He may have placed second in the premiere season of Rupaul’s Drag Race (seen on Much More Music in Canada) but there is no taking a back seat for Jorge Flores (aka Nina Flowers) whose performance schedule has him performing across the United States and now Vancouver.
Flowers makes her Canadian debut and first international performance as part of the Rapture parties during Vancouver Pride 2009 and is scheduled to perform at the Rapture Recovery party on Sunday, August 2nd along with DJ Tony Moran (NYC). For tickets and information visit http://www.tfdpresents.com or enter online for your chance to win the ultimate Rapture Pamper and Party Package!
GayVancouver.Net (Gay Vancouver Online) had an opportunity to ask Nina/Jorge about her experience as a contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race, her life as a Drag Queen and her upcoming Vancouver visit.
How and why did you first get involved in drag?
I first became involved with drag during my time in school to become a make-up artist. I practiced at home and enjoyed the transformation. Eventually, some of my close friends and I decided to go out clubbing in drag. Some people in the drag community suggested I perform and the rest is history…
Why drag? Why do you do it?
I enjoy the magic of the transformation, and the drama it can create. I’m inspired by the female form and the beauty, and in the different ways I can represent it. Additionally, I find that drag allows me to portray emotions I may not always do as a man – it’s a liberating experience. Though, for the most part, it’s become something I enjoy doing for the fans – I enjoy entertaining people – I enjoy the excitement I’m able to project on my audience. My fans inspire me to entertain.
Tell us about your drag name – where does it come from?
One of the entertainers that inspired me is Nina Hagen, so I took her name, and I translated my last name Flores into Flowers.
Tell us about your coming out story. Coming out gay can be hard enough but what is it like coming out gay and as a drag queen?
Well, coming out gay came first, and yes – it was difficult. Coming out as a drag queen was more difficult, because it played on stereotypes that my family and friends may have had. Though what turned it around was when they discovered my art as a profession and something I was getting paid for. Though it took some time for acceptance to come, more so from my father than my mother.
How did you become part of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Hmmmm… When looking back, for that moment it was very unexpected. A friend of mine that has LOGO (GLBT focused cable network) phoned to tell me about this website contest. I had recently moved from Puerto Rico to Denver, CO and had only lived there for a few months. At the time nothing was happening, and I decided to sign up. It looked like a good network opportunity and I also saw that if I was successful it would be another step forward in my career as a performer. The next day I called my friends in Puerto Rico, and the word spread like wild fire. I was overwhelmed by the support. In Puerto Rico they had “Nina Flowers” campaigns in the clubs, flyers were put up, and El Nuevo Dia, a local newspaper back home ran a full page ad about me. It only took two days for me to be one of the top five contestants within the website race. To this day, I’m still blown away at the love I received and the response to my running for this race. Before I knew it, I won the website contest and became one of the contestants.
What was your best experience on the show?
Meeting RuPaul and all the other cast members and making new friends. As for my best experiences with challenges, the first one, “drag on a dime” I enjoyed the most, though I also enjoyed the ABSOLUT Vodka challenge – these two were my favorite because they allowed me to be creative, and I’m very good with my imagination and coming up with ideas..
And, of course you knew we’d ask, what was the worst experience on the show?
Without a doubt it was the group challenge. I have to tell you I cried after that challenge. I consider myself a professional and I didn’t like the idea of failing – and while we won the challenge, I still felt at my worst during that time.
Is there anything you regret about your appearance on the show?
I would not change a thing. After looking back, I’m satisfied with all I did.
Your exit interview on the show was extremely gracious but come on, be honest, weren’t you just a bit pissed about losing out to Bebe?
LOL – I sense a little hate in your questions – LOL. No – not at all – I’m satisfied with my effort and labor 110%. I became the winner of friends, and a wonderful experience.
Have you kept in touch with any other contestants since the show ended?
Oh yes – I’ve kept up with all of the other girls. So far, Victoria Porkshop Parker, and Tammie Brown have both visited Denver, CO for my DRAMA DRAG production. In June I’ll be brining Akashia and all the rest of the girls in the order they left the show. You can also see the schedule on www.ninaflowers.com under the events listing.
How has the experience on the show changed your life and what have you been doing since the show finished?
Well, now I have a wider audience. Larger than what I could have imagined, so that has kept me very busy. I’ve been traveling almost every other week while still dedicating time to shows and DJ gigs in Denver, CO. I’m also trying to expand into other forms of entertainment, collaborating with two circuit DJs so far – DJ Ranny and DJ Williams Umana. We’re coming up with some new vocal mixes using my voice over. I’ve also been focused on my production of “DRAMA DRAG”, a show that we have every last Friday of every month at the hottest club in Denver, TRACKS – the same club where I’m also a resident DJ (www.tracksdenver.com).
Are you single or attached?
I’m very much taken. My baby Antonio was the one that motivated me to move from Puerto Rico to Denver, CO. We’re very happy together. This experience has been a ride for both of us.
You will be in Vancouver for Rapture Recovery on August 2nd. What can those attending expect from your show?
They can expect an entertainment extravaganza of high energy, and color. I do it for the fans.
Is this your first visit to Vancouver? Will you have an opportunity to explore the city while you are here?
I’ve never been, but I’m looking forward to the visit. It’s my first international trip since the show. Unfortunately, it won’t be a long visit, but in the one day that I’m there (the day before the show) I hope to get a quick tour. At least, this will give me a good idea on what to expect and focus on – perhaps when I come back.