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

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

From the moment Denim strutted into the werk room we knew exactly who she was and what she was about. Her distinct and original aesthetic wowed the judges and the audience which has landed her in the top four this season. She chats with IN Magazine before this season’s finale about infusing her aesthetic into each runway theme, her dreams to star in a cabaret show, and which past Drag Race queens she’d most like to collaborate with.

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.

Congratulations on making it to the finale. Was there any point during a challenge where you thought, “Oh no, this could be the week I go home”?
Last week for sure. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Well, sorry. No. During the Rusical week. Yes. The Rusical was spooky!

And what’s the thought process like to try to pull yourself out of that to still give a good performance?
I just kept telling myself that I had never been in the bottom and that I had a good track record and that I could like…I don’t know, whip out any tricks that I could to save myself from going home.  

You have a very distinct drag style and you’ve done a really great job at staying very true to that while still adapting for the different themes of the runways. In your opinion, how do you still show versatility while staying true to your aesthetic?
Honestly, I love a good theme, like I can always find a way to take a theme and twist it and turn it into something that represents me and my drag and that’s kind of like what I love to do. I think that’s so much fun and I had so much fun with the design process of Drag Race and coming up with my looks, so yeah, I think there’s always a way to infuse your essence into a look or a theme.

What unique quality do you think you brought to the group that none of the other queens did?
I think I always tried to look at things from a different angle. And anything that I thought was like, the obvious, I would steer away from. Brooke Lynn told me that when everyone goes right, I go left. And I think I really tried to stay true to that throughout the competition and really find my schtick and what sets me apart from everyone else and really just like, amplify that.  

Once Drag Race is over, what are some wild dreams you have for Denim?
Ugh, I would love to have a one woman show to tour everywhere with! I really look up to people like Sasha Velour and like Ben DeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon with their theatrical and cabaret style shows they are touring. That’s something I’m really interested in doing. Collaborating with artists who inspire me is something that I really want to get out of this process. I don’t know, I would love to do runways and model. Like, that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. 

Who would be your dream collab?
Mmm, probably Sasha Velour, honestly.  

That’s a good one! Who do you think was the biggest competition for you this season?
I think it changed throughout the season. Walking into it, I was kind of scared of everyone to be honest! And then once I found my footing in the competition, I was like “Oh, there’s actually no one here that’s like me”.  But yeah, I definitely saw Venus as my biggest competition throughout, as time went on.

If you could give pre-Drag Race Denim some advice what would you say?
I would say stop stressing about every little detail and just live in the moment and don’t hold back! I think it’s easy to get in your head and kind of not show your full self. I think I was very much my authentic self on the show, but I can see at times where I held back on saying something that I wanted to or doing something that I wanted to or just like going full out. And yeah, that’s something I would definitely change if I ever went back.

Of all the challenges you competed in, what is the one that you would want to do over?
Oof. I would say QV-She, but I actually never want to relive that ever again in my life (laughs). Um, yeah, I guess just the improv challenges. I would love to really let loose as Ms. Loosey LaDuca would say (laughs).  Maybe that and Snatch Game. 

And what was something that came easier to you in the competition that kind of surprised you?
Okay, honestly, I set myself up with so much stress for Snatch Game going into it. Like, I was scared of it from the very beginning. I thought that would be my weakest challenge and going into it I was like, “Oh, this is actually kind of like a vibe and it was like not as bad as I thought it was going to be. 

What was the hardest?
I guess I was expecting to excel in the musical. That’s something I grew up doing, musical theater, and it’s something I’m comfortable doing, but it’s easy to get in your head when the judges are staring at you while you’re performing a solo for them. I think I let that affect me a little bit from fully showing my true potential and my number. 

It must be really hard when the subject matter of the rusical was sitting judging you, too.
That added pressure and me being current day Brooke Lynn, like come on! I can’t compete with current day Brooke Lynn.  

And what is next for Denim?
I’m going to DragCon UK next week, or actually that’s this week! The top four are going on a Canada-wide tour. I am working on a theater production that will hopefully end up touring in the future. Yeah, I’m working on a lot of collabs with past Canada’s Drag Race contestants. I’m just, like, hoping to travel and perform all around the world!

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