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Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 Exit Interview: Ilona Verley

Here’s what Ilona Verley had to say following her elimination from the 7th episode of Canada’s Drag Race

During Thursday night’s episode of Canada’s Drag Race, Priyanka and Ilona Verley ultimately had to lip-sync for their lives, to Allie X’s “Hello,” and Ilona Verley was sent home.

Here’s what Ilona Verley had to say about her experience on the show:

So what are your general thoughts having gone through this?
ILONA VERLEY: “My experience filming the show was incredible. You walk through the werkroom doors, and you’re doing everything in your power not to just look around at everything, and get overwhelmed. You’re trying to just look at the camera and do your little entrance pose. But everyone on set was so kind and sweet. I’d heard horror stories about working on TV shows, but this felt like being at home. And that’s the biggest thing I was scared of, leaving home, leaving my support network and my friends, being by myself. But with the other 11 girls, we got so close. It was such a nice little family unit.”

My theory is that you and Priyanka had the two toughest characters to make funny – Miss Erable, and Miss Demeanor – and that’s a large part of why the two of you ended up lip-syncing. No pressure to agree, but what are your thoughts on that?
ILONA VERLEY: “Well, here’s the thing. When I was reading the character description for Miss Erable, I was like, ‘Oh, perfect – I can just be Nicky from ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, I have this orange wig, this is her.’ So I’m styling my wig and I have this game plan, and I look over, and there’s Scarlett pulling out the exact same orange wig for her character. And I was like, ‘Oh f—, I have to change it.’ So then I just went through my wigs and found something else, I lost my train of thought, and it was off the deep end. I understood what the judges had to say about it. I also agree with what you said, though – it was definitely one of the harder ones.”

What did you think of the judging overall?
ILONA VERLEY: “I have a very specific style of drag, so I know what I like, and having other people give their input on my drag was the hardest thing. My drag is a visual representation of how I see myself. It’s actually a part of who I am as a Two-Spirit person. And as someone who sees myself on the trans spectrum, my drag is a part of my actual identity. It’s not just my hobby or my art. It’s more than that for me. So when people are critiquing me on my drag, which is this extension of my being, it oftentimes feels a little bit like a personal attack.”

But you had to know you were going to be critiqued, right?
ILONA VERLEY: “Obviously if you sign up for this show, that’s going to be part of it. But I didn’t realize going into it how much my drag meant to me on that level. It wasn’t until I was there, getting critiqued week after week, that it kind of sunk in, that this is so much more for me than some of the other girls. You know, for them it’s just a hobby, they just throw on their wig and whatever. So I had a lot of self-realizations going through the show. It almost felt like I went to a therapy boot camp.”

COVID has kind of delayed things, but what does the future hold for you?
ILONA VERLEY: “I have a really cool makeup brand collaboration that is coming out shortly, with a brand that is local in Canada that I’ve been using for a long time, so that’s very exciting. And hopefully now with this platform, I’ll be able to give back to Indigenous kids, and Two-Spirit kids, who need someone to talk to, and someone to relate to. When I was growing up, I never had resources to do drag, and I hear from so many kids that they just don’t know where to start. I want to eventually be able to set up some little organization where kids can just come and be like, ‘I want a wig,’ and we can say, ‘Okay, let’s make it happen.’ ” I really want to give money back, that’s the most important thing to me.”

Want more?: IN Chats With The Judges Of Canada’s Drag Race right here!

Canada’s Drag Race airs on Thursday nights only on Crave.

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