DANI VAN DER HORST
Canadian drag queen, Brooke Lynn Hytes, will be attending the Johannesburg Pride Parade and Festival this year as a Grand Marshall. Hytes is a popular drag queen, best known for competing on the 11th season of American reality competition series, RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show follows RuPaul on her annual search for the next drag superstar. Brooke Lynn Hytes is Brock Hayhoe’s drag persona. Hytes’ name is a play on “Brooklyn Heights” and was given to her by her drag mother Farra N. Hyte. Farra drew the inspiration from Hytes’ real name (Brock), her surname and the fact that her drag daughters, including Hytes, are tall. Hytes is a professional ballet dancer and most of her drag performances centre around dance. She even walked down RuPaul’s runway on pointe, which was an exceptionally unique occurrence. She was the first Canadian to participate in RuPaul’s Drag Race and was recently announced as a permanent judge on Canada’s Drag Race. Hytes dated Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo, a fellow contestant, during the show’s run. This was another first for RuPaul’s Drag Race, as the show had never seen an on-screen romance before.
Hytes is more intimately connected to our country than one might suspect. Hytes moved to South Africa when she was 20 years old and danced for the Cape Town City Ballet. She later moved to New York and fulfilled her life-long dream of joining the all-male, drag ballet troupe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
Hytes has won many prestigious beauty pageants, but one of the most prolific wins that she has to her name, is her 2014 Miss Continental title.
Although Brock Hayhoe thoroughly enjoys being Brooke Lynn Hytes, he identifies as gay and prefers the pronouns “he” and “him” to be used in his everyday life. It takes him approximately two hours to transform into Brooke Lynn Hytes. Hayhoe thoroughly enjoyed his life as a professional dancer but realised that he much preferred the drag aspect of performing. So, he abandoned his dancing career and took up drag, performing as Brooke Lynn Hytes for the first time under the guidance of Farra N. Hyte. Hytes’ first lip-sync performance was to Kelly Clarkson’s “Hear Me”.
Hytes has been performing ever since then and within six months of her first show, she was earning enough to become a full-time performer.
Hytes finished in 2nd place on Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. While she may not have won the race, she did win the attention of many. She now boasts one million Instagram followers and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
This queen is going places and is worth keeping an eye on, so be sure to catch her at the Johannesburg Pride Parade and Festival 2019.