“I’ve always been an [LGBTQ+] ally,” says Christine Quinn. “It’s just nice to be recognised for that, and I’m really honoured.” The Selling Sunset “villainess”, fashion icon, self-described drag queen and future palaeontologist (?) is speaking with GAY TIMES about her part prescriptive how-to, part manifesto, part tell-all, How to Be a Boss Bitch, in which she advises readers to live their “most unapologetic, confident and true life” via topics such as money, fame and, of course, fashion. “This is really a chance for me to talk about things that I never talked about before,” Christine explains, “such as my insecurities, my education, my body and how I didn’t feel the way I wanted to feel when I grew up. I think a lot of you can relate to that. “
Since 2019, Christine has become one of the most discussed – and controversial – characters on reality television with the aforementioned real estate drama, although her kitschy wardrobe, wit and deadpan sense-of-humour has cemented her status as an icon within the LGBTQ+ community. So, naturally, conversation turns to Christine’s undying love for queer people – “I really only related to gay men [growing up]” she admits – and how it’s her “dream” to one day sit alongside RuPaul and Michelle Visage on Drag Race in the search for America’s Next Drag Superstar. “I’m waiting for the invitation,” she tells us. “I’m putting it into the universe. Ru, give me a call! Please! Like, I would be so honoured. It’s my dream.”
Read ahead for our full conversation with Christine about her addictive new book – out now! – leaving The Oppenheim Group and why she’s reclaiming the word ‘bitch’, as well as insults about resembling a “Russian mail order bride”.
Christine Quinn, how are you?! Have you fully recovered from COVID?
Yes, I’m doing great. I did test positive, unfortunately, but I’m all good. I’m vaccinated.
What about your back? From carrying Netflix’s number one reality series?
Seriously, I need a chiropractor. If you have a good recommendation, let me know because it’s been exhausting on my end. It’s been exhausting. You’re so sweet. I mean, it is a collaborative effort between all the girls, but some just bring it a little more than others… You know, my humour is not for everyone. Some people prefer coffee, some people prefer tea. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But the one thing is, I enjoy amping that up. You can’t take yourself too seriously in life, and I really have fun with the show. I’m genuinely very goofy. I’m very silly, and I have fun with it.
Your sense-of-humour feels very British, honestly.
It’s funny that you say that because all of my really good friends are from London. I found that they’re the ones who get me. They understand that type of humour. It takes intellect to really understand it. There’s different types of humour, but it’s that high brow humour. So, I know the people that get me and I seem to be drawn towards British people, because I think they get that Gemma Collins humour. It’s just a different level and out here in America, I think sometimes people take themselves too seriously. You only have one life, have fun while you’re doing it.
I love that you know who Gemma Collins is. When is your joint show coming? How can we make that happen?
Oh my god, I can’t wait. She was actually in Los Angeles recently. She’s just my spirit animal. Gemma, please give me a call. I love you.
Let’s talk about your brand new book: How to be a Boss Bitch. In the book, you admit that you love when people call you a bitch and how it’s not a slur…
It’s not a bad thing at all! I was on Instagram the other day and someone said, ‘This girl looks like a Russian mail order bride,’ to which I responded, ‘Thank you, that’s quite a compliment. Thank you.’ And that’s the thing, I wanted to rewrite the narrative and change the depiction of the word ‘bitch’. It’s not a negative connotation anymore. We’re taking that word back and we’re owning it. It’s a word of power! It’s a word of knowing yourself, knowing your value and knowing what you bring to the table. If someone calls you a bitch, it’s just because you’ve said things that are maybe outside of the box, but people need to respect that word. It’s not the word that it used to be anymore. I embrace it. I have fun with it. Anytime someone calls me a bitch I say, ‘Thank you very much. Thank you.’
I think it was Latrice Royale who once said the word ‘bitch’ actually means “Being In Total Control of Herself”.
I remember that. I remember that, and I completely related to that and couldn’t agree more!
Admittedly, I have never read a manifesto slash self-help book that’s not by a drag entertainer…
Oh my god, well, I am a drag queen! Have you met me?
That’s true. So, what inspired you to share your secret on how to be a boss bitch?
It was so important to me because when I started the show, I didn’t feel secure in my body. I didn’t feel happy with who I was. I grew up watching icons like Marilyn Monroe and Dolly Parton and I had identity problems because inside, I felt like I was one way but when I looked in the mirror, it didn’t translate to me. So, I made the choice to have plastic surgery and get a boob job. And then I really stepped in my power because then in my mind, I was the person that I felt inside my head, which then translated to the mirror and then just upped my confidence. It was the best thing I ever did because I wasn’t happy with my body and I didn’t feel like the person I felt inside. When I went into the show, it was all about confidence and fashion and power for me. I was like, ‘Wait, we’re selling houses? Whatever.’ It was just all about having fun, entertaining the audience and bringing all the fashion serves. When the show came out, I was getting a lot of questions and DM’s and I thought it would be about beauty routines, fashion and makeup, but the number one thing people were asking me was about confidence. They said, ‘How can I have your confidence? How can I talk back to my boss? How can I say no in a situation where I don’t feel it’s right?’ That was really the turning point. I’ve lived so much life and I want to share my stories and tips and tricks for people who may not feel as confident. Confidence is not something that I was born with. Over the years, with rejection and constantly being told no, doors slammed in my face year after a year, confidence was acquired. So, that’s really how the book came to play and I didn’t want to do a manifesto about my life being under construction because everyone’s life is always under construction. Let’s make that one thing clear. I wanted someone to walk into an airport, read the title and say, ‘I want to live my most unapologetic, confident, true life.’ It’s just really about confidence, setting boundaries, and the number one tip that I found really helpful was the power of the word ‘no’. It is such a powerful tool. Because it’s you, once again, stepping into your power saying, ‘This doesn’t serve my energy. No, this doesn’t serve me. No, I’m setting boundaries.’
I assume there’s some tidbits in there that may reveal more about Christine Quinn?
Yeah, that’s the thing. People have this perception of me through the television show that I’m maybe this one-note character, but I’m not, I have vulnerability. I’ve had a lot of failures in my life. People only see the success, but they don’t see the grind to get there. This is really a chance for me to talk about things that I never talked about before such as my insecurities, my education, my body and how I didn’t feel the way I wanted to feel when I grew up. I think a lot of you can relate to that. It was really great to share that process and say, ‘I’m just like you. It’s always a process, but I’m constantly learning about myself and I’m more than just a 38 minute television show with 12 other characters.’
You have a lot of LGBTQ+ fans. I assume this is something you’ve embraced, being an LGBTQ+ icon?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, my makeup artist just made a face and he was like, ‘Hey, girl!’ You have to understand my background is theatre, so I didn’t have girlfriends. I really didn’t. My friends that I grew up with when I was little were all gay men. It’s the only people that I related to. I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends and I also talked about in my book the relationships with all my friends growing up. I really only related to gay men, or a very small percentage of women actually got me, so I’ve always been an advocate. I’ve always been an ally. It’s just nice to be recognised for that, and I’m really, I’m really honoured. That makes me so happy to hear that you recognise that as well.
Why do you think queer people have always been so drawn to you?
Well, I think it’s because they love the fabulous-ity of it all. RuPaul had this really incredible quote in his book, ‘You’re born naked and the rest is drag.’ I really see myself as a canvas, and I love to play up that canvas and make it into art and have fun with it. So that’s why, for me, the process of glam, I think they can relate to that because they know how much hard work goes into it. There’s that level of respect, but there’s that level of respect on my end, because I’m a huge fan of Drag Race. I watch all of it! I know the hard work that goes into the outfits. So, I think it’s this mutual understanding of this fierce persona that we put on and how much we love to do it together.
While we’re on the subject, have you ever been invited to guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race? If not, why?
Honestly, ‘If not, why?’ is my question too. I’m not sure! I’ve been such a big fan of Ru and Michelle especially for years. I’m waiting for my invitation! I really, really am. I’m so happy, actually, one of my friends Kerri Colby is on the show. I’m so proud of her. I couldn’t be prouder of her. It’s so wonderful to watch my actual friend go out and kill it. But, I’m waiting for the invitation. I’m putting it into the universe. Ru, give me a call! Please! Like, I would be so honoured. It’s my dream.
You’ve left The Oppenheim Group… Will we not see you at all in season six?
I have left The Oppenheim Group to start my own venture actually called RealOpen.com. It was purely a decision for what was best for my business. However, with Selling Sunset, that’s my baby. I would always love to continue to do the seasons and be on the show as long as I can. I love it and it’s my baby. It doesn’t mean I’m leaving the show. I just had to make a choice for my business to start my own brokerage and my own platform.
What can you tell me about this new brokerage? It involves cryptocurrency, right?
My husband and I have been working on this for over a year and a half. My husband was an early investor in Bitcoin. Just to give you some background on him, he basically invented the food delivery industry. He had a company called Foodler. And then he sold them to Grubhub, and so he was the first of its kind and is the reason we have food delivery apps today.
Christine, I’m going to become a pro on cryptocurrency overnight and apply for a job with you, and you will accept my application.
Sam, of course I’m gonna say yes! But also, if you ever want to call me, talk to me, I can talk crypto all day, I can help you. A lot of people just don’t understand it and I’d be more than happy to talk with you anyday. Everyone’s like, ‘Can I be an agent with you?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ Anyone can sign up on our platform, that’s the great thing. It doesn’t matter what brokerage you’re with. It doesn’t matter, I want to work with everyone and I’m so excited about that.
I can’t wait to embark on my new career. You were unable to make the Selling Sunset reunion because of your COVID diagnosis. If you were able to make it, what would you have addressed? I feel like that Scarlet Envy meme right now: “Am I the drama?”
Am I the drama? Is it me? I love Scarlet, oh my god. At the reunion, what would I have addressed? Honestly, just me! I’m the most interesting storyline. I don’t really care about anyone else. The thing is, I’m a Libra so I’m very balanced and I don’t hold grudges or harp on things. I would just be there to talk about me, to be honest with you. I feel like I’m not really the one who has the problem with other women, like I don’t even bring them up. They seem to have the problem with me. So I don’t know, maybe Davina and I could have had a heartfelt conversation. I would have loved to see that. I would have loved to see me and Mary have a heartfelt conversation. Heather as well. I do miss the relationships that we had. I do, and I think that when cameras get involved, people change, and I do miss them. I’m not saying we’re going to be best friends again, but I would like to be on the same page and put everything that happened in the past and move forward.
You’ve conquered reality television, fashion… drag! What’s next for Christine Quinn? Fossils? Is Paleontology your next career avenue?
You are friggin’ hilarious. I’m dead. So, my book tour is TBD for mid-June, but you and I are gonna hang out because you crack me up. For me, fashion is very important. It’s always been my main love and I would love to see myself transition into… I grew up attending and loving to go to fashion shows and I want to be taken more seriously in the fashion world. I also want to be taken more seriously in business, and I think those are my main priorities right now. You know, being a mother, being a friend, being a lover, being an inspiration, being an advocate for people, those are the things I really have on my agenda – and those are the biggest fish I really want to fry.