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Canada’s Drag Race Season 4 Shantay Q&Eh: Aurora Matrix

IN Magazine talks to top four queen Aurora ahead of the grand finale of Canada’s Drag Race season 4…

Aurora Matrix has been bringing East Asian excellence to the runway all season. Whether she’s throwing up her tiny baby hands in Snatch Game or slaying a lip sync, she knows how to grab your attention. She chats with IN Magazine before this season’s finale about her dreams to tour Asia in drag, the challenge she was most nervous for, and her pick for this season’s Miss Congeniality.

The finale of Canada’s Drag Race Season 4 airs Thursday, January 11 on Crave in Canada and WOW Presents Plus in America and other places in the world.

First of all, congratulations on making it to the finale. That’s so exciting!
Thank you! Very exciting. I can’t believe we made it! 

What challenge were you most nervous for going into the competition?
Oh my gosh. Uh, I would say Maybe Snatch Game. I know I’m not a very funny person when it comes to working like that, so I was really nervous. And I knew that we had some comedy girls on our season, so I was like, “okay, how do I stand out?”….Stand out by being bad. 

I enjoyed your performance and props.
Me and my little baby hands? Thanks!

What was one thing that you wish fans knew about your journey on the show that wasn’t really shown in the edit?
Ooh! I think I was a lot more strategic than people think. There were a lot of mind games going on, alliances, little pacts that were happening because of this whole golden beaver twist. I think that I really did play the game and I was pretty strategic in how I went about this competition.  

What challenge would you want to do over and what would you do differently?
A challenge I would do over. I mean, I did win the Rusical, but I would love to do another one of the roles in the Rusical. I think a lot of those roles are so different from each other that I think each role brings something so new and I would love to try my take on the opera or the musical theatre part and see what I could create.

You’ve worn some truly stunning looks on the runway this season, but which one has been your favourite?
Ooh, I think for me personally, my highest anticipated was my steampunk look. The one with the spider legs and everything. That look took a village to put together. Every single arm of the spider was 3D printed and everything was fitted to size. So I knew there was a lot at stake wearing that outfit because if it broke, then that’s the end of it. But we made it work and I had to lip sync in that look (laughs). But I think that a lot of the fans also really enjoyed it because it was such a different look, uh, compared to what I usually do. 

And now that you’re a Drag Race girl, you have this huge platform. What do you hope to do with it?
Oh my gosh. I really want to reach the queer Asian youth of the next generation. Growing up, I’ve always searched in the media for someone who looks like me or acts like me, or does things like me. I struggled with that for many, many years. And now that I’m in a position where I can inspire those queer little Asian babies everywhere and hopefully I can do that and show them that, you know, life can be tough sometimes, but it gets better and you just gotta put your mind to your projects, to your goals and all good things will come in the end.

If you could go back in time and give little baby Aurora some advice, what would you say?
Oh, I would say baby Aurora, it is not that serious! I feel like when I first started, everything was the most impactful thing that could happen to me, or I took everything so seriously and I didn’t let myself just enjoy being in drag and enjoy being at the bar with other queer people and different performers. I’ll just say have fun and like not be afraid to try new things because when you first start, that’s a great time to experiment and find your own style. And I’m glad that I feel like I finally have found my own style. And I’m in this place where I’m like, “okay, top four, maybe we could win now.”  

What’s your biggest, far-fetched dream for Aurora?
Okay, well if we’re going there, I would love to tour Asia in drag. I think that is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I know that queer nightlife in Asian countries might be a little more difficult to work through, but I have high hopes that in the near future, hopefully I’m able to do a little tour in Asia, go back to Hong Kong to where my family lives, and just experience the culture all over again with a new perspective of life. 

Hypothetically speaking, if you were ever called up to All Stars or like Canada vs the World type of situation, how would you compete differently?
Ooh, you know, I feel like when you go back for an All Stars season, strategy really is the name of the game. I feel like I got a good start in season four. And if I were to go back at any point, I would really work on those close friendships with people who are there, and maybe make new friendships with people that I’ve never met before, and try to start a little pact. You know I love my alliances!

I think it’s the expectation too, going into an All Stars environment, that you’re going to be judging each other and having those alliances. But it’s so different to have that golden beaver thrust upon all of you right away, like you’re just meeting each other, it’s your first time!
One hundred per cent.

And they’re kind of doing it with season 16 right now with Rate-A-Queen. Do we think this is new era of Drag Race?
It throws the power to the queens a little bit!  And I think that it’s a cool twist because you don’t expect it and now you can see, are queen’s gonna play fair? Are they gonna be, you know, a little shady with it and try to knock out a big competition early on?

In your opinion, which queen was a season’s Miss Congeniality and why?
Looking back, I would probably give it to Kitten Kaboodle. Our Toronto legend, our diva icon, the star. She just doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and she has so much like wisdom and life experiences that she’s constantly bringing up and telling us about and I love hearing those stories. I think that a lot of people can learn a lot from Kitten Kaboodle, especially someone with the experience of years in the gay village, not only in Toronto, but also when she lived in Calgary and wherever else she has been. I would give it to Kitten. She is a sweetheart and she is my little mother cat.  

And one last question… What’s next for you?
What’s next for me!?  Well, now that It’s been announced I’m in the top four, our top four of the season is going on tour and we’re going to be traveling across Canada. That’s going to be very exciting. Obviously, I have the finale coming up this Thursday and we’re doing a live viewing party in Toronto. So hopefully, that’s going to be a big night of celebration. And then DragCon UK, that’s coming up this weekend as well and I’m really, really excited to be there and start meeting people and start meeting fans all across the world! I think that’s one of the most rewarding things about this process. 

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