My first lesbian wedding, sunshine and old English gentlemen

Thankfully this week wasn’t as eventful as the previous, even if the city’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, did declare a public health emergency following the toxic air that descended upon London.

17th – time to plan:
On a Tuesday, the team would usually need to stay much later than 5:30pm to ensure that the magazine was completed in time for the Wednesday deadline. Now, we’re getting things complete so much quicker. This allowed me to spend time researching and planning ahead for future issues.

18th – sunshine:
I noticed when I got off the tube and begun walking towards the office that the sun was shining down on my face. This brought a feeling of calm and was a nice change from the cold, rainy weather we’ve had of late.

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19th – wedding invite:

Two of my good friends, Laura and Sarah, excitingly got engaged last October. Since they’ve got lots of friends, I wasn’t expecting to be asked to go but I was overjoyed when I received an invite! There’s nothing like planning for a wedding – even if it is six months away…

20th – working from home:
To promote our magazine, The Week Junior, we had a stand at Kidzania’s Careers Week event. Logistically it made no sense to go to the office for half an hour before leaving for my 11 o’clock start, so instead I worked from home for a couple of hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sun was shining, I missed the morning rush and I was able to have marmite on my toast! The little things… plus I had an absolute blast at Kidzania. I hope to work there again sometime.

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Kidzania, Westfield

I was also greatful for old English gentlemen:
Usually on the tube, people push to get on, terrified that it’ll leave without them. On my way back to the office, after working a couple of hours at Kidzania, a gentleman who was probably in his 80’s insisted that I get on the tube first even though I had been behind him on the platform. It was so kind!

21st – a decent sleep:
I decided to head home the previous night to suprise my mum as my plans had changed last minute. It was pure heaven to not have noisy neighbours above me hollering throughout the night.

22nd – slipper socks:
In the Christmas sales I treated myself to an unbelievably cosy pair of slipper socks that have the fluffiest of linings. They were practically glued to my feet all weekend as I refused to take them off!

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Not my snap – Yui Mok/PA

23rd – layers:
The increased pollution and dense fog meant that the temperature was also affected, making the morning commute a very chilly one.
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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 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.

28/31 Marching two by two

28. What are you looking forward to?

This week I was asked by one of my bestest friends if I wanted to march for Macmillan in this years London Pride Parade on the 25th June… my answer was of course YES!

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I’ve not been to any Pride celebrations before so this is going to be a huge experience for me. I’m looking forward to being among all the jubilation, the party atmosphere and surrounded by the most accepting people in all of London. They’re all my family! and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

I’m hoping that even though the parade doesn’t finish until 4pm, I’ll still get to see some of the Pride in Trafalgar gig… although they still haven’t announced who’s going to be performing which is super exciting!

So to anyone who may be heading to London to enjoy the day… HAPPY PRIDE!

 

Practice makes perfect

#265: Tell us about a talent you’d love to have…but don’t.

To be able to understand and use British Sign Language fluently – not a talent per se but a skill I long to possess. I know the fingerspelling alphabet but it’s not exactly going to get me very far in a conversation! My desire to learn this language was reignited whilst watching The L Word on Netflix, as from season 4 a deaf character joined the main cast (I’m still convinced, and fuming slightly, that it was a rush ending to the show as there are so many things that didn’t add up – plus with the average season consisting of 12 episodes and the final season only showing 8, there’s definitely reason to believe it came to a fairly abrupt end!). BSL is a truly amazing language and seems a complex one at that, but with over 70 million people using signing as their first language, I want to be able to communicate efficiently and remove any barriers that might have cropped up.

p.s. I’ve just realised that there are only 100 more blog prompts to go until the 365 day challenge is complete!