King of Victoria: Eddi Licious is the gender-bending, shape-shifting drag artist this country needs
'I really believe this type of art is a valuable part of my healing process as a two-spirit Métis person'
Eddi Licious is just one of the many fabulous subjects featured in Canada's a Drag, a docu-series from CBC Arts that showcases drag artists from across the true North strong and fierce. You can watch all 21 episodes here.
How does Eddi Wilson describe their drag persona, Eddi Licious? "He is an amalgamation of deep thoughts, primal urges, weirdness and whimsy."
"He is a storytelling conduit for whatever I am interested in or working through at the time, so he shape-shifts a lot both in appearance and behaviour. Because drag is such a malleable art form, Eddi has become a fun way for me to explore a variety of genres and tie together my different skills. His performance style is erratic and evocative; his shows incorporate dance, clowning, spoken word, magic tricks, ukulele, shibari and whatever else he wants to share with the class that day."
Licious and Wilson combine to make up a Victoria-based dancer, gender bender, shape-shifter and performance artist. They are a member of Riot Grrrls Burlesque Revue and Atomic Vaudeville, a regular performer at King Fling and a past titleholder of "Mr. Gay Vancouver Island." And by day, they are a veterinary technician. Talk about a multihyphenate.
Watch the episode:
Series Producers: Mercedes Grundy and Peter Knegt
Episode Director: Kelly Conlin
Packaging Editor: March Mercanti
Titles Designer: Hope Little
As a child, Eddi says they probably watched The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar "over 100 times each."
"There was something about the characters that I feel like I connected to on a subconscious level," Eddi says. "I think the theme of unconditional self-acceptance in these movies stuck with me even before I had the life experiences to practically relate to the stories."
As Eddi got a bit older, they found themselves struggling with some of the same things their childhood heroes faced.
"I started trying to embrace my Métis heritage in an effort to make sense of my identity. I learned about the concept of two-spirit people in pre-colonial society, and things slowly started to come together from there. Because