As the first Canadian queen to march into the RuPaul’s Drag Race werk room, Brooke Lynn Hytes came armed with a well know name, a matching pedigree, and the talent to back up both. From the moment she snagged the first runway win in full cobalt blue and yellow latex, we knew we had a drag dynamo on our hands. Her ability to put her best foot forth in almost every challenge and runway got her all the way to the final lip sync of the challenge, against Season 11 winner Yvie Oddly. While she did not grab the Drag Race crown, Hytes has plenty coming up post Drag Race. We sat down post elimination to talk about her numerous plans after the finale, what it was like being part of the first “showmance” in Drag Race her-story, and what queens from her beloved home country of Canada could be true game-changers on the Drag Race runway.
Michael Cook: You’ve gone through the entire RuPaul’s Drag Race experience and you made it through to the finale and into the top two! How does it feel to be able to look back on the experience now?
Brooke Lynn Hytes: It feels so good! I have enjoyed the whole process and the season, but it’s a long process. I am happy that it is over and I can exhale, its done and it’s behind me. It was so great and I honestly had the best time doing it!
MC: How do you feel about snagging second place on this season? Your lip sync’s and many of your runway looks are now going to be going down in true Drag Race her-story!
BLH: It feels great; I like to say that I was second place, which is first place in Canada, so technically it is all about the way you look at it (laughs)! I am really happy with how I did. Winning would have been great, but you are right, no matter if we win or lose at that point in the competition, we all have really won; out lives have changed completely. The world has opened up to us, we have so many doors and opportunities. I could not be more grateful. I am really happy with how I did on the show, and I was one hundred myself the whole time. I felt that I represented myself and my country very well, so at the end of the day whatever happened and I am proud of myself.
MC: Now that your Drag Race experience is over, how do you think the experience has changed you as a performer?
BLH: I think it has just made me realize that sometimes, I just take myself a little bit too seriously and its okay to just let loose and relax and have a little bit more fun with drag, not to be so anal/pageant-y about it (laughs). I can have a little more fun with it and just chill out a little bit. That is the biggest thing that the experience has made me realize.
MC: Last year when I spoke with Kameron Michaels from Season 10 of Drag Race, I asked her who she thought would be fantastic on RuPaul’s Drag Race and she chose you. And here we are. What queens do you think would be absolutely fantastic on the show?
BLH: There are definitely a couple people; Eva Destruction is one of my favorite drag queens and I would absolutely love to see her on there. Vanity is a cast member of mine at Play Nashville and she is a fantastic queen, so talented, I would love to see her on the show. There are a ton of Canadian queens that I would love to see on the show also; Tynomi Banks, Devin Darlin, Priyanka, Jane Smoker; there are a million up in Canada that I would love to see considered also.
MC: You are the first confirmed shomance on the RuPaul’s Drag Race as you and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo developed a relationship of sorts on the show. You both confirmed that the relationship had ended during the Season 11 reunion, but how does it feel to have gone through a completely different process of having a relationship begin while cameras were rolling and you were competing?
BLH: It’s a little weird yeah. I think it’s weird for me because he was my first boyfriend, but it was nice. It was a nice escape for both of us, even though cameras were rolling. When cameras weren’t rolling ,we had each other to rely on and give comfort to, and that was nice to have with somebody. When you are away from your family and you don’t have your phone and you have no contact with the outside world to get that comfort…it was really nice.
MC: There are girls that will be trying out for subsequent seasons, and you have had a fantastic showing on Season 11. What advice do you have for girls that may be trying out for the show?
BLH: The best advice is that you have to go in there and you have to be prepared. Like RuPaul says, know how to sew, know how to do your acting challenges, know your steps, be prepared for all of the things that they are going to ask you to do. That is always so frustrating for everyone when a girl gets on there and doesn’t know how to sew, it’s like “How? We’re going on Season 12!”. Be prepared with your looks, be as original as you can be, and have backup plans for everything, in case someone had the same look as me or something like that. You just have to have every scenario played out in your head, that’s definitely what I did; that is rule number one. Rule number two is to not go in there with a game plan, don’t try to produce yourself because they catch on to that real quick. Don’t try to be something that you’re not, you just have to go in there being authentically yourself. Be willing ti show them the good, the bad and the ugly.
MC: What is the next step for Brooke Lynn Hytes?
BLH: Lots of thing! I am touring non-stop until December, then I am taking a little break in January for a holiday. I am filming a couple commercials coming up, some nice endorsement deals coming up, and that is exciting. I have a couple more contracts for things in the works that I can’t talk about just yet too. I am looking to get into some modeling work, some runway shows, things like that. I am keeping very, very busy!
MC: As Pride month kicks off, what as a performer and as a person gives you the most pride?
BLH: Probably my country. I am so proud to be Canadian and everything that the country has given me and all the love and support that I have been shown from my fellow Canadians, both fans of Drag Race and those that are just Canadian and support anything Canadian because that’s just how we are (laughs)! I am really proud to be Canadian and proud to live in a country that although it is not perfect, we accept everybody with open arms, we accept our LGBTQ community, and I am just so proud to be part of that.