Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tatiana Mala Nina: Strong and Beautiful

Tatiana Mala Nina can be found every week on the YouTube channel Queens Of The Week and she posts every Sunday. You may not see her on every magazine cover or on TV but she knows how the drag world is and is striving to reach out to people and take the world by storm. 

1. How is your drag persona different than your actual personality?

Hmmm there really isn't a difference at all. Perhaps when I'm in face I'm slightly more courageous? Because the makeup, the padding, the shoes, clothes and the wigs I really see as armor. It only enhances what's already there. I never wanted to be one of those girls that has to "change" or "turn something on" once I transformed or got in face. It's too easy to have a cop-out that way to do things that are irresponsible and blame it on "Well I was in face, it doesn't count, I'm a different person when I transform." I don't really see it that way. I'm the same person, I just happen to have my junk tucked and a whole Sherwin Williams store on my face. 

2. When and why did you start doing Youtube videos?

Oh WOW! I started my YouTube channel almost hmmm 3 years ago? When I started doing drag. I wanted to vlog my drag journey so to speak. At the time I had a day job and still doing drag, and girl! Between a corporate America job from 6am to 6pm? The trying to the gigs at night? Getting home at 4am just to sleep for an hour before having to get up for work the next morning? Whew! Needless to say I didn't have much time for vlogging. So I started recording at the local amateur drag contest where I started doing drag. Originally it started because I wanted the "world" to see us; the girls that "grew up" with me; that is, we all started together. So weekly I would record everyone's performance, which led me into video editing, which quickly became a new passion of mine. When I became no longer apart of corporate America, I had a lot more time on my hands, so I started vlogging some and it became a lot of fun, nothing too big until I heard of a channel called Queens Of The Week and auditioned and gained a spot on the cast! I'm now the Sunday queen of the week every week.

3. Have you ever participated in drag competitions? If so, which ones?

I actually haven't, looking back I wish I would/could have. I know a few queens that were noticed more than me after being in local competitions or "drag races." It feels like I've had to work twice as hard to get half as noticed in a way, but I wouldn't trade my experiences that I've been through for anything. I'd rather have gone through the business learning the slow and hard way rather than just get on the fast track and be completely naive to the way the business works, but I digress...The only drag competition I've ever been apart of was the one I got my start at; the one that pretty much made me even the slightest bit known on YouTube. It started off having nothing but maybe 3 or 5 contestants and now going on it's 3rd year? We have more than 20 queens and drag kings that come to compete for cash money prizes.

4. What is your biggest accomplishment? What is the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

As of right now? My biggest accomplishment is happening as we speak. I'm on a cast at one of THE premiere drag bars in Houston, TX and I've recently become the show director and host of my very own bar in another city in Texas. I think my biggest obstacle (as cliche as it sounds) has really been myself. My drag or "armor" wasn't as strong as it is now as when I first started. I was very much shy even when in face, I was still very scared to talk to people and put myself out there. It took me a long time to learn how to talk to people and build up my armor; a thick skin and learning the HERstory of drag and just how strong our community is.

5. What type of goals do you have regarding your drag career?

When I first started drag I always said I was not a "pageant queen," and I would say this to myself over and over again, to the point where I started to believe it. Little did I know I was actually very insecure about my drag. Well times have changed. I am definitely looking into pageantry now, the America System to be exact. I want to be able to say I've competed in a national pageant competition and hopefully have won! I want to continue being a host, sharpening my quick wit and emceeing skills, I want to be a big time show director of a show in New York City.

6. Do you have a drag family?

Oh gosh! I have SEVERAL! Where do I start?! I guess I should start from the very beginning. I started with a group of 3 friends, we all had our own aesthetic of drag, very different but very much the same and we grew into a family, we call our family "The Storm Dynasty." We've grown so much and we make solid friendships with other performers we sort of "bring them into the fold" so to speak some of us have had drag children, me included. I happen to have 4 other drag families (I know that's a lot). The first I guess "official" family that I asked to be apart of is the Capri family, a queen I met when I first performed gave  me my first compliment after I had just gotten off the stage. About a year later I asked to be apart of her family. The second was another that I asked; a legend in my city, she's known very well after going to lunch with her and talking about what I wanted and where I saw my career going in drag she accepted and became part of the Blake Family. The third? I was claimed for the first time by another legend in the business and I became a Jacobs and the final family I was asked to be apart of, now when I was asked I had realized...perhaps this isn't a very good look. I didn't know want to be seen as some queen that's collecting drag mothers to get ahead or trying to get a lot of drag mothers to know a bunch of secrets cause that's completely not the case. I was asked by a very popular well known queen to be apart of her family and was also asked to think about it and take as much time as I needed to decide (which honestly made me respect her even more) after thinking about it and talking with friends I agreed to be apart of her family and I then also became a Mirage. I think that covers it lol I've been very blessed to be apart of these families and I appreciate and take none of them for granted.

