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ATL’s Nina Bonina Brown down in RuVille

Atlanta’s own Nina Bo’Nina Brown takes RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 by storm

By Matthew Holley

You can’t get anywhere in life without trying, and that is exactly the motto that the tenacious Nina Bo’Nina Brown lives by. After months and months of speculation, the artistic, cosplay-dabbling queen will unleash her talents on the nation when season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The show returns this week on a new network, a new day, and at a new time. In a dramatic shift, the long-running Logo staple switches from its original home this week to VH1 and Fridays at 8 p.m.

It’s already shaping up to be a dramatic season, and Nina is promising to be a breath of fresh of air. Her polarizing fierceness that has previously been seen in private affairs and at shows including Monday Stars of the Century at Jungle, shows a nearly limitless imagination – seriously, check out her Instagram. Her approach is sure to ruffle some feathers and win a few challenges on the show.

David Atlanta catches up with the electric performer to discuss all things Nina, including her early drag beginnings, her artistic transformations, and where she sees herself in the future.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue drag?
Drag was always a part of me since I was a young boy. I always had this vision of this female, and when I used to draw I always drew females, so it kinda just turned into making that female me and mixing my art and then performing.

What was your first experience like?
My first experience was just dressing up at home, then walking through the city, and the attention from the men was unreal.

I felt like a true slut and loved it! The first drag show, like almost everyone’s first time, was just “meh.”

You are less involved in Atlanta’s week-to-week bar drag scene than some queens. Why?
I don’t really work that much in the Atlanta scene these days. I started out working on talent shows there, paying my dues. Honestly, I didn’t find the Atlanta bar scene that welcoming at the time and made a name for myself outside that scene. No hard feelings, though. I love Atlanta and know who’s rooting for me there.

Your Instagram is out of this world. Where do your ideas come from?
I draw inspirations from lots of things. It can be from a wig, a cartoon, a video game, my mom, myself, God, and just many different things. And thank you!

Are you self-taught when it comes to your artistry?
I am self-taught with makeup, but I’m always learning every day to better my talents.

How did it feel when you got the call for Season 9?
Honestly, I thought I would have cried, but it was more so like “geesh, about time!” Haha. If I would have made it on times before I would have cried, but overall it was a good feeling and helped with the anxiety to go away, because the waiting is torturous.

Outside of drag, what are some of your other goals, interests, passions?
I’m still a big video gamer, and have always been a kid at heart. Honestly, I’m still trying to find goals and how to keep myself relevant and prosperous even after Drag Race ends.

Who is your biggest drag idol?
It really it sounds cliché, but RuPaul. She was the only one who I really saw, and I feel we have a lot in common, especially with the Atlanta scene.

If you could be any cosplay character for the rest of your life, who would it be?
I honestly don’t know, but that’s a great question! I will say, people do love my Garnet look from Steven Universe.

What’s next for you beyond Drag Race? Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
In five years, I just want to be financially happy as well as emotionally. I’m just hoping that this opens many other doors for me.

So any hints about your experience on the show?
You’ll have to find out on the all new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, starting March 24th on VH1!

UPDATE MARCH 22. Among several photos of Nina Bonina Brown that ran with this article over two pages in our print edition, the first photo was mistakenly one of fellow Season 9 contestant Shea Coulee, not Atlanta’s own Brown. We are sick over the stupid mistake. We reached out to Logo reps to apologize, and corrected the error in our online editions. We also took steps to make sure the mistake – multiple photos of all 13 contestants got filed on our servers, not with their names, but with ‘Season 9’  – never happens again. David Atlanta should have triple checked the photos that ran before press time, and we deeply regret the errors. In addition to the two queens involved, our apologies go out to the fans who may be as mortified as we were to discover the error.

UPDATE MARCH 27: With encouragement from concerned fans, our editor sent Nina a detailed personal note about the photo mistake, and she was very nice once she saw where our hearts are. Apparently others in Atlanta have made her feel less-than about her role on the show, and she thought our slip was an intentional piling-on to that sentiment. Nothing is further from the truth. Our staff fully supports Nina/Pierre on the show. With Nina’s blessing and a printed correction appearing in our March 29 issue, we hope to work with and promote Nina Bonina Brown not only during Season 9 but for years to come. Thank you to everyone who came to the source to make sure we were on top of this. David Atlanta truly appreciates it and values your readership for the last 20 years and far into the future.

 

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