Talking With... A Little Bit of Tammie Brown

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday July 10, 2019

Fans of "RuPaul's Drag Race" most definitely remember Tammie Brown, the Los Angeles-based drag star, from the show's inaugural season. Brown did not place well in the competition, being the second eliminated; but she made an impression on audiences with her wacky, idiosyncratic style. She even went up against RuPaul in a memorable exchange. She gained more fans when she appeared on "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars" in 2012, but was not able to attend the reunion of Season One contestants due to her touring in Australia with Trixie Mattel — the only Season One contestant absent.

Brown states in the following interview that she was always ahead of the curve, which may be why she attended her high school prom in a conservative Texas town in drag. Not that high school in the 1990s was easy.

"Every day I got called f----t. Well, big deal," Brown told Billboard in an interview earlier this year about her high school days. "Every day I'm over here living my truth, so what's the big deal. And then I had people that were protecting me. Teachers and other male students who were hetero, which was wonderful."

While in high school she appeared in drag in productions of "Grease" and "Into the Woods"; later she started performing in drag while living in Corpus Christi at a venue called Club Divas. It was there that she was christened Tammie Brown. (He had initially wanted to perform under her real name Keith Glen Schubert.) Prior to appearing on "Drag Race" Brown appeared with another famous Tammy — Tammy Faye Baker on "The Surreal Life"; post-"Drag Race" she has appeared in commercials for Orbitz, McDonalds, Allstate and UPS, touring internationally, and producing and releasing a number of her music. Last year she released an EP of four songs; and is working on a new release of club tracks with producer Pierce Rolli (whom she met online) that she is naming after her birth name, "Schubert" (the "t" is silent).

Brown is currently appearing at the Post Office Cabaret in Provincetown in "A Little Bit of Tammie" through September 4. For more information, visit the Post Office Cabaret website.

EDGE spoke to Brown about how she got her name, her show and how she plans on celebrating 20 years in drag.

Her name?

EDGE: How did you come up with the name "Tammie Brown?"

Tammie Brown: I was on a 3-way party line at a friend's house and the name on the calling ID said Bob Brown. I took that name to the club that night and I was forced to come up with a drag name and that's how Tammie Brown was born 20 years ago this fall.

EDGE: Was it easier to come out as gay or as a drag queen?

Tammie Brown: I had already come out as gay way before drag. I am gender fluid or androgynous. I have always had advance style. I am artist who is self-aware.

EDGE: How did you get your start in drag?

Tammie Brown: As a performer, it started with the Tina Turner movie "What's Love Got to Do with It." For drag, I really like the movie "Tootsie," but I was able to start in high school with a lip sync contest.

EDGE: Do you feel different when you're Tammie as opposed to when you're Keith?

Tammie Brown: I am both people. There is no separation. The only separation is in the way I dress or the way I carry myself depending on who I am. It is me, either way, it is my fantasy.

About 'Drag Race'

EDGE: When I think of Texas, I don't think of drag queens. I was surprised there are eight that hailed from Texas that appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Tammie Brown: That's because Texas is great. I was born in Corpus Christi the home of Farah Fawcett, Freddie Bender, and Selena. When I started doing drag I was supported in my high school. Plus, the theatre scene is intense especially in high school.

EDGE: Season 1 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" was 9 years ago. Has the experience lived up to your expectations?

Tammie Brown: Honestly, I didn't do well in Season One and it had nothing to do with my fame now. I would call us the "lost season." Now that the kids are going back and re-watching it the show has brought me more notoriety. I was definitely the oddball out on the show.

EDGE: Tell us about your show "A Little Bit Of Tammie."

Tammie Brown: I will be singing from my catalogue of music that I have been working on for the last 8 years. It is also the title of the EP that was released last December. There are some political jabs, but mostly it's a fun time and I think everyone who comes will enjoy it.

Celebrating 20 years

EDGE: Favorite part about performing in Provincetown?

Tammie Brown: Being able to see all the other artists and riding around in the pedicab.

EDGE: If you were not performing drag, what would you be doing?

Tammie Brown: I am sure I would still be performing or entertaining in some other way. That was always going to happen no matter what. I am an entertainer in my heart. It is always something I wanted to do.

EDGE: Do you have any other upcoming projects your excited about?

Tammie Brown: I will be attending DragCon New York in September. I am also planning on a single called "It's Tammie Brown" while at DragCon. In October, I will be celebrating 20 years of Tammie Brown at the Hamburger Mary in Long Beach where I first started. I will also be releasing my new album there.

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