Supermodel (You Better Work)

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"Supermodel (You Better Work)"
Single by RuPaul
from the album Supermodel of the World
ReleasedNovember 17, 1992
Length3:59 (album version)
LabelTommy Boy
Producer(s)Eric Kupper
RuPaul singles chronology
"I've Got That Feelin'"
"Supermodel (You Better Work)"
"Little Drummer Boy"
Music video
"Supermodel (You Better Work)" on YouTube
"Supermodel 2006" on YouTube

"Supermodel (You Better Work)" is a song by American dance music singer and drag queen RuPaul. It was released in November 1993 as the third single (but first major label single) from his debut album, Supermodel of the World (1993). The song was a dance club anthem that, though particularly popular within the gay handbag house scene, found mainstream success. The song consists of RuPaul giving advice to a young black supermodel, and briefly several other models, largely consisting of "sashay, shantay!", "work, turn to the left", "work, now turn to the right", and "you better work". The music video for the song, featuring RuPaul in various outfits cavorting around town, became a staple on MTV. Singer Kurt Cobain of Nirvana cited the song as one of his favorites of 1993, and the two were photographed together at the MTV Video Music Awards that year.

"Supermodel" was a modest hit on the pop charts in both the US (number 45) and the UK (number 39). It also reached number two on the US dance chart. This song is RuPaul's highest charting pop hit in the US to date. The song features spoken word snippets by actress LaWanda Page, who went on to appear in several music videos by RuPaul. The single is most commonly found on compact disc coupled with "House of Love", which would go on to become a single itself in some markets. Various 12-inch vinyl releases were also pressed, including a limited edition picture disc in the United Kingdom. It was also covered by Taylor Dayne for the The Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack.

BuzzFeed ranked "Supermodel (You Better Work)" number 42 in their list of "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s" in 2017.[1] Pitchfork featured it in their lists of "50 Songs That Define the Last 50 Years of LGBTQ+ Pride" in 2018[2] and "The 250 Best Songs of the 1990s" in 2022.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Alex Henderson from AllMusic noted, "When he tears into "Supermodel (You Better Work)" and other overtly '70s-influenced dance-floor gems, RuPaul shows himself to be a sweaty, emotional belter who projects a lot more soul and honest emotion than most of the cookie-cutter artists dominating '90s urban-contemporary radio."[4] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "New York City club and drag personality returns to the recording world with a festive twirler that aims to lengthen the life of the voguing phenomenon. RuPaul sashays like a seasoned diva over frothy synths and NRG-etic house beats."[5] In 2018, Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly described it as a "pivotal single/lifestyle slogan", adding that it "became an instant club classic, italicized by a plethora of snap-ready tag lines, including "you better work", "I have one thing to say", and "Sashay/Shantay!" each repeated with intensifying attitude."[6]

Caroline Sullivan from The Guardian declared it as "a seventies-style disco workout containing every hysterical cliche of that era, from soaring violins to sonorous groans from Ru. 'See your picture everywhere - a million derriere', Ru observes in a roar recalling the late, great Divine. Absolutely fabulous."[7] In his UK chart commentary, James Masterton viewed it as "an unremarkable dance/pop tribute to the world of the supermodels sung by the larger than life Rupaul, drag queen extraordinaire."[8] Pan-European magazine Music & Media commented, "Camp as it is, the musical backing is of course in a stylish '70s disco mode. Give Supermodel (You Better Work) and Miss Lady DJ a try, it's for all sexes."[9] Andy Beevers from Music Week deemed it a "wonderfully OTT tribute to the stars of the catwalk".[10] Rupert Howe from Select noted its "catwalk cattiness".[11] Mark Frith from Smash Hits gave it four out of five, adding, "It's a great hi-NRG dance romp which celebrates the world of the supermodel from the most super of all models. Wonderful."[12]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the song peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 45 and the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart at number two. It sold nearly 500,000 copies there.[13] It was not only a hit in the US, it reached number four on the Canadian RPM Dance/Urban chart and number 39 on the UK Singles Chart.

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Supermodel (You Better Work)" was directed by Randy Barbato. The music video premiered in 1993 on MTV and was an unexpected success, as grunge (such as Nirvana) and gangsta rap were popular at the time. It tells the story of a little black girl (played by RuPaul) in the Brewster projects of Detroit, Michigan, who is spotted by an "Ebony Fashion Fair" talent scout who grows up to become a successful model and is given the title Supermodel of the World. The song features LaWanda Page who has several lines in the song, but does not appear in the music video despite appearances in other RuPaul music videos. The music video is a tribute to RuPaul's early childhood and his career in both the gay community and mainstream culture. The phrase "Supermodel You Better Work" was coined by RuPaul in the 90's. It was nominated for "Best Dance Video" at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards and won an award in the category for "Best Music Video" on the 1993 WMC International Dance Music Awards.[14]

The music video for "Supermodel (You Better Work)" was published on YouTube in September 2018. It has amassed more than 3.8 million views as of September 2021.[15]

