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!

All About Victoria “Porkchop” Parker

To kick off my weekly RuPaul’s Drag Race posts, in celebration of the return of RuPaul’s All Stars, I’m going right back to the beginning… I mean, where else would I start than with the first ever contestant to sashay away from the show. So, without further ado, let me introduce Victoria “Porkchop” Parker!

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Miss Victoria Parker, whose friends call her Porkchop, was the fifth girl to enter the werk room on the first episode of the very first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, wearing a gorgeous black and red number. You could tell in an instant that she was a lovely person as she graciously greeted her fellow competitors. The episode was called “Drag on a Dime”, which sadly for Porkchop worked against her. Admitting “I can sew on a budget, I can sew a hole up in a dress and that’s about it”, she was not impressed with what she had produced for the main stage. Revealing that she hated her outfit Porkchop wasn’t going to let that get her down – “this is what I’ve got to work with so, I gotta make the best of what I’ve got”. Unfortunately, her garment landed her in the bottom two and after lip-synching to RuPaul’s song Supermodel, her time on Drag Race was cut short. Gracefully thanking the judges for the opportunity to appear on the show and wishing her competitors the best of luck, she exited stage right.

d7b874d9fc64e6387e8864f6b388f64aPorkchop began female impersonation on her 17th birthday, on 16 January 1987. Her friends gave her the nickname “Porkchop” because she’s a really good cook and makes, you guessed it, really good pork chops. She defines herself as a female impersonator as opposed to a drag queen as she creates a female illusion to entertain people. In an episode of RuPaul drives… (a World of Wonder web series), Porkchop talked about how appearing on the show actually resulted in her losing her job as a bar hostess. Her boss had told her that it was the worst decision of her life… it just goes to show how little her ex-boss knew! Porkchop once said that she wants to make her audience forget their problems. “I want everyone to leave all the bad stuff at home and enjoy me and the rest of the show for the hour or two that we’re there because that’s what it’s all about – it’s entertaining”.

It was clear to see that RuPaul herself was a Porkchop fan. In the RuCap episode, Ru introduced Porkchop by saying “she proved that big drag queens and big hearts go together”. For the seasons that followed, Ru will often shout “Hey Porkchop” during the majority of the finale episodes, which is super sweet to see eight years down the line. Ru always tells the truth, only saying what she believes in, which is how you know that Porkchop must be a lovely person that has a great energy about them – “I know, myself included, every at World of Wonder adores you.”

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Calling her fans her Choplets, Porkchop’s departing words before sashaying away were so inspirational. “I would like to send out to the plus size community, live your dreams, don’t let anyone stop you, don’t let your size stop you. I may have been the first to go but I made it here.”

To find out what Porkchop is up to and where she is performing next, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Fifteen minutes

#340: You have 15 minutes to address the whole world live (on television or radio — choose your format). What would you say?

I’d of course choose TV as I have absolutely no experience in radio (although my TV experience currently exists in a handful of projects).

I’d introduce myself first briefly, explaining what I do and what I love getting up to in my spare time (just to prove I have a human side and am not just my career). But I would admittedly, then use the remaining ten minutes to express how much I want to turn my new found passion of video editing, presenting and producing skills into a full time career. Hopefully, I would be able to impress potential employers and senior video editors/producers with my enthusiasm, my strong desire to improve my skills and ultimately progress within such a competitive industry.

Sink or swim

#337: Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?

Well, I’ll let my fellow bloggers decide whether it was a successful outcome…

For a little back story, it all began back in 2012 on my Iceland press trip (in celebration of the Ice Age 4 DVD release), where I was sent alone to represent the magazine among other publications and broadcasters from across the globe. I was also the guinea pig, the first person to do a filmed interview and a piece to camera, and without any training or practice I should add! The next filming opportunity that I was given, took place earlier this year, where I interviewed an animatronic Nigel the cockatoo from Rio 2 (Jemaine Clement was voicing him from another room) – as I’m sure everyone will agree, a most peculiar experience.

Thus bringing me to my latest project (as you can see above) – heading to Norway to celebrate the release of How To Train Your Dragon 2 on Blu-Ray and DVD. This was entirely my project; I prepared the scripts, presented and interviewed, as well as produced and edited each and every clip! It’s made me realise that this is what I want to do as a full-time career – even though it’s only my third project of this nature.

Check out my other clips below and let me know what you think!

FAQ

#319: Interview someone — a friend, another blogger, your mother, the postman — and write a post based on their responses.

Since I’ve left it so late to interview someone, I’ll have to fabricate this ever so slightly (based on today’s events). My interviewee’s are my family and after showing them the How To Train Your Dragon 2/Norway video projects I’ve been working on all week, I asked for their thoughts.

The general consensus was that I’d shown huge improvement from the two junkets I completed in my two and a half year career with the magazine, which was lovely to hear. I was told that I should be really proud considering I wrote, produced, presented and edited the entire thing – and I haven’t even had any training in this field!

Google and rescue operation

#310: What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?

