RuPaul Praises “Queen Of The Night” Susanne Bartsch: “You Gave Me My Big Break”

Susanne Bartsch: On Top screened Thursday night at NewFest, New York’s LGBT film festival, where RuPaul was on hand—well, on video—to fete the empress of nightlife.

“Susanne, you gave me my big break at the Copacabana back in the ’80s, and today you continue to inspire all of us,” Ru said in a taped message. 

“You provided a platform, and safe spaces, where LGBT artists can express themselves,” Ru gushed. “You brought our tribe together.”

Born in Switzerland, Bartsch has been a force to be reckoned with since the early 1980s, bringing together uptown and downtown at unforgettable parties, store openings, product launches, and more. (Her Love Ball raised millions for AIDS research.) 

You’re just as likely to bump into a Grammy winner or top designer at a Susanne Bartsch event as you are a drag queen or streetwalker.

Anthony&Alex’s new documentary chronicles Bartsch’s impact on nightlife, celebrity and New York itself, with interviews with Ru, Michael Musto, Amanda Lepore, and of course, Bartsch.

“You were really the one who championed me in New York—and really got me propelled to a place where I could pay my bills,” Ru told Susanne in a 2014 episode of RuPaul Drives.

“We were a good team,” the nightlife icon replied. “You were just such an addition to what I was doing. I started out with just me dressing up and eventually I wanted hookers and looks and god knows what and in the end it was Lady Hennessy. You were somewhere in between.”

Below, check out some of Susanne’s show-stopping moments with Marc Jacobs, Joey Arias, Cyndi Lauper, Pat Fields, Donna Karen, and, yes, Cher.