tatianna

 

When Tatianna was 14 years old, she decided to celebrate Halloween by going to school dressed as all the other teenage girls. “It was the perfect excuse to go to school dressed like a lady!” remarks Tatianna about her first time in drag. Fully out of the closet by 8th grade, Tati had a confidence that would serve her well later in life as one of only a handful of queens who can call themselves RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.

At 19, Tatianna did her first drag show in D.C., not far from her home in Falls Church, Virginia. Performing Britney Spears’ “Radar” and Cassie’s “Me & U,” Tati slayed the crowd. A few months later, she saw an online ad for a new TV show. “The description read as if it was America’s Next Top Model but for drag queens,” she recalls. She decided to try out and made it to the last casting session, but it was sponsored by a liquor company and the minimum age was 21. She was only 20. The next year, she sent in an audition tape and got cast on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Out of the coterie of queens on the show, Tatianna was one of the youngest. Criticized by her competitors for her lack of experience, Tatianna proved that she was more than just a pretty face when she transformed herself into Britney Spears for the first ever Snatch Game. Her gum-chewing, Fedora-wearing pop princess impersonation was spot on, and her quick wit and snappy comebacks snatched top place in the episode. She continued on to finish in fourth place that season.

When the show aired in 2010, Tatianna took a hiatus from her job as a hairstylist to travel around the country doing RPDR gigs for the next six months. One of the places she performed at was Town Danceboutique in Washington, D.C. That New Year’s Eve, Tati joined the show's cast and started her residency there.

In the spring of 2015, Tatianna got the call for All Stars 2. She leapt at the opportunity to showcase her growth since 2009. Tatianna started strong in the first episode with her spoken word performance of “Same Parts,” a piece she had jokingly written as a rap for her friends back in high school. It went over so well that Michelle Visage convinced her to produce the song and put it on iTunes. Tati hit up D.C. mixmaster Jesse Jackson and music producer Mark Barrie and had them turn it into a full-length dance track. In 2017, it hit over 1 million streams on Spotify.

One of the highlights of the season was in the sixth episode, when all of the eliminated queens came back to compete for the chance to return to the competition. It came down to Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards lip syncing for their legacy and for their lives. “Going into that one, I was excited and nervous,” Tati remembers. “Nervous because it was against Alyssa, who is a known dancer, but excited because I never had the opportunity to break it down on stage like I usually would at a show.” Their jaw-dropping performances to Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive” convinced Ru to allow them both to stay. She finished as a fan favorite of the season, with over a half million followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Since wrapping All Stars, Tatianna has been hard at work with producer Jesse Jackson and Mark Berrie on her first full-length album, set to release in early 2018. Titled T1, it will feature 11 tracks of upbeat pop music with some R&B undertones.