It's time for Shavonna (B is for Barbie) Brooks to sashay away, Atlanta fans. But before she leaves, "the big, the bold, the beautiful" drag queen has a few things to say about her years here, that unfortunate incarceration and the Atlanta drag scene.
But don't worry. If you missed her going away show on Dec. 15 at Burkhart's, the place she's held court on Saturdays for so long, you've got another chance to bid her adieu as she joins a cast of queens for the annual Toy Party at My Sister's Room on Saturday. It's among the best gay things to do this weekend.
We caught up with Brooks before she leaves so we could dish.
Hello gorgeous! How are you?
I’m great! Just packing up my apartment and getting ready for this move.
How long have you lived here? And why are you leaving?
I've been here almost eight years and I'm leaving for a number of reasons. The drag scene here in Atlanta is changing in a dramatic way, and I don't feel the respect level is there any more for what has been my means to living. So, I've learned when you’re not happy with your life, change it! I've also been alone in this city and now, with this move, my family and I will reunite.
Where are you going and what's next for you?
I'm moving to Las Vegas to further my drag career. Continental Plus is next on my list. Keep watching! I've never disappointed! [Laughs]
A while back, there was a run in with the police and some drugs. Why did you open up about your pot bust and what lessons did you learn?
I’ve touched base on this question before. I know so many girls that battle with addiction. My being caught and facing the penalty could be an inspiration to someone else. I’m going on five months clean and three classes away from completing substance abuse training. [Since this interview, Brooks announced that she's finished the training.]
Do you have a “best memory” from your time in Atlanta?
There are so many for me. I would have to say my love life, and capturing the pageant titles I competed for -- Atlanta Devine Continental Plus 2010 and Wessland Grand Empress 2013.
What about worst?
Being detained by Clayton County! [Laughs]
What's it been like to be a part of the Atlanta drag scene?
It has its ups and downs. I've always looked out for the girls here, tried to be a mentor, and I'm not even a native from here. So I've been blessed to have come here and showcase my God-given talents, and open doors for others, just like Tyler King and my godmother Mary Edith Pitts did for me. I've trained so many so called "hosts," dealt with material being stolen from me, backstabbing, ass kissing to get to the top. It's a lot. But I enjoyed every moment, good or shady.
What will you miss the most about Atlanta's drag scene?
I will miss my cast Niesha Dupree, Monica Van Pelt, Raquell Lord and Nicole Paige Brooks -- the most by far. Saturday has always been the best. Never any stress. Always a good show, no drama, pure fun. Of course I will miss all my true sisters as well: Lateasha, Destiny, Angelica, Regina Gia and more.
Will you come back to visit?
Of course I'll be back.
Any parting words you'd like to leave the people of Atlanta with?
I will always love you, Atlanta.