Michelle Visage is an American radio DJ, television host, singer, author, and media personality who has built an impressive net worth of $5 million.
She is best known for being a judge on the hit reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race.
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Michelle Visage Net Worth
Michelle Visage has amassed an estimated net worth of $5 million as of 2023. Her primary source of wealth comes from her long-running role as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She has been with the show since its first season in 2009 and remains a mainstay. She earns around $50,000 per episode of Drag Race.
However, Visage likely earns income from other television appearances, brand sponsorships on social media, book royalties, and more. She has over 1 million followers on Instagram, promoting various brands. As a performer, Visage also earns money from music royalties and theater productions.
Early Life and Education
Michelle Visage was born on September 20, 1968, in South Plainfield, New Jersey. As a child, Visage developed a strong interest in the performing arts. She studied dance, gymnastics, and musical theater from a young age. According to Visage, she would choreograph and direct plays for her family to perform.
In her teens, Visage attended the Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey, where she continued to hone her talents in theater and dance. During this time, she was part of a short-lived girl group called Seduction that allowed her to tour and perform as an opening act for several big-name artists.
After graduating high school in 1986, Visage decided not to pursue higher education. She has mentioned several times that she knew from an early age that her path would be in entertainment and the arts. This led her to start her career as a radio DJ while still a teenager.
Despite not having a college degree, Visage found tremendous success in her radio and entertainment careers. Her natural talent, big personality, and drive to succeed proved more beneficial than formal education.
Career Beginnings in Radio
Michelle Visage got her big break in radio at the age of 21 when she became a DJ on 99.1 WKTU in New York City. Despite having no professional radio experience, Visage secured this position by demonstrating her natural on-air talents and vast knowledge of dance, house, and club music.
As a radio DJ, Visage quickly gained popularity for her unique voice and style. She brought authenticity and connection to the underground club and gay scenes in New York during the late 1980s. Visage hosted several shows on WKTU, focusing on the latest dance hits.
The success of WKTU launched Visage’s radio career. In 1996, she transitioned to Hot 97 in New York, where she hosted a morning show focused on gossip and entertainment news. She also took on roles as a guest DJ at prominent nightclubs like Roxy and The Tunnel in NYC. Thanks to her radio popularity, Visage became a fixture in the city’s club scene.
In 1996, Michelle Visage transitioned from radio to television when she hosted VH1’s Red Carpet coverage. She covered all the major entertainment awards shows and interviewed countless high-profile celebrities on the red carpet. This established Visage’s on-screen presence and name recognition with television audiences.
Visage continued to expand her TV resume in the late 1990s and 2000s. She co-hosted a weekend entertainment news show on NBC called The Dish. She also hosted the dance music show Beat Suite for MTV and was a regular correspondent for Celebrity Homes on the E! Network.
However, Visage’s big television breakthrough came in 2009 when she was cast as a judge on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She quickly became a fan-favorite judge thanks to her quick wit and genuine care for the contestants. Visage continues to serve as a mainstay judge on Drag Race going into its 15th season.
Source of Income
Michelle Visage has built her net worth through a diverse range of income sources. Her primary source of wealth comes from being a longtime frilongtime Paul’s Drag Race, where she earns around $50k per episode. Before that, Visage earned a steady income as a radio DJ and host at Hot 97 and VH1.
Michelle has additional income streams, which have come from appearances on various reality shows hosting TV specials. She got book royalties from her two published titles, music royalties from her time in Seduction, and brand sponsorships on social media. With over 1 million Instagram followers, Visage can earn thousands from promotional partnerships.
While RuPaul’s Drag Race has been her biggest money maker recently, Visage laid the foundation with decades of work in radio, TV, and music.
Personal Life and Relationships
Michelle Visage has been married to David Case since 1997. The couple wed in a ceremony officiated by Visage’s longtime frilongtime Drag Race collaborator, RuPaul. Not much is publicly known about how Visage and Case met or the details of their relationship, as Visage prefers to keep her personal life private.
Michelle Visage has two daughters, Lillie Case and Lola Case. Lillie and Lola have grown up with their parent’s fame and busy careers. They occasionally appear on Michelle’s social media, but she works to give them a relatively normal childhood outside of the spotlight.
Visage maintains close friendships with RuPaul and fellow Drag Race judge Ross Mathews. She considers the Drag Race cast and crew to be an extended family. Visage also continues to co-parent her two daughters with ex-husband Joe Marrazzo.
However, Visage has dated both men and women throughout her life. She came out publicly as bisexual in 2015 during an interview on RuPaul’s podcast. Visage stated she has never hidden her sexuality but appreciates the visibility of being open about it.
Business Ventures and Endorsements
Michelle Visage has undertaken various business ventures and endorsement deals over the years.
In 2010, Visage launched her makeup line called Visage. The cosmetics collection included lipsticks, glosses, eyeshadow palettes, and more catered to Visage’s fans and the drag community. She partnered with Manufactum Beauty to create the line.
Visage has also endorsed major brands on her social media platforms. As an influencer with over 1 million Instagram followers, she has partnered with companies like Impossible Foods, Squarespace, and Arianna Grande’s R.E.M. Beauty. She advertises these brands by incorporating their products into her posts.
Expanding her brand, Visage started a merchandise line in collaboration with VH1. She sells apparel featuring her memorable quotes and imagery from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
FAQs on Michelle Visage Net Worth
How did Michelle Visage get her start in radio?
Michelle Visage got her first radio job at age 21 at WKTU in New York City. Despite having no prior experience, she won over the station with her knowledge of club and dance music.
What shows has Michelle Visage hosted on TV?
Some of Visage’s major TV hosting gigs include VH1’s Red Carpet Coverage, The RuPaul Show, Beat Suite on MTV, and Celebrity Homes on E! Her long-running role is as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
What is Michelle Visage’s net worth?
Visage has an estimated net worth of $5 million as of 2023. Most of her wealth comes from her work on RuPaul’s Drag Race, earning around $50,000 per episode.
How many books has Michelle Visage written?
Visage has published two books so far. In 2015, she released The Diva Rules, a part memoir, and part self-help book. She followed up in 2020 with a holiday-themed book called The Diva’s Christmas.
Michelle Visage has built an enduring career for herself across various entertainment mediums. What began as a radio DJ role in her early 20s eventually evolved into TV fame, most notably as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her quick wit, sincerity, and showmanship have made Visage a beloved pop culture staple.
Beyond her talents in front of the camera, Visage has also found success as an author, podcaster, singer, and businesswoman. Her drive to constantly take on new challenges and projects has led to an estimated net worth of $5 million.