After a stellar season, including an unforgettable lip sync of Demi Lovato’s “Sorry, Not Sorry”, Brooke emerged runner-up, behind Yvie Oddly. Brooke Lynn has cemented her status with her first single and video, “Queen of the North,” which features Canada’s Drag Race season one winner Priyanka.
This project is a fun one for her that she completed to celebrate her 35th birthday earlier this year.
Brooke Lynn made HERstory as the first Ru girl to become a permanent judge on one of the show’s franchises – Canada’s Drag Race. The series was a massive success and she recently announced that she will be returning as a Season 2 judge. This past week, she was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Award (Canada’s version of the Golden Globes) for Best Host or Presenter, Factual or Reality/Competition. The series was nominated for seven awards in total.
Equal parts ballerina, showgirl, and 90’s supermodel, Brooke Lynn Hytes is drag perfection. The Toronto native is a classically trained ballet dancer who attended the National Ballet School of Canada. She began her foray into drag by traveling the world and performing as a principal ballerina with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – an all-male drag ballet company.
Brooke Lynn then set her sights on the world of drag, winning multiple pageants including the coveted Miss Continental crown in the U.S. in 2014. She earned a residency at the famous Play Dance Bar in Nashville, TN in 2015 and became the first Canadian to appear on the cultural phenomenon, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
She is a beloved Canadian icon who has garnered fans worldwide and cemented her place in history as the first drag queen to be tweeted by @canada, Canada’s official Twitter account. She has also collaborated with top brands including Absolut, Squarespace, Gillette, Bud Light, Trojan, Lyft, and MAC Cosmetics and performed in iconic venues around the world.
Brooke Lynn spoke with us about “Queen of the North”, how she’s been doing during the pandemic, Canada’s Drag Race and lots more in our exclusive interview.
You look lovely.
Thank you. I’ve been in drag since 4:00 AM.
I saw that on your Twitter. I saw that you were up very early this morning.
I have some virtual meet and greets to do after all the press. So, I have decided to stay in it for everything. I literally had a cat nap in drag and have ben retouching.
Well, first of all, happy belated birthday.
Thank you so much. I’m excited. It seems to be a pretty good age so far. It’s weird to be like officially in my mid-thirties, but I’m enjoying it.
How have you been handling things during the pandemic?
Pretty well. And you know, I’ve had my ups and downs, I think like everybody, but overall, well, I think I’ve survived fairly well. I haven’t lost my mind. I still work somewhat.
I kind of took the time to focus more on like my own health. So, I’ve been exercising a lot and trying to eat better and stuff like that. So that’s something I always kind of never really did before, just because I was always constantly traveling and it’s so hard to take care of yourself when you’re on the road.
So, it was a nice little reset. That being said, I’m definitely ready to get back on the road and get back to life.
Did you get involved in doing digital drag a lot?
A little bit. Yeah. I did it at the beginning and then after a while it was, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I think it was like really like cool and hype the first couple of months. And then after a while we were all like, okay, I don’t want to see another drag queen in their living room. So, yeah, I did it a little bit in the beginning, but they haven’t really done much lately.
Have you discovered anything like a show to binge watch or anything like that that you probably wouldn’t have if you hadn’t been stuck at home?
I’ve binge watched all the shows, every single one of them. One of the standout favorites that I’ve binge watched during this year was The Great on Hulu with Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult.
And I just finally – which is crazy – finally, just watched The Handmaid’s Tale from start to finish because I’d never seen a single episode. I watched it in like three days and I like literally pulled an all-nighter one night because I just couldn’t go to bed. I was like, I can’t sleep. I need to know how this ends and I literally just stayed up.
You’re one of my favorites on season 11 and threw er so many string performers on your season like Yvie Oddly, Shuga Cain, Nina West and Honey Davenport. What was your own biggest takeaway from working on Drag Race?
Working on Drag Race? Probably how hard it was. You don’t really realize what a pressure cooker it is and how difficult it can be and how much it’s going to challenge you and how much you’re going to learn about yourself and how much it’s going to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and kind of reinvent yourself. And you really come out of it, a different drag queen than when you went in before, I think.