Impact and legacy[edit]

BuzzFeed listed "Supermodel (You Better Work)" at number 42 in their list of "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s" in 2017. Matt Stopera and Brian Galindo stated that this is "the song that brought RuPaul mainstream success."[16]

Pitchfork featured it in their list of "50 Songs That Define the Last 50 Years of LGBTQ+ Pride" in 2018.[17]

In 2022, Time Out ranked it number 23 in their list of "The 50 Best Gay Songs to Celebrate Pride All Year Long",[18] while Pitchfork placed it at number 222 in their list of "The 250 Best Songs of the 1990s".[3]

Track listing[edit]

(varies from country to country; this reflects the United States CD single, which sold the most copies)

  1. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Ready to Wear Mix)
  2. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (7" Mix)
  3. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Couture Mix)
  4. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (La Wanda in Your Face)
  5. "House of Love" (7" Radio Version)
  6. "House of Love" (12" Version)
  7. "House of Love" (Dub)


2006 version[edit]

"Supermodel (You Better Work)"
Single by RuPaul featuring Shirley Q. Liquor
from the album ReWorked
Producer(s)DJ BunJoe
RuPaul featuring Shirley Q. Liquor singles chronology
"People Are People"
"Supermodel (You Better Work)"
"Cover Girl"
Music video
"Supermodel 2006" on YouTube

In 2006, RuPaul re-recorded the track with an 80's freestyle inspired backing track and released it as the leadoff single from his album ReWorked. This version reached number 21 on the US dance chart.[25]

Track listing[edit]

  • US nine track maxi-single
  1. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (El Lay Toya Jam) – 3:55
  2. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Craig C. Havenhurst Vocal) – 9:29
  3. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (There, U Just Got Rocked Mix) – 4:08
  4. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Popular Mix) – 4:02
  5. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Clean El Lay Toya Jam) – 3:55
  6. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Craig C. Encino Edit) – 3:54
  7. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Stockholm Mix) – 4:38
  8. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Craig C. Neverland Dub) – 9:25
  9. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Jackopella) – 3:45
  • AUS CD No. 1
  1. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (El Lay Toya Jam) – 3:55
  2. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Craig C. Neverland Instrumental) – 9:27
  3. "Coming Out of Hiding" (Trance Gender Mix) – 3:25
  4. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Stockholm Mix) – 4:40
  • AUS CD No. 2
  1. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Craig C. Encino Edit) – 3:55
  2. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Popular Mix) – 4:03
  3. "My Love Sees No Color" (Matheos' Dancin' Belly Mix) – 4:25
  4. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Stockholm Edit) – 4:05*
  5. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Popular Extended Club Mix) – 10:21
  6. "My Love Sees No Color" (Electrolight Stockholm Extended Club Mix) – 11:04
  7. "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (El Lay Toya Acappella) – 3:56
  • (Re)Mix is only a dub/edit


  1. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (2017-03-11). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  2. ^ "50 Songs That Define the Last 50 Years of LGBTQ+ Pride". Pitchfork. 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. ^ a b "The 250 Best Songs of the 1990s". Pitchfork. 2022-09-27. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
  4. ^ Henderson, Alex. "RuPaul – Supermodel of the World". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  5. ^ Flick, Larry (1992-10-31). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  6. ^ Farber, Jim (2018-06-05). "'You better work': The influence of RuPaul's Supermodel of the World, 25 years later". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  7. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (1993-06-18). "Music: Dark's dancing melodies - Rock/Pop". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Masterton, James (1993-06-27). "Week Ending July 3rd 1993". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  9. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 26. 1993-06-26. p. 8. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  10. ^ Beevers, Andy (1993-06-12). "Market Preview: Dance" (PDF). Music Week. p. 8. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  11. ^ Howe, Rupert (1993-08-01). "Reviews: New Albums". Select. p. 103. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  12. ^ Frith, Mark (1994-01-05). "New Singles". Smash Hits. p. 53. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  13. ^ Flick, Larry (June 5, 1993). "RuPaul Changing The Makeup Of Pop Music" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 105, no. 23. p. 101. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Flick, Larry (1993-03-20). "Dance Trax: Miami Meet Works To Clear Commercial Cloud" (PDF). Billboard. p. 30. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  15. ^ "RuPaul - Supermodel (You Better Work) [Official Music Video]". YouTube. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  16. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (2017-03-11). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  17. ^ "50 Songs That Define the Last 50 Years of LGBTQ+ Pride". Pitchfork. 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  18. ^ "The 50 Best Gay Songs to Celebrate Pride All Year Long". Time Out. 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  19. ^ "RuPaul - Supermodel (You Better Work)" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  20. ^ "RUPAUL - SUPERMODEL (YOU BETTER WORK)" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  21. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 1993-06-26. p. 28. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  22. ^ "Canada Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1993". RPM. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  23. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  24. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1993" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "RuPaul - Chart history | Billboard". Archived from the original on 2015-11-24.