TIME magazine has announced their annual power ranking of the 100 Most Influential People, and RuPaul Charles, known affectionately as mama Ru for his pioneering drag persona, and transgender-activist Gavin Grimm. The Emmy Award–winning RuPaul and the nationally known activist from Virginia High School, are just a glimpse into the diverse list of honorees who are dubbed icons and pioneers.
RuPaul’s profile, written by Naomi Campbell paints him as a man of precision, and poise. According to Campbell: ““Ru was different. Not just because he had perfect, precise clothes and makeup, or because he was the only man I knew who could look that good in a wig and heels,” Campbell said in the profile. “There were no rough edges to be found. But as I got to know him better, I got to experience firsthand his wit and his intelligence—he’s like an encyclopedia. And his beauty is far beyond skin-deep.”
TIME has also posted a video of RuPaul boiling down his success to a simple mantra: “Don’t take life too seriously.” According to RuPaul Charles, “I learned early on—don’t take life too seriously, there are things you should take seriously like loving yourself, allowing other people to love you, which is a big one. Most of the other things are really not that serious.”
RuPaul also uses the video to comment on what purpose drag serves. “We mock identity. We are shape shifter. We are God in drag, and that’s our role, to remind people of that.”
Gavin Grimm made international headlines for his fight to use the restroom that correctly alined with his gender identity.
Janet Mock, also a transgender activist and writer, profiles the teen f, and describes how a simple request was turned into a national hot-button issue.
In the video that a accompanies Mock’s profile, Grimm says, “I’m not really sure how using the bathroom became national news, I thought it was a pretty simple concept that could have been solved quickly and privately.”
Although the Supreme Court declined to hear Grimm’s lawsuit to allow him to use the boy’s bathroom at his Virginia High School, the case is awaiting a ruling from the Fourth Circuit of Appeals.
Mock says in the profile, it’s less about bathroom use and more about inclusion for everyone, an overall greater sense of belonging. “So many are made to feel as if they should hide, pretend or perish. Gavin’s refusal to be treated unjustly is an enduring reminder that we will not be stalled.” Said Mock.
Grimm’s mother also makes an appearance in the video. She describes how Grimm’s demeanor has flourished now that he is living authentically. When Gavin Grimm was asked in the video.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
With a smile Grimm replied: “I want to be someone who doesn’t have to justify his bathroom use.” [TR]