My getting ready ritual
Half of the drag experience is getting ready, especially when you are with people. It’s one of my favourite parts. The makeup takes several hours—you could be having a couple of cocktails, smoking a joint, drinking a great cup of coffee, listening to music. I always make time to meditate in between to keep myself calm, collected and focused.
My first experience of drag
When I was four or five years old, I used to dress up in my mom’s slip and throw a T-shirt over my head and dance in front of the mirror to Janet Jackson. I loved every minute of it. But I stopped after kids at school saw photos of me. I was harassed and bullied, so I completely put that side of me away and didn’t pick it up until 20 years later, at Halloween.
How I make my makeup last all night
I use an amazing primer, the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. It keeps my skin smooth and creates a great surface for the rest of the makeup to sit on. I also really love this matte lip gloss from Sephora that just dries and stays on all night. As a drag queen I’m sweating, I’m drinking—I don’t have time to check my makeup.
My face isn’t done until…
Eyelashes go on. They just finish the face. My favourite are the 301s from Elegant Lashes. I stack three of them together to add additional length.
My favourite shop in Toronto
Courage My Love in Kensington Market, because I can get beautiful clothing, gorgeous accessories and great home decor.
My biggest inspirations
I’m obsessed with Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, especially his work from the 1980s and 1990s. He was influenced by Spanish soap operas and old Hollywood—his work is just so colourful. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother are films that inspire me. I’m also very much indebted to mature women. Especially Jackée from 227 and the Golden Girls (my favourite was Dorothy played by Bea Arthur). Since I was kid, I’ve been inspired by my aunts and my grandmother. I think women are the most majestic creatures and have so much depth. Men—they’re a little basic. With drag, it’s the depth women have that I’m trying to bring out in myself.
My shimmer and shine philosophy
I have two dresses that are three-way stretch—they shine and reflect light, they’re multicoloured and that’s all I need to live my life in drag. Also, I love gold, It’s the Indian lady in me. My family’s from India—my ancestry is also a mix of Iranian, Portuguese and Italian.
The secret to my hourglass figure
I wear foam pads on my butt and then I’ll pad a bra, so I’m playing with illusions and proportions. Then I wear a corset to bring my waist in. Northbound Leather makes the best corsets in the city.
My makeup removal secret
The best thing for everyone’s skin is oil cleansing. It’s the best way to nurture and repair and clean your skin. (I especially love rosehip oil.) Everyone thinks it takes forever to take off drag makeup, but it literally takes a few minutes. I just use coconut oil. I lather it on my face, wait a minute, then it melts and I take a rag and wipe it off. The only thing that gets left behind sometimes is glitter—it’s a bitch to take off, but in drag you’ve got to have glitter.
My wig obsession
When I worked at Chanel, I would have to do up the mannequins with wigs and makeup. Every window would be a different wig concept, so I had to learn how to style a wig and paint the nails and the lips. After every window, they didn’t want to use the wigs again so I just started collecting them. I did all of Chanel’s windows in Canada—that’s a lot of wigs. When I wear one, I’ll tease the shit out of it. I’m using synthetic wigs, so I use something called Last Word, it’s the cheapest hair spray you can find at a store called Cosmetic World on Yonge Street. It’s $7.99 a can, and that will last two wigs. A drag queen has to have a budget—that shit adds up.
The beauty item I can’t live without
Black eyeliner. I use it to create contour on my face, highlight my eyes, and sometimes to outline my lips. The best black eyeliner is from Anastasia Beverly Hills, Waterproof Creme Colour Jet. It’s so dark, you only need one stroke and you’re good.
My shoe strategy
Nothing is more unattractive than someone limping in heels. It ain’t cute. It doesn’t matter how good you look, if you look like you’re about to pass out, you should not be wearing those shoes. It kills the look. I like a chunky heel and a platform because there’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to entertain or host people in a pointy stiletto with one little strap.
My favourite dress
I have the most beautiful dress from a vintage clothing store on Queen West. It’s from the ’70s or ’80s and looks intergalactic. It’s black, silver and blush pink with black beading. It creates this beautiful sculpted shape. I might want to add feathers to it, or a chain. I like vintage stuff because there’s something more sentimental about it, you feel like there’s a history that’s coming with it, whereas buying something at H&M doesn’t really thrill me.