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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

NINA WEST.

We spoke to the “old school” camp queen we all need in 2019.

“Right now in America, being a drag queen is a really important time to use this platform and use your voice to encourage people to feel empowered, valued, feel their worth in their individuality, in their diversity.”

After nine years of unsuccessful auditions, Nina West finally sashayed into the Drag Race werkoom earlier this year and provided a much-needed dose of old school comedy and camp to a platform that’s recently been inundated with Instagram queens and fashion powerhouses.

Although the performer was - in her words - a “slow-burn” to begin with, she ultimately lived up to expectations; Nina won two challenges, was crowned Miss Congeniality, and became one of the most beloved queens in the show’s HERstory.

“I want to be everything that people want me to be and I want to be the expectation that people have of me”, Nina tells us over fish and chips in a Wimbledon studio (she insisted on the cod because she wanted to have an authentic British experience). “I’m learning that people want to be around me as my imperfect, goofy self. I went to Drag Race and thought, ‘They want a beautiful, statue-esque queen who can walk the runway.’ On my journey, I realised, ‘No, they just want the best you.’ And so I put all these pressures on myself, and post-Drag Race I’m doing the same thing. I want to be the best I can be.”

Nina has always been a beloved figure in the community. Before she appeared on the Emmy Award winning series, she was a prominent fixture in the drag scene, winning Entertainer of the Year after donning a sickening moving dress (which Sia later copied), and raising over millions of dollars for LGBTQ organisations with the Nina West Foundation. Now that she’s competed on Drag Race and shown the world what she has to offer, she’s using her platform to continue the on-going fight for diversity and equality. We spoke to the fan-favourite about how she’s navigating her newfound fame, her critically-acclaimed children’s album, Drag Is Magic, and the potential resurgence of old school drag queens.

So, how has life been since you have appeared on Drag Race?

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About Gay Times

SUMMER OF PRIDE In this, the final instalment of our Summer of Pride campaign, we continue to shine with a series of names, faces and experiences from across the LGBTQ landscape – displaying once again that our differences (and often similarities) are what allow us to keep moving forward together. CHRIS APPLETON in conversation with KIM KARDASHIAN WEST Chris reveals the inspiration behind his Internet-breaking hair looks for the likes of J.Lo, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian West, working with the biggest names in the business in the age of social media and why Chris came out as gay later into his life. And Kim reveals what happened during a photoshoot that lead to a major hair disaster. ADORE DELANO in conversation with BIANCA DEL RIO It’s from the Drag Race werkroom to our cover as we welcome Ru-Girl royalty serving up a never-before-seen lewk. Ms Adore Delano, legendary queen of Season 6 and All Stars 2, heads poolside to speak with champion, Bianca Del Rio. In a meeting sure to send Drag Race fandoms into meltdown, the real-life friends spill some serious T on life beyond the Emmy Award-winning show and if they’d ever actually make a ru-turn. NIKITA DRAGUN Self-made is a term that is overused – often incorrectly, we should add – but make no mistake honey, Nikita is self-fucking-made. The model, makeup artist and influencer initially launched her career on YouTube back in 2013 and became an A-list star on the social media platform, racking up hundreds of thousands of views for her beauty tutorials, relatable life advice and transformative videos. ⁠ In our exclusive conversation Nikita gets real about Victoria’s Secret scandal, transphobic rappers and creating a beauty empire.⁠