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

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

Venus was the first queen to enter the werk room this season and now she’s made it all the way to the end. She straddles the line between being both a fashion and a comedy queen and she looks great doing it. She chats with IN Magazine before this season’s finale about competing against her bestie, the power in being silly, and how important it is to represent the Indigenous community on the Canada’s Drag Race stage.

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.

 Before we start, congratulations on making it to the finale!Thank you! WILD!

What was the most memorable part of the competition for you?
I mean, I think that first lip sync, like the lip sync for the win in episode one was not something that I think any of us saw coming. And it was the very first time that we’re hearing those sounds and those haptics and those lights. And like, these are the things that you see as a viewer for so, so many years. And then to be in it, it was so out of body. I was like standing in that huge ostrich feather look, just being like, “Oh my gosh, like, I’m about to lip sync”. And there’s no, you know, there’s no wrong way that this could go because no one’s going home. But that was just such an iconic way to start my trajectory on this season. It literally felt like I was playing a video game in that moment. I was like “What is happening?”.

You won the first maxi challenge of the season, so how did that impact the way you played going forward?
That was the biggest confidence boost and just, you know, winning the first challenge…you’re the first girl that’s in the game, you know? I wouldn’t say it necessarily made me a threat, but it definitely made me a competitor officially because I had my win and it just gave me the confidence I needed to keep going.  

In last week’s episode you mentioned, you’re the first Indigenous queen to make it this far in the competition.

What does it mean getting to be this representation in this competition?
I mean, this is an accumulation of so much hard work from past Indigenous queens who’ve been on the platform and a lot of, you know, not a lot, but all of them are my friends. It’s just like… this moment is so much bigger than myself. It’s not like something that one could ever do alone and not something I would ever want to do alone. So it means that one, indigenous queens can make it and we are frickin talented. And it goes to show young indigenous kids out there that you can be whatever you want to be. I’m not saying that I could ever make it alone, and that this is like a community led effort, really, truly.

Walking into the werkroom, you’re a bundle of nerves, and then to see your best friend there, not a lot of people can say that they’ve done that. How does having somebody from home be by your side that early in the competition?
Obviously you love seeing your best friend, but then you also quickly realize, “oh wait, I also need you to not win because I need to win.” It was just like one of those things, you know, we got to work together while being on the show and that was just such a dream come true for the two of us. But it was definitely like a weird thing to navigate, like, I love you and I want to make iconic moments together, but one of us has to be the other or, you know, whatever it may be. 

Everyone is fending for themselves here. I felt like we kind of made a pact between ourselves.

And if you could go back and have a do over on one challenge, what challenge would it be? And what would you do differently?
Ooh, that’s a good one! Maybe…I think it’s Snatch Game. Even though I was in the top and I did decent, that is like such an iconic challenge and acting in comedy is a place where I thrive. I just would have been bigger. There’s moments where, for anyone who wants to be on Drag Race, the number one tip I can give you is just be stupid. Be sostupid. Be stupider than you could ever even imagine. Because that’s where the gold lies. You know, that’s where that chaos and those memorable moments lay. But when you’re there, it’s such a huge beast, like there’s so much happening, especially mentally, but I just sort of calmed down and just went a little bit harder.

You have worn so many gorgeous and iconic looks this season, but which one has been your favorite?
Oh, God, that’s hard! There’s the top three, the red ostrich, the diamond look I feel was the moment I felt like the global drag race universe realized my fashion power and that is such a cool look and something that I’ve always dreamed of wearing. And then that flower look. People loved, loved, loved that one!  But I think the diamond takes the cake.  

Great choices! Okay, I’m a big believer in manifesting and speaking things into existence. So, what is your biggest dream you hope to achieve now that you’ve done Drag Race?
Runway! I need to be on a runway. I’ve been tagging Mugler. I’ve been tagging the brands, girl! Look, that is such a dream. I feel like you see U.K. girls, U.S. girls, they are at those shows and that is somewhere that I would love to be. Yeah, that is, that is like my ultimate manifestation. And then, I mean, anything and everything. The sky’s the limit. But I want to stomp a runway… real hard.

I see that for you. If you were ever hypothetically speaking, called up to a season of All Stars or Canada vs The World, what do you think you’d do differently now that you’ve already done it once?
To add on to what I said, I just would go in with less of a fear of screwing up or looking silly. Even though I felt like there were moments where I was very silly and I really didn’t care, but just doing that from the jump because that’s what I wanted to see more of myself. So, if that were to ever happen, I think of Jimbo in a way, right? Like you see a competitor like that, they’re just they’re just so true to who they are, but you can also tell that they’re not overthinking anything. It’s just like rolling outta them. So that’s such a huge inspiration to me.

That’s such an interesting perspective and strategy too, because obviously when you’re in the moment you must feel like everything’s on the line, but you’ve already kind of made it among the stars, not to be cheesy. So it’s like, really? What do you have to lose other than the Crown? Obviously (laughs).
Other than everything! (laughs). And that’s the thing, and you think of those things too, right? But it’s so much easier said than done. It’s just one of those things where you’re doing this for the first time, there’s so many cameras in front of you, and you know, it’s obviously an unnatural feeling, but then looking back on it, I don’t regret anything I did, or whatever. But you could go so much harder. Like even Melinda. Like girl… Melinda talking [to the coat]. She knew exactly what she was doing. That was another huge moment where I was like, “Wow, you are so smart”. Like, you are so smart because you know that those cameras are rolling, and you are going to have this moment while you’re talking to this coat and having this spiritual experience. I love that. And the cameras are always rolling. They’re always looking. 

And then she became like the meme queen of the season.
Girl, I’m a Melinda Stan. I don’t know who isn’t.

One last question. What’s next for you?
Oh, what’s next?  Well, we have a few exciting,  exciting tours in the works. Yeah, I mean, the runway and the manifestation of that dream is well, well on its way. So I think you’ll just be seeing me, you know, circling this globe many, many times over and I just want to be on every and any stage and runway possible.  

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