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ABOVE: Tynomi Banks (Photo by Quinton Cruickshanks)

Tynomi Banks Wants You To Spend An Evening With Her

IN Magazine sat down with the beloved drag queen to talk about everything and anything as she prepares for her upcoming show with Brampton On Stage…

By Christopher Turner

In the vibrant world of Canadian drag, one queen tends to stand out for her sheer charisma, talent and influence: Tynomi Banks. A seasoned performer, the Toronto-based queen has become a celebrated figure in Canada’s drag community in recent years, known for her contributions to drag culture as well as her captivating stage presence and lasting impact.

Most recognized for her full production performances, Banks dominates the stage while radiating a powerful but playful energy. That energy has helped her secure some pretty impressive career milestones, like becoming the first drag entertainer to perform in Toronto’s Dundas Square during World Pride 2014, becoming the first drag entertainer to be the trophy bearer at the 7th annual Canadian Screen Awards, gaining widespread recognition with some pretty captivating performances on Season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race, and making a little history in 2021 when she was the only drag performer other than RuPaul to be featured in a SuperBowl ad. 

Her resumé is filled with accolades and experiences that make for wildly entertaining stories, which is one of the reasons she’s getting ready to hit the road. Next month, on Friday, February 2, 2024, Brampton On Stage will present Solid Gold: An Evening With Tynomi Banks at The Rose in Brampton. IN Magazine sat down with Banks while she prepared for the gig to talk about what fans can expect, along with secrets from Canada’s Drag Race, her favourite queens from the entire Drag Race franchise, role models, what drag is really about, what she would be doing if she wasn’t doing drag, and much more.

ABOVE: Tynomi Banks (Photo by Quinton Cruickshanks)

Let’s kick things off and talk about ‘An Evening with Tynomi Banks.’ What can you tell us about the upcoming show with Brampton On Stage?
Audiences can expect a high-energy show with an ode to some of my favourite musical divas like Aretha, Whitney and Chaka, as well as classic Tynomi routines with costume changes, dancers, the works! I want audiences to feel empowered and full of joy when they leave The Rose Theatre.

You, of course, talk about Canada’s Drag Race during your show. Tell us something about your experience on CDR that we might not know.
You might not know that Ilona Verley refused to lip sync against me because she thought it would ruin our friendship. I assured her that our friendship would last and that it was important she competed because she was representing her Indigenous community. It turned out to be one of the best lip syncs of the season.

Would you ever make a return to Drag Race? Say, on an All-Stars season or similar?
Yes, I would. I think I’m owed that. LOL! I’ve grown so much as a person and as a performer, I would really love to showcase where I’m at now.

We have so much Drag Race content out there right now. I’m wondering if you have a favourite franchise?
Drag Race UK is my favourite. The contestants are so free and so funny. They’re having the best time, and you can tell.

Favourite queens from the entire Drag Race franchise? Sorry, we had to ask!
I have a few. Brooke Lynn Hytes. Priyanka. Envy Peru. Sasha Velour. Bob The Drag Queen. Shangela. Kween Kong.

What’s the one piece of advice someone gave you that has really made a difference to you?
My best friends always tell me to get out of my head. I tend to sabotage myself and I need reminders to make sure I live in the moment and have fun. You have one life, so live it!

What is your advice to people who are looking to you as a role model?
My advice is simple. I live my authentic self and I want to be an example for others to do the same.

ABOVE: Tynomi Banks (Photos by Quinton Cruickshanks)

Who do you consider a role model?
My mom. She’s the best. She just wants me to be happy and healthy and I love her so much.

What is drag all about for you at its core? What does it mean to you?
It’s changed so much. At first it was an outlet for my emotions. It was a great escape from reality. Whenever I was feeling hurt or sad, I would put it all into my performances. Now, drag means so much more than even I understand. Drag is a political statement and now I have fans who look up to me and I have communities that are inspired by the work I’ve done.

If you weren’t doing drag right now, what would you be doing?
An accountant. LOL! Just joking. Before drag, I was an event planner and I would probably have continued that career.

Favourite TV show, movie and song?
TV show would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.… Movie would be The Fifth Element, and song would be ‘Never Be Like You’ by Flume, ‘I’m Here’ by Cynthia Erivo or ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ by Whitney Houston.

What do you want people to know about you that they might not already know?
I love playing video games!

Last question. What’s next for Tynomi Banks?
I would like to perform more theatre shows like what I’m doing with the Solid Gold tour. I’m also planning on recording music, and I would love to normalize drag performers opening for more mainstream artists, like I did with Lights and like Bob the Drag Queen does with Madonna.


Brampton On Stage presents Solid Gold: An Evening With Tynomi Banks on Friday, February 2, 2024, at The Rose (1 Theatre Lane, Brampton ON, L6V 0A3). To purchase tickets visit Bramptononstage.ca.

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