Nina West is one of those drag queens that evoke happy thoughts when you think of them. The RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 contestant became an instant fan favorite the minute she walked into the werk room earlier this year.
Many of us (myself included) were crushed when she was eliminated on the show’s 11th episode in a controversial lip sync that saw her sashaying away and one of her competitors (Silky Nutmeg Ganache) staying.
The Columbus native talked about that elimination, which she said left her “heartbroken”, and so much more when I chatted with her at RuPaul’s DragCon in New York City last weekend. She also discussed advice for future RPDR contestants and if she’s taken or single and ready to mingle.
So, what brings you to RuPaul’s DragCon this year?
I love DragCon because it’s an opportunity to get in with the fans and who want to come and love the art form of drag and support drag and have a great time. It’s awesome.
Can you describe what this past year has been for you in one word?
Insanity. You do the show and then you go away for nine months and don’t talk about it with anybody. And then suddenly you’re announced and everyone says ‘I can’t tell you what you’re in for! Just be ready!’ And then you’re like, ‘Well, what does that mean?’ And then all of sudden it happens, and you have no idea what to prepare for. You have no idea how to maneuver, you just have to keep your head down and stay focused and be ready to work.
That has been the biggest lesson, I mean, granted, I’ve been doing drag for 18 years, so, I know how to work. I have a work ethic down but Drag Race is a whole other level, girl. It’s global, and when you think it isn’t global, bitch, you have people messaging you from England saying, ‘I love you!’ and I’m like ‘This is a joke! This is not real! This is a lie!’ It’s surreal.
So fun fact, I quote you now whenever I have sex with a guy that’s not up to par. I say ‘Meh’.
(Laughter). You know, what happened… happened. In the moment of it all I was heartbroken and I thought this is how America is going to see me. They are going to see me as a poor entertainer and a poor lip syncer and someone who is not an entertainer, which is something that I’ve done for 18 years up to this point. They are going to tell me I’m not good and the world is going to see me as not being GOOD!
So, I was really worried about that and then the episode aired and the moment happened. I don’t believe in an edit and I don’t believe that they give you an edit. I believe that they give you what you get and for me it all worked out in the end.
Single or dating?
Do you identify yourself as anything in the gay community?
I think a cub more so. Only because I’m not hairy… but I am big.
Favorite city you’ve been to so far?
2: London and I really loved Kansas City. It’s middle America. I loved it.
What advice would you give to future RPDR contestants?
Drag Race has now been on for 11 seasons, if you’re going to be on season 12 or season 15, you should be well enough aware to know that everything they are filming has a potential of who you are going to be. So be aware. People can tell when you’re being authentic and people can tell when you are being disingenuous and people can tell when you’re being you. And there’s no other way around it. Just be yourself.
To learn more about Nina click here.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Nina West talked to Instinct Magazine exclusively about her wild ride that she’s been on since entering the show’s werk room earlier this year.