All About Nina Flowers

kbs_94321LOCA! This queen may have looked fierce every time she stepped out onto the runway but as we soon discovered, she has a heart of gold. The only queen from Season 1 not to have been in the bottom two lip syncing for her life and the first to ever enjoy a legendary tic-tac lunch with Mama Ru (in my eyes, the true winner of the first season of the best show in the world). Prepare yourself for the fabulousness that is Miss Nina Flowers!

Nina Flowers provided us with so many incredible moments in Season 1 – from nailing the carwash photoshoot and winning the very first challenge, to vogueing it out on the runway and (rightfully) winning Miss Congeniality later on in the season. Aside from being an absolute sweetheart that the other queens could only ever say good things about, Nina’s sense of humour was top notch. Instead of crumbling when things went a little wonky, Nina knew how to laugh at herself. For example, during the teleprompter challenge, Nina ever so sweetly read out “This is your name, good night”… instantly cracking up as she realised what she had said. Another stellar example of her vibrant sense of humour was during the mini challenge with the female fighters in the makeover episode. After straddling the punchbag and showing it who was boss, doing a move that they called the “ground and pound”, Nina shouted “Don’t talk back to my face bitch!” at the punchbag. I’m in stitches every time I see that scene!

kbs_9596-x3-427x640During the MAC Viva Glam episode, Nina revealed that recording the message would be a challenge as she thinks in Spanish and sometimes doesn’t know how to translate some words. In my opinion, she had nothing to worry about – she looked fierce and got the message across perfectly. What I also thought was really lovely and showed off her beautiful character, was that as she left the set she thanked the two models (later to be known as the Pit Crew), which the other queens did not. In the voiceover, as she pummelled the runway in her iconic feathered cuffs, she said “If I like what I see, it doesn’t matter what anybody else has to say… because I feel good about myself ”. This should be the mantra in everyone’s life!

One of my favourite episodes was the Absolut Vodka one where Nina transformed herself into Miss Mango. Having to prepare three looks that week (swimsuit, executive realness and an eleganza evening gown), Ru asked Nina during the walkthrough who she’d be drawing inspiration from for her executive realness look. “I’m basing the executive woman in the image of my mom… She was not only my mom, she was my best friend. She always encouraged me to go for the things I wanted in life”.

nina-flowers2Nina may have dedicated herself to the art of female impersonation for over 20 years, but she is also an incredibly talented DJ. You can tell Nina has rhythm flowing through her veins after she nailed the choreography for RuPaul’s music video, Cover Girl. During the iconic lunch with Ru, she told Nina “You’re a legendary queen and I cannot tell you how happy I am to have you here”.

I’m overjoyed to reveal that I had the pleasure and privilege to interview Miss Nina… something I feel deeply honoured to have done. Read on for her fabulous answers!

Chloe: What made you audition for RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Nina: I had recently moved to Denver, Colorado, and I was still looking for work, so it was an opportunity considering my schedule was flexible. A friend of mine from Puerto Rico told me about an online competition for Drag Queens to appear on a reality TV show. Drag performers on TV – never heard of it, so I was happy to fill out a profile.

Chloe: If you were to be cast in Season 9, who would you play in Snatch Game and why?Nina: Cyndi Lauper, she has always been one of my biggest inspirations. In fact, she was my #1 choice for All Stars, but at the very last minute I changed everything. I really thought it would be interesting to bring some of my Latin culture into the show, plus I wanted to challenge myself, so chose La Lupe.

f32e0d21e2bd2a6a73ced1785fb8706bChloe: Who or what inspires Nina’s incredible style?
Nina: I’m a child of the 80s. While my name was inspired by one of my all time favourite punk rocker artists, Nina Hagen, she has also inspired many of my looks. I’m also inspired by artists such as Boy George, Cyndi Lauper and Annie Lennox, to name a few.

