A night with Bianca Del Rio

Last Friday, my cousin and I headed to London’s Troxy theatre near Limehouse for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio’s latest show, Not Today Satan.

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Five rows from the stage

Filled with excitement, we arrived at the venue, of which the queue snaked around the building. We knew we had tickets for Row Y, but naively we didn’t realise it was the very last row at the very back. Being a mere 5 foot 2 and a lifelong glasses wearer, this proved to be a slight problem. The staff at the Box Office however, were so wonderful and were able to offer us tickets closer to the stage…. five rows from the front!!!

Now, I knew Bianca was going to be funny but in no way, shape or form was I prepared for the high volume of laughs that she was able to bring out of the audience. Although I was a little apprehensive, I was delighted to find that she was just as funny as when we saw her on Drag Race. In my opinion, she took the evening to the next level when she would come out with on the spot comments, which were reactions to the audience. By the end of the show, my face was aching and I had a stitch in my side.

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Bianca turnt us red, too!

What I love about Bianca, is that she is not afraid to go there. No race, gender or human on this planet is safe from her Rolodex of Hate. For the almost two hours she was on stage, she made you believe everything was great with the world. Although briefly mentioned, you didn’t dwell on Trump, there were no thoughts on the shit show called Brexit. It literally was just a barrel of laughs. I can’t wait to see her perform again!

If you didn’t get a chance to see Bianca on tour, do not fear… it’s coming to DVD soon. The performance I attended was one of the shows being recorded, so who knows… I may even be in it! Be sure to keep an eye on her website for more details. With all the crap going on in the world at the moment, watching Not Today Satan is something you won’t regret.

 

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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 Ongina

This pint-sized diva, known for her fierce fascinators, certainly packed an unforgettable punch during her season. A sweetheart from the moment she entered the werk room, this queen became the first to win two challenges! Here’s Ongina…

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I was routing for Ongina from the get go. Here enters this petite, feathered, high fashion queen telling all the other competitors how fabulous they were. As the introductions get under way, Ongina explains how she got her drag name – “my middle name is ong and god didn’t bless me with a certain ina.” She never failed to let her personality and quick-witted humour shine through on the main stage, whether it be through vogueing across the runway or during her interview with Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, in which they described the experience as “chit chatting with a girlfriend”. Ongina alsopicture-2 came out with one of my favourite words of the season – “maneltoe”. During the second episode, Girl Groups, Ongina admitted that she’d forgotten to wear underwear so needed to make sure that she tucked extremely well to avoid maneltoe (the male version of camel toe).

Ongina really showed what she was made of during the MAC Viva Glam challenge. During her commercial recording, and before admitting that she was HIV+, she said “I went for the route of celebrating life and making sure that you always think positively no matter what life throws at you. You have to appreciate what life has to offer. I mean, it’s a really big deal but you can’t let that be a downer in your life.” However, it was during her lipsync in the following episode that it was clear how incredible Ongina was. After the pair had performed, Ru was seen to excuse herself momentarily (in what I think is the only time she has done so), saying “this decision is too difficult. I need a moment alone.” Upon her return, Ru was seen holding her glabella (the bit in-between your eyebrows above the bridge of your nose) clearly unsure of who should sashay away. As Ru tumblr_mi3bdhsyer1s5d9hko2_r1_500said “though this breaks my heart to say…” I was screaming at my iPad “well, don’t say it RuPaul!” but sadly those were the days before Ru kept both contestants.

We may all know Ongina as a fierce lip-sync performer, but she actually has a full-time career as a visual merchandiser… well, Ryan does anyway. In one of her many revealing interviews, she admitted that she recently bought a barn which has 400 animals on it (although I can’t determine whether she’s joking or not). Making all her headpieces and fascinators, Ongina says “It really depends on what song I’m performing and what look I’m trying to pull together, but I make them… the one’s you see on the show, I’ve made”. ongina_dragu-beatriceneumann

I can’t deny that I had hoped to see Ongina appear on All Stars 2 as I feel that she should have (at the very least) made the final two, alongside Nina Flowers. In an interview a few years back, Ongina admitted that she would have loved to have popped out a box in a subsequent season. “I would’ve liked to come back for a different season to re-compete to show I am capable of doing more.” Here’s hoping we’ll see her gorgeous, smiley face in All Stars 3 in a couple of years time!

Be sure to follow this fierce queen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

All About Jade Sotomayor

jade_webShe may have been “nervous and shaking inside” the first time she stepped out onto the runway seven years ago, but her tribal-inspired, warrior outfit and striking confidence told a very different story. Welcome to the gorgeous, #OriginalFish, Jade Sotomayor!

You know you’re watching TV magic when a queen is genuinely lovely and incredibly beautiful. Jade exuded confidence and gave great stage presence every time she hit the main stage. This came through stronger than ever in the second episode when she choreographed a group routine to Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child. When teaching the girls the routine, Jade was very considerate making sure that everyone knew what they were doing and had the moves down, so that they had the best chance of succeeding in the challenge. Although this was sadly not to be, Jade came back fiercer than ever wearing a stunning sparkly blue outfit that a lot of people (myself included) would give anything to look half as good in!

jade-nestorJade’s confidence and nerve was questioned towards the end of her time on Drag Race. In one of the episodes, Ru asked Nina (Flowers) what advice she would give Jade. Nina said “you need to trust yourself and your instincts and be more out there. I think that you’re too shy.” Shannel added “If you thought you were as beautiful as we see you as being beautiful, then the sky’s the limit.” I think it’s safe to say that Jade has ticked all of these boxes since leaving the werk room! In the episode following Jade’s (unfair) departure, Shannel said “Jade embodies an all around, 110% beautiful person inside and out.”

Jade was introduced to the world of drag through some of her friends, who were also drag queens. Revealing in an interview that she went to see them in a show, she ended up falling in love with drag, before coming out to her mum and becoming a drag queen a week later! “I’m a big performer and doing drag is a big outlet, where I can express my talent and show how much I love to be on stage and perform.” Becoming a RuGirl is now considered to be the Olympics of drag, but it was tumblr_md1tzez2am1rkusqzo1_500actually close friend and season 5 contestant Monica Beverly Hillz who told Jade about the show. Admitting that the producers learnt a lot from their season, Jade revealed after the show had aired that, since they were locked in their rooms, she would often sneak out of the hotel’s window to meet up with the other girls before heading to a nearby bar to socialise. Reflecting on her experience, Jade more recently said “It’s been a whirlwind! Being able to perform all over and travel and meet so many different fans – that’s the best part, meeting the fans and just taking pictures with them.”

Find out where the undeniably divine Jade Sotomayor will be by following her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

All About Tammie Brown

Next up in my series of favourite RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants is Ms Tammie Brown… with an i e!

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This quirky queen’s entrance (or should I say exit) during the first episode certainly made an impression after she left the main stage up the red velvet stairs at the back of the runway. With the panel of judges in fits of giggles, Ru is heard softly saying “Oh, that’s my entrance and exit Tammie”. From then on, you knew this queen was a character. Tammie is known for her catchy phrases and words. One of my favourites was when she called Ru “tootsie-pop” in the second episode! Sadly, we didn’t get to hear as many of these epic Tammie-ism’s as we all wanted, after she sashayed away that very same episode. What was so sweet though, was to see Jade’s reaction when Tammie had decided she wouldn’t be participating fully in her lip sync – Jade looked gutted. It just showed that Tammie is as sweet and genuine as she had come across. They looked like they’d become genuinely good friends in the short amount of time they’d spent together. One thing that still makes me chuckle to this very day, regardless of how many times I’ve seen it, was when Tammie was defending herself as a lady in the Reunited episode. She said “look under my skirt and it’ll stick you in the eye though” (even as I type, I’m laughing!).

I’m ever so excited to announce that I got the chance to interview Ms Brown, who kindly answered my quick fire questions…

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Chloe: What made you audition for RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Tammie: Everyone in southern California was auditioning and so was I…

Chloe: What is your favourite memory of being on the show?
Tammie: Walking into the work room and seeing all the girls.

Chloe: Who would you want to get stuck in a lift with (past or present)?
Tammie: Nina Flowers or Kelly Mantle.

Chloe: If you could have any magical power, what would it be?
Tammie: To fix the environment – you know, the ocean, nature… we must help our mother, planet Earth.

Chloe: Have you visited the UK before?
Tammie: Yes, I have been to England, Ireland and Scotland. My favourite thing about the UK is a Sunday roast – I just can’t get enough…

Born in Texas, Tammie grew up in Mexico, which is why she is often heard spicing things up with Spanish words and phrases from time to time. As she entered the world of drag, Tammie had wanted to be known as Tootsie Turner, as she loves Tina Turner and her favourite film is Tootsie, an Oscar-winning film released in 1982 about an unsuccessful actor (played by Dustin Hoffman) who dresses as a woman in order to land a part in a soap drama. Since appearing on Drag Race, Tammie has used her exposure and worldwide fame to stand up for the good that needs to be done in the world. Using the hashtags #QueenWithACause and #FreeOrcas, Tammie frequently gets involved in a variety of campaigns that all work towards protecting the planet and the animals that live on it.

13743363_181040575644635_1097592916_nWhen Tammie appeared on Hey Qween! with Lady Red Couture and Jonny McGovern, Lady Red only had lovely things to say about her. Revealing that she “is always full of good advice and great energy”, it prompted Jonny to ask what the best piece of advice she had gotten from Tammie was. Lady Red replied, “She told me bitch, mind your business and keep your coin to yourself.” She then went on to end the show by saying that Tammie is “just such a special spirit. It’s hard to find people that you can laugh, eat and enjoy all at the same time”.

Check out Tammie’s amazing website as well as her Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with what’s happening on Planet Tammie.

16/31 There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza

16. What’s at the top of you’re bucket list?

I have a vague idea of the kind of things that are on my bucket list but I’ve never really sat down to write it and put everything in an order of things I’d want to do first. But, with that said, the things that have always remained a constant on my list have been…

  • Travelling to Borneo to see wild Orangutans
  • Heading to Uganda/Rwanda to track wild gorillas
  • Entering Tutankhamun’s tomb and retracing the steps of my relative, Howard Carter
  • Meeting all my favourite queens at RuPaul’s DragCon in L.A

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11/31 Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

11. List 15 of your favourite things

I foresee plenty of lists appearing this month… apologies in advance!

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  1. The Royal Family… I love the Queen but, I mean just look at him! Prince George is on a whole new level of cuteness!
  2. Inspirational quote signs (I’ve actually lost count how many I own)
  3. Notebooks.
  4. RuPaul and all of her fierce drag queens.
  5. Mermaids, rainbows and unicorns.
  6. My books – Workin’ It by RuPaul, Binge by Tyler Oakley and Life Is Short (no pun intended) by Jennifer Arnold, MD, & Bill Klein (from TLC’s show The Little Couple).
  7. Netflix. Some of my favourite shows include RuPaul’s Drag Race (no surprises there!), Orphan Black, The Big Bang Theory, Once Upon A Time, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Person of Interest, The Good Wife… so many!
  8. Dancing without a care in the world.
  9. Singing without a care in the world.
  10. West End theatre and live performances/gigs.
  11. Disney. Pixar. Warner Brothers. Kids films in general.
  12. Making lists and satisfyingly crossing the completed tasks off one by one.
  13. Brunch. Especially on a Sunday…
  14. Exploring new places and restaurants.
  15. Reading or learning new about new things whilst sat cosily on my bean bag with a nice cup of peppermint tea.
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Sunday brunch with my flatmates at Dishoom near London’s Kings Cross – Sausage and egg naan with masala beans and a pot of fresh mint tea

6/31 Do you hear what I hear?

6. Your 5 sense right now

Well I’ve just finished watching the semi-finale for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 so I’m on cloud nine right now…

Sight: It’s dark outside at the moment, so all I can see is my screen (of course) and my room, but it’s been glorious weather this week.

Hearing: After watching who made it to the top three on this seasons Drag Race (SPOILER ALERT: my two favourites Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi made it woo), I’ve decided to continue the fabulousness and am now listening (and lip-syncing) to RuPaul’s new album The Rusical… available on iTunes!

Taste: Umm… There isn’t a prominent taste taking over my palette right now but if I had to say something, it’d be toothpaste from brushing my teeth a few hours ago.

Smell: Chocolate. There’s some chocolate biscuits that are casually lingering on my desk, frequently catching my eye. Only one way to get rid of them… *nom nom*

Touch: The keys… ?!

2/31 Wait… you didn’t know?!

2. 20 facts about you

I have a feeling that this is going to be a tricky prompt… ten I could have managed but 20 facts just about me?! Well, here goes:

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My Queen… Amen!

  1. I’m addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race and love pretty much all of the queens that have walked through the ‘You Better Werk’ room doors.
  2. My favourite colour is duck egg blue.
  3. I own more pairs of socks than I care to admit.
  4. I’m a bit of a Netflix addict – entire mornings can disappear if I’m not careful.
  5. I love singing and dancing.
  6. When I’m at home, I’m often found in pyjama’s… I mean what’s the point in wearing your outdoor clothes, indoors?!
  7. I began and completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge in 2014.
  8. People find it odd that I don’t drink tea or coffee…
  9. If money was no object, I’d go to see a West End theatre show every single week.
  10. I have a very close family, which means the world to me, and am even related to Howard Carter, the guy who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.
  11. My Great Nan reached 104 and a half years young… the half is very important at that age.
  12. I’m obsessed with Mi backpacks. So far, I’ve got a peacock feather one, a gumball one, a galaxy print one, a duck egg blue polka dot backpack and one with elephants all over it.
  13. I’m commonly found wearing Converse hi-tops… wearing heels is for special occasions.
  14. For RuPaul’s BOTS, I temporarily dyed my hair blue. I loved it so much that I’m planning to dye it permanently blue – hopefully two tone, using cobalt and duck egg blue (of course!)
  15. Through my last job, I was sent on press trips to Iceland (Ice Age 4: Continental Drift), Norway (How To Train Your Dragon 2) and Slovenia (Postojna Cave), interviewed a robotic cockatoo (Nigel from Rio 2, with actor Jemaine Clement in another room) and even photographed the stars of TV on the red carpet at the National Television Awards.
  16. I have a BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management.
  17. I love afternoon tea… especially quirky ones such a Spanish or Thai themed.
  18. Working in children’s media means that I get to see many of the new films before they hit the cinemas and I’m a big kid who loves everything Disney, so I end up enjoying every single screening… sometimes even more than the kids that are actually there.
  19. I love unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. I even wanted to be a mermaid growing up… still do!
  20. Primates are my favourite animals (well, and dolphins and marine life of course), but I’ve been lucky enough to meet the famous Primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall three times and even helped her present awards.
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At the most recent Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Awards with my flatmate, Féaron, where we got to meet Dr Jane’s beloved Mr. H, which travels around the world with her.

1/31 So this is me…

  1. Introduction and recent photo
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25.03.16 – Ready to go to RuPaul’s Drag Race Battle of the Seasons London stop

My name’s Chloe and I’m a Staff Writer on the fantastic children’s magazine, The Week Junior. Living and working in central London, I get to explore the city fairly often, whether it be after work, running by the canal or wandering aimlessly on the weekend. I completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge back in 2014 and I thoroughly enjoyed writing and publishing every single post. Then, unfortunately, blogging somehow found itself on the back burner. But not for much longer…