The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
There have been some big changes talking place in the Big Apple even though you might not have even realized it. With Bianca Del Rio winning the most recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she’s clearly not going to be around nearly as much, that leaves a larger than life and an obnoxious void in the city’s drag scene. Mimi Imfurst has moved on to greener pastures and a fresh start in the City of Brotherly Love. Dallas DuBois retired from drag and moved to LA, presumably after the Rockettes refused to hire her. Epiphany is spending large chunks of the year overseas and I can’t blame her even slightly for that. But even with the outgoing talent there is still a lot of established talent in the city as well. Drag Race villainess extraordinaire, Phi Phi O’Hara made the move from the Windy City to New York. Legends like Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine, Hedda Lettuce and others are still killing it. The cupboard is clearly not bare.
But now, more than ever, there are a ton of young, hungry (by hungry I mean ambitious…and, well…hungry queens out there. Most of these skinny bitches need a sandwich or three) crop of young drag talent ready to burst into stardom. As a part of this series, NewYorkNowNext, we’re going to be taking a look at some of this talent that is blooming all around the Big Apple. Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy to talk with the fabulous Brita Filter!
Chiffon Dior: Hi there Brita! Thanks for making the time to talk with me today! I know it is a crazy time of year for everyone! How are you doing today?
Brita Filter: I’m great! Just finished washing the stink out of my tights!
CD: And for all you young queens out there, let that be a lesson! Wash your damn tights! No one likes a stinky queen. I’m not going to name names but I’m sure you know who they are Brita.
BF: Oooh girl, I know who they are! I was almost one of them until someone slapped me on the back side of the head and told me the T.
CD: You live, you learn! We’re not just entertaining here at NS4W, we’re educational as well! So are you enjoying the holiday season in the city so far?
BF: I absolutely love NYC during the holidays. The decorations, everyone is a little gayer… I love it all, except for this cold!
CD: The cold is the worst, especially once the snow starts! We’ll all be cursing out the lousy plowing jobs in no time. So where are you from originally? Were you used to cold winters already?
BF: I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona but I’ve lived in the North East for about eight years so you’d think I’d be use to it by now.
CD: Oh wow, that is a slight change! How badly did that first east coast winter hit you?
BF: It was worse than a virgin being gang banged. It was bad. I didn’t have any of the proper clothing. I’m more of a shorts and sandals type of gal.
CD: That may be the most accurate description I’ve heard of recent winters. What made you move out of the desert?
BF: Well, when I graduated high school my mother decided to move her and my two sisters to Maine, one extreme to the next. I wasn’t about to live in that freezing cold so I stayed behind in Arizona for college but one thing lead to another and I ended up moving to NYC for college. Plus I wanted to be closer to my family.
CD: Such a good son! So was your first exposure to drag back when you were in Arizona?
BF: Yes! I was 18 years old and I went to the Miss Gay Arizona America pageant.
CD: Who won the pageant that night? Did the drag bug bite you right then and there?
BF: Alyssa Edwards won that night. This was all pre-Drag Race. Honestly, it was a lot to take in. It was my first drag experience and a pageant at that! I remember loving all of it but being incredibly intimidated.
CD: So did you actually start in Arizona or was it not until you came east?
BF: The first time I dabbed in it was Halloween 2013. My first pair of heels came in the mail that day. I didn’t own a dress, I didn’t have a wig, I slapped some paint on my face, wore a fur vest and a bunch of necklaces, and called myself Dragula.
CD: Oh dear….
BF: I was a mess. I was feeling my oats though. Trying to sissy that walk… my feet hurt so bad that night.
CD: How many times did you hear some bitch say “Beauty is pain!”?
BF: More times that I’ve had sex.
CD: *Laughs* So what was the impetus for you getting started in the world of glitter and tucking?
BF: I was always amazed by the fabulousness of it all, the showmanship. I started because I was sick of not performing everyday. I come from a musical theatre background and I was sick of auditioning and not being cast. I decided to do drag because I wanted to be my own artist director. I wanted to decide who my character was, what my makeup looked like, what I was wearing, what I would perform to and how I would do it. I wanted to call all the shots.
