After her rocky RuPaul's Drag Race run, Brita still has love to give
New York City queen opens up to EW about being the season's biggest star to come up short.
They say New York City has the best tap water in the country, perhaps due to the fabulous osmosis of Manhattan's Miss Brita (née Filter, for copyright reasons, obviously), who was, after a choppy tenure, unfortunately washed right out of the RuPaul's Drag Race competition Friday night.
A veteran of stages both grungy (she rose to prominence playing bars and clubs in the Big Apple) and glitzy (she's a trained theatre thespian, darling!), Brita came to season 12 with the biggest profile of the cast, having previously starred in a main role on Fusion TV's Shade: Queens of New York, performed a supporting part on Comedy Central's Broad City, and caught the eye of a (seemingly intoxicated) Adele and Jennifer Lawrence during their now-viral appearance at a Manhattan gay bar in early 2019. Despite her reputation, Brita seemed to buckle under the stress of the competition, as she lost her cool in several on-camera confrontations with fellow competitor Aiden Zhane (which she admittedly regrets) and ultimately succumbed to the pressure as she strived to perfect her Drag Race output in a way that would do justice to the career she'd built outside the Werk Room.
In the end, Brita's third bottom-two appearance came after a comparably decent performance in the Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical challenge, after which a minor mistake on the runway (the judges loved her outfit, but didn't like her earrings... yes, really!) sealed her fate, and an epic lip-sync against Heidi N Closet sent her packing.
Read on for EW's full Q&A with Brita following her Drag Race demise, and be sure to tune in for new episodes Fridays at 8:00 p.m. on VH1.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I never expected we’d be doing your elimination interview this early!
BRITA: Alas, here we are!
Before we start, because I don’t think I caught it on the show at all as it wasn’t mentioned even one time, can you tell us which city you live in?
[Scream-laughs] New York! I love making fun of it. People take it too seriously. I feel like I have to make fun of it!
You have a great sense of humor about everything, and you had a huge reputation heading into this show, so I’m wondering, because the fans treated you pretty rough this season, what are some of the biggest misconceptions you think viewers might have of you?
It’s weird watching the show back, because I hold my breath waiting to see what comes out of my mouth. I don’t necessarily like the person I saw. I was so driven that I lost sight of myself. In my daily life in New York, I truly try to lead with kindness on the daily and bring inspiration and joy, but that’s definitely not the person I saw on TV. I let my sadness and insecurities get the best of me instead of embracing my faults. There was a moment where I came for Aiden, and there’s no reason for me to bring someone down just because I’m feeling a certain way. Just like real sisters, we’re all so close, but sometimes the claws come out, but that doesn’t mean at the end of the day that we don’t love each other or don’t to apologize each other. I love Aiden…. At certain times, people can easily blame the edit, but not me. I definitely said that s—. Was I wrong? Yeah. Did I learn from it? Absolutely.
Aiden told me she didn’t feel like you were bullying her at all, and that you were close. So, despite what Widow said about you saying you were sad that Aiden left at the beginning of this episode, that was a genuine moment?
It was absolutely a genuine response. I was able to work with Aiden the most throughout the competition. I love Aiden, and we definitely made up. Being from a small town and being a quiet person, she had to overcome a lot to put herself on RuPaul’s f—ing Drag Race. I’m so proud of her…. on TV shows sometimes things are taken out of context, and people can say I’m a hypocrite, but [in that moment] I love Aiden!
Has receiving such harsh criticism changed the way you approach drag?
The criticisms that I get from the fans mostly have to do with my character and how I was portrayed on the show. They let that bleed into the art that I create. I’m proud of everything I brought. Everything the judges told me, I definitely tried to really listen and try to change if there was something, I felt that I needed to change. I think fans need to realize that it’s a TV show, and there’s heightened drama for certain reasons and rattlesnake noises for drama, and there’s so much more beyond that and what we do in our drag. I try to bring my community together…. I hope that after this they can look past it and see the good work that I do, especially on YouTube. That’s what I want to do after this: make cool f—ing art for queer people!
One of the most insane criticisms came last week, when people accused your Frozen eleganza dress of ripping off Alexis Michelle’s look.
Everything that Alexis said was perfect. [Project Runway’s] Christopher Palu designed these gowns, and he has different garments that look similar because they’re part of the same collection. I wasn’t coming for Alexis! I started drag with Alexis and we’re good friends.…. That dress was created in 2017, and we reworked it for the show and took the sleeves off to make it shorter. People are very silly, and they shouldn’t come for something like that.
I think you did really well in the Madonna challenge this week, and I’m confused as to why you were in the bottom. Were you similarly shocked or do you think you deserved to be there?
Anything can happen in this competition. You never know. By that time, I felt like I was fighting so much internally with myself, and also just fighting to be there that by this time, that when it was time to lip-sync, I was like, if it’s my time to go, I’m ok with that because I’m tired! I didn’t know if I had it in me to continue on and keep fighting because I felt like I kept trying to prove myself but I’d wind up in the bottom. I did my best and if they didn’t see it, so be it. It’s good goddamn TV!
I also think you did a better job than Heidi in the lip-sync. But you felt defeated performing that? I didn’t see it.
I felt defeated. I really wanted to make my parents and community proud. When you’re in the bottom, the stress and the anxiety to do better really get to you. It takes an entire week off your life when you’re in the bottom. By the third time, I was like, I don’t know anymore. I gave it my all and at the end of the day, they chose who they chose. I regret the way that I acted at times, but I don’t regret my performances.
Your performances were good, but there were specific things they critiqued that felt odd. Did it seem strange to you that your outfit was particularly praised more so than any of your other outfits, but they said the earrings, of all things, were the reason it landed you in the bottom?
Right? Yeah! It was an earring, like, what? I thought it was kind of silly for an earring of all things, when I definitely thought there were some other people where their entire outfit was questionable…
I’m not going to say anything! But, for an earring, I thought it was silly. But the mother of all mothers, that is her thing…. So be it. I lost the earrings I was going to wear. As soon as I got home and unpacked my bag, they were right where I f—ing forgot I put them.
What were they?
Blue-crystal drop-down earrings that were stunning. Someone gave them to me right before I left, but I couldn’t find them. I forgot where I put them in the moment and just had to grab other earrings. I just picked the wrong ones. Let’s pray for an All-Stars redemption.
Another amazing thing you did this episode was your Roger Rabbit dance with Jamal Sims during rehearsal. How does one hone such grace and fluidity to do the Roger Rabbit like that? It’s natural?
Dancing, out of everything, is the hardest thing for me. It takes a lot of mind-body coordination.
You don’t say!
It takes Brita a little longer than most people. We ended up cutting it at the end because I definitely couldn’t get it down. I look like Gumby trying to dance!
Your singing voice, though, like, come through, Miss Vocal Scholarship! Those deep notes were kind of hot!
I went to school for musical theater, and, before that, I went to school for opera performance. That’s what my training is in! I don’t sing live in drag because I’m a baritone and sound like a man, and she doesn’t want to ruin the illusion, but with this challenge, the notes were written like that to make it hysterical, so I had to slide into it and give you that Madonna trade!
Last time I interviewed you, you said that Adele had invited you to perform at her birthday in 2019, but you couldn’t because you were filming season 12. Did she ask you to do it this year?
No, she didn’t! I think she’s focusing on her album, but I’m still waiting for her to send me a tweet… What a gag!