everyone is a solo agent.”
Here, Ru helps you identify people that will mentor and inspire you and elevate your life.
For Ru, finding a ‘tribe’ that shares your vision is absolutely crucial.
He relates turning points in his life and introduces you to his own inner circle and key influences.
Weirdly, one of the most important of these for Ru was the Monty Python Crew. Their irreverent attitude to everything and anything helped inform his own sensibilities.
Through that, he was able to identify and attract others on that wavelength and boost his creative output.
His wish is for you to do the same, and also to pay it forward to others.
This lesson really does leave you musing on who has helped you evolve in your life – and motivated to find others who might continue to do so.
A Conversation with RuPaul and Zaldy
The section closes with a conversation between Ru and his costume designer of almost 30 years, Zoldy Goco.
He breaks down how he:
- Constructs the gowns that make RuPaul
- Enhances and balances Ru’s best features
- Uses various effects to create optical illusions
- Achieves maximum impact on the runway
This is where I started to think – this MasterClass is moving into ‘drag queen only’ territory. But no.
Ru invites Zoldy to explain how these techniques can be scaled down to achieve an impact more suited to casual, everyday situations. And half of this lesson is spent doing just that.
So a big takeaway here is that you can use Zoldy’s tricks for costume construction to find clothing that directs the eye of the viewer in a way that makes you look dynamite.
Section 4/4: Making Your Drag
The final bonus section of this MasterClass is, to be fair, more geared towards drag.
In it Ru’s make up artist, Raven, teaches five lessons to achieve the perfect drag look.
There are tips here that will help to refine your everyday makeup.
But not many straight men wear makeup – and not many women wear quite that much – or need to go through quite as much prep before applying foundation.
Raven transforms himself and shows you every trick in the book for:
- Preparing the face and skin
- Matching, applying and blending foundation
- Understanding the planes of your face
- Use contour, colour and highlight to create illusions
- Painting and creating a dramatic eye
- Creating a balanced, well defined, full lip
- Transforming yourself using wigs
Throughout the process, Ru and Raven chat together and explain every technique, why it’s used and how it works.
On screen graphics and close ups are super helpful for the learning process.
This lesson is also useful to demonstrate what can be achieved through collaboration, as both men continually emphasize how much they’ve grown and learned through their partnership.
As he bids you farewell, Ru reminds you to allow yourself to make mistakes and be kind to yourself
What I Liked About RuPaul’s MasterClass
Unique opportunity to learn from one of the world’s most influential people
RuPaul is a man who has experienced trauma, addiction and prejudice. Yet he’s found a way to be true to himself and life to the full, unapologetically.
And he’s gone on to achieve international renown and multiple awards for doing just that.
Through his Emmy award winning show he’s ushered a subculture into the spotlight and paved the way for others to be truly themselves too.
In that respect, he is definitely a good choice to lead a MasterClass on self expression and authenticity.
Genuine and passionate delivery
Ru draws frankly and honestly on his own life experience to frame this class.
It felt 100% genuine to me, and I teared up on a number of occasions. More importantly, it meant I thought a lot more deeply and introspectively about what Ru was saying.
And it also meant that I continued to muse on Ru’s lessons, long after the MasterClass was over.
Lots of universally applicable advice
Ru was careful in each lesson to emphasize the relevance of his guidance to everyone. Not just gay men or drag queens.
This was well framed at the beginning with his explanation of how he sees drag as just a more obvious form of what we all do – add to our appearance when we get out of the shower.
And it was explicitly emphasized throughout. Particularly in the sessions with Zaldy and Raven.
Inspiring guest appearances
There’s a three for the price of one theme to this MasterClass.
Not only do you get words of wisdom from Ru but from fashion designer Zaldy Goco, and drag queen and makeup artist David Petruschin (aka Raven).
Zaldy talks you through how garment construction can be used to alter your silhouette and Raven walks you through make up tips for enhancing beauty.
Super helpful key takeaways and screen graphics
This MasterClass makes great use of screen graphics and close ups to support and promote learning.
Ru’s lessons are fast paced and punchy and there’s a lot to take in, and the key highlights help to condense and cement understanding.
Good companion workbook and activities
The 42 page workbook is a good companion to the class. It’s in PDF format so you can download it and print it for future reference.
It acts as a good post class summary of the lessons and provides additional information such as a:
- Fun quiz to reveal your drag identity
- International history of drag
- History of cross dressing
- Glossary of favored makeup products
- Wig care tips
As well as that, there are activities to help you put into practice some of Ru’s advice.
What I Thought Could Be Improved
Quite a short class
I’ve taken over a dozen MasterClasses and this is one of the shortest.
There is a lot packed into it and it’s fast paced. It’s also well supported by the workbook. However, if you’re looking for a longer course then this may not be the class for you.
Some aspects explicitly geared towards drag culture
Ru insists his advice is applicable to everyone. And much of it is. Especially the more philosophical self-improvement tips.
However, I would say the sections on makeup and (to some extent) costume are more geared towards drag.
Or if not drag, certainly a flamboyant female or cross dressing man!
More theoretical than practical in places
If you’re looking for detailed guidelines which explicitly set out – step by step- how you can become more authentic and express yourself, you might be disappointed.
Ru shares his life experiences in a moving and honest way. And he describes the techniques he’s used to overcome his traumas, unleash his chutzpah and live life to the max.
But there’s little detailed explanation as to how to apply these techniques to yourself.
For example, I understand on a superficial level what he means by ‘frequency’, but I suspect I would need to do more than sit quietly in a room to tap into it.
Who is this MasterClass for?
