He may be best known as the top Cher impersonator in the country, but there’s much more to Chad Michaels than meets the eye. This Drag Race “queen-testant” owned the competition in the season highlight “Snatch Game” portraying everyone’s favorite “Dark Lady” and has consistently dazzled Ru and the judges on the runway. Along the way, he’s shared his wit and wisdom with his fellow queens and is looking like a frontrunner for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar! Chad “Cher”s with us the story of how he got started in the drag game and some of his biggest beauty tips with us – as well as providing some sage advice for future drag queens everywhere. This charming queen is sure to leave you not only “moonstruck” but starstruck as well! Snap out of it and check out our exclusive interview!
Socialite Life: Tell me a little bit about yourself
Chad Michaels: Hey there Socialites! My name in and out of drag is Chad Michaels! I’m a 40- year-old “Drag Cougar” and I’m looking for easy, slow prey and good times! In March of this year, I’ll be “41 Forever”, which will also be the name of my new age-appropriate clothing line for senior queens who never grew up!
SL: How did you get started in drag?
Chad: I got started in drag like most people do, on a fluke at Halloween! Obsessed with Madonna since an early age, I dressed up as the old girl with bullet bra and ponytail in tow and the rest is “Drag Herstory”! I am, however, completely OVER the “Church of Madonna” and am now a member of the “Cher Ministry of Latter Day Divas”!
SL: Who are your biggest influences or inspirations – besides Cher, of course?
Chad: My biggest influences have always been strong, independent, remarkable women! I was raised by my mother and maternal grandmother and they were both amazing role models of the modern woman. I look to classic icons like Carol Burnett, Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis for cues on how to be a lady! I’m looking to stand the test of time and that is what these divas have done so well!
SL: How would you describe your look?
Chad: It’s so hard to for me to define myself with one look or style. I really am every woman and I like to look different all the time. Whether I’m doing a character impersonation, a comedy number, or a dance routine, I’ve always felt like variety is the spice of life and drag. How boring it would be to be the same girl every day! Let’s just say I use all the resources at my disposal to all the diva I can be!
SL: What do you enjoy most about performing?
Chad: The thing I enjoy most about performing is making people happy. That’s the bottom line for me. Making people forget, if only for five minutes, about the problems and woes in their lives. As drag queens, we are clowns in a way, we are here to celebrate and uplift. I wear my clown suit to work proudly every day!
SL: Where is your favorite place to perform?
Chad: My favorite place to perform is RAGE in West Hollywood or Urban Mo’s in San Diego! My drag troupe, The Dreamgirls Revue, has shows at both clubs and I have to say they are both SICKENING! Rage is more of a “movers and shakers” industry set and Urban Mo’s has more of a “hometown feel”! I feel very blessed to have such incredible audiences and amazing places to WERK!
SL: What can people expect to see when they come to see you perform?
Chad: People can and do expect to see Cher when they attend one of my shows. I always deliver, however, Cher is only one of many of my tricks! I have always based my career as an entertainer on variety. I know any sort of regular audience that attends a drag show can get bored very quickly with the same numbers every week. I make sure I am always rotating my existing repertoire of numbers and creating new ones for my audiences. One will never see the same show twice when you attend The Dreamgirls Revue!
SL: As an established drag star, what was your motivation for auditioning for Drag Race (and I’m assuming that this season is the first you’ve tried out for)?
Chad: It would seem that I’ve been training these last 20 years for just this competition. Prior to my auditioning and being invited to compete on RPDR4, I earned my name, reputation, and spot in the drag community the old-fashioned way, I earned it and worked for it. I have busted my ass and worked so many clubs, events, show, and fundraisers that it has truly become a beautiful two-decade blur. RPDR4 is really the first time I have been offered a hand up in this business, and I took it with a firm grip and gratitude!
SL: What do you think separates you from the other queens?
Chad: I think my advantage with the other queens is my skill set, maturity level, and ability to know when to pick and choose my battles. These attributes have come in very handy! Skip the drama, Mama!
SL: You’ve had the most drag experience out of any of the “queen-testants” this season. Do you think that gives you an advantage?
Chad: Experience is priceless. Yes, experience helps a lot on RPDR. However, as contestants, we live moment to moment and you have to be on your toes! It’s all about the quick decisions one has to make and what one brings to the competition on any given day! One mistake and it’s over. That can happen to anyone, even the most seasoned bitch in the cut! In that respect, the playing field is as level as it can be, and experience is out the window.
