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Radio DJ, singer and TV hostess Michelle Lynn Shupack—later known as Michelle Visage—was born on September 20th, 1968, in New Jersey, U.S., where she also grew up. Michelle knew she was adopted since she was young. In 1984, she moved to New York to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After graduation, Michelle stayed in NYC to pursue a career in acting, and was very active in the city’s club scene.

In the late 1980s, Michelle was working during the day as a receptionist at a fashion shop and was part of New York’s drag ball at night. Michelle adopted the surname “visage” (which is French for “face”) after earning the nickname “cara” (the Spanish of the word) because people kept mispronouncing it. She became a prominent figure, learning voguing (a particular modern house dance style, which gained popularity thanks to Madonna’s song “Vogue”) and even performing it on national television, when Michelle appeared alongside Cesar Valentino in the show The Lost Connection, in 1988.

In 1990, Michelle Visage auditioned for a place in the R&B band trio, Seduction, and won. Together with Robert Clivilles and David Cole they signed with A&M Records, spawning several hits. After the band’s dissolution, Michelle collaborated with the freestyle dance act TKA as a guest vocalist and also provided lead vocals for another dance music band of former bandmates Clivilles and Cole, The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The song “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day” was included on the 1992 film The Bodyguard’s soundtrack and became a number-one dance single in 1993.

Michelle has also appeared in several music videos of her friend RuPaul, with whom she also co-hosted several shows, both on radio and on TV. In television, their most prominent collaborations were the VH1 talk show The RuPaul Show and later on RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, in which she appeared as a judge and for which she has won several awards. On the radio, Michelle and RuPaul co-hosted the morning show on WKTU in NYC (between 1996 and 2002). After RuPaul left the radio, Michelle went on to host many other morning shows across several U.S. cities: Hot 92 Jamz (KHHT) in Los Angeles; The Morning Mix on WNEW-FM in NYC; Sirius Satellite Radio’s The Beat 66; and SUNNY 104.3 in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2014, she began to co-host a weekly podcast RuPaul: What’s the Tee? with longtime friend RuPaul, in which they interviewed celebrities and discussed a wide range of topics.

In January 2015, Michelle joined the fifteenth series of the British reality series, Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 as a contestant, departing the house one month later. Michelle later covered and provided commentary on the Live Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017, together with Ross Matthews. She also participated as a judge in the first two seasons of Ireland’s Got Talent. In 2019, Michelle took part in the seventeenth series of BBC’s dancing contest Strictly Come Dancing, proving she can be on both sides of any competition.

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