Tammie Brown is a drag queen who stole the show and our hearts on Season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and then All Stars. She is the Queen with a Cause who is also an environmental and social justice activist. Her quirky high brow humor made her a fan favorite, while her sincerity and work ethic has made her a beloved collaborator in the drag community.
She is currently promoting her new album Schubert (the “t” is silent) and will be performing her Holiday Sparkle Tour here in Bend at The Capital on December 19th at 7 PM. Her show will be hosted by Clare Apparently and feature local drag artists Vanessa Cuntessa and Hayden. Bend locals and super fans James Gray and Janet Wiltshire got the chance to interview her and learn about Tammie past, present, and future before the start of her Northwestern United States Holiday Sparkle Tour.
James: Where are you based out of right now?
Tammie: I relocated myself back to Texas. Back to my hometown in Texas – Fulton, Texas. It’s where I grew up and went to school.
James: And where you started drag?
Tammie: Yes, there. There in Rockport/Fulton. When I moved to Rockport/Fulton for high school I was able to pursue this fantasy of wanting to dress in drag and be a drag queen entertainer and artist. There they had a choir that I was in. It was an award winning choir that was regionally well known and we would go to nationals. And then the theater was really good. We had a legit teacher Mr. Atkinson and he let me do pretty much whatever. That was really helpful because he allowed me to perform in plays. There was a part for Cha-Cha in Grease. And then there was ‘Into the Woods’ and I got to play the step mother. When I turned 18, I could go to the night clubs. And the night club in Corpus Christi at the time was called ‘Club Diva’. They went ahead and made a special night for amateurs. That was around 1999 and 2000. And then I went to the prom in drag as well.
James: Oh my gosh that’s great.
Janet: Tammie, what did your prom dress look like? We need to know.
Tammie: It was black with a sheer element and embroidered sequins. It was a really cute dress from a 70’s pattern, but I had it made into a miniskirt to show off my legs. My drag has changed so much since then. I studied fashion in school. I also took makeup class while I was in college. I ended up with a sort of classic style. I have an old Hollywood face.
Janet: I was actually saying the other day that the way you paint your mouth reminds me of Marlene Dietrich.
Tammie: Correct. Correct I do. Yes, it does look like Marlene Dietrich or Joan
James: Absolutely. What is your favorite part about doing your face?
Tammie: My favorite part about doing my face would probably have to be lips and lashes.
Janet: Do you feel like that’s where you get to be more playful and creative?
Tammie: With the lashes probably more creativity. And then the lips are easier. I do like doing eye makeup and the eyebrows too, but they are just such a pain in the butt -eyebrows, you know?
Janet: Before calling, we were discussing how your style is more eclectic and so your influences are a little more subtle than some other queens. Can you tell us about some of your major influences?
Tammie: Number 1 has always been Tina Turner. Always bottom line. And also Tootsie was another one. Tootsie Turner. So both of them. Tootsie is more of that secretarial look. I always really liked that business woman/secretary/80’s thing. And then Tina Turner as an influence because of the simplicity of her garments.
James: Tootsie Lou! Now that I think about it yes your silhouette is totally Tina Turner.
Tammie: Nice quality and sometimes cutting edge design, but always very simple.
James: You are an activist and there is a song on your new album Schubert called Sexy Orangutan. I want to talk to you about what that song is about and what you are trying to bring awareness to.
Tammie: Pierce and I wrote the song about palm oil and what’s going on in these jungles that are being torn down. And not just orangutans, but also rhinoceroses and tigers are being killed…. really all kinds of species there and all for the sake of human consumption. It’s about taking action. My music always has a message.
James: You are coming to Bend in December as part of your Holiday Sparkle Tour. Do you want to tell us a little bit about what we can expect?
Tammie: We are going to be doing all original holiday numbers except for a techno version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that I’ve been doing for years. We will include the Holiday Song which I wrote myself. It’s a multi-cultural holiday song, that one. I always like to keep everybody included. We will also tie in sexy Orangutan and I will close the show with another song from the new album Schubert.
James: How would you describe Tammie Brown to someone who hasn’t seen your Instagram or RuPaul’s Drag Race? What should they expect at a Tammie Brown show?
Tammie: The puppets are just a side project so there won’t be any puppets on the stage during this show. You can expect quirky fun, truth, awareness, and an environmental message. You will be razzle dazzled.
James: Now that’s the holiday spirit I like to see. Inquiring minds want to know – do you prefer cats or dogs?
Janet: Yeah cats or dogs?
Tammie: I can’t pick either. I love them both. They are booth sweeties and have