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 1992 song by the dance music singer and drag queen RuPaul. It was the third single (but first major label single) from his album Supermodel of the World. The song was a dance club anthem that, though particularly popular with gay audiences, 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 from The Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack.

In 2017, BuzzFeed listed the song at number 42 in their list of The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s.[1] And in 2018, Pitchfork Media featured it in their list of 50 Songs That Define the Last 50 Years of LGBTQ+ Pride.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

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."[3] In 2017, Matt Stopera and Brian Galindo from BuzzFeed noted it as "the song that brought RuPaul mainstream success."[4] In 2018, Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly described it as a "pivotal single/lifestyle slogan" and added that the single "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."[5] 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."[6] Select noted its "catwalk cattiness" in their review of Supermodel of the World.[7]

Music video[edit]

The 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.

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the song peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 45 and the Hot Dance Club Play chart at number two. It sold nearly 500,000 copies there.[8] It was not only a hit in the US, it reached number four on the Canadian RPM Dance/Urban Singles chart and number 39 on the UK Singles Chart.

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.[13]

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


  • The song was covered by dance-pop singer Taylor Dayne on The Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack in 2003 though some lyrics were changed to tailor to the younger target audience of the film. The following lyrics were changed: "and making love to the camera" being changed to "and smile to the camera" and "a million dollar derriere" being changed to "a million dollar fairytale."
  • The song was featured in an episode of Beavis and Butt-head where Butt-head tricked Beavis into admitting he'd make out with RuPaul before informing him RuPaul was male. Butt-head then taunted Beavis about finding RuPaul sexy.
  • The song was included in the compilation All That "Hip Hop", in 2005.
  • Victoria Beckham walked and danced the song on a catwalk during The Return of the Spice Girls in 2007.
  • Iggy Azalea interpolated the song for live renditions of her single "Work" during her 2014 The New Classic Tour.[14]


  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 Media. 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. ^ "Billboard: Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  4. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (2017-03-11). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  5. ^ "'You better work': The influence of RuPaul's Supermodel of the World, 25 years later". Entertainment Weekly. 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  6. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 26. 1993-06-26. p. 8. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  7. ^ "Reviews: New Albums". Select. 1993-08-01. p. 103. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  8. ^ Flick, Larry (June 5, 1993). "RuPaul Changing The Makeup Of Pop Music" (PDF). Billboard. 105 (23): 101. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  9. ^ "RuPaul - Supermodel (You Better Work)" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  10. ^ "RUPAUL - SUPERMODEL (YOU BETTER WORK)" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  11. ^ "Canada Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1993". RPM. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  12. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1993" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Spanos, Brittany (May 5, 2014). "Iggy Azalea – Irving Plaza". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 11, 2014.