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‘Canada’s Drag Race’ star Rita Baga: ‘You have to have a thick skin to be on this show’

The Montréal drag mother says some of her daughters aren't yet "ready" to handle the emotional rollercoaster that is Drag Race.

By Markus Bidaux

Canada’s Drag Race is down to the final three: Rita Baga, Priyanka and Scarlett Bobo.

While not having English as a first language has turned out to be a handicap for some RuPaul’s Drag Race queens (Nicky Doll, you deserved better!), Rita would use her command of the French language to her advantage. She came in to win and took the win on week one and took the most wins overall with three.

And when she was in the bottom the final two weeks she took it with poise and grace, even when Jimbo who verbally attacked her look out of his own frustration.

Attitude chatted to the top French-Canadian queen of the north who may have the crown in the baga via Zoom…

You had some very, very high highs at the start, and then you spent the last two weeks bottoming. What did that do to your confidence?

Well, I think it’s just a trick because they want it not to be obvious that I’m going to win, so they had to put me in the bottom, you know? No, they didn’t do much about my confidence, honestly, because I liked to perform. Even though I was not pleased to be in the bottom two, this is what we do. We lipsync for our lives and I was happy to do so, and especially on Alanis Morissette’s song, because it’s a singer I have loved for so many years, but it just gave me that final boost that I needed to be on top again and on top of my game for the last one, the most important one, in the top three. I’m very proud that we have achieved that. It’s going to be a great episode!

You started out as a club kid. How has drag changed since you started in Canada?

In Canada? Oh my God. She’s a history teacher now. Okay. It’s been a crazy ride, but I think that the show itself, of course, I’m talking about the OG version, it has helped the drag community to see other kinds of drag that there is possible to do. In Montreal the scene is so eclectic, there’s so many different drags. Yes, I started as a club kid and I’ve been there, I’ve been elsewhere, and then I came back, but I’ve always had this route, this inner club kid, and sometimes I just unleash the beast and I go back to my roots.

What’s been the reaction to Drag Race Canada in Canada. Have people embraced it? Has it has gone mainstream?

It’s the talk of the town, I would say. Every time I meet a sister or brother in the streets of Montreal they are all talking about the show. Also, I just went to Vancouver and it was impossible to be incognito and everywhere I went there were people stopping me and they didn’t ask, it’s funny because I think it happened like 12 times, they didn’t ask Are you Rita Baga? They started the whole thing like, Are you from Montreal? So I think I have this Montreal stamp on my forehead. Did I say forehead? Yes? Okay, I always mix up with the other fore. One was not really appropriate. So then it’s, it’s just amazing. The response in general is amazing.

Will you be encouraging your drag children to go on to next season?

Yes, some of them, because you have to really have a thick skin to be on this show. I know one of my daughters, she’s really sensitive, and even though she’ll be great on that show, I’m pretty sure she will have this huge meltdown on TV and after the show. So, I think she’s not ready yet, emotionally speaking, but if you have this chance, of course, take it. It’s a game-changer. It’s a life-changing opportunity and I’m so grateful that I have the chance to compete for the crown.


Just for everyone now, where have you guys found that you’ve gotten fans from around the world that’s really surprised you outside of Canada?

I would say that there’s a French-speaking community around the world. I didn’t know there were so many countries with French-speaking people and it was really surprising. Also, just the places where these messages come from, it’s like, Oh, I’m sending you a, a love from Norway, from Uganda, from Cameroon, from China. Everybody is watching the show is crazy, and I think that’s a great impact that we just got from the COVID. I mean, there’s nothing left to do and there’s nothing else to do than watch incredible performances from Canada, on TV. It has a great impact for us, around the world now.

Canada’s Drag Race is available to watch now on BBC Three on the BBC iPlayer.