CD: So how did you decide who Brita Filter is?
BF: That’s a good question. I’m still trying to figure her out. So far, she’s a strong ethnic woman who isn’t afraid to tip that line of being classy and unpure in her performance. There’s always a point in all of my numbers where I switch from sweet little virgin school girl to ratchet slut hoe.
CD: Sounds like your full name should be “Tyler Perry presents Brita Filter”!
BF: C’mon TYLER PERRY! I love that. I think Brita is the young Madea.
CD: “Tyler Perry’s Young Madea Freezes Her Ass Off In a NYC Winter”. We can write the script right now and be partners on it!
BF: Let’s do it. It’ll be “Anything But Pure!”
CD: You just ruined my next question bitch! I was about to say, “I love the name Brita Filter by the way. Is that because you’re a tall drink of water or because you’re so pure?”
BF: *Laughs* Anything but Pure. I’m also the queen of water sports if I drink too many vodka sodas, so watch out!
CD: The focus of this series we’re doing here at NS4W is about the period of change that the New York City drag scene is going through. In your short time in the city, what changes have you seen in the NYC’s drag nightlife?
BF: I’ve only been on the scene for just under a year but I’ve seen plenty of shows before that and I can say it’s expanded to so many different types of drag and so many new queens! It seems to be more mainstream now… It’s not only for the gay community but everyone can enjoy it.
CD: With some of the more established queens in the city moving on to new projects and phases in their careers, there is a bit of a vacuum at the top. What city queens do you think are poised to fill that void?
Fill the void as in Bianca del Rio when she’s not here? *Laughs* The queens that I look up to have already filled that spot… Bob the Dragqueen, Kizha Carr, Tuna Burger… I mean Tina Burner, Marti Cummings, Holly Dae.
CD: All good choices!
BF: I’ve come to realize you have to stay current and fresh in this business called drag or the people get bored. All of them have it and are snatching up gigs everywhere.
CD: What do you feel that you bring the scene that is unique? What makes Brita stand out from the crowd, aside from her upcoming slate of Tyler Perry-produced movies?
BF: I put my soul and life into my performances. I rehearse and I have a reason for every moment: jaw quiver, booty bounce, flick of the hand. Then when it’s time to get on that stage I forget about all of it and I live. I see a lot of queens go through the motions but don’t live. I’m a liver! One that probably needs to be detoxed. *Laughs*
*Editor’s Note*: I was lucky enough to see Brita perform at Maci Sumcox and Holly Box-Springs’ fabulous Christmas special and my gurl took Room 53 with her number “Long As I Got King Jesus!” to church! When she says she puts her soul and life into her numbers, she’s not lying!
CD: Well said my dear! So where do you go from here? What kind of goals do you have on your proverbial drag bucket list?
BF: I want to make a living out of drag! I want to do it all honestly. I just recently met one of my goals! My original goal since I started was to have my own weekly show and I got it!
CD: That’s the perfect segue to talk about where people can come see you turn it out! Talk about your new show “C’mon Wednesday” at The West End!
BF:: It’ll be every Wednesday starting January 7,th 2015 at 11PM with my co-hoe and sister Sasha Pierce! We’re going to bring you a little bit of church, sass, and booty every Wednesday! We’re bringing some ethnic realness to the Upper West Side!
CD: Can I get an amen up in here?
BF: AMEN SISTA CHIFFON!
CD: Where else can people catch you?
BF: Every Saturday I’m the permanent host along with Kareem McJagger of GLOW SATURDAYS at G Lounge. It’s a glow party with lots of neon, cheap drinks, sexy Gogos, sickening beats. Also every Sunday, I’m a server and performer at the new Shadow Boxers Drag Brunch hosted by Honey Davenport with a slew of my sisters. Sassy service with fierce performances at Noon and 2pm.
CD: Well thank you so much for your time Brita! It was wonderful to meet you at the SYTYCD finale! Do you have any final words of wisdom for our readers?
BF: Thank you for having me and if I could say one thing it would be… do what fucking makes you happy! I know I am.