NYC Drag Queen Of The Week – Tina Burner
There is no shortage of drag queens in NYC. You can’t throw a rock without hitting some twink in a dress thinking he’s got what it takes to shantay down the runway just because he’s seen every season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race while practicing YouTube makeup tutorials. There’s a difference, though, between learning how to just paint your face and turning that face into a work of fucking art. This weekly series highlights the queens who stand out from the crowd and rock those heels til they bleed.
Meet Tina Burner.
How would you describe your look?
A linebacker in a pantsuit.
Since you have a captive audience at your shows do you feel the need to do more than just entertain?
When you do drag you’re given a platform and a microphone. I went down to Atlantic City and I knew doing a huge anti-Trump number was probably not going to go over well because a lot of people that came to that weren’t gay people. We were walking down the Boardwalk the night before and there was like 20 people in their Make America Great Again hats. It’s scary. So, I chose to go down there and teach them a lesson and put it in their face. About half the people will like it and half the people will think I’m a monster for doing it but if I can change the mind of half, instead of zero, then I’m doing my job.
What’s been your best night in drag?
I put together a fundraiser on Fire Island for the victims of Pulse and I got performers on the Island, who normally work at other places, to come together and do a benefit and we raised like ten grand. Something like that, to me, is amazing. That’s why you should do things like that because you have such a platform and you need to use it.
For everyday drag queens what are the pros and cons of the success of Drag Race?
Let’s start with cons. I work like 8 or 9 shows a week and I bust my ass, I have been doing that for 9 years, and someone can get on Drag Race who barely works and, just because they’re pretty, is now getting paid 40 times the amount of me. I guarantee you that if you put me on stage with someone I’m able to shut it down in ten seconds on mic because they don’t have that experience. It’s a job to me, it’s a craft. When I’m not on stage I’m sewing for 10 hours a day. These other girls just don’t get it. They just want to become famous. People aren’t doing it for the right reasons. So that’s a huge con.
The pro is that it’s taken drag to a mainstream level to where people are more accepting of it.
Working so many gigs do you ever get worn out?
I had a run a marathon and I had to do the Stonewall Invasion and I had a gig in between and by the time of the Invasion I did my show and I finished and I sat down at the foot of the stage at a table and fell asleep in full drag.
Ru Paul created some controversy by saying he may not allow biological females to compete on Drag Race. What’s your take on that?
I think everyone should be able to do drag if that’s what they want to do but if you’re specifically asking me from a competition standpoint, if you’re putting me in a workroom with a biological woman and I’m given the same time to get ready, where’s the fairness in that? Somebody that already has tits and hips and a body like that and then I’m expected to put this on and do the corset and put my boobs and my pads in and four pairs of pantyhose and she’s already a woman. Where’s the fairness in that in a competition?
How does the drag scene in New York differ from anywhere else?
You’re going to be more popular if you stand out. New York is very comedy driven. In New York people want you to shoot glitter from your asshole. You have to be a fucking drag unicorn to get a reaction out of people. It blows my mind.
Tina Burner performs Mondays at Industry Bar, Wednesdays at Gurlesque at Barracuda Bar, Thursdays for RPDR viewing party at Boxers, Fridays Gurlesque at Cherry Grove, Saturdays at Intermezzo and Hardware Bar, and Sundays at Cherry Grove.
Follow her on Facebook.