Last week I spoke with RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race star Nina Flowers. On the heels of her elimination Nina and I discussed the "Synergy" aspect of All Stars (aka Teams), drama with judging, and her relationship with Tammie Brown.
Nina was very thoughtful when discussing the show and had a lot of insightful comments on how the teams challenges worked for and against participants. And she also gave us a glimpse of what's to come for Nina Flowers now that reality TV is over.
An excerpt from our conversation is below:
What is your reaction to being eliminated? Did the Teams aspect play a role in that?
"It definitely had something to do with it more than if we would have had to compete as individuals. Competing in teams is definitely tougher. It's not just about your performance, it's also about your team partner. We did the best we could as a team and it is what it is. I'm sad that I wasn't able to take it all the way to the end like I did on season one, but I'm OK with it. It was definitely a fulfilling experience and I feel happy I was a part of All Stars."
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Why did you decide to return for All Stars?
"When I got the call for the show I was really excited because this was gonna be the first edition of [All Stars] and, of course, I wanted to be a part of it because it was gonna be like the best of the best from previous seasons. And how can you let an opportunity like that go away?"
How was All Stars different than Drag Race?
"It was challenging in the sense that all the girls that are in All Stars, they've already experienced Drag Race before. It's tougher because everyone is on top of things; now you know what to expect. When I went on season 1, we had no idea what the show really was about and we didn't know what to expect."
"Having the opportunity to experience that and being back on the show, it keeps you really on top of how things really go and what kind other things you have to take care of in order to remain on the show. Of course, this twist, this twist - it sort of like changes everything because nobody really expected that we would be competing in teams of two."
What was your relationship with Tammie Brown?
"Tammie and I, we became really good friends on the set of filming the first season. We've worked together a lot after the show. We worked together and [had] been performing a lot. We were really, really good friends. All the girls on the show they're fantastic, they're amazing. Of all the girls Tammie was the one I was closest to and knew better as a person and a professional, so she's my sister."
"You're gonna be paired up with someone else, you wanna be paired up with someone that you know and you can get along with. This whole partnership thing really works well when you're working with someone that you knew and can come to terms with. It's not just about you or about me, it's about the two of us and coming to an agreement and making it work."
"And aside from that, Tammie, she's really funny and my esthetic as an entertainer is much more unique so I thought we really could work with each other. I could help her with her weakness and she could help me with my weakness. In my mind it was just the perfect match and I think in her mind it was too."
Do you think the judging is fair on the show?
"The minute that you sign on for the show, you know that you're gonna be critiqued. That's part of it. And you have to care because based on everything that the judges request, if you really listen to what they're saying, that's what's really gonna help you in taking it to the next level and taking it all the way to the end. I think listening is really important."
"Critiques are hard. It's really hard when you're given a challenge and you put your heart and your soul into it and then you stand up there and suddenly you start hearing all these negative things, like: 'You could have done this better. This was weak. Yada, yada, yada.'"
"For me, the hardest critique was when Santino said that he didn't really see the shine that I had in season one. To me that was bullshit. To me that was a little out of place because I think it was offensive. But it is what is. It's his opinion and I respect it."
Were there any dramas or rivalries?
"I, personally, didn't encounter any drama. There definitely was some tension over the first round with Mimi Imfurst. I guess that some of the girls were really surprised that Mimi was selected to be part of All Stars. And some of them were not happy about it. There definitely was some tension there. I didn't really encounter anything personal."
How did you develop Nina Flowers and how long have you been performing as Nina?
"I have been performing now for almost 20 years. I started performing back in 1993 – that was the year that I started doing drag. I created my character right after I became a makeup artist. Makeup was the doorway for me to the experience doing drag. It just happened."
"I started doing drag for fun. You know, going to the club. And it was a competition for a new talent search going on and all my friends were saying, 'You should do it! You should do it!" Everybody started encouraging me. And I thought, 'Well, why not? Hey, I'm gonna try this.'"
"And I ended up winning. After that I started taking it more seriously and it became a part of my life. It became this art form and it became great things for me. And that's pretty much how Nina Flowers came along."
So what is next for Nina Flowers now that All Stars is over?
"Right now now I'm working on a new song for my seventh single. Music is my passion. Music has always been my passion. I'm also a DJ. Right now I'm currently taking it to the next level with music. So you'll hear from me remixing songs for big names. Probably for some of the other girls on the show. I'm remixing songs for Manila Luzon and I also made a remix of Pandora Boxx's last single."
"I see in my future leaning more towards music production. For now my calendar is booked all the way 'til March of next year. I'm performing, I'm DJing everywhere – in the country and out of the country. There's much more Nina Flowers to come!"
Is there anything you would like fans to know about you?
"I'm pretty much an open book. I would say that I love what I do. And I think this is the best opportunity for me to express gratitude to all the fans and all the people who have been supporting me on Drag Race. The amount of love that I've been getting from the fans on Facebook and everywhere else, it has been overwhelming and I'm humbled by it."
"So I would really like to extend my gratitude to everyone that has been there. It was really sad to leave the competition so soon. I really came here with no expectations at all, I knew this was a brand new game with a fresh start, but yeah I was really sad. And the love from the fans it's been really amazing. It has gotten me away from being sad over not being in the competition longer. I hope that I can keep doing my thing and keep entertaining everybody."
Thank you for the fantastic interview Nina. We are definitely looking forward to more Nina Flowers!
[Photo Credit: LogoTV.com]
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF NINA'S COMMENTS ABOUT THE SHOW? ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED SHE WAS ELIMINATED SO SOON?