Brita hit the RuPaul’s Drag Race workroom with her bold personality, megawatt smile, and New York City sensibility leading the way. Sparkling runways and run-ins with her Season 12 sisters notwithstanding, Brita made a lasting impression on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I caught up with one of the leading names in New York City drag to chat about the fandom of Drag Race, how she merges political activism into her drag, and the lessons she learned from this life changing experience.
Michael Cook: Right off the bat it must be said; I speak for the city when I say that New York City is so proud of you after your run on RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Brita: Thank you, that means so much!
MC: Now that the Drag Race experience is in the rear view mirror, what are your thoughts on the experience as a whole?
B: Honestly, Drag Race is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. I went back and was thinking about it, and recalled that leading up to it, I worked forty three days straight for World Pride and then got the call. I had to get everything together and then I went straight into it. I realized that I needed to be a little bit more well rested (laughs)! I learned that I was very passionate and that it definitely comes out on the show. I have so much passion for the art of drag and I think that definitely came out while I was there. I learned that while I might be feeling a certain way, I need to think before I speak to people.
MC: The issues you had with some of the other girls, particularly Aiden Zhane, were buzzed about online. Is it safe to say the two of you have moved forward?
B: There were things that happened between me and my other people that were big things to other people. We are true sisters who love each other. Sometimes the claws can come out, but at the end of the day, we are sisters who love each other. I have met twelve of the most inspiring, kindest, lifelong friends from this experience. I learned a lot about myself and I am becoming a better person because of it. I think as someone who can look at what they have done on the show, I am taking away the fact that the person that I am seeing on television, I don’t necessarily like it. I have learned what I don’t like about myself and I am making myself better because of it. It’s more than just that; watching back, I definitely loved New York City, I said it enough! It’s a drinking game now (laughs).
MC: You are one of those queens who truly rose through the ranks in New York City through hard work and true dedication to your craft. Do you think that being the “Queen of New York City” was in your head when you got there and might have been a factor during the whole competition?
B: Honestly, I respect everyone that comes from New York City and New York is my home and my city. I really wanted to make everyone proud and I had that weighing on my shoulders the entire time. I really wanted to do it for New York. For New York and for all the other Drag Race girls from New York that came before me as well, they are all legends. I started drag because of Bob The Drag Queen, I saw his show. I wanted to make my fellow queens proud and I wanted to make my city proud. It’s the reason I do it, my community. That is why I went in there like that, I really believed it, looking back on it.
MC: This season was a heavy one for truly stellar New York based talent. Do you think it helped or hurt you having hometown sisters there?
B: I definitely think being on Drag Race and being there filming, they were truly my saving grace when I was there. We come from the same community and I am so close with all of them. It was like that little piece of home that you could always come back to, especially when you felt uncomfortable, it was amazing. I don’t think I would have been there as long as I was if I did not have them to lean on when I needed someone. It is definitely a mental challenge when you are there.
MC: Every year there are queens that the fandom seems to take hold off and really are harsh to online; this year you definitely got your share. What was it like experiencing the Drag Race fandom that so many people talk about?
B: The fandom, the hate that has been coming out of it has been a lot. Especially in a quarantine situation, not having your sisters or other people to lean on, or even just to be out there touring when you can show people, “actually I am good performer and a great person, you’ll see”! I used to be so obsessed with wanting everyone to like me and love me, and through being on the show, watching it back and the fandom that has come with it, I realize that I have such an incredible group of people supporting me. I have a core group who appreciate and love me and that is what I have been trying to focus on. I realize now I don’t need all of that other noise. These people know who I am and see past what has happened on the show. I am really grateful. The reason I do drag is for those people. People need to realize, it is a television show; there are more colors to us than just what is being shown on the show.
MC: You had some amazing performances on the show, what do you think your favorite moment was?
B: Honestly, it had to be the group number. Collaborating with the other girls is amazing, whenever artists can collaborate I’m there; you know, she loves a production number (laughs)!
MC: So many queens from New York City are buzzed about to be part of RuPaul’s Drag Race each and every season. What New York City doll would you love to see on the show?
B: Jasmine Rice LaBeija. She is my end all, be all. Without a doubt.
MC: You are very politically active, even performing at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. this winter. What do you think it is that makes you want to be so politically active, especially when others are afraid of doing so?
B: You know, I feel like drag started as politically driven, and we are the spokespeople for our community. No one is not going to listen to a seven foot tall man in a dress and I think people will listen! That is why I am politically active; because I have something to say, and we have microphones in our hand every day. I also am the chair of Drag Out The Vote, which is a nationwide initiative where we are encouraging people to vote and registering them. This is an election year and it is the most important one yet. I am so honored to be a part of it. I did an event with them and they made me the chair with Phi Pho O’Hara and we are doing great work to get the word out.
MC: Where do you want to be five years from now?
B: I really would like to be on television more. I want to tour the world. I really just want to show my art to people. I really want to do things that no other drag queen has done before, I would love a sitcom. I just want to collaborate with amazing people to make meaningful queer art.
For more info on Brita click here
For more info on Drag Out The Vote click here