I love that you were a professional ballet dancer with the wonderful Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and I love the videos where you go and inspire young dancers. Is ballet something you’d ever be amenable to return to?
Oh, I don’t know. I mean, certainly not professional ballet. I mean, if I was maybe to do a Broadway show or something, but like, in terms of becoming a professional ballet dancer again, that ship has sailed, and I am okay with that. I would still, when things open back up again, like to go and take like dance classes, recreationally and stuff. I think that would be fun. But, yeah, I mean, I think as I got older and stuff, it’s something I kind of am that I find myself moving away from a little bit more. I don’t want to get pigeonholed as the dancer. I think it’s always going to be part of my story, but I want to show that I can do other things.
That’s, what’s so great about doing Canada’s Drag Race and getting to show kind of another side of what I can do – and putting together this music video is a really great opportunity for that too, just another opportunity to be creative.
Let’s talk about the new single, “Queen of the North.” You had said in the past repeatedly that you weren’t going to go into music. What inspired you to finally go for it?
Boredom. We recorded this song after we filmed season one of Canada’s Drag Race and, to be quite honest, I was basically forced to do it by my manager. He was like, ”you’re doing this. It’ll be great. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to use it,” blah blah. And I was like, fine. So, I did it. And then the pandemic happens. And then in, I think September, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need to like, do a music video for that.” And I was like, “yeah, I guess we do”. And I don’t have anything else going on right now. So, I kind of got to throw all my energy into that. And then after Priyanka won season one of Canada’s Drag Race, I was like, well, we should include her in the music video. I think she’d really adds something to it. So, we got her on the track and then it happened that she was going to be down in LA filming some things, so that all came together, and it was just kind of like the perfect storm.
I love that you dedicated the song to Bianca Del Rio. Is there a story behind that?
Well, Bianca always gives great advice and she’s always given me advice and just her, whatever, big advice thing was “never do music, it’s a waste of money”. And she’s always been just very good with her money and always telling me not to do it. And she always rolls her eyes at all the drag queens who do it. So, when I told her I what I was doing, she was like “NOOOOOO!” so I was like, I have to dedicate it to her. It’s just too perfect.
Now that you’ve gotten bitten by the bug is singing something that you want to pursue a little bit more moving forward?
Let’s just say I’m not going to be recording a full-length studio album anytime soon, but I mean, I might come up with like a fun little bopper song once a year. If I find something that inspires me and I find a cool track then yeah, totally. I don’t see why not, but it’s just going to be kind of like a fun thing I put out for content. It’s not something I’m doing seriously to pursue a career in as of now.
The video itself is it’s gorgeous. It’s an absolutely beautiful video. Is there any kind of story behind it or am I digging too deep?
No, honestly, it’s just like a random thought that popped into my head. They were like, so what do you want to do for it? And I was like, okay, hear me out. So, I want to start out in like Game of Thrones, Snow White and The Huntsman, like evil queen, ice palace. And then I want to be Marie Antoinette. And then I want Priyanka to be the Queen of the Desert, because I’m the Queen of the North and the Queen of the Ice.
And then I want to be a press secretary announcing the apocalypse and then I want us to be fighting zombies of the apocalypse. That’s basically it, I don’t know how I got there and how it happened, but I was like, I just kind of want it to be like this really visually stimulating this, not really like a story.
It’s just different queens at different points in history. That was kind of like the point, it was just supposed to be like fun and cool. And then the whole zombie apocalypse thing happened – because that’s kind of like what I think we feel the last year has been, so I thought it was just kind of like a funny play.
And also, I also did it because I made a joke on Twitter that everyone got very upset about, saying I hope the vaccine doesn’t turn us all into zombies. And a lot of people took me seriously and they thought it was an anti-vaxxer when I was clearly joking. So, I have to poke fun at that.
It was just all these like little fun ideas I had that I’d be like, let’s just throw them together. And it’s all very different and I like how different all the sections are from each other and it’s very chaotic and quick moving and fun.
I know the video itself is sponsored by Absolut. What is your favorite adult libation?
Oh, I love a Moscow Mule. That’s a good one, but I like it with the vanilla vodka. A vanilla Moscow Mule is delicious.
So, what was it like working with Priyanka on the video and the song?