SL: When I interviewed Morgan McMichaels, he told me that you (his drag mother) inspired his name. Did Morgan give you any tips on surviving Drag Race?
Chad: More than anything, Morgan has been my one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders leading up to RPDR4. As a drag mother, it is strange to be advised by your drag daughter in her field of expertise, which in Morgan’s case is RPDR. I find it beautiful, how in this world of drag, roles change and people affect your life in ways you could never anticipate. My student has become my teacher and how amazing is that?! Morgan continues to make me proud, advise me, and support me every day!
SL: What was it like working with RuPaul?
Chad: Working with RuPaul was so much more than I expected! He is a total pro! Kind, approachable, funny, and fair like Judge Judy! Seeing Ru in action is truly a master class and he has earned every last bit of his dynasty. RuPaul is creating a legacy that we should all admire and emulate.
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SL: What was it like working with the other queens?
Chad: Working with the other queens was many different things, mostly insane! Above all, I think when we all realized that we were in the competition together and one of us was going home every week, we clung to each other in a weird kind of way. Of course, there was drama and we we’re fighting for our spots in the competition, but there was also a very sisterly and familiar understanding among all of us. It is a life experience I would not give up for anything! I really fell in love with these kids.
SL: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Chad: One might be surprised to know that I have had most of my worn-out parts replaced with bionic prosthetics!
SL: What do you hope people will learn about you from the show?
Chad: More than anything, I’m just excited to have a platform to tell my story from. I have been, for the most part, a very private person, and people don’t know that much about me. I was very honest during the competition and truly wore my heart on my sleeve. It was very therapeutic and cleansing in a way. Get to know me!
SL: What song would be your dream song to “lip sync for your life”?
Chad: My dream “lip sync for my life song” would be “Loving is Really My Game” by Brainstorm! That’s some funky and stanky disco, baby!
SL: What words of wisdom do you live by?
Chad: Chad Michaels’ words of wisdom: “You are exactly where you are supposed to be in life or else you wouldn’t be there! Learn from everything and always say “YES”!
SL: Where do you get your costumes (they are fabulous!)?
Chad: I make many of my costumes and my partner, Adam Magee, takes on all the large and complicated projects. It’s all in the family! Design and creation of my own wardrobe has always been a large part of my craft and something I’m most proud of!
SL: Could you share one of your beauty tips with us?
Chad: Honey, there is very little beauty involved. This is smoke, mirrors, tricks, and stunts! So…carry a smoke machine with you!
SL: What is the most important make-up tip to make a convincing Cher?
Chad: The most important tip I can give for a convincing Cher make-up application is to create her eyes, lips, and cheeks as best you can. Cher is defined by these features. Do your homework and practice painting her face on yours. It is STILL a work in progress for me. She is an essence that cannot be captured, babes!
SL: What one beauty item can you not live without?
Chad: I can’t live without my Max Factor Panstick, mail order only now, and my La Femme Cosmetics Eye Shadows and Blushes! I have been using these products since the beginning and they are tried and true!! OH! And don’t forget Coty Powder! Yes! Your Grandma’s powder! Love it!
SL: What are you hoping to gain from your experience on the show?
Chad: RPDR4 was a test of my skills, fortitude, and a personal challenge to myself to see what I am capable of. I am expecting nothing. I am just grateful for the life-affirming experience I had during the time I spent on RPDR!
SL: Any upcoming news, future projects or events you’d like to share with us?
Chad: The sky is the limit at this point. I plan to do what I have always done, entertain people. Everything else is icing! My mind and heart are open to the possibilities!
SL: How can your fans best stay in touch with you?
Chad: You guys can find me and stay in touch on Facebook at Chad-Michaels-Fan-Page and Chad-Michaels-As-Cher! LIKE ME! Also, check out my web site – www.chadmichaels.com!
SL: Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
Chad: My advice for aspiring performers is to always follow your heart! If drag is your passion, follow it, but be prepared to embrace it fully, the good, the bad, and the ugly! There is no half-stepping in this business, so you better be prepared to throw down! Play hard or go home!
SL: Thanks for chatting with us, Chad. Best of luck to you!
Chad: Thank you so so much for your time and your ear, guys! I look forward to traveling and entertaining you all very soon! All my love and gratitude!