7. What is the most rewarding part of being a drag queen?

The most rewarding part of being a drag queen? Wow! I'd have to say just meeting a whole bunch of different people and being able to touch them and make them laugh or smile or feel something whenever I perform, or when they see one of my videos. I recently made a video about suicide and my struggles with it and the response and support I received afterwards was overwhelming. So many messages from people that told me that they no longer feel alone or like they're the only ones that feel the same way. That was one of the most rewarding moments I've ever felt in my career thus far.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve?

But I have so many! Haha I think my biggest pet peeve is close mindedness. I try to have an open mind about everything in my life, I'll try almost anything at least once and if I don't like it? At least I can say I've tried it...mind you I said ALMOST anything lol 

9. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Ok, I'm gonna copy Adore and say my mom...I mean COME ON! I'm a Mexican BOY, of course my mom is my hero! She's the strongest woman in the world to me. She raised me on her own without any help from anyone. She played both the mother and father role in my life. She's my ride or die, my best friend, and my biggest supporter.

10. What types of things do you like to do in your free time?

Hang out with my boyfriend...I've been single for so long and (hopefully answering with this won't jinx anything) he's completely different from anyone I've ever dated or been in a relationship in my life so far, so every chance I get that we both have free time I love spending time with him. All we do is laugh and eat lol contrary to popular belief I actually don't like going to clubs if I'm not working, I enjoy the really simple things, going out to new places to eat, going to the movies, staying in, going to the park when I'm doped up on enough allergy medication lol going to the beach, really simple stuff.

11. Have you ever had a moment where a fan has touched your heart and you will never forget it?

Oh, I hate the word "fan" lol I'm very much like Sister Roma when she told Facebook she's "not fucking Britney Spears" and that she "has friends not fans." But after my suicide video he messaged me about finally knowing how he was feeling inside and really thanked me. He shared my video on his wall and his cousin saw it and she commented saying how happy she was to feel like she wasn't alone anymore. He told me that my video really saved her life. Her comments on the video were very heartfelt and really touched me.

12. Is your family accepting of your drag career? mother's side of my family is extremely supportive. I even have my Tia (that means Aunt in Spanish lol) giving me wigs. My mom has come to a few of my performances, as well as cousins and they're all really happy with how much I've gained from doing drag. My father's side? Ehh they sort of don't like the fact that I'm gay, so you could guess they wouldn't like the fact that I'm a drag queen as well. 

13. What is your view on the Facebook Real Name policy?

UGH! It's ridiculous!!! I'm still waiting to change my name back! It's October 19th right now and if I'm not mistaken I can change it October 25th I think? I'm not sure. I've had to change my name to my government name, one that I don't even introduce myself as when I AM out as a boy. I'm just so over it and want everything to go back to normal. 

14. Do you have a favorite performance that you've ever done onstage?

Hmmm...I have a few...But one that's recent is when I performed "Love You I Do" By Jennifer Hudson and pulled my boyfriend on stage, while he was in drag and pretty much announced to the world (cause a lot of people go to the bar I performed at) that I was dating another queen. It's something I'm really proud of because everyone cheered for us. It really showed me that people are growing to see that love is love no matter what or who you are. 

15. What is the one item that you can't live without?

I can't live without FOOD! You should see me after a show! I go full on rage for some food! As far as drag item though? I would have to say lashes! Lashes really do bring a look together and completes it.

Talk to Tatiana here:
Instagram- @tit4tattat
Twitter- @tit4tattat

The Drag Enthusiast:
Twitter- @DragEnthusiast

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