Oh, she’s a monster. No, she was lovely. Pri is so easy to work with. She’s so high energy and fun and positive, and, at the same time, she’s very professional, like she’s there and she gets the job done. She knows what she needs to do. She’s been working in TV since he was 16 herself. She knows how to act on set and she’s great. Honestly, it was a wonderful experience, and I was so thrilled that she agreed to be on the track.
And speaking of Canada’s Drag Race, of course, congratulations on your nomination for the Canadian Screen Award – and the show got seven nominations in total. That’s absolutely fantastic. What was it like working on the first season and being on the other side of the judges’ table?
It was a great experience. It was also very challenging. I don’t think I realized like how hard it would be to judge people because I mean, it’s something we all do naturally, but then when you’re sitting there and, you know, especially for me, because I know firsthand what it’s like to be standing on that stage in front of the judges and knowing how much these queens have poured into their packages and everything they brought and probably how much money they spent. And then just every week you have to send someone home and it, it sucks. It really does. It’s not a fun job. It’s fun at some point, but that’s really one of the harder parts of it. But I still love it. It was a great opportunity. I’m so thrilled I get to come back for season two.
I’m really looking forward to season two and, without giving anything at all the way, what are you hoping to bring to this next season?
Oh, well you can expect some incredible Remley looks for myself, um, and hopefully some incredible performances, iconic moments and runway looks from the bachelor queens we have coming.
Excellent. Now you’ve been pretty much a ballet dancer, a pageant queen and an award-nominated reality TV personality . What do you think the future holds for you?
Oh, gosh, I really don’t know. And I mean, the crazy thing about my life is everything just kind of has happened. I haven’t really planned anything out, you know, things kind of just seem to fall in my lap and opportunities just come my way and I go for it. So, I really don’t know what the future holds for me, but I’m excited to find out. I mean, if it’s anything like the last 10 years have been, it’s going to be pretty great. I do have a couple little semi big projects in the works that I can’t really talk about yet, so there are some exciting things coming, but my goal really is just to keep working, whatever that means, whatever that looks like. I just want to keep being booked and just busy.
Thanks for chatting with me, best of luck with all of your projects!
Thank you for having me and make sure you stream and buy “Queen of the North” everywhere that you can stream and buy music and go watch the YouTube video. We just reached a hundred thousand views!
Brooke Lynn Hytes Answers the Socialite Seven
Who has had the biggest influence on your drag career so far?
Whoo! That’s quite a question. I guess probably RuPaul would be the answer.
What kind of music or an artist that you listen to frequently? Do you think your fans would be surprised to know that you’re a fan of?
Fleetwood Mac, maybe.
Do you have a favorite Fleetwood Mac song?
Um, oh, the name’s blanking. I can’t remember it! Well, my favorite song right now is actually not a Fleetwood Mac song. I take it back. It’s Stevie Nicks in particular. I like Stevie Nicks better than like Fleetwood Mac as a whole. My favorite Stevie Nicks song is “Stand Back.”
My next question is what is your dream lip-sync song? Would it be “Stand Back” or is there another?
Yes! Right now, I think it would be either “Stand Back” or I want, um, like I I’m a firm believer that there are not enough ballad lip-syncs on Drag Race. So, I would love a Celine Dion ballad or a Whitney Houston ballad. That would kind of be like one of my dream lip-syncs.
What talent would you like to wake up with tomorrow?
The ability to read minds or mind control. That’s like a super power though. Is that a talent or a superpower? That’s a superpower.
It seems like you have so many talents that you probably already have them all, so I’ll let you have a superpower.
That’s my super power. For my talent, I would love to be able to sing.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My cat, my phone – which is horrible, but it’s true. And my friends and family.
What is the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?
Oh, um, I don’t know if I can say it. Someone asked me to sign their armpit once.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Smile is better than talent.
What are you most grateful for?
My, just my life, honestly, I still can’t believe like what I get to do for a living in like, where this career has taken me. So really just like my life and my career and I’m just grateful for it every day.
Stream or buy “Queen of the North” on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your music. Stay up-to-date on all things Brooke Lynn by following her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok and if you want a virtual greeting from Brooke Lynn, she’s on Cameo.