This week marked the makeover episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. This season the queens were tasked with transforming the crew members into their drag children, turning the tables (and the cameras) on the usual production. Afterward, the pair had to perform a chorographed number on the runway.
Alas, not every contestant gave a gagworthy makeover. Nina Bo'Nina Brown and Shea Coulee had to lip-synch for their lives; the latter, after a fierce competition, was asked to sashay away.
The Advocate asked Brown about the elimination, besting Valentina on last week's episode, and the story behind her multisyllabic name.
The Advocate: What is the best part of giving a drag makeover? Brown: The best part is having the opportunity to see your work and transform someone into a masterpiece.
What inspired your bunny look for the runway? I was inspired by the iconic Playboy bunny and thought the approach would be different enough to stand out in the competition.
Your look is so distinctive compared to the rest of the competition. Why is it important for you to incorporate not only feminine aspects in your drag, but also transformations that transcend species and reality? Even if I turn myself into an alien or some other wild creature, femininity is still at the core of everything I do because that is what drag is all about. I want to show that even if I am a creature, I can still be beautiful. There is beauty in all life.
You had quite an emotional conversation with your crew member about depression and dealing with negativity. Did your talk with him give you perspective? Definitely. And I am really glad I was paired with Aaron. We had a great conversation and he really understood where I'm coming from. It really made the experience more meaningful despite the outcome of the challenge.
How do you deal with self-doubt today? I really haven't found a perfect remedy. But what helps me hold back those feelings is my artwork, creating, and the support from friends and fans.
Have your sewing skills improved since the competition? And also, do you think sewing should be considered necessary to be the next Drag Superstar? Not at all! I don't think sewing is a "must-have" skill. Each queen has their strengths. Sewing is just one aspect of drag and should not be the factor on whether someone is picked for the show or not.
If you could go back in time, what would you change to avoid landing in the bottom two? I would have picked a different costume and ditched the bunny. I would have gone with something that is more traditionally drag and kept it safe.
What was going through your mind when you were lip-synching against Shea? That there is no way I'm sending her home. I felt like it was my time.
How did you feel about your elimination? Look, it was the third time I was in the bottom, so I didn't have any illusions that I was coming out of that lip-synch on top. It was just my time to go.
How did it feel to beat Valentina on last week's lip-synch? You seemed conflicted about the win. I was conflicted about winning that lip-synch. I didn't feel good about it given the circumstances and felt guilty that she was even in the bottom to begin with.
What was your reaction when Peppermint came out as transgender this season? I didn't really have a reaction. Of course we were all supportive after she told us in the workroom. I didn't really know Peppermint before the show and had no idea.
Has the election changed the way you thought about drag, and your goals as a performer? No matter who is in the White House, drag will continue to exist, evolve, and empower people.
Are you a part of "The Resistance" against the current administration? I still think it's too early for that. I'm waiting to see what else has to come from this administration.
What was the highlight of your time on the show? The first episode, meeting Lady Gaga, having that win, and meeting all the queens. It was the highlight for me.
What would you show the world if you had more time? I really would have liked to shared some of my most avant-garde looks themed around rainbows and unicorns. Guess folks will just need to tune into the finale and reunion episodes.
Who are you rooting for among the remaining contestants? Though I hate to say it, I really like that Trinity has shown that she is so much more than just a pageant queen. I think some people thought Trinity would be the first to go, but she has really surprised everyone and could take the crown.
What's the story behind your drag name? It's really a three-part evolution. "Nina" actually came to me in a dream; the "Bo'Nina" was something I heard a fan shouting out to me during a performance years and years ago; and "Brown" was just a boring add-on I tossed in there to cap it off.
What's next? I honestly don't know. I want to go with the flow, continue performing, and see what comes to me.
Thanks, Nina! Enjoy one last makeover with the contestant below.
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