A GoPride Interview

Brooke Lynn Hytes

Brooke Lynn Hytes werks it in the Windy City

Tue. April 2, 2024  by Jerry Nunn

There are way more drag queens than when I started doing drag so I can’t imagine what the competition is like now.
Brooke Lynn Hytes

blh blue tiger

photo credit // aleksander antonijevic.

Brooke Lynn Hytes sashays into a new home in Chicago

Buckle up Drag Race fans, Brooke Lynn Hytes has sashayed into Chicago and let’s hope she stays to slay. Hailing from Toronto originally, Brock Hayhoe began a career in entertainment as a dancer and joined the all-male drag ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo to tour internationally.

He came into major attention while competing on the eleventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and was the first Canadian to battle it out on the reality television show.

Landing in second place didn’t stop Hytes’ rise to success as she hosted and judged the spin-off series Canada’s Drag Race for four seasons. This in turn led to another spin-off as Canada’s Drag Race: Canada vs The World and three Canadian Screen Awards followed.

This queer drag icon shows no signs of stopping with several secret projects currently in the works. Hytes took a break to chat about life in Chicago and his journey into the spotlight.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) When did you start doing drag?

BLH: (Brooke Lynn Hytes) The first time I did drag I was 19 years old, but actually doing it properly was about 10 years ago.

JN: Was this at the clubs in Toronto?

BLH: Yes, in the bars there is where I got my start.

JN: You live in Chicago now?

BLH: Yes. I just moved here in August.

JN: That has been a noticeable trend recently that RuPaul Drag Racers have been moving to Chicago.

BLH: It is such a great city and compared to other states it’s fairly cost effective. I think a lot of people are migrating here.

JN: You also lived in Nashville where I grew up. I know DJ Phil from where you performed at Play Dance Bar.

BLH: That’s so cool. I love DJ Phil. I was there earlier this year and got to see him. I lived there for five years actually.

JN: What is your favorite food from Canada, Nashville and Chicago?

BLH: My favorite food from Nashville is definitely Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. My favorite food from Toronto is Swiss Chalet, which is a chicken restaurant, so apparently I love chicken! For Chicago, I would say hot dogs so far...

JN: So let’s switch gears to Canada’s Drag Race. How was the project at the beginning? Did you feel tons of pressure to make it a success?

BLH: It was such a whirlwind and it all happened so quickly. It happened during my busiest year of travel and going around doing all the gigs. I didn’t have time to prepare per se.

I had to jump into it right away.

The first season was us getting our feet wet and figuring out everything. It was so much fun and we had a great time doing it. It was an iconic year of Drag Race and people loved it like a cult classic.

On season two I had more of an understanding of what I was doing and getting into it.

JN: Are you allowed to make it your own and distance the show from the other RuPaul’s Drag Race traditional setups?

BLH: That is up to the showrunners and producers. They have done a really great job of adding a unique spin on things to make it different than the American one. We have the Golden Beaver now where a top queen is able to save a bottom queen.

JN: How has it been working with Brad Goreski?

BLH: He is wonderful and has become a close friend of mine. We have great chemistry. We clicked immediately and had the same silly sense of humor. It has been working with him and we just laugh all day on set. It’s great!

JN: Who is your favorite guest judge so far on Canada’s Drag Race?

BLH: Nelly Furtado was pretty amazing.

JN: The fifth season is in the works?

BLH: Yes. They have announced Canada vs The World season two and Canada’s Drag Race season five, so that will happen at some point.

JN: You must be busy all the time.

BLH: Yeah, I am! [laughs]

JN: What do you think of HBO’s We’re Here which debuts with a new cast on April 26?

BLH: I think it is great. It is such a smart idea and it’s always good to freshen things up. The people they are bringing in have such great personalities and are perfect for that show, so I can’t wait to watch it.

JN: Do you feel similar to RuPaul about dressing in drag all the time and prefer to be out of drag as much as possible?

BLH: As long as the money keeps coming in I will do it. It is my job and I like doing it, but I am not doing it for free.

JN: Just like RuPaul. Have you read the new RuPaul book The House of Hidden Meanings?

BLH: I have not yet. I bought the audiobook, but I have not started it yet.

JN: Does RuPaul narrate it?

BLH: Yes he does.

JN: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in drag?

BLH: I would tell them to have fun! There are so many drag queens now that it is crazy. There are way more drag queens than when I started doing drag so I can’t imagine what the competition is like now.

I would tell a new drag queen to find what makes them unique and then learn how to capitalize on it.

JN: Great advice and what a fun chat to celebrate how you have excelled in the field. I will see you around the Windy City soon.

BLH: See you then!


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.