Tammie Brown is unarguably one of the most memorable characters that RuPaul’s Drag Race has produced over the past 10 years of its existence. Keith Glen Schubert (the “t” is silent) is behind the creation of the quirky tongue-in-cheek persona that is Tammie Brown, and he has been at it since high school.
Many viewers fell in love with Tammie Brown the moment she walked into the workroom on the very first season of Drag Race, where she went on to utter many of the show’s famous catchphrases like “Tootsie Lou,” “Ha! Ha! I’m acting!,” and the most famous one, “You both called me losers and I don’t see you out there walking children in nature” during a verbal spar with RuPaul at the first season reunion.
A self-proclaimed high-concept character, Tammie has always kept it real, while being an authentic self. This might just be the reason for the longevity of her career in the business that's producing drag queens like bunnies.
The first time I met Tammie in person was at last year’s RuPauls’s DragCon. Her booth wasn’t even a booth – she was standing in the open, for anyone and everyone to see. Her attitude was friendly and approachable. She looked everyone in the eye, took her time with every single fan, and genuinely thanked everyone who stopped by to say hello.
After we mentioned her several times in Sidewalkkilla’s Instagram Stories, she invited me to Hamburger Mary’s in Long Beach, CA, where she was kicking off the first show celebrating 20 years of Tammie Brown. In fact, that is exactly where she first took the stage as herself. I love full-circle moments, but unfortunately not being based on the West Coast, I told her that Sidewalkkilla couldn’t attend the event. “This is Brooklyn,” she wrote, sending me a flyer to her second show, “Come as my guest.”
I was 20 minutes late to the set that was supposed to start at 8 PM at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn, but the minute I took my seat, Philadelphia-based indie-pop artist Pierce Rolli took to the stage as her opening act. He warmed up the audience with several of his songs, while sprightly dancing in his high-heeled booties, gyrating hips and shaking his ‘80s-inspired hairdo.
The moment Tammie walked onstage, everyone in the audience stood up and greeted her with roaring applause. During almost an hourlong set she performed several disco-inspired catchy tunes from her new album Schubert’, which was produced entirely in collaboration with Pierce Rolli himself. The performance was spruced up with some quips typical of Tammie’s character, like “Don’t worry darling, that’s not my hand, that’s toilet paper,” and “Don’t forget that Mexican is another white language – it actually comes from Spain.” The highlight of the night was her duet with Pierce, “Sexy Orangutan,” where Tammie used the fun tune as a means to talk about the environment. This wasn’t the first time Tammie used a song to draw attention to things that she deeply cares about. “The Whale Song,” off her EP A Little Bit of Tammie touches on the subject of conservation. In an interview with Billboard, Tammie mentioned her plans to donate a portion of the EP’s sales to a charity.
At the end of the night, fans who purchased VIP tickets lined up for a meet-and-greet, while Pierce stood shyly to the side, waiting for Tammie to introduce him to her fans.
“Great job!” I exclaimed. “Oh thanks so much,” replied Pierce, seemingly taken by surprise. “You make some catchy tunes,” I continued. “Which one was your favorite?,” he asked. “Sexy Orangutan. Did it take you guys a while to write this album?” I inquired. “Just about a week this summer,” he answered. The next moment he was whisked away by Tammie for a group photo with fans.
The meet-and-greet was over and the artists were about to leave for the green room, but not before I stepped in Tammie’s way and thanked her for the invite. “Oh you are so welcome,” she said as she gave me a long, tight hug. “You guys have an amazing energy together onstage,” I said. “Oh thank you, his voice resonates well with mine.” Tammie answered, “The first time we met, we didn’t do vocals, we went back and forth on the ideas via Instagram.” She shared that she was happy with Pierce’s work and they both sounded very excited for the new album.
It’s always exciting to see artists who use their platform and artistic medium to speak on the things they care about and promote awareness. It’s no surprise to see that 20 years after Tammie’s birth in heels, she keeps her dedicated fanbase, while growing a new one with her music and personal projects like The Browns, an Instagram show that is also a comedic gem. Here’s to another 20 successful years of Tammie Brown and her quirky, lovely self!