Synopsis of GuRu by RuPaul

GuRu is RuPaul’s third book in the memoir genre, but this is the first of his that I’ve read. This is a fun and fast read that will leave you feeling uplifted. It is a charming collection of thoughts, quotes, and advice on life told from RuPaul’s unique perspective. There is not a lot to this book – you can easily read it in about an hour. But even with the sparse amount of text it still manages to get the job done, and left me feeling inspired.



FOREWORD BY JANE FONDA A timeless collection of philosophies from renaissance performer and the world’s most famous shape-shifter RuPaul, whose sage outlook has created an unprecedented career for more than…
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3.3Overall Score
  • Covered Subject
  • Cover Art & Photography
  • Impact
  • Organization
  • Pacing
  • Writing

You can read my full, in depth review of Guru by RuPaul here.

Introduction Synopsis – everybody say love

  • RuPaul has written GuRu from his life experience that he wants to share with fellow travelers on the journey to self love. He claims that readers will have their boundaries tested and their minds expanded, right from the start.
  • RuPaul is spiritual and practices morning prayer and meditation, believing this to shut down his ego and allow true self love.

Introduction Favorite Quotes

“We will explore the path of the seeker. The one who dares to feel more, to experience more, and to fearlessly love more. Together, we will uncover ancient sacred “realness” that is tried, tested, and found true.”

“GuRu is a collection of mantras, sayings, and touchstones that I’ve used throughout this surreal daydream of a life to remind me of who I really am.”

“You are an extension of the consciousness that guides the universe, for which there is no name because it cannot be defined. That’s why all the superficial things you list as your identity are in reality your “drag.”

“Budget in plenty of occasions for the death and rebirth of ideas and concepts.”

“Don’t worry about what lies ahead, or if you’re being judged by other people. Use the frequency as your guide.”

“Once you get rid of all the negativity in your world, everything and everyone that might be blocking you, you will live in the light.”

“Clear out the blockage that keeps you playing small, keeps you listening to the negative stories in your head, keeps you in the darkness, and move forward into the light. You have the power to move on if you’re willing to let go of the limited perception you have of yourself.”

GuRu Synopsis – Chapter 1

  • RuPaul seems to enjoy astrology, referencing Saturn’s return on his 28th birthday and how it presented him with horrific challenges. However, in the end these challenges strengthened him and allowed him to gain the confidence to show his true self.
  • RuPaul enjoys taking the time (up to six hours!) getting ready for onstage performances such as to film Drag Race, saying that it is a creative outlet and he wants to give the world “something to see”.
  • He subscribes to the idea that you should always look your best, as a way to decorate and celebrate the bodies that we are given.
  • RuPaul felt invisible, he thought because people didn’t know how to label him. Randy Barbato “saw” Ru and they’ve been working together ever since.
  • Drag allowed Ru to feel seen and to reveal who he truly felt that he is, “like Clark Kent turning into Superman.”
  • When in doubt, a three-quarter pose always looks good.
  • Halloween should be every day, which, I can’t argue with that!.
  • The question “Who Am I?” is one that Ru really ponders wondering where we begin and end, who and what we really are. He seems to feel a bit alien, but is here for the fun and the experience of humanity.
  • Drag mimics life in that it blurs what is real and what is not and reminds us that you cannot make sense out of everything in life.
  • Health is the most valuable thing we have so Ru reminds us to be mindful or our bodies and thoughts and to create our own lives. And remember to take care of your teeth.
  • “Use all the colors in the crayon box” to explore how colors affect you and use them to conduct your life.
  • Glamazon = “two parts Diana Ross, one part David Bowie, three parts Cher, and a heaping spoonful of Dolly Parton”
  • RuPaul of course loves pop culture and all of the references therein, but before “Glamazon” had a “streetwalker/Soul Train dancer” drag aesthetic.
  • RuPaul was very inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey enjoying the thoughts of other worlds and being in space looking back at Earth.
  • Holiday times were not happy as Ru’s family was poor, but as an adult he has redefined what Christmas means to him and focuses on gratitude.
  • RuPaul suggests defining your own values and finding your tribe so that you are not alone in this journey of life.
  • We all play roles in life but if we can see this illusion we can create the path and redefine that role.
  • RuPaul equates looking your best everyday and “being camera ready” as a way of making a “deliberate effort” to show up for what life has to offer and that it also garners more respect and money.
  • Learn to hear what your body is telling you and really take the time to listen in stillness.
  • Treat yourself whenever you can and don’t save “the fancy china.”
  • For Ru, drag is a way to respond to the toxic masculinity in our culture that says that men should not express their emotions.
  • Have a day when you give everyone a break; be kind.
  • Ru has always been a natural in heels but doles out advice on what type of shoe is best for the long haul.
  • He advises us that life goes fast and we should put a dent in our bucket lists now.
  • Ru worked with Bob Mackie, the costume designer, who he worshipped for that “MGM musical glam” style.
  • Have a small wedding followed by a big reception, but on two different days, Ru advises.
  • Reminder not to dim your shine for others.
  • Ru believes that growth comes with age.
  • Reminder that having mentors and curators will always help in life.
  • Ru believes that we shouldn’t look for all things in one person, even in marriage.
  • Starbooty.
  • It sounds like RuPaul likes to stay busy and work on multiple projects at once, for example he was writing a book, filming Drag Race, recording an album, and working on other projects all at once.
  • Ru reminds us that the negative voice we all live with never goes away but we can learn to manage it through living a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
  • It’s important to be self sufficient, but don’t forget to allow others to give to you.
  • Reminder to be flexible in life and that adapting, birth, death, and rebirth are all themes in life.
  • Humans are animals, sexual beings.
  • Have a strong handshake and look people in the eye; be present.
  • Check your relationship to abundance.
  • Life is hard; prepare the children.
  • Remember that gaining perspective will always help.
  • People that feel threatened by your success should be dropped, even if they are friends and family.
  • Loose yourself in dance.
  • Find the frequency of love.
  • RuPaul is proud of DragCon and its ability to bring people together.
  • No one will ever be crueler to you, than you.

Guru Favorite Quotes

“I’ve always thought of Halloween as amateur night. Just one day to dress up? REALLY? My philosophy has always been: Why not dress up every day?”

“There’s a certain detachment sensitive people must maintain to endure the harsh realities of this world.”




“But if you’re able to see that and recognize that it’s all an illusion, you have the upper hand in creating where your character can go. If you’re able to press the pause button on your life and go outside of yourself and see all the characters you’re playing, the dynamics of the scenes, flip forward and back a few pages in the script to see what your character’s purpose to the story as a whole is, then you can dictate where you want your character to go.”

“People are looking to fill that void with some outside source, but that empty feeling can only be filled from within.”

“Don’t leave the amusement park without riding all the rides.”

“Ultimately, it’s about the love you give and the love you allow yourself to receive. Everything else fades away.”

“Folks gon’ talk sh*t about you anyway, so you might as well just go ahead and do your own thang.”

“You are heir to the laws of the world you identify with.”

“Live your life in the now, because you get to a certain age and you realize, “Wow, that was fast.”

“I love the Warhol experience. I love the concept of taking a found image and morphing it into another image that speaks to another level of consciousness. Drag really is all about dipping into pop culture and then reshaping it into something else.”

“The biggest obstacles I’ve ever faced were my own self-imposed limitations.”

“You’re actually stronger than you allow yourself to be.”

“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”


Become Your Own GuRu – Appendix

The last section in the book is called Become Your Own Guru is a list of “musts” in film, books, and albums. Recommendations range from Funny Face, Death Becomes Her, The Exorcist, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and Blondie to Bowie.

This book is one long chapter that reads like a monologue of a play you might see off broadway in some gloriously small production. The monologue is sprinkled with loads of beautiful images of RuPaul in perfect drag. While RuPaul doles out life advice he also let’s you get to know him a little. He talks about how his career progressed, how his drag took on it’s current form, and even about religion, meditation, and spirituality. There’s a little bit of everything in here, all with a message of compassion and love.

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