Though she helped the house win the $100,00 grand prize on season three of HBO Max's Legendary this week, Brooklyn initially said no to the House of Juicy Couture when they tried to recruit her as a member. It was 2018 and she was only 16 years old. After seeing some voguing choreography while in auditions for the underground dance group Left Our Mark, she had become hooked on the style. She turned to YouTube to teach herself (the first clip she ever found was a battle out in Europe) and then the group manager, Mark Franklin, put her in touch with some people in the ballroom community. From there, she found herself at the 2018 Youth Pride Fest put on by the Hetrick Martin Institute and stayed out five hours past her curfew.
It was a wild time, and she decided to compete, winning three battles. It was that performance, and a clip that went viral of her, that caused the Juicys, and every other kiki scene house to start calling.
"I was turning everyone down," Brooklyn tells Out. "I didn't know who anyone was and I was turning them all down." She was ironically refusing them because she had her sights set on the House of Juicy, but had no clue that Quana, one of the many members of the scene who slid into her DMs, was the mother of the house. But that was four years ago and now the 19-year-old is one of ballroom's biggest stars.
On Legendary, Brooklyn made her debut as one of the five-member House of Juicy Couture -- she was joined by Lolita, Kimaya, Dae Dae and DYU. With their entrance into the competition, the house made history as one of the two first kiki scene houses to join. The kiki scene is a subset of ballroom with its own houses and balls, generally revolving around the youngest members of the community. In the mainstream scene, the dancer is known as Brooklyn Miyake-Mugler, a member of the house that won Legendary season 2. On season 3, Juicy Couture cemented themselves as the highest scorers week after week, displaying a level of creativity, technical ability, and perfectionism that was unsurpassed. And while every single member of the team is a verifiable star, there's just something about Brooklyn.
"I vogue every day," she says. "There's never a day I will go without doing a catwalk down the street or something. I eat, breathe, and sleep vogue."
Born in New York City, Brooklyn is a "daylight girl" -- at least that's that we used to call people who would go out in the sober light of day in drag. She doesn't make any specific statements about her gender or transitioning, and maintains that getting up in geish is something she enjoys, simply because "I like to look pretty. That's just a thing for me."
On Legendary, she and the rest of her team had accolades poured atop them.
"The whole Legendary experience was .... just like ... an experience," she says thoughtfully. "That's what I can say." What does that mean? While it was certainly positive and an experience in pushing her boundaries and introducing her to new people, Brooklyn says the series wasn't necessarily the "healthiest." Television production is long hours, little sleep, and mostly snacking. Doing all of that with the high impact sport of voguing -- "throwing your body on the floor every day is really hard on your body" -- can bring a lot of wear and tear. But while the dancer said she wouldn't repeat the process in the next year or so, she could see herself doing it at some point in the future.
But the process was a whirlwind that didn't ever see her fulfill her role fully.
"I was supposed to be the battle cat," she reveals. "Had we ever been in the bottom, that was my role to fiffl, that was the main reason why I was chosen to be on the team and I never got to fill that role." Juicy Couture never was put in the bottom two houses and forced into a Redemption Battle. This meant audiences never got to see the high-octaine stunts and effortless acrobatics that have become her trademark. That on top of having to rechoreograph production due to last minute production challenges, and not leading the house to perfect scores did a number on Brooklyn.
"I was like am I not good enough, am I doing my best?" she remembers of performances where she was featured falling short of 10s across the board. "When Lolita did Pink Panther and when Day Day did Freddy, we got perfect scores. So when we got perfect scores [on the Slayground Playground ball] it really meant so much for me."
For that week, the group used Leiomy as a point of inspiraiton. It was a full circle moment as Leiomy was one of the first performers she idolized -- others included Dashaun Wesley, Baby Hurricane, Little James, and Divo. After the production, where she mimmicked Leiomy's "Leiomy lolly" in additon to a famed Matrix-inspired 360 dip, the judges were on their feet.
"I don't know what energy drink or I don't know what you're made of but whatever it is, it is godsent," Law Roach, the notirously unforgiving judge, said to Brooklyn after it was over. "You are annointed in the passion of performance. It's a 10!" The congratulations continue judge after jduge.
"Brooklyn!" Leiomy said. "Brooklyn, you are the answer, bitch!"
The pair shared a tearful moment, after Brooklyn admitted that she wanted to folow in Leiomy's footsteps With her win, she seems perfectly primed to do that. And she has the plans to.
"I actually don't want to vogue any more," she tells Out. "I want to get into modeling." The Legendary win, with its Dolce & Gabanna social media campaign prize, is certainly the first step in that direction.
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