The meaning of ‘subpoena’. So, for the past few months I’ve been glued to The Good Wife – I’m currently on season five, although I accidentally read a season 6 spoiler (grrr) so the sooner I catch up, the better! Since The Good Wife revolves around law firms and court rooms, people are pretty much subpoenaed left, right and centre.

Then, whilst I was swiping through today’s WordPress newsfeed, I spotted a story about Marvel subpoenaing Google over the leaking of the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer, and rightly so. People shouldn’t be able to leak footage or information of this nature, when the team behind it no doubt put so much time, money and effort into making it’s release (and overall product) as great as it possibly can be! But, that said, it caught my eye as I actually understood and recognised the terminology… I just googled for clarification.

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Image: http://moviepilot.com/

Original story: U.S. District Court grants subpoena over Avengers trailer leak.

Blank is the new blank

#294: Click over to your favorite blog, and pick out the 4th and 14th words (that aren’t “the” or “an”). Drop them into this phrase: “_____ is the new _____.” There’s your post title. Now write!

Lucky is the new carpet

Taken from: The National Television Awards 2014

Since I couldn’t decide on my favourite post (with almost 300 to choose from, it’s a pretty big ask of any blogger this far into the challenge), I decided to see what the blogging communities favourite was… and ta-dah! I also changed it a little, in choosing the 5th word instead of the 4th – I think some how “was is the new carpet” just didn’t make any sense… although I agree that “lucky is the new carpet” is equally as strange.

This could mean however, since being lucky is the new carpet, that people take it for granted by simply walking all over it, showing no appreciation. Carpet provides you with warmth and comfort regardless of the situation, which could also translate as a feeling when experiencing luck.

It would be great to hear more thoughts on my new saying…

Bloggers, unplugged

#281: Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

Hmm… I’m not sure if I do ever leave screens if I’m completely honest. I use them at work, I usually eat dinner in front of one and then I open up my iPad to check emails, spend some time checking my blog stats, Pinterest etc. I guess if the weather’s nice and I feel as if I need to give my eyes a break, I’ll head out – either for a spot of retail therapy or simply for a walk by the river (which then turns into a photography expedition… arguably another screen when instantly reviewing the shots?). The other thing I do when I’ve had enough, is sleep – good ol’ Netflix has now got me hooked on The Good Wife, so I tend to watch an episode before bed anyway.

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Image: www.hihimag.com

Fly on the wall

#200: If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?

This is tough as there are so many things I’d want to see. That said, I’d either chose between the discovery of Tutankhamun alongside my Great Nan’s Uncle, Howard Carter, or my other Great Nan’s wedding as she was just so cool and I only got to have her here for 24 years (which sounds like a long time but it was only a quarter of her life) or, more recently, I’d want to be a fly on the wall at one of the recording sessions of The Big Bang Theory. I’ve been trying to get tickets to this for months but they always seem to get snapped up within 5 minutes of becoming available! Even though it’s in LA, I am more than willing to fly all the way from the UK just to see my favourite TV show being recorded live. Nothing could make me happier!

365 Days of Writing Prompts rebellion: Live TV audiences

Since we are super close to press week and pretty much everyone I know outside of the office is at work right now, I decided to rebel against todays writing prompt. Instead I thought I’d share my TV experiences, which include Channel 4’s hit comedy programme The Last Leg and the BBC’s first live final of The Voice.

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I managed to get audience tickets for my family and I to see The Last Leg on the 14th March, the Friday after my birthday, as we are all massive fans of the programme ever since it started during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. My brother met me first as he only had lessons that morning and we went to get our favourite (quick) dinner courtesy of Tortilla – a huge, deliciously fresh burrito for £5… umm yes please! We didn’t have to queue very long for this show at all as it is only a small studio, but we didn’t expect to get seats ON the set, sat opposite the host Adam Hills (who I’ve met before) and behind his co-hosts, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe! It was so exciting to be amongst the thick of it and as always, we were laughing our way through it. Plus it was quite nice to see that during the ad breaks, they talk to the audience and really keep us entertained. I’ll definitely try to get more tickets for the next series!

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Then on the 22nd March we went to see the first live final of The Voice!

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This was a bit of rush in the end as I only received the email the afternoon before… but we still went for it and the show was like one long party. The downside was that you had to start from queueing from 2pm – six long hours before the show even started and it wasn’t a lovely sunny day as you’d like to have hoped! I’d rung ahead as soon I’d received the email as my dad has a bad back so wouldn’t have been able to stand for the entire show. Unfortunately, this had been forgotten and we were told that the only places left were standing… so after a brief word with a lovely member of staff, she found us some seats to the left of the stage closest to Ricky Wilson. After he’d looked over at us several times within the first part of the show, it finally dawned on us after spotting the signs under our seats, that this section was reserved for his guests… eeeek! So we thank him greatly for the fantastic seats (ooops). It was amazing to hear the later crowned winner, Jermain Jackman perform his incredible cover of Bruno Mars’ Treasure. I’d loved him from his blind audition and witnessing this performance, confirmed his star potential!

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Pictures: all (sneakily) taken by myself… which explains the poor quality!