Last Words With RuPaul's All Stars Tammie Brown and Nina Flowers
Last Monday alterna-drag queens Tammie Brown and Nina Flowers were eliminated on RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race. However, questions surrounding their departure still linger. Where are they now? Who is La Lupe? Which planet is Tammie Brown really from? Each week The Advocate will be interviewing the departing All Stars contestants to get the scoop (or as some might say, the “T”), behind questions such as these. This week, we received some final words of wit and wisdom from team “Brown Flowers.”
The Advocate: How did it feel for both of you to get a second chance at Drag Race? How did you prepare?
Tammie: I was on top of the world knowing that I was asked to be on All Stars. I prepared by getting my team together — Dusti Cunningham and Rodrigo Beeroso, who is my creative partner — and organized everything I would need to prepare for the show: wardrobe, attitude, and zingers.
Nina: It was fantastic! This was All Stars, so to be considered and invited was a privilege. As far as preparing, my strategy was to be myself and play the game with no expectations. This was the same approach I took on season 1.
What was it like working with each other? Did the fact that you were both representing season 1 influence your relationship?
Tammie: Nina and I knew each other from season 1, and we are both spiritual people and sentimental. We didn’t care about the politics associated; we were there to entertain our fans.
Nina: It was fun! Tammie is amazing, and we have become good friends since the first season. I have a lot of respect for her art.
Why did you choose your respective celebrities to impersonate?
Tammie: Because Tammy Faye Messner is a really cool person and I resemble her. She’s kind of like me … zany and fun.
Nina: As a child, I grew up listening to La Lupe's music with my family, and I have always been a fan of hers. I wanted to impersonate someone who I could relate to culturally. I also thought it was a great idea to bring something new to the table by impersonating someone totally different than what people are used to.
Looking back on the episode, what would you have done differently in order to win the challenge?
Tammie: I don’t think I lost the challenge. I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I have to be myself and follow my heart.
Nina: I think if I would have played a different character everyone else knew, I would have had a different fate. I have no regrets in what I did, and I'm proud that I followed my instincts. And so is the Latino community around the world!
How did you decide who would lip-synch for your lives?
Tammie: We did it based on the songs.
Nina: We talked about it the morning before the elimination day. She felt really secure about the song, and for some reason I couldn't really connect with the song. I was ready to lip-synch, but I didn't feel as passionate as she did.
Tammie, the heat was on between you and the judges — particularly when you pointed out a makeup line on Michelle’s visage. What upset you about her critique?
Tammie: They sit there and judge us when who are they to judge. I have an associate’s degree in fashion and know my drag race history. They knock us down to make good TV, and I’m not going to just sit there and take it. I’m an artist first and foremost.
As one of the first queens ever eliminated (from season 1!), you seemed like a dark horse candidate for All Stars. Were you surprised when they asked you to join the show?
Tammie: I was number 2 to go, with catchphrases to boot. I felt that I should be back on All Stars. I stand out and my fans love me for that.
It’s been almost three years since we first saw you both on Drag Race. How has this show impacted your life?
Tammie: I now have a fan base worldwide and am recognizable on the streets. It has helped me be able to connect with others and to have my art and music accessible to everyone. It’s great to know that I can touch people’s lives in that way.
Nina: It has opened so many doors. I'm traveling both nationally and internationally. The response from fans has been amazing and overwhelming. I'm humbled by it. The show has allowed me to take my career to the next level.
Nina, although you are originally from Puerto Rico, you’ve made Denver your home. For you, what is the most striking difference between these two drag cultures?
Nina: You would be surprised. Drag in Puerto Rico is very serious. The kids start at a very early age. They are so amazing and talented. That's why there is always a Puerto Rican queen on the show. Here in Denver, it's happening. We have come a long way. When I moved here, there was not much happening for drag entertainment. Now, many gay nightclubs have drag shows. I'm currently the host of the biggest drag show in Colorado, "Drag Nation." It takes place the last Friday of every month in one of the best and largest gay nightclubs in the country, Tracks Nightclub. You should come visit us sometime!
What projects are you working on? What’s next?
Tammie: I have been working on my album Hot Skunx and have been working on my acoustic show, photo shoots with world-renowned photographers, and living my life. I am also working on a Tammie Brown variety show.
Nina: I'm working on a new single with DJ and producer MDW titled "The Queens." Music is my passion, and very soon you will see me remixing songs for big names. My schedule is full all the way until March of 2013. Fans can keep track of me and find out about future presentations through my website.
Are you still walking the children in nature, Tammie?
Tammie: No, I no longer volunteer with the Children’s Nature Institute.
Fans of DR might miss the “lipstick on the mirror” farewell message from parting contestants. What is the legacy or message you want to leave after your RuPaul's Drag Race experience?
Tammie: For people to follow their hearts and be true to themselves. Enjoy your life. You only live once.
Nina: My legacy would be to "stay true to yourself, and when you make it all the way to the top, remember where you came from."
How do you define an “All Star”?
Nina: Classy, talented, edgy, glamorous, and original.
Tammie: I would define an All Star by saying … Tammie Brown.