By Bebe Zahara Benet
It’s the second week, which means this season’s queens on “Drag Race” are dropping their polite demeanors and getting ruthless. Talk about a fun set of competitions! My season of queens would have loved the chance to work Hollywood Boulevard. I asked this week’s eliminated girl, Nicole Paige Brooks, what she thought of sashaying down one of L.A.’s main drags to sell cherry pie.
“Luckily it was Hollywood, and not Arkansas,” Nicole told me. It turns out Nicole’s maternal instinct kicked in, because she spent time approaching families and warning them of the more outrageous girls farther down the street.
That instinct is real, because Nicole has a three-year-old son who she loves with all her life. “He doesn’t know what daddy does for work yet,” Nicole admitted. But I pointed out kids have a sense for things around them. Nicole told me her son did see her perform once, and later said he liked daddy’s feathers!
One of the things I really liked about Nicole’s story on “Drag Race” was her connection to her Atlanta drag family, and in particular her drag mother, Shawnna. For many girls, coming under the wing of established drag performers who have formed a family – or house – is an important step in the development of their artistry. I wanted to know what Nicole thinks are the advantages and disadvantages of being part of a house. “I don’t like so many people with the same last name,” she confided. “At the same time it creates a legacy.”
Overall, she’s very honored to be a member of the House of Brooks. “Shawnna has instilled in me this is a business,” Nicole said. “A lot of people don’t have people around to tell them that.”
This is why Nicole was stunned when her picture of Shawnna went missing. “It never turned up,” Nicole told me. “I don’t know if it was taken to push my buttons.”
I was glad to hear Nicole was fine being one of the last picks for the burlesque exercise. “I’m just not a dancer to start with, girl,” she said. “I kept saying that…and then I had to swing around this pole.” I commended Nicole for sticking by who she is, and also for her take on the final lip-sync with Raven. “I’m not going to pull my titty out to win,” Nicole said, referring to Raven’s attention-grabbing move. “I didn’t fall apart on stage in order to stay.”
Now that she can see what the other girls were saying about her, Nicole noted Raven wasn’t that critical of her in person. “To each their own,” Nicole told me. Instead of being upset, Nicole said she was relieved when she was eliminated, because it meant she would be seeing her son very soon. “It was kind of ridiculous how excited I got to go home,” she said.
I love that kind of personal perspective!