RuPaul Gets Choked Up Recalling His Favorite 'Drag Race' Moment: "I Had to Hold Back My Emotions"

In a Facebook Live Q&A with THR, the Emmy-nominated host shared a personal story of how a particular lip sync performance paid tribute to his late mother.

RuPaul, Emmy-nominated host of RuPaul's Drag Race, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for a Facebook Live Q&A on Friday to share his reaction to his nom this year and answer fan questions about his Logo series.

"I just love the fact that we get to launch the careers of all these kids, you know," RuPaul said about Drag Race's Emmy recognition. "I was around for about 11 years, trying to get things happening before anything happened."

The host shared that his favorite part of being on the show, which is currently filming its ninth season, is meeting all of the contestants — out of character — for the first time.

"It's so surprising because I meet them first in drag, and then the next day, I get to see them out of drag. And I see that they're just babies! They're just these little, bitty babies. It thrills me," he said. "My favorite part is really seeing their sweet souls for the first time without all the paint and powder."

Touching on his favorite moment of the series' eight-season run, RuPaul got emotional recalling the season two episode in which singer Martha Wash served as a guest judge while the contestants put on a lip sync performance of her hit "Carry On."

"That song is very special to me because when my mother passed away, that was the song that I would play all the time," he said, before sharing with viewers a personal story about how came to hear the news of his mother's passing.

"I was performing at the gay and lesbian march on Washington [in 1993], and I knew my mother was ill and I knew that she was going to be making her transition soon. ... It was a phenomenal moment for me because people were running to the stage, and I'm killing it. I know it's fabulous," RuPaul continued. "At one point, as the sun was going down, I saw this plane taking off in the distance. I knew in that moment that was my mother taking off."

He recalled getting a phone call from his sister shortly after and immediately breaking down knowing she was calling to tell him their mother had passed away.

"From that moment on, I played Martha Wash's 'Carry On' non-stop. That's what got me through it," he said, holding back tears while reciting a few of the song's powerful lyrics. "When that happened on the show and they were lip syncing, I had to hold back my emotions. There are many favorite moments of Drag Race, but that one in particular is always the first one that comes to mind because I think of my mother."

The host, in response to a lighter fan question, also revealed who he would choose to mimic if he were to take part in the show's Snatch Game, a challenge on Drag Race where contestants impersonate celebrities. 

"The person I'd impersonate — and I knew this from day one — would have to be LaToya Jackson. That would be so perfect," he said. "I understand her sense of humor, I can speak like her, and I can dress like her. It would be so much fun."

Watch the full Q&A above to hear his impersonation of Jackson.

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