This Latinx Texas-born queen is a big time Broadway belter at heart, and has taken to wowing NYC audiences with showstopping live sung sets and fully realized pageantry. And while she’s currently finding her groove in the Brooklyn scene, she still pops up in her breakthrough neighborhood the West Village from time to time, like recently for Miss Stonewall 2018. She has a big summer ahead of her, so now’s the time for Thotyssey to unfold Miss Flower Tortilla!
Thotyssey: Hello Flower! How are you holding up on this disgusting summer night?
Flower Tortilla: Hey hey! I’m more wet than a whore in church… is that how that saying goes?
That’s it! I don’t know how drag queens do it… all I have to do is think about taping a pillow to my ass right now, and I faint of heat exhaustion.
It’s not just a pillow babe, it’s the whole Temperpedic!
You’re doing the Lord’s work!
So, how long have you been a queen now?
Two years! I just celebrated my birthday last week, I was a Pride 2016 baby.
Congratulations! And it’s obvious to anyone who’s seen you perform that before drag, you had a musical theater background.
Yeah, I did theater growing up in South Texas for 12 years before I came out to the big city, and tried to pursue that dream. It truthfully didn’t last long, and I stopped performing a year into moving here.
That’s a hard life. Not that drag is easy! What motivated you to give nightlife a go?
Well, I stopped performing and auditioning because I felt very boxed in: I was never Latino enough, dark enough, light enough, gay enough, straight enough. I ended up taking a class in college about performing gender and different identities, and it’s where I started playing with the idea of being a more free performer–and that’s where Flower was born. Or, the idea of her, I should say… it took me a few months to finally get out into the world.
In your performances, you frequently sing live with this lovely, strong voice, often showtunes. Do you think audiences are surprised by that?
I think so! Going back to my Latinx identity, I feel like most people don’t expect Hispanics to have this Broadway flare to them because of their under-representation on stage. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a community that had an ever-developing musical theater scene. And the city was 97% Hispanic– the least diverse city in America for a while, due to its heavy Latin population!
Wow! I remember the number you for the Miss Boots & Saddle pageant; It was a showtune with a nautical theme and background dancers… very cute and entertaining!
“Anything Goes!” I dream of being the Brown Sutton Foster! That was an amazing experience–my first real drag competition at a place I really loved.
In the beginning of your drag career, you were performing a lot in the West Village with your drag Mama Catrina Lovelace and her crew. But over time, you two kinda split amicably, and you’ve since been establishing yourself as a Brooklyn queen. What brought on that transition?
I’ll start by saying that I’m so, so, SO grateful to have had the experiences I did with Catrina. She really taught me so much about being a queen, as well as her entire family like Lilith LeFae and Lola Michele-Kiki, just to name a few. Me and Catrina did have different views on a few things though, and we ultimately agreed we’d be better as friends; we keep in touch and catch up every once in a while.
But when we did ultimately go our separate ways, it made me hungry to work because I knew I really only had myself. I made it a point to be seen in as many different venues as possible, and I felt like more than ever it was time for me to push myself out of my comfort zones.
So it wasn’t specifically about wanting to work more in Brooklyn?
I think at first it was; I was a scared that losing my mother meant losing my platform. Along with that, I had made some very large life changes that made me feel very frantic–but eager, if that makes any sense. And now I’m really finding a home here in Brooklyn, getting to work with so many different folks since moving to Bed-Stuy in January!
I will say, though: I have a very big soft spot for Astoria, an area I’ve found myself in more often recently.
Astoria is a small but mighty scene, like all of Gay Queens County.
Did you go to Queens Pride? I was overwhelmed, excited, and slightly aroused the entire time!
Yes! Gurl, Queens Pride is an experience. It was particularly lit this year, I think because we finally had good weather!
Anyway… you did a lovely job at the Miss Stonewall pageant recently! There were a lot of girls in that one. Was that a crazy experience?
Miss Stonewall was a RIDE! But so much fun. I loved curating and putting my package together; I even learned how to sew to make my presentation look! I’m so proud of the work I put on that stage, especially with getting a cold the week of, and then of course other last minute emergencies.
And now I’m just lined up for more pageants this summer! I think it’s something I’m going to start doing a lot more of from now on.
The bug has bit! In the meantime, you have a bunch of gigs coming up. First off, Tuesday night you’ll be watching Mamma Mia as part of Queen Robert’s show at the Rosemont, Scream Queen, and then doing themed numbers! Are you a Mamma Mia enthusiast?
As soon as I saw Queen Robert mention Mama Mia, I said I would sing the entire thing if I could! It was one of the first Bway shows I had seen as a tiny gay 6th grader, so it has a small corner in my heart.
How bad will the sequel be, Cher and all?
As long as I get some naked men on that screen, I am a-okay!
Wednesday, July 4th, you’re going to be at… “The International Tower of Pancakes?” What is that, like a private party or something?
Definitely not private, all are welcome! My roommate is DJ Sissy Elliot, and he got me involved with them. It’s turning out to be a SICK lineup with Ruby Fox, Pepto Dismal and Thee Suburbia, just to name a few! And it’s on a ROOFTOP! Cross that off my drag bucket list.
WIG is my first hosting / producing experience, and I couldn’t be more stoked. Mood Ring is such a fun space, and there NEEDS to be more drag there! But we wanted to keep the overall party feel, so the dance floor is open, with pop-up shows at 11pm and 1am with my special guests Magenta, Stella Artoit and Dynasty, and DJ JCLEF on the board!
Sounds amazing, congrats! Anything else in the works?
Well, after a small excursion to Texas, in August I’ll be competing in the Mx. Nobody, Ms. Look Queen pageants… and Miss Ice Palace, which I’ll be announcing as dates get close on my Insta! So if you see me, get me a Red Bull, stat!
Gurrrrl you BIZZZY! Okay last question: instead of dead butterflies, what would be the best thing to release from one’s boobs during a Drag Race final lip sync?
One side would be salsa, the other guac… and my bracelets would have chips.
A bitch is hungry.
You win the next three seasons! Thanks, Flower!