‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Judge Michelle Visage Believed Madonna Copied Her Look
Michelle Visage has been a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race for years, but she’s been in show business for decades. She burst onto the scene in the late 1980s as a part of the girl group Seduction and was a diehard fan of pop sensation Madonna. But Madonna wasn’t exactly a fan of hers.
Michelle Visage is a huge Madonna fan
Visage joined Seduction when she was 19 years old. They toured with the likes of Milli Vanilli and were a prominent pop girl group in the late 1980s.
Before she was in Seduction, Visage was a part of the ballroom scene in New York City. She primarily walked in face categories, but was also an avid voguer. Of course, Madonna’s discovery of vogue is what led her to creating her 1990 smash single highlighting the underground dance style.
“She was and still is my ultimate diva,” Visage told The Guardian in 2020.
Madonna wore the same look Michelle Visage once wore
Madonna first discovered vogue at a nightclub in New York City. She noticed José and Luis Xtravaganza — members of the legendary House of Xtravaganza — dominating the dance floor with their moves. Madonna fell in love with them and with the dance style, and recruited them as choreographers and dancers in the “Vogue” video — and later, on her Blond Ambition world tour.
Visage told The Guardian that Madonna saw her voguing at nightlife royalty Susanne Bartsch’s legendary Love Ball, and not long afterward, the “Vogue” music video came out. She also noticed that Madonna dressed suspiciously like Visage on the Blond Ambition tour with knee pads and a high ponytail.
“I was like: ‘What the f—?’ Now, did she steal that from me?” Visage remembered. “I don’t know, but she definitely ran in the same circle that I ran, with the same people.”
Madonna’s team told Michelle Visage to stop copying her
In October 2021, Visage guest-hosted The Wendy Williams Show with her longtime friend, Leah Remini. Remini mentioned a time when Visage was accused of emulating Madonna’s style, rather than the other way around.
“When Michelle was in Seduction she was always accused of copying Madonna’s style,” Remini said.
“The quick story goes like this,” Visage said as she recounted the incident. “Her record label called my record label and said, ‘Listen, one of your girls in the group Seduction thinks she’s Madonna, and if she’s going to bite her look, the least she could do is do it well.”
Audience members were surprised that someone would have the audacity to tell Visage to stop copying Madonna. But Visage delivered the hilarious punchline. “They didn’t want to tell me, but when they told me, all I heard was, ‘Madonna knows who I am! Madonna knows who I am!’”