Michelle Lynn Shupack, better known as Michelle Visage is an American singer, television host, actress, radio DJ and producer. She first gained recognition as a member of the musical group Seduction, who charted five singles on the Billboard Hot 100. She later served as lead vocalist of another group, The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M., who reached the top of the dance charts with the single "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" in 1993. In 2011, she joined the American reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, and has served as a permanent judge since season three. She is also a permanent judge on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, and RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under. Visage has won 3 Primetime Emmy Awards as a producer of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Music recording and music videos
Visage auditioned and won a place for Seduction, an R&B and dance vocal trio assembled by Robert Clivilles and David Cole that signed with A&M Records in 1990. The group had several hits, the most famous being "Two to Make It Right". After the group's breakup, Visage collaborated with the freestyle dance act TKA as a guest vocalist on the song "Crash (Have Some Fun)". Visage provided lead vocals and was the recording artist of another dance act assembled by Clivilles and Cole, The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The song "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day", which was a cover version of the Bill Withers song "Lovely Day", was included on the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day" became a number-one dance single and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1993.
Visage has also been featured on several of RuPaul's music albums, and appears in the music videos for "New York City Beat" and "From Your Heart", which originally premiered on RuPaul's Green Screen Christmas Special (2015), and were later uploaded to World of Wonder's YouTube channel. Visage has also made guest appearances in the videos for RuPaul's songs "Glamazon", "Responsitrannity", "The Beginning" and "Nothing for Christmas".
In February 2021, it was confirmed that Visage had teamed up with Steps on a reworked version of "Heartbreak In This City".
Radio and podcasts
Visage was the co-host of the morning show on WKTU in NYC from 1996 to 2002 where she and co-host RuPaul started working together professionally. When RuPaul left radio, Visage continued on to many morning shows including: Hot 92 Jamz (KHHT) in Los Angeles between 2002 and 2005. In 2005, Visage returned to New York City, where she served as co-host of The Morning Mix on WNEW-FM until December 2006. She also hosted on Sirius Satellite Radio's The Beat 66 from 2003 to 2006 On March 12, 2007, she became a co-host of the morning show on SUNNY 104.3 in West Palm Beach, Florida. On January 10, 2011, she joined 93.9 MIA in Miami as the host of the new MIA Morning Show. She left Miami and MIA in December 2011, moving back to Los Angeles.
Visage started co-hosting the weekly podcast RuPaul: What's the Tee? on April 9, 2014. The pair interview celebrities and discuss many topics ranging from their personal lives to RuPaul's Drag Race. The podcast won a 2018 Webby Award. Visage also presented Michelle Visage's Fabulous Divas on BBC Radio 2, with episodes broadcast in December 2019 and August 2020. In October and November 2020, she covered for Rylan Clark-Neal on his BBC Radio 2 show and in February 2022 she covered for Dermot O'Leary on his Saturday weekend breakfast show. As of 15 July 2022, she has begun presenting her own show each Friday night from 7 until 9pm on BBC Radio 2.
Visage has worked with RuPaul on a variety of television shows throughout her career. In 1996, she became the co-host of RuPaul's VH1 talk show The RuPaul Show. She also co-hosted WKTU's morning show with RuPaul from 1996 to 2002. When RuPaul began casting judges for season one of RuPaul's Drag Race, he invited Visage to become a permanent member of the show. At the time she was on a five-year contract with a CBS radio station in West Palm Beach; after asking her boss if she could join the show he said no, which Visage put down to the show's links with the LGBT community.
RuPaul's Drag Race
Two years later, Visage was contacted again by RuPaul and invited to appear on season three of the show. After her boss once again said she was not able to appear, she was persuaded by her friend Leah Remini to contact CBS officials who allowed her to join the show as a judge. On January 24, 2011, Visage debuted as a permanent judge, along with Santino Rice and Billy B, on season three of RuPaul's Drag Race, replacing Merle Ginsberg. She has also appeared on all seven seasons of the spin-off show, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars.
In 2019, she received her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Competition Program, having been a producer of Drag Race since its eleventh season. That same year, she became a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race UK, which airs on BBC Three.[In 2021, Visage served as a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under.
On January 7, 2015, Visage became one of the contestants on the fifteenth series of the British reality series Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5. On February 6, 2015, Visage left the house in fifth place. Since leaving the house she has appeared on some episodes of Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side, a companion show that airs straight after Celebrity Big Brother.
Visage has made several other TV appearances including hosting VH1's red carpet coverage of the 1998 Grammys and in 2002, Grease's 25th-anniversary re-release party. On May 13, 2017, she and Ross Mathews were the commentators for Logo TV's coverage of the Live Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. More recently she has appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of Ireland's Got Talent, the first of which began airing on TV3 in February 2018. And in 2020, Visage joined fellow Ireland's Got Talent judge Louis Walsh on the judging panel of teen recycled-fashion competition Junk Kouture. She appeared on the televised Grand Final in February 2021, after the plans for the original live Grand Final were scuppered by COVID-19.
Strictly Come Dancing
On August 5, 2019, it was announced that Visage would be taking part in the seventeenth series of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK on BBC. On September 7, it was confirmed that she was partnered with Giovanni Pernice.