Drag Star, Disney Icon, Kids Book Author

nina west

photo: Max Fleury

Nina West knows all about being a multi-hyphenate performer.win miss affinity RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11, charity work with Dolly Parton, music for kids, opposite Daniel Radcliffe Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Be the face of LGBTQ disney pride Activity, and Release a children’s book — and West does it all in high heels and a wig that touches the sky.

Speaking of that children’s book: with kind you, The west Designed to spread awareness that people need kindness more than ever, especially with legislation across the US that could endanger LGBTQ youth. io9 recently sat down with her to talk about its inspiration, working with Disney creative illustrator Hayden Evans, what this season means to her, and her favorite things to do Disneyland during the holidays.

Sabina Graves, io9: Hi Nina!I must start by saying that I love being in weird Be the iconic goddess of the eccentric celebrity pool party scene. How did this come about?

Nina West: i’m on tour now Hair spray I got a call from my agent in late January, early February, saying, “Hey, we have an offer for you to do this project, it’s a top secret project, but they want you to play [drag legend and John Waters muse] Holy.I think the day I go to the set is the day TMZ or someone else posts a picture of Daniel [Radcliffe] As Weird Al. I was there like in the secret behind the project. To be invited to play such an iconic role and to celebrate the lives of Weird Al, Daniel Radcliffe and Jack Black with pure camp and pure fun is nothing short of a dream come true. It’s just one of those things that I never thought would happen. Dan Radcliffe is like the most charming, sweetest, The most relaxing kind and wonderful people. He was very interested in my drag career.director eric [Appel] What an amazing guy, obviously Weird Al is so amazing.I think there’s a really cool storyline and it’s about celebrating who you really are, celebrating being weird, celebrating what makes you you.

io9: Be polite and talk about the book You are that kind of person. Congrats on the release, it’s incredible. I love the art of Hayden Evans. I’m also a big Disney fan, so I’m familiar with his work and your work at Disney. So when I saw the two forces coming together, I thought, “Oh, this is going to be good.”

The west: This item came after I was eliminated drag racing. I released this EP of children’s music called Resistance is magic. Then the pandemic hit, and it allowed me to settle in and surrender myself to it in a way I’d never have had the luxury of. I started actually writing the book full-time around April 2020, and Hayden came relatively late in the game. Hayden is the guy I was brought to the table for his artwork. I love the storylines he’s able to capture through his artwork and the connection to Disney, right?Hayden’s artwork is somewhat similar to [legendary Disney artist] Mary Blair’s. Mary Blair, but there’s a whimsy to it, a sense of wonder and excitement, and that’s reflected in how Hayden creates his pieces.

Hayden really told me how I had to edit the manuscript and how I had to really think about presenting it in a new way, which was really exciting. He really encapsulates the energy of the little Nina character and the energy of Nina West’s cross-dressing character – I mean, real Vividness through it is captured with every page turn. Text does support it too.Another connection to Disney is that I was really inspired by the Sherman Brothers who wrote a lot of different [Disney] song from Bed handles and broom handlesbut probably the most famous Mary Poppins’”Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

little nina and a rainbow message

picture: PA Press/Hayden Evans

Mary Poppins is my favorite Disney movie, it always inspires me and encourages me to think outside the box. I really wanted to honor that and give little Nina her own energy and ability to have the license to create the world she wants to live in; part of that is how we speak in our language. In turn, I want younger readers. I want to reconnect to that because when I was a kid, the first time I heard “Supercalifragilistic,” I was like, “But it’s not a word, and that’s okay.” It’s a license to dream and to be creative. I really want to have that impact in my book.

io9: Let’s dive into your first fandom. Which do you think will inspire your career the most?

The west: it is Muppet. i belong to sesame street generation, that was a natural evolution for me because puppet show In syndication – that was my first love.When I was a kid, the Jim Henson Company did have these big moments, which were little shop of horrorsit is mazeit is black crystal. They all hovered around my childhood. All of this sounds like a Jim Henson speech. So I’d say my eventual first fan and obsession was the Muppets.i think gonzo might be [the] I think I saw my first real moment because he was so different, he was an outsider.this thing or this it Like a chicken, it’s just accepted in the same world where frogs and pigs love each other, right? Like it has this whimsy and natural logic to it that really doesn’t make sense, but it does.

Big Muppet Caper is one of the best movies of all time. little shop of horrors is one of the best movies ever made, and then everything expanded, all thanks to my love for Disney. So these are connections, right?for little shop of horrors, Created by Jim Henson Studios [the Audrey II puppet]but it’s also music [pre-Little Mermaid’s] Howard Ashman and Alan Mencken, and [The Muppets performer] Directed by Frank Oz. It’s amazing.In the fall of last September, at the D23 Expo, I held a A Muppet Christmas Carol 30th Anniversary Panel! I performed with the puppets. We sang a medley from the movie.I interviewed [Muppets songwriter and famed music man] paul williams and [director] Brian Hansen, [voice of Gonzo] Dave Golz and [costumer] Polly Simmons. As a child, I never imagined that I would grow up to sit on the sofa and chat with the son of my hero. Sitting next to his son, he directs Puppet Christmas Carol and guide Muppet Treasure Islandlike this crazy moment.

And interviewed “Rainbow Connection” author Paul Williams (Paul Williams). We did a Disney Pride special during the pandemic in 2021, and I sang “Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog, and it was like, “It doesn’t get any better than that” somehow better than that. We are all in this room. I sat there chatting with the guy who has been Gonzo ever since Gonzo was created. These things are essentially synonymous with the core of my being.

io9: Since this is going to be around the holidays, I had to get your tip because you’re an expert on the Disney parks. What’s your must-do festive activity at the park during the holidays?

The west: At Disneyland they have special churros every season and I’m generally pretty obsessed with churros so I had to find them.I’ve found it at Disneyland for the past few years nightmare before christmas Superimposed on a haunted house is best. haunted house is my favorite then put nightmare before christmas the most important is? It’s fantastic.

io9: Love Mansion.

The west: And then what they do with it seasonally also makes it super awesome and wonderful.i love festival parades [and] Whether you’re in Southern California or hot Orlando, the park’s magic when it snows on Main Street America. It’s amazing, it’s incredible. Even the music they play when the park opens has something to it, it feels like a holiday, it’s so nice and perfect. It would be great if you could experience the candlelight parade.Travel the world at Epcot, or travel around Polynesia and Greater Florida on the monorail [hotels] and see the trees. Walking from one resort to the next, admiring the beautiful decor – it’s one way to experience the magic of the parks and Disney. Or head to Disney Springs or Downtown Disney—there are plenty of ways to really feel the magic of the season and be financially responsible if need be. I think the real beauty of Disney is that they provide an experience and they are the storytellers. That’s what I like about them.

You are the kind little Nina who parades with friends

picture: PA Press/Hayden Evans

kind you Now available at Bookseller and online.


Want more io9 news?Check out when you can expect the latest Miracle and star wars post, what’s next DC Universe on Film and TVand everything you need to know Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Ring of Power.

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