I would say this class is suited for anyone can tick one or more of the following:
- RuPaul fan
- Open minded
- Lacking in confidence
- Recovering from trauma or addiction
- Wants to reboot their life and seeks motivation to do so
And I would probably have added, less suited to straight males. But there were a number of comments like these two under the YouTube trailer for the class:
“I am a straight male with no personal interest in doing drag and I have no problem admitting that I would devour this entire course in a night.”
“I'm a full straight guy, but I would watch his class.”
So it looks like I’d be wrong to say that!
How much does the RuPaul MasterClass cost?
At the time of writing MasterClass had three subscription offers. The cost of these (per month) is:
- Individual (1 user) $15
- Duo (2 users) $20
- Family (6 users) $23
All are billed annually, which at first glance may seem pricey.
However, you can considerably reduce your costs by taking as many courses as possible.
With over 150 courses on the platform you’re likely to find quite a few to interest you. Even if you buy an individual membership and find only 10% of the courses of interest this still works out to only $12 a course:
$180 (annual individual membership fee) / 15 courses = $12.
Bearing in mind that these classes are taught by global leaders in their fields the value is unbeatable. You can pay over $100 for an online course taught by someone you’ve never even heard of, never mind the caliber of teachers on MasterClass.
What’s more, MasterClass also offers a 30 day refund if you’re unhappy with your purchase.
You can also purchase MasterClass as a gift.
On MasterClass itself, there are a couple of possible alternatives.
Tan France offers a MasterClass course on style. There are some overlaps with Ru’s class, but Tan focuses purely on boosting confidence through clothing. And Robin Robert‘s class on authentic communication is also worth thinking about. Of course, with an all access pass you can take all three!
Coursera offers a number of general courses on self improvement. These tend to be quite specific (eg: career success) and are taught by academics. Coursera’s pricing structure also tends to be quite complex.
You could also consider Lifebook online which is a comprehensive course on self improvement focusing on multiple aspects of your life.
That being said you’d be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than a MasterClass when considering the value you get by having access to the wisdom of 150+ global celebrities.
The RuPaul MasterClass: What Others Have Said
To give you the most comprehensive snapshot of the course possible, I took a look at what other people who have taken the course have said.
Their main thoughts were:
- It’s amazing
- It suffers from a lack of “how to” advice
I do agree with the second point.
There are many practical aspects to this MasterClass. But in some cases, for example finding your ‘frequency’ or channeling your energy, there is a lack of specifics on how to do this for yourself. This view is best summed up by this comment on Reddit:
“I watched it all. A lot of philosophical stories about how New York used to be and yatta yatta. She mentions she wins a contest by moving back to New York, but doesn’t really say how? It would have been more helpful to actually hear about the process of Ru gaining the personality, getting TV spots or how she even started Drag Race.”
But the community of fellow learners on MasterClass were unanimous in their praise. Here’s a taste of what they had to say:
“This class is the icing on the cake for Masterclass. We watched this in an afternoon - it was like a book that you couldn’t put down. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that RuPaul is the Tony Robbins of this generation. His ideas are life changing and groundbreaking for anyone. It’s the most heartfelt training on here - someone who is so authentic and just being himself. RuPaul thank you for an outstanding class - I hope you do a follow up.”
And many were keen to emphasize that the class had something to offer everyone, not just gay men:
“I took Ru’s class because I feel like regardless of gender, sexuality, race, etc, most people have to break free from the shackles of society that try to define and confine us. I am an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and I know in my heart that we can learn from absolutely anyone’s life journey. This class has been touching, even made me tear up, because he speaks volumes of truth. I love the beauty hacks too!”
Ultimately, if you’ve read this review and set your expectations, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Is the Content Unique?
There are a number of short (15m) YouTube videos in which Ru answers questions on issues such as identity, family, culture and work.
The value of the MasterClass is that it distils all of Ru’s ideas in one place.
The lessons are carefully structured to bring coherence to his ideas. Plus the workbook provides additional information, activities and links to supporting materials. And the RuPaul MasterClass community provides a ready made forum of like minded people.
Best of all, you don’t have to watch any ads.
Ru has also produced a book GuRu which covers some of the same information in the class. It’s much more fragmented in the book and is not as comprehensive as this MasterClass.
However, if you learn better by reading, it’s worth checking it out.
What You Will Need
Apart from an open mind, and a willingness to listen, nothing.
But if you don’t have any makeup, you’ll need:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Eyebrow brush
- Face powder
- Makeup brushes
- Eye shadow
- Eyebrow brushes
- Blending brush
- Lipstick and lip liner
- Traynor face lift kit
- Glue stick
- Wig and wig cap
The workbook names some of Raven and Ru’s favorite brands.
Verdict: Is the RuPaul MasterClass Worth It?
On balance, yes.
This MasterClass is worth two hours of your time.
It offers a unique opportunity to be inspired by a living legend.
RuPaul is a man who has experienced trauma, addiction and prejudice. Yet he’s found a way to be true to himself and live life to the full, unapologetically.
Ru shares his life experiences in a moving and honest way. And shares the techniques he’s used to overcome his traumas, unleash his chutzpah and live life to the max.
He does offer practical guidance, but if you’re looking for a simple step by step guide to becoming more authentic, you may find that this course is not specific enough for you.
But if you’re open minded and willing to listen, his ideas will have a resonance that lingers long after the class is over.
Frequently Asked Questions
A MasterClass all access pass is $180. This will give you access to all 150+ classes and their resources for 12 months.
Sadly no. But MasterClass has a range of purchasing options and offers refunds if you’re not happy.
Yes, MasterClass offers a 30 day full refund policy. But If you purchase your MasterClass pass through another provider you may need to check out their returns policy.
The course consists of 16 lessons divided into four sections. The run time is 1hr 59m.
Liz Hurley has 30+ years of high school teaching experience and is one of our senior writers here at Learnopoly.