The Queens of Canada’s Drag Race are finally here!…
By Christopher Turner
The wait is almost over. The herstorical first season of Canada’s Drag Race will premiere on Thursday, July 2! First announced last year season 1 of the unapologetically Canadian spin-off promises to have viewers clutching their pearls as 12 of the fiercest queens from across the country showcase their Canadian Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent to compete to become Canada’s First Drag Superstar, and win the $100,000 grand prize.
As previously announced, presiding over each of the 10 episodes is a panel of expert judges – RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 runner-up Brooke Lynn Hytes, actor (also past Drag Race guest judge and former IN Magazine cover boy) Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Canadian runway royalty Stacey McKenzie, while ETALK Senior Correspondent Traci Melchor is Canada’s very first Squirrel Friend, making appearances throughout the season. Weekly celebrity guest hosts are set to also join the panel, and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Now…Canada, meet your queens!
Like Drag Race, throughout the journey of Canada’s Drag Race the queens share their personal struggles and successes, highlighting their individuality. Here’s a quick one-by-one intro to the entire cast of the inaugural season:
Anastarzia’s drag is inspired by her Caribbean roots and is heavily influenced by the American drag pageant scene. “Being on Drag Race is the culmination of an amazing 17-year career,” says the reigning Miss Black Continental @ Large. “It allows me to represent all the little black boys and girls in third world countries like the Bahamas that have huge dreams but no resources to make them a reality.”
“I love drag because it gives me the opportunity to be my authentic, goofy self and bring my audience happiness,” says BOA. “When an audience is happy, so am I! I like my drag to allow people to let loose, have fun, laugh and forget about all the negativity in the world.” Fun fact: “BOA” is actually her real last name and was her nickname growing up… It’s also an acronym for “Bitch on Arrival.”
Ilona Verley is a two-spirit indigenous artist who grew up Nlaka’pamux and is always serving monochromatic head to toe pastel looks. “Drag is important to me as it is how I visually express how I see myself on the inside, and how I manifest my female energy as a two-spirit person!”
As a cabaret performer, Jimbo loves standup and singing and wants to showcase that side of drag. “Drag is the perfect gateway for self-discovery and self-expression,” says Jimbo. “It’s the beautiful culmination of courage, joy, performance, and artistry that inspires and entertains. Drag is a personal and political statement that challenges the social constructs to help inspire change in the world.”
Juice Boxx is bright, bubbly sinful, and sexy, and always adds a little bit of spice. “I’m so excited to be on the first season of Canada’s Drag Race and I can’t wait to show the world how incredible Canadian drag really is.”
Kiara recently quit her job and put school on pause to focus full-time on drag. “Being on Canada’s Drag Race is a dream come true. I’m beyond excited to be on my favourite TV show and I can’t wait to make queer Canadian her-story!”
Kyne is a YouTube star with more than 100,000 subscribers to her channel, which focuses on her love for makeup, costumes, hair, and art. “Drag is my vehicle for all my joy, ambition and creative energy. It makes me feel alive.”
(From Toronto, living in New York City)
Lemon, who was chosen by RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Velour to be one of the models in her New York Fashion Week collaboration with Opening Ceremony, wants to bring the NYC Drag Scene influence to Canada. “I am so excited to be on Canada’s Drag Race so I can show the world I’m not only that bitch, I’m that *Canadian* bitch.”
Priyanka is no stranger to the camera, having worked as a kids TV host for years before she switched to a full-time career in drag. “I love drag so much. I had a drag queen perform at my 26th birthday party and they suggested I do drag,” she says. “Now three titles, two music videos, and one big opportunity to be on Canada’s Drag Race. I could be Canada’s First Ever Drag Superstar…what’s my name?!”
Rita Baga is very involved in the LGBTQ+ community in Montréal and has been a driving force as part of the bid committee that submitted the city for World Pride 2023. “I’m beyond excited to be part of this journey! I want to make my province proud and to be the very first francophone to own a Drag Superstar title. Dreams DO come true!”
Scarlett Bobo created and produces Empire’s Ball, a drag competition which she uses as a platform to talk about community needs and to inspire the younger generation of queer youth. “I love, love, LOVE doing drag because it allows me to live my truth every day and there are no rules to what I am allowed to do, say, or accomplish,” she says. “Canada’s Drag Race lets me express every side of myself and show others how to be fearless and authentic. I want to prove that you can stay true to who you are, no matter what.”
Tynomi is known as the Dancing Queen of Toronto and is one of the most celebrated drag queens in the city. “Tynomi Banks is fun, flirty, and fashionable,” she explains. “She will entertain you, all the while stealing your man in plain sight and you won’t even realize it’s happening.”
Canada’s Drag Race premieres on Thursday, July 2 only on Crave. New episodes roll out weekly, Thursday nights on Crave’s TV channel, Crave.ca, and the Crave app. Around the world you can watch on the WOW Presents Plus subscription streaming network).