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Lucy Lawless - I Had A Ball With Ru Paul
It wasn't a drag For Lucy Lawless to take part in a new reality show

Sunday News
(New Zealand)

1 November 2009

KIWI beauty Lucy Lawless has once again teamed up with the world's most famous drag queen.

The Xena: Warrior Princess stunner has long been friends with RuPaul, and in 2006 he dueted with the actress on the single Come 2 Me, which helped kickstart her singing career.

Now she has repaid the favour by appearing in the US entertainer's latest project, a reality show called RuPaul's Drag Race, dubbed America's Next Top Model for cross dressers.

Lawless will appear on our screens later this month as a guest judge in the series, which has been a surprise hit in the US.

"I've been friends with Lucy for many years so I just asked her to be on," RuPaul told The Buzz.

"She's highly regarded and loved by the gay community here. She's a gay icon. The character she played in Xena really personifies what gay people love about feminine energy, someone who is both feminine and masculine at the same time.

"The contestants were so excited to see her."

The show follows RuPaul's hunt for the next drag superstar. Each week one of the nine contestants is eliminated after taking part in challenges which range from creating outfits to singing and dancing in a music video.

Lawless is one of several guest judges, lining up alongside Destiny's Child star Michelle Williams and 90210 actress Tori Spelling.

Lawless feels the reality show draws on the themes shown in documentary film Paris is Burning, which follows drag queens as they prepare for and compete in underground balls.

"Paris is Burning has gone legit!" she told The Buzz.

"I had a fabulous time on Drag Race. RuPaul is a wonderful man, and a wonderful woman to boot."

The judges in America's Next Top Model and Project Runway can be quite hard on the contestants but RuPaul was determined to avoid anything "too hostile" in his latest show.

And the 48-year-old admitted that mum-of-three Lawless was gentle in her assessment of the contestants. "The characters she plays are really tough because she's got a strong presence and aura, but she's a soft touch," he said.

"She likes a bit of a joke, she's got a Kiwi sense of humour."

RuPaul, who has enjoyed music success both on the club circuit and in the charts, was last in New Zealand more than a decade ago for a nightclub performance.

And he is hoping the New Zealand screening of RuPaul's Drag Race, currently showing on Sunday nights on Vibe, will boost his profile so he can return.

"Selfishly the thing I'm most excited about is that it'll mean I can come back to New Zealand because after they've seen the show viewers will want to see me in person," the 2m tall presenter admitted.

"I've always wanted to return, I was just struck by how lovely it was over there and beautiful, like this unspoiled part of the earth that I just love.

"If you have a Mardi Gras or something similar coming up, I have a strong feeling I'll be there for that."

RuPaul's Drag Race is on Vibe, Sundays at 7.30pm.