Drag Race is on

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Originally published in the June 2008 issue of gayzette.

Two Denver fags are just votes away from becoming America’s next top drag queen. And they need your help.

Nina Flowers and Ginger Sexton (Jorge Flores and Briceson Ducharme respectively) are in the midst of RuPaul’s Drag Race and it’s coming down to a photo finish.

The Drag Race, produced by the Logo television network, will feature eight drag queens from across the country. Currently, any queen can submit an application directly to the casting department for consideration and/or create an online profile where people can vote for their favorite queens once every 24 hours. The queen who receives the most votes online will automatically join another seven chosen by RuPaul and Logo.

As of deadline, both Nina and Ginger had enough votes to make Colorado the only state with two queens in the top five. Voting continues until mid-July.

“This is a great opportunity for me to hit the big spot light, like I say,” Nina said.

“We (drag queens) spend our entire lives in local bars and it usually doesn’t get further than that,” she continued. But she sees the Drag Race not only as an opportunity to boost her career but the entire art form of drag.

Meanwhile, Ginger wants to use the chance at reality TV to help others.

“In Denver, I’ve helped raised thousands of dollars. If I win this competition, I could raise millions,” she said.

Nina, who can be found weekly on Sundays at Charlies’ Vivid Show, moved to Denver five months ago from her native Puerto Rico. She has been a drag queen for 17 years and had her own show for the last seven. She moved to Colorado to be with her partner, Antonio.

“My life was there, but it was time for me to explore and do something different, start over,” she said.

When asked why Denverites should vote for her as opposed to Ginger, she said voters should vote for who ever they choose to support, and pointed people can vote for more than one queen, just not the same one within 24 hours. Further Nina said the community has already embraced her. “I feel I’m a part of the city already.”

Nina and Ginger have only met in person once but have been communicating through the competition’s website and are supporting one another along with their personal favorites.

“I think she’s gorgeous and a great performer,” Nina said about Ginger. “She would be great.”

Ginger echoed the sentiment.
“Nina is phenomenal. She brings a different attitude to drag and she has challenged me to be a better queen. She’s so raw.”

Ginger, meanwhile, is a homegrown queen and has been doing it for nearly ten years. She was crowned both Miss Junior Pride Colorado and Miss Pride Colorado. She currently co-hosts Wilde Wednesdays at Wilde Dancebar and Lounge. (Disclosure: I’m her co-host.)

Regarding competition elsewhere, Nina said she hasn’t given it much thought. “I must say, I don’t feel threatened by any of them. I don’t analyze the competition.”

Nina said by sizing up the competition she feels she looses focus on herself. She also doesn’t pay attention to people who aren’t supporting her. She said she has received hate mail via the competition’s website.

But Nina rises above it, “I’m not going to waste my energy on these attacks,” she said. “I focus on myself and my heart. I keep looking for great support.” However, Nina hints if she does make it to the show she won’t be afraid to get a little dirty. “If I am the one to go to the show, I will have to work on a strategy,” she laughed.

Talking to both queens you start to see the two are more alike then different. Ginger said people have egging her on to cause trouble for her competition – especially Nina – as she has quickly risen to the top on a national level.

“I have so much love and support, I feel very blessed,” Ginger said. “There is drama and hate but I need to rise above it. Someone tried to get me to talk shit about Nina and I won’t. That’s not who I am.”

Nina said if she wins the entire competition she foresees her career exploding. “There could be a lot of new projects to do in and out of the states,” she said including but not limited to movies and theater. “This will help me be the best I can be.”

On the flip side, Ginger said she’ll take her winning to the street.

She said if she wins the competition she would treat it like winning Miss U.S.A. “I want tour. There is so much I could do, so many people I could help. I want to start raising money not only for people with HIV and AIDS but Katrina relief and other issues.”

Ginger said she sees drag as an art form that helps other people, not only by raising money but by raising spirits. “Every beauty queen says they want world peace, but if I can get one person to have peace in their life, that’d be it for me,” she said. “I love to make people smile.”

In the end only one queen can win the entire competition. And when asked what they’ll do if they don’t win both said they’ll continue on.

“I am so satisfied with the competition,” Nina said. “I have made some great new friends across the nation. They have gotten to know me and I have gotten to know them. My name is out there now. I will be completely satisfied if I don’t win because of all the great people I’ve met.”

Ginger said regardless of making it to the reality show or not she will continue on. “The love and support I’ve received has been enough. I’ve been crying every night not for bad reasons but because of all the love I’ve been shown.”

“This is my life’s dream,” Ginger said.

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