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The Questionnaire: Four drag performers on the price of being fabulous

Three queens and a king talk body hair, safety zones and aging gracefully

The Questionnaire: Four drag performers on the price of being fabulous
Tynomi Banks

Your pronouns: “In drag, she/her; out of drag, he/him—but I’m easy.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “As myself, it’s Vince Carter. As Tynomi, it’s Tyra Banks or Naomi Campbell, I hope.” Putting on makeup takes… “An hour, minimum, but that’s at a psychotic pace, so I usually take 90 minutes.” You knew you loved drag when… “I was a dancer, and I was drawn to the lifestyle—entertaining, travelling, meeting new people, having fun. Drag offered all of that.” Describe your suitcase: “I have one for myself and one for Tynomi. When I tell the check-in people at the airport what I do, they often get really excited and sometimes even waive the fee.” Amount of your time spent out of drag: “Fifty per cent.” How the industry is changing: “I started before RuPaul’s Drag Race was a thing, and I had to fight to be accepted, even within my community, because drag wasn’t considered a career choice.” Biggest worry: “I’m afraid of laws, like the attempted ban against drag in Tennessee. To think I could wake up one day and there could be a bill to stop me from working—that’s terrifying.” If you could change one thing about yourself: “Years ago, I would have said, This, that and that. But now I’m good.”


The Questionnaire: Four drag performers on the price of being fabulous
Manny Dingo

Your pronouns: “I live my life outside of drag as a non-binary person, and I use they/them.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “Out of drag, I hope Janelle Monáe. In drag, lately it’s been Trinidad James.” Putting on makeup takes… “I can do it in 20 minutes, but if I want everything perfect—like the blending and the contouring—it takes up to two hours.” You knew you loved drag when… “I worked at a gay bar in Halifax and would dance on my nights off. Somebody suggested that I put on a moustache. I did and felt empowered. I still chase that high to this day.” You feel most yourself when… “I get on stage and see the crowd and the adrenalin hits.” How the industry is changing: “Eight years ago, the binaries were very much enforced. You were either a drag queen or a drag king. As a king, you had to bind your breasts and be masculine to perform as a man. Now, what you call yourself is who you are, no matter how you perform.” Thoughts on a new law making drag shows safety zones: “I think it’s very important, especially given what’s happening in the US. The violence they’re seeing could easily come to us.” A king ages gracefully by… “Chasing adrenalin and drinking good whiskey.”


The Questionnaire: Four drag performers on the price of being fabulous
Juice Boxx

Your pronouns: “It’s he/him if you’re a friend outside of drag, but if you only know me as Juice Boxx, I go by she/her.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “People say I look like Bryce Dallas Howard.” Tip for dealing with body hair: “I shave right before a gig, and if it’s a long gig, I might shave twice.” Workout regimen: “I do CrossFit five or six days a week, I have an Assault Bike at home, and I do yoga on weekends.” Amount of your time spent out of drag: “Eighty per cent.” You feel most yourself when… “I’m at home with my husband, cuddling and playing video games. Juice Boxx is my art and work, not the real me.” How the industry is changing: “It’s no longer an underground thing, so it’s become politicized. There are states I just can’t visit right now because I’m afraid I’ll be shot.” Thoughts on a new law making drag shows safety zones: “I try not to let it be top of mind, because I want to live loudly about who I am. The community looks to drag queens for leadership. I practise activism by being confident.” If you could change one thing about yourself: “I would have bigger breasts!” A queen ages gracefully by… “Some of my friends do Botox and plastic surgery—no judgment. I mix skin care with healthy eating and fitness. And I pray I’ve got good genes.”


The Questionnaire: Four drag performers on the price of being fabulous
Bom Bae

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Your pronouns: “In drag, she/her; out of drag, he/him—but I’m good with any pronouns as long as they are used respectfully.” Dream job as a kid: “Growing up in India, I wanted to work on a submarine, and the only way to do that was to join the navy. But there was a height cut-off, and I was too tall, so that crushed the dream.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “Halle Berry.” Tip for dealing with body hair: “I laser my whole body every six weeks and shave my face every two days.” Putting on makeup takes… “Ninety minutes to two hours.” Workout regimen: “I don’t have the discipline for one, but I dance a lot, so that makes up for it.” Hardest part of the gig: “Finding the energy to get started—that first step, when you look in the mirror and think, Okay, this is what we’re doing today, is a lot to take in.” Amount of your time spent out of drag: “Probably three to four days a week.” How the industry has changed: “Because of Covid, we’ve lost a lot of queer venues, and booking a gig is much more cut-throat. Also, oppressive legislation and hate in the US means that a lot of drag queens are coming to Canada and taking spots from locals.” Thoughts on a new law making drag shows safety zones: “I think it will help, but it’s a Band-Aid that deals with a symptom, not the problem itself.” Biggest worry: “Burnout. As someone who has already been on Drag Race, you’re always chasing the next big thing.” A queen ages gracefully by… “Accepting that it’s happening and appreciating it. During the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we lost so many young lives. Now, the community should have an understanding that being gay and aging is a privilege.”

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