Words Markus Bidaux
Category is... SPOILER ALERT! Please note this interview reveals the result of episode two of Canada's Drag Race
Turns out Canada is home to some seriously feisty queens. Politeness has been checked at the door because these ladies are here to win and things are only becoming more difficult as the competition heats up. With RuPaul and Michelle Visage’s critical eyes reserved for the US and UK versions of the show you might think the catwalk would become a cakewalk, but the Canadian judges aren't holding back...
Judges Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Stacey McKenzie
This week, the queens were tasked to create 'Queerly Canadian Her-itage Moments,' based on a series of heart-warming - but often very cheesy - educational TV commercials from the 90's. If you're wondering why everyone on the series makes references to "burnt toast", check out the most iconic (and mocked) 'Heritage Moments' ad below...
Attitude caught up with Kyne, the second queen to be eliminated from the competition, about her reaction to the judges' critiques, dealing with online trolls and her favourite number, which is two, a little bit ironic since she went walkies in episode two. Some might say it was her, ahem, Kyne to go...
Congratulations on getting onto the first season of Canada's Drag Race. As a Canadian myself, I never expected there would ever be a Canadian version of the show. What was your reaction when it was announced?
I was so excited because I never thought that I would ever get the chance to be on the show. The day that it was announced, I was like, “Oh my god, I have to be on this,” and I was instantly thinking, “What am I gonna wear for the entrance? What am I gonna wear for the press?!”
Looking back, do you think the judge's critiques were fair?
The judges' critiques were the judges' critiques. Drag is subjective and art is objective, and sometimes I think I have an idea of what my art is and my art is so personal to me. So, you know, obviously, I'm going to love what I'm doing every week and if they are not really into it, then that's their prerogative.
Since the first episode aired you have suffered the wrath of online trolls. Do you think [the show's] painting of your confidence as villainy is unfair?
I definitely feel a little bit of that. When I was in that moment I was cracking some jokes, I was trying to be sarcastic, I was trying to be funny. I guess it came off as shady to other people, which is alright. I don't know if I would categorise it as unfair because I think at the end of the day, this is what I signed up for when I put myself out there on this platform and I'm receiving the love and the hate and just taking it all in and rolling with the punches.
Also, the show wouldn't be as entertaining without a little bit of drama.
Mm-hmm. I mean, I don't know what these people think they're tuning into. This is a drag queen competition show, we're not filming an episode of Oprah, you know, there's gonna be drama, there's gonna be cattiness!
People who were expecting stereotypical polite Canadians on the show may be a bit shocked. Would you say Canadian drag humour is closer to your British or American counterparts?
Maybe mine is a little bit closer to that British, sort of, dry sense of humour. You know, if anything it goes to show that we are not a monolith of people who are just polite and saying “sorry” all the time. We are definitely that, but we are many things.
Did you know many of your fellow queens beforehand?
I did. I knew a few of them; because Canada is a much smaller scene, you got to know who are the big names in different cities. I have worked with Priyanka, Juice Boxx and Boa. I knew of Ilona Verley, Tynomi Banks and Scarlett, so I definitely saw a few familiar faces there.
Does that make it easier, or more difficult?
It made it easier. I think I would have been even more scared and more nervous if I didn't know anyone there. And having some familiar faces meant that I had someone to sort of lean on.
You opened up about starting to wear make-up from a young age. You said your parents were accepting of you being gay but weren’t pleased with what you were doing with make-up. Do you think we have a long way to go before people stop seeing men - gay or straight - embracing “feminine” characteristics as a weakness?
Yeah, I think you put it perfectly there. They [my parents] were just scared for me. They were scared of the stigma and the homophobia that I would face if I go out into the world like that. But I've definitely become stronger because of it, I'm definitely a stronger person now. And you know, I think their other problems with it was that they felt it was superficial, which is not entirely wrong. I mean, I do spend hours in a day looking in the mirror at myself. So, it's sort of caused me to evaluate what I’m bringing to the world that is of value and how am I helping people in a positive way.
How did your fellow classmates and teachers react to you wearing make-up?
It was actually very positive. I have to give credit where it's due, I would not have become the person that I am today if I went to a school where people really gave me a hard time for it. When I was in school, I was very clever and I had good grades and I think people respected that because they could say whatever they wanted about me but I would be getting straight A's and that's all the mattered.
How did wearing make-up evolve into drag?
I really just fell in love with the artistry of it all, the creativity. Even as you can see on my face right now *her face covered in a Picasso-like abstract. Beat!* make-up isn't just a matter of female impersonation, it's art and that's the aspect of it that I really fell in love with. That's what I saw when I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race for the first time. I saw queens being creative and artistic and using drag as a form of self-expression. And so that's what really appealed to me.
Kyne's final runway look
You were representing Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, a place most Brits won’t be aware of. What is the drag scene like there?
It's very small. We don't really have a drag scene outside of Pride and charity events. I can probably count on one hand the other queens of the city that I know. I drive to lots of nearby cities and it's nice because people really got a love for drag because they're so hungry for it, because it's not in such a saturated big city.
What are the things you would have bought to the table as a performer had you made it further in the show?
I would have loved to show people my singing chops and my dancing. I have so many things up my sleeve. I play the flute. I've even been doing math (!), which is a new aspect to my drag in the past year.
You are a bit of math wiz and I’ve enjoyed your quick math lessons in drag online.
Well, tell you the truth, underneath all of this drag I am such a math nerd. I'm studying math at the University of Waterloo right now. I just believe that the school systems are sort of failing our kids because so many people grow up and say that they hate math class and that they're terrible at math. But math is so much more than just cold calculations and I really want to show people that it's beautiful and artistic and elegant.
What’s your favourite number and why?
My favourite number is two. It’s not really a mathematical reason, it's kind of just my own little sappy romantic reason. Two is the number of duality, it represents the yin and yang to me, black and white, good and evil. Everything comes in pairs.
Presenting more of my talents online. What I've learned from doing the show is I really succeed and excel when I'm just in my comfort zone. I'm a very competitive person and the competition brought out aspects of myself that I will not entirely [be] proud of. I think I'm prouder to put a better foot forward online.