Chloe: What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Nina: I’m very particular about my music…kind of like my drag. I don’t listen to radio that much. I like stuff that is very progressive and raw. My favourite at the moment is Isaac Escalante & Xavier Santos feat Alan T – Like A Man (Original Mix).  It’s super hot!!

Chloe: If you were to get stuck in a lift (elevator), which celebrity would you want to be in there with (past or present) and why?
Nina: In a situation like that I would want to be stranded with someone incredibly funny so that they would make me forget I’m stuck in an elevator. I would love to go through that with the mother of punk rock, and as I mentioned previously my #1 of all times, Nina Hagen. She is hysterical and the bitch can sing! So I’m sure she’d be making jokes and singing in that elevator…lol

Chloe: If you could have any magical power, what would it be and why?
Nina: Make everyone smile. Things are so different when people smile at you. A smile makes everything feel right, makes everyone feel like they belong. A smile is so powerful – it can wash away all your insecurities. Smiling is priceless.

i8fbqyeChloe: Have you visited the UK before and if so, what’s your favourite thing about it?
Nina: Yes, I visited about two years ago. I loved it – the people, the architecture, the culture… everything. I had the pleasure of performing at West 5 Bar, in London; The Village Inn in Birmingham, and Cheerz in Aberdeen. Now I look forward to visiting again, but this time for my music.

I just want to say a huge thank you to Nina for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions – it will forever be appreciated. I hope to see you perform and/or DJ one day, whether that be here in London or over in the U.S. Stay fiercely fabulous!

Check out Nina’s off the chart soundcloud at www.soundcloud.com/nina-flowers and her incredible website. Also be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too!

5/31 Music is my life… literally

5. 10 songs you love right now

I’m obsessed with music. It doesn’t matter what emotion I’m feeling, music has the power to cheer me up, help me celebrate life or just as a form of release if I’ve had a stressful day.

That said, in no particular order…

  1. Will.i.am – Boys & Girls. I didn’t like this song when I first heard it performed on BBC’s The Voice, but the more I heard it, the more I grew to like it. It’s very accepting no matter which walk of life you follow.
  2. Rihanna – Work. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t enjoy dancing to this one?!
  3. Tinie Tempah – Girls Like. I’ve been listening to this guys songs since uni and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
  4. Fifth Harmony – Work from Home. Another good one to boogie to.
  5. Major Lazer – Light It Up. This is a song that you can be free with.
  6. Craig David – Nothing Like This. I’m so pleased that Craig David came back on the scene… destined for stardom since Rewind!
  7. Sia & Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills. What a collab…
  8. Selena Gomez – Hands To Myself. Again, this was another one I didn’t much care for when I first heard it but there’s just something about the beat that draws me in every single time.
  9. Meghan Trainor – No. The rap bits I could like without but this is a good song to belt out in a club after a few too many alcohol beverages.
  10. Zara Larsson – Lush Life. No explanation needed.

My favourite songs are forever changing… so tomorrow it’s quite possible that I could have a new list!

Jess Glynne at MTV’s Lockdown

The divine Jess Glynne!

The divine Miss Glynne!

This week I had the honour and privilege to be in the audience as part of MTV’s new show, Live Lockdown, starring the incredibly soulful and uplifting voice that is of course… the one and only…*drumroll*… Jess Glynne!

It was late Monday night when I received the email, inviting me to be a part of an intimate gig with this British singer-songwriter from North London. Of course, I didn’t even have to think about it – I immediately clicked the link and applied for my tickets. In the back of my mind, I knew that my chances of getting the tickets were slim as with over fifty-six thousand followers on Twitter, almost eighty thousand on Instagram and a number one solo single that topped the UK charts for three consecutive weeks under her belt, there were a lot of Glynners to compete with! So, I tried not to get too excited by the prospect that I could be listening to her extremely powerful voice live… although that didn’t stop me from playing her hits before I drifted off to sleep (check out one of my favourites below!)

It was during my lunch hour the next day that I received a second email from the audience company… I’d been approved! I couldn’t contain my excitement as I read the crucial words “Jess Glynne on MTV Lockdown – Your Tickets” and with that, let out an involuntary little squeak of sheer joy (much to everyones clear surprise judging by the looks on their faces… not that I cared of course!).

Fast forward to Thursday and it was time to party, so I donned my dancing heels and hopped on the tube! We arrived at the secret filming location in plenty of time and joined the queue… albeit in the pouring rain. Although to everyones relief, the staff kindly let us in 15 minutes earlier than they should have because of the awful weather. As we all piled in one by one, we were wristband-ed and led into a large village hall-esque room (which by the looks of it was actually a large rehearsal studio). We were numbers 29 through to 32 so I thought that we were for sure getting in – but then they started calling in the priority people… 1-100! Eeeek! Thankfully, the venue was a lot bigger than I’d expected and we managed to find ourselves in the second row directly behind the band… can you believe it?! Plus I might even be able to spot myself on TV, boogie-ing with my folks like there was no tomorrow (unfortunately there was a tomorrow… a tomorrow in which my feet were definitely paying the price of the previous nights added height – but it was all worth it!).

We settled into our places and the presenter (whose name I’ve already forgotten… oops, sorry!) recorded all of her intro/outro bits and pieces, which I found extremely fascinating as it reminded me of the handful of times I’ve done on-camera presenting for work (click here to check out my most recent How To Train Your Dragon coverage, recorded in Norway). And then it was time… the stage was set, the band were in place and the lasers were out in all their glory.

Jess Glynne's upcoming album, I Cry When I Laugh

Jess Glynne’s upcoming album, I Cry When I Laugh

I’m not going to spoil it for people waiting to watch it on MTV, but Jess was absolutely, 100% on FIRE! She sang everyones favourite hits; Hold My Hand, Right Here and Real Love; as well as two incredibly uplifting songs from her new album, I Cry When I Laugh (out 14 August), called Ain’t Got Far and Gave Me Something. I’d not heard these tracks before but I’m already addicted to them both! Her lyrics are so heartfelt and truthful – I know that they will be empowering for many women (and no doubt, men) across the world who have ever felt different or at all segregated in their lives. Bring on the album release, I say… bring it! In-between each track, Jess took the time to talk to us and really acknowledge the audience, which was so lovely. She came across as a very humble and down to earth independent woman, and sang as if it was as easy as blinking – absolutely effortless. I’ve never witnessed anything like it!

I foresee that Miss Glynne and her gorgeous copper curls will be in very, very high demand after everyone’s ears have been graced with the magic of her album later this year, and I hope that she goes on tour asap, as I could easily listen to her for hours! Stay amazingly flawless Jess!

Be sure to listen to Rather Be (below) too – this clever collab with Clean Bandit (more stars in the making) was one of the fastest selling singles of 2014 and also scooped Best Dance Record at this years Grammys!

Everything changes

I don’t know if others find the same thing where they live, but people seem to be a lot happier when the sun’s out… especially in London! Maybe because we don’t get to see it very often and we’ve just had winter (and very little snow), but wandering around a sunny capital during your lunch break is a glorious experience…

Designed by myself

Designed by myself

Mixtape masterpiece

#279: You make a new friend. Make them a mixtape (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.

Hmm… a tricky one! I don’t know whether there are songs that could sum up or narrate my life – and I’m not saying it to insinuate that my life is completely different from every other persons on the planet, but purely that I’ve never thought of songs in that way. So instead, I’m going to examine my (current) favourite songs, to see if there is any relevance…

Pentatonix – La La Latch. The ‘La La La’ parts of the song of the song refer to families future responses to upcoming (exciting) decisions and the ‘Latch’ parts refer to a new interest in my life.

Pentatonix – Rather Be (cover). Again, referring to a new interest.

Sigma ft. Paloma Faith – Changing. Referring to a part of my life that I hope is going to continue to change over the next 6-12 months… exciting times!

Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass. I believe that the use of PhotoShop to manipulate models images for glossy mags/billboards etc, should stop as it’s damaging to tonnes of teens around the world. Fair enough, I’m only a size 8-10 but women should be portrayed as healthy weights and as Megan rightly references… no plastic, stick thin barbie dolls!

Pharrell Williams – Happy. Self explanatory 😀

The Lion King – Hakuna Matata. A motto that I try to live by… it means no worries for the rest of your days!

Les Miserables – Little People & Do You Hear The People Sing. Just because some of the verses are very relevant at the moment (and I LOVE Les Mis!) – plus I’m only 5″3, so Little People signifies that height doesn’t restrict an individuals capabilities.

Hercules (Disney’s) – Go the Distance. As I believe that I can (and will) achieve great things in my lifetime.

And I couldn’t write this post without including… Frozen – Let It Go! Signifying that I’m ready for the next stage of my life, no matter what anyone would think of me.

Eye of the beholder

#278: Describe what it feels like to hear a beautiful piece of music or see a stunning piece of art.

Since I’ve never been that much into art, my answer will mostly reference the discovery of beautiful music. When new music is heard for the first time, I tend to get goosebumps just because of how good it is. Anything else I am doing at that precise moment tends to freeze – my focus and attention is solely devoted to the absorption of the song. I am then most likely to hit the repeat button (if possible) and continue to listen to it on a daily basis. Hearing a beautiful piece of music leaves me in complete awe of the artist.

365 Days of Writing Prompts Rebellion: Papaoutai

Let me first start with, you’re very welcome! This amazing video was only published last week but I’m absolutely addicted to their cover version of Belgian singers Stromae’s song Papoutai. Admittedly, I haven’t got a clue what it’s about (the only bit I think I understand is in the chorus – ‘where are you Papa?’) but there’s just something about it that is so endearing. So, I thought why not share it!

I haven’t quite managed to learn all of the words yet because it’s just so fast… although I know that I will have mastered it before this month is out, that’s for sure!

I hope you enjoy watching their amazing video and do let me know what you think!

Bookworms

#257: Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.

Apologies for the lateness… Today I was at the incredible Invictus Games in London, supporting the worlds bravest, most inspiring wounded servicemen and women – aka heroes. It was the most incredible day.

But anyway, the task in hand. The nearest book – Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, Mad about The Boy. Tenth word on a randomly opened page – airily. Hmm… It seems that Airily is a brand of bizarre looking headphones – far from what I expected to see! The image of the headphones bring parties to mind, but that could be linked to the fact that I was just watching a TV programme where one of the main characters is a DJ… who, by coincendence, wears headphones! It also makes me think of a friend of mine who doesn’t like dancing or clubbing, but who I’d really like to go clubbing with (if that makes sense). Who doesn’t like to boogie every now and again?!

365 Days of Writing Prompts rebellion: Pentatonix!

I’ve decided to rebel against todays blog prompt, as I don’t have enough time to think of a story (be it fiction or non-fiction) that ends in a clever twist. So instead, I thought I’d share this fantabulous new song, which has now become an obsession… I loved Disclosure’s Latch when it first came out last year and I adore Pentatonix, so to have the two combined is a match made in heaven! 

Comprised of five members (Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola), Pentatonix are an acapella group who create their amazing music using only their vocal chords. My brother introduced me to this group back at the beginning of 2012 with their amazing cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know… immense! Pentatonix then became champions (of course) of NBC’s The Sing Off in 2011, which launched them into further success and they began touring last year. I have now seen them perform live twice and both times they were absolute perfection!

As well as creating La La Latch, the following covers and mashups are amongst my favourites, and seriously if you haven’t heard any of their songs before, listen to them now! You can thank me later.

* Problem – Arianna Grande

* Daft Punk mashup

* Happy – Pharrell Williams

* Say Something – A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

* Evolution of Music mashup

* We Are Ninjas – Inspired by the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie