Blake Eirmann for Gay Times

The sickening drag performer on championing for self-love in the LGBTQ community and the disadvantages of not being a Ru girl.

Heeeennies, if you’re unaware of Salina EsTitties, then you need to get into this queen like, right now, because this is a self-described “tit” that you’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future… OFFICIALLY. The LA-based drag performer, who’s made her mark in the entertainment industry with her parody videos on YouTube, is about to star in several TV shows such as #NoFilter, Vida and AJ and the Queen, the highly-anticipated Netflix comedy series starring RuPaul.

But will we ever see her on Drag Race? “I would love to be on the show!” she tells us. “There was a lot of rumours, but I didn’t get no phone call. That inspired me to work harder and really pursue it, and I look forward to auditioning for the next season.”

It wouldn’t surprise us if she was announced for the Emmy-winning series in the near future. Thirty-thousand Instagram followers, appearances on the small screen and millions of views on her YouTube channel, like, duh? We caught up with Salina in LA to discuss her upcoming projects, how she wants to champion for self-love in the LGBTQ community, and to take some gag-worthy photos. I mean, LOOK AT HUH!

I have to ask… How did you come up with the name Salina EsTitties?
Salina EsTitties! Originally, it was homage to Selena Quintanilla, the latin diva of the 90s who got shot by that bitch. And when I was creating my drag persona, I was thinking, ‘Oh, if I were a woman, I’d have big fake titties.’ So I spell Salina like saline solution, and EsTitties because she’s a tit! There you go!

How did you get into the world of drag?
I started five years ago because I was auditioning as a boy in Hollywood and I wasn’t making it because I don’t have abs or a six pack. So I said, ‘Fine, take me as a woman baby!’ and they did, and they ate her up! For the past five years, I’ve created parody videos on YouTube and I write scripts and shoot them myself, direct them and produce them. I’ve been really big on that, so I want to get into the bar scene more and host my own shows later on in the year. When I started out doing drag, I started doing a competition that Raven and Morgan McMichaels hosted, so being polished and showing up and being professional… I jumped right into that. I didn’t have time to be sloppy and messy, I had to perfect myself right out the gate.

You’re currently based in LA. What is the drag scene like there?
West Hollywood is very much like what you would think, what you see on TV and film, full of glamour and beauty, it’s very social in that way. I was actually in New York all of December, and I got to experience the drag scene and it’s so different from LA. They’re known for theatrics and showgirls and their performances are out of this world, whereas LA is more of a social thing. Show up to the club, show up to the party, turn looks, kiss babies, y’know? I actually have a musical theatre background, so I related a lot to the New York queens. I just love how different they are and I relate to them both so much.

You’re, in your own words, a “local” queen. Has the world of drag been difficult competing with Drag Race alumni?
I feel like any drag queen in the scene dreams of being on Drag Race to get that platform. From bar managers, we get paid nickels and dimes. I know queens in New York who get paid Drag Race rates, without having been on Drag Race, but they’ve been working their asses off for 20 years. There is a lot of big social politics that come into play with Drag Race girls versus local queens. We gotta keep up on pushing because every Drag Race queen was a local queen once. That’s how I see it.

Have you ever auditioned for the show or is that not something you’d like to pursue?
I would love to be on the show! I auditioned for the first time ever last year and it was very interesting because all of a sudden, even drag queens who don’t like me, started hitting me up like, ‘Congrats girl for getting on the show!’ I was like, ‘I got on the show?’ There was a lot of rumours, but I didn’t get no phone call. That inspired me to work harder and really pursue it, and I look forward to auditioning for the next season.

What do you think you can bring to the show that we haven’t seen before?
I’m 28-years-old and I’ve been sober now for seven years. I feel like I’ve done a lot of work on myself, and I think self-love is a big thing that the LGBTQ community struggle with. We seek outside validation to make ourselves feel better, and we act catty. I’ve acted catty in the past, and just I want to bring the message of self-love to a platform like that, to create a community and not have to attack each other.

You recently appeared on the dating series #NoFilter as Jason and as Salina – what made you to decide to go on the show?
Being a drag queen, it’s hard to find love sometimes! Especially here at WeHo, I’ve had a hard time dating out here. I thought it would be super cute to appear on the show in drag, I had to get Salina’s name out there honey! I started the first half of the date as Jason and when I realised that it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue, I was like, ‘Let Salina have her moment.’ It was interesting because I was promised to be set up with my perfect match, and you know it’s reality TV, so it’s not exactly what I got. So it was a rough date, but it was entertaining, I’ll give you that!

Why do you think the queer community has hang ups about dating drag queens?
It all comes back to the idea of self-love. People have their own ideas of masculinity and femininity and what it all means based on their upbringing. I feel like, as a community, we’re getting better at knocking down those walls of masculinity, and internalised homophobia is still very prevalent. I’ve done a lot of work to knock those down myself, especially doing drag professionally, which was a big hurdle for me to get over. In my experience dating, guys either want me to get them in drag or they become a big fangirl of mine. I’m like, ‘Hold up, I’m trying to court you.’ That either happens or they’re turned off by the idea that I can be very feminine. It scares them and they don’t know how to handle it.

You’re also set to appear alongside RuPaul on AJ and the Queen. What was that experience like?
RuPaul was right there in drag next to me. Watching her off-stage, she was going over her lines and she was so present, so in it. The scene we shot also had like six Drag Race girls in it, so it was cool being around all of those personalities and the professional setting where everyone was trying to create this TV show. I felt so honoured to be there.

And you’re about to star in the upcoming season of Vida – can you tell me a bit about that?
All the creators that work on Vida are all Latin women, the directors, the producers, the screenwriters. I’m Latino, and that’s another little hurdle, being Latino in a white man’s world. And being a person of colour in the gay community is another hurdle I’ve experienced in my life. Walking on set, I felt like I was at home, and that was the first time I think I ever felt that and I felt pride for being Latino. The experience they created on Vida was very eye-opening for me. In the episode, I’m a guest at a wedding and I tear up the dancefloor! I’m a dancer, honey! I’m a showgirl! I was giving you splits and twirls! It was a good time.

What do you hope is in store for the LGBTQ community in 2019?
I really want to build a community here in West Hollywood, and continue to inspire people to self-love. We just need to come together and stop tearing each other down.

Photography Blake Eirmann
Fashion Blake Patterson