Many dolls use the platform that RuPaul’s Drag Race provides them with as a launching pad, but Latrice Royale has decided to use it to shoot her completely into the stratosphere! Between her own sublime stage show Here’s To Life to performing as (and helping create) “Faberge Legs” on the Netflix series AJ and the Queen to purchasing her own pageant in South Florida, Latrice is one of the busiest gals in the business. She also somehow finds quality time with her husband, performer Christopher Hamblin, as they settle in their South Florida home and look towards their next career goal. I caught up with Latrice (and Christopher) and we talked about being a breakout television star, performing for a hometown crowd, and what this power couple have planned for their future.
Michael Cook: Your performance of your one woman show Here’s To Life at Aventura Arts And Cultural Center was a true “Homecoming” in every sense of the word. How did it feel to put on a show that was so well received?
Latrice Royale: It feels great. It was a little nerve wracking, home crowds are always your toughest critics, but this is where it all started. It was a full circle moment. Friends and family came, there was re-connecting with old friends, all of that is amazing.
MC: You have been very open about your the challenges in your life, and discuss them during the show at length. Is it different in front of a hometown crowd that know you so intimately?
LR: I am real comfortable because it’s the truth, it’s the facts. If I was making something up it would be one thing, but no; the truth is far too entertaining (laughs)! I’m right at home and it just brings back memories and everyone is going “oh yeah”; it just puts all of the pieces together.
MC: You were a breakout star on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Four, but those days seem like so long ago now. You have now started your own pageant and will be helping dreams come true for you own set of ladies. Tell me about it.
LR: Yes, I have my own pageant, Pride South Florida. I am a former winner actually, I won the pageant back in 2004. After 2007, it just died and no one wanted to produce it. Once I got on Drag Race, I said “where is this system”? I had a meeting with them and bought the pageant from them. I’ve been the producer now of that pageant for eight years.
MC: South Florida is known to have a massive amount of talent, don’t you think that is fair to say?
LR: Baby, we work hard for the money down here. It’s also so competitive, so you really have to have something special to even get a gig here. So you better bring it!
MC: So many girls in South Florida are amazing; who are some of the girls who are superstars down there?
LR: Well, you know Tiffany (Fantasia) and Noel (Leon). TP Lords, Missy Meyakie LePaige, Daisy DeadPetals, Erika Norell, there are so many legends down here. This is where I was bought up, this is where Latrice is born. You have to have something special to stand out with all these divas down here!
MC: So now that I have you both on the line together, what is married life like for you both?
Christopher Hamblin: Married life is sort of either feast or famine at this point, we are either together all the time or not at all. Right now, we are very much in the phase of being together all the time right now at our new home in Plantation, FL. We are sitting on our own lanai looking at our own pool right now. The show has really changed over time; first we were not married when we started it, and now I am actually in the show and not just sitting at the piano. That is how married life is also….
MC: AJ & The Queen is a breakout show on Netflix and your character Faberge Legs is an absolute standout. It is truly like you’ve been doing that your whole life..What was it like walking onto that set for the first time?
LR: I’ll tell you, I have never felt more at home. I was so at ease and it was so much fun! My husband always helps me get prepared with my roles, learning lines and running lines, so I definitely felt prepared going into it, and that always helps.
Christopher: You had also helped create the character in the writing room so you knew what you were walking into as well.
LR: That is true, being a part of the writing process and the creative process definitely helped. I knew Faberge; I know this girl. It was easy for me to do. I definitely wanted to show off my acting chops, since you don’t get to do that on RuPaul’s Drag Race because you have other queens clamoring for the spotlight. I am very happy and I want more of it; I feel like that is my calling and my passion and I want to follow it wholeheartedly.
MC: The new cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race was just announced and so many of the queens are absolutely incredible. What do you think of this year’s crop of girls?
LR: Well I don’t know anyone on this cast, which is great for a change. I am completely unbiased, I felt like last year I knew everyone on the cast. It is refreshing to see what this group of girls do and what they bring.
MC: When a girl comes to you and tells you that they see Drag Race as something that they want to achieve, what do you tell them or what advice do you offer?
LR: It’s funny you say that because I have had several girls come to me and already send me their audition tapes for Season 13 to get my advice and my opinion. My biggest piece of advice that I have to tell them is that “they want you-they want you to be you. You are not going to be Alyssa, you’re not going to be Latrice, you’re not going to be a Trixie, you’re not going to be any of these other girls. You gotta be you and you gotta stand out and have something to see”. My biggest piece of advice to anyone that wants to try our is that you have to have something marketable that you can sell that is unique and only to you, that no one else can do.
MC: Christopher, what is the one thing about Latrice that you could not live without.
CH: The cooking. If he loves you, he will cook for you. I am trying to learn how to cook, but I definitely got very spoiled when we are together a lot. His cooking is good!
MC: Latrice, what does Christopher give you that you could just not live without?
LR: Just the comfort of knowing that no matter what, this person has your back. The comfort of laying down next to him knowing that if shit were to hit the fan, he is going to do his damndest to solve problems and come to solutions. Or cut a bitch (laughs)!
MC: Five year plan; what do you want to do and where do you see yourself going?
LR: I honestly see myself doing more television, scripted roles. The only way that I am moving to Los Angeles is if it’s a second home; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it-or mess it up (laughs). Just growing with Christopher and building our business, expanding and building his business and profile as a musician as well, that is what I see.
CH: I have been working on a few things that I want to get produced, definitely. In our business, it is hard to find people you can trust to think like you. We are trusting people with our personal and professional lives at times. I appreciate Latrice saying I have her back because that is what us working together is all about, it’s to be able to do that.
Brown/Magenta & Purple/Blue Shots (Erika Wagner)
Remaining Photos: Latrice Royale (Facebook)