Not that it hasn’t always been there in some way, shape or form, but exaggerated, outlandish costumes and makeup concepts have flourished in recent seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race — exemplified by the likes of deranged living doll Trixie Mattel (season seven), “7-foot-tall, live-action anime character” Kim Chi (season eight) and Atlanta-based transformation specialist Nina Bo’Nina Brown (season nine).
Born Pierre Leverne Dease in 1980s-era South Carolina, Brown entered the “reality” competition series on a high note, impressing guest judge Lady Gaga with two dramatic looks: a lace number modeled after an Alexander McQueen bodysuit Gaga wore to the MTV VMAs in 2009 … and a full-on Georgia peach costume built around a comical headpiece.
Previously known as Beatta Bitchass and sometimes referred to by her “full name” (Nina Bo’nina Banana Fofana Osama Bin Laden Brown), the self-described “attention whore” went on to embrace her theatrical nature, channeling Minnie Mouse, Skeletor, a frisky feline and an alien queen.
Dubbed season nine’s “resident complainer” by Entertainment Weekly, Brown unexpectedly won over fans by being forthcoming about her struggles with depression and self-esteem. “It’s something I’ve been dealing with for a long time,” Brown explained to Vulture in May. “But I do know how to put on a smile and get through it.”
In what’s been described as one of the biggest upsets in Drag Race history, Brown sent fan favorite Valentina packing after an epic lip-sync battle … and then annoyed the shit out of her fellow contestants by bemoaning her own victory.
Rey Lopez brings the endlessly creative chameleon to San Antonio for two shows at Heat hosted by inimitable camp queen Tencha la Jefa.
$10-$25, 10:30pm & midnight Wed., Jun. 28, Heat Nightclub, 1500 N. Main Ave., (210) 386-4537, reylopezentertainment.com.