Before this song made him the most famous drag queen of his time, Rupaul (born Rupaul Andre Charles), was hustling work in Atlanta as an actor, model and dancer. Born in San Diego, Rupaul moved there with his sister in the early '80s, and one day auditioned for a stage show called The Shaggy Dog Animation
. He brought with him a sign reading "Rupaul is Starrbooty," which got the attention of the composer Jimmy Harry, who was working on the show. Rupaul got a role in the production and started a working relationship with Harry.
After Rupaul moved to New York and became a star of the drag scene, he got a record deal with the Tommy Boy label. For his first single on the label, Rupaul and Harry joined the producer Larry Tee to write "Supermodel," a song about "working it" on the runway. A natural extension of Rupaul's drag act and model persona, he exuded confidence on the track, as if he was a master instructor drilling his charges. (This came full-circle in 2009 when Rupaul's reality/competition show RuPaul's Drag Race
debuted on the Logo network.)
The song was a huge hit in dance clubs, going to #1 on the Dance charts. It also did surprisingly well on the Pop charts, making #45 in America and #39 in the UK despite garnering very little airplay.
Rupaul's career took off - he got a radio show, an endorsement deal with MAC cosmetics, and a number of TV and movie appearances. The song also launched the career of Jimmy Harry, who became a top songwriter/producer. His writing credits include "Low" by Kelly Clarkson, "True" by Ryan Cabrera, and "Funhouse
" by Pink.