IN Magazine talks to Vancouver queen The Girlfriend Experience, the second queen to be eliminated from Canada’s Drag Race season 4…
The Girlfriend Experience became the second to leave Canada’s Drag Race during season four’s second episode. (You can read IN‘s recap of episode 3 “Oh-She-Gaggin” right here). Girlfriend chats with In Magazine about being surprised by her vulnerability, the importance of taking the time to heal, and the social impact of uplifting trans voices online.
First of all, you look stunning.
Thank you! Oh my god…I woke up at four (a.m.) and was like “We’re gunna do this”, and just ended up laying in bed for a good hour being like “I can’t get up!”, so I appreciate it!
What surprised you the most about yourself during the competition?
What surprised me the most was my vulnerability and how mentally unprepared I was for the competition. I think for me that was probably one of the biggest surprises because I always go into everything believing I’m super confident but getting onto the show and being critiqued… it all fell apart.
During this week’s episode you talked to the other queens about the fact that your drag “persona” is your own persona which made it difficult being critiqued. In the show you were emotional talking about it within the context of presenting yourself and being judged, but in what ways do you think it’s actually an advantage?
You know… what you see is what you get with me. Obviously I am trans. It’s something that I battled for a long time growing up religious. Drag was that avenue that allowed me to let the steam out of the pot, so to speak. And so, as I did drag, what you saw was a personification of who I am and what I feel on the inside. The girl you see on stage was like, the girl that was always inside, and in those moments on stage when I’m in drag it’s my true self. As I transitioned, I transitioned into who I am. There’s not much of a contrast personality-wise between me and The Girlfriend Experience. At the end of the day I’m still the same person you see on television. I am a pretty outrageous person when I walk down the street in the things I wear, too. Not that it was meant to be, but I just took it a bit more personally because my drag is a bit more personal. My drag is myself. It is who I’ve finally let out into the light in full freedom.
What is something you think you uniquely brought to this group of queens?
Sass, class, and a whole lotta ass [laughs]. You know what? I brought something that I think is unique to drag in general which is again, the trans perspective of what drag is. It’s not always just a costume for people. I’m a naked queen that celebrates my body and celebrates what I worked for as a trans woman, to feel confident in myself and in my body. I hope that what I brought onto the main stage and onto the show was indicative of that. I think I brought authenticity and vulnerability and a lot of body.
What challenge were you really looking forward to that you didn’t get to compete in?
Yeah! The sewing challenge, the design challenge. I think that’s something I would have been really good at. I think if the acting and improv challenges weren’t right at the beginning it would have been a bit of a different story. Those weren’t necessarily my forte, but I gave it my best shot.
I do think those challenges are probably some of the hardest in the competition. Those are skills that aren’t exactly easy to pick up off the fly.
No I know! And I’m not like a “quick thinker on my feet”. I definitely know how to talk about what’s in my heart but like, when you’re making up a whole story and narrative, I’m gunna need a second.
You grew up between Vancouver and Germany. How do you think that’s influenced your drag persona/aesthetic?
So I grew up I would say more Canadian than German because I lived most of the time with my mom but I spent a lot of summers back home in Germany with my Dad. I don’t…I can’t…Daddy issues [laughs]. I think that really played a part in who I am as a drag artist. I’m grateful for it and my experiences in life that moulded the person that I am today and I think that’s true for anybody in or out of drag. I think some of the experiences I had in Germany, the ups and downs really shaped who I am as a person, and I think that really comes across on the show and in my drag.
Looking back at your journey on Canada’s Drag Race, what would you have done differently?
What would I have done differently? I believe I would have waited to be honest with you. I would have waited until I was a little more emotionally sound. I took a lot on in the year, two years before that with my transition, that shit that happened with the politician, a terrible break-up. I never really allowed myself to acclimate to my new body or my new position in life. You know, there’s quite a contrast in the way that men and women are treated and that’s something that was very new to me as well. I think I would have given myself the opportunity to become a little more centred and get to know myself more before I go present myself in front of the whole world, but I do believe everything happens for a reason and the universe does guide and provide.
It’s always good to take the time to heal, but I’m also a big believer in the idea that you’re put in situations you’re meant to be in, even if they’re learning experiences.
Totally! And it’s just like… not normal. Like, it’s not normal for the average trans girl to end up on television and have her emotional peak. What you saw on television was such a grace from what was actually happening because I was a wreck. I was a full wreck. I’m really grateful for the way that the production showed me but yeah, not a lot of people get to fully document their transition for everybody to see and then have the aftermath televised. Although we were there for a different reason, I was going on a whole other journey than the other girls.
You documented your transition very publicly on Instagram. Right now trans creators like yourself are becoming harder for people to access whether they’re being held back in the algorithm or blocked all together. Why do you think it’s important that we continue to uplift trans voices and give trans creators platforms?
Well I mean it comes down to normalization. We still live in a world where a bare nipple on a femme presenting person isn’t acceptable and it’s deemed as something sexual. People aren’t going to try and censor things they’re accustomed to, you know? They’re not going to try and push back something that they’re used to. I think the more we normalize trans identities, normalize trans visibility and our place in society I think there will be less push-back. I’m an example of a trans person who does sexualize herself, and so, people are going to see that and some people are going to be stupid enough to equate that to the entire trans population and that’s not the case. I’m just one person representing myself. We need to keep our eyes open to the spectrum and the variety of trans bodies in society and celebrate all of them. I think once that becomes normalized, we as a society will be more inclined to accept that kind of visibility on our phones and on our socials.
What do you hope viewers will learn or take away from your time on the show?
Oh my goodness! You know what? That you can honestly do anything. I think what I want for anyone who watches the show and watches me, particularly trans folks, is, you know, we are so much more than what the news puts out there. Growing up in the ‘90s and the 2000s you had this idea of what trans women were. A lot of them were sexualized, a lot of them were sex workers. A lot of my friends are trans and they’re sex workers as well. We are so much more than that, and that there is a place for us anywhere. And I, a trans girl that likes to strip, made it onto one of the biggest platforms for queer artists on this planet and anything is possible. I’m not a stereotypical drag artist, so if you ever thought that you’re not doing enough or that you aren’t enough, there’s a place for you. There’s space for you everywhere.
What can we expect to see next from The Girlfriend Experience?
A whole lot of ass, and body. I’m so blessed with the way this season’s promo rolled out. I’m travelling so much every single week from next week pretty much to the end of January between here, the US and Europe. Just keep your eyes out! I’m travelling the world, that’s what I want to be doing, just travelling, performing, and meeting people!
You can watch Canada’s Drag Race Season Four on Crave in Canada and WOW Presents Plus in the US and other parts of the world.