Ever since A'Keria C. Davenport called them out for flirting, Brooke Lynn Hytes and Miss Vanjie's relationship has been a fascination for Drag Race fans. It's the first on-screen romance in the show's history, so naturally, people have a ton of burning questions. Brooke's been cautious not to reveal any spoilers for Season 11, but she did fill Bustle in on how she and Vanjie got together — and where they stand now, after filming has wrapped.
Post-production made it seem like Brooke was the one to initiate the relationship, especially because she was handing out pecks like candy. ("Those kisses keep coming. I'm gonna keep accepting them," Vanjie said on the show.) But she insists that Vanjie made the first move.
"He started it," she says. "It just kind of happened. Like, I guess he had a crush on me for a while. And I knew him as a drag queen. I never really had seen him as a boy, so .... he was always flirting with me, and I just kind of started flirting back. And it was like well, we're here, why not? Like you're cute, I'm cute. Let's see what happens. And then it just kind of happened."
Vanjie told United Press International that she had never really talked to Brooke before the show, except for a message on Facebook after she was eliminated from Season 10. "It happened naturally and is another branch of this beautiful tree of RuPaul's Drag Race," she said of her and Brooke. "People get to see us meet organically, get to know each other, and date."
Brooke admits to Bustle that, though Drag Race always brings friendships, having someone who was a little more than that was a definite bonus. "It was really nice having someone there. It was a nice stress reliever," she says. "It was obviously a very stressful environment to be in, and to kind of have someone there that you can hug and kiss to make it feel a little bit better, to make it a little less stressful, was great."
But Brooke says she and Vanjie didn't allow their budding romance to interfere with their focus on the competition. "We never played favorites with each other or anything. We kept that part of it very separate," she explains.
As for their current relationship status, Brooke says they're still in touch. "We're great. Yeah, things are really, really good," she says. "I just saw him the other week. He's doing well. He's a very special person in my life and he always will be. So no complaints on that front."
On April 22, she tweeted a photo of them together. "Always good getting to see this guy!" she wrote. And her mentions blew. up.
Vanjie replied with heart emojis, which totally makes it official, right?
Considering this is a first for Drag Race, people are feverishly curious about what it's like for queens to date one another, especially while on the show. But Brooke says it wasn't that far off from dating anyone else.
"It didn't feel any different," she says. "It's nice in a way because they understand what you do and what you're going through. And you don't really have to explain anything ... they're not like fascinated by what you do. A lot of times when drag queens date people ... it's because they somehow wanna be a drag queen themselves, or they want to be involved in it. It was just like dating someone who has the same job as you."
Episode 9 was a close call for Vanjie, as she was nearly eliminated. But after lip-syncing against Plastique Tiara, she remained safe. Here's to hoping she doesn't find herself back in the bottom anytime soon, and that there's a lot more Branjie to come on Season 11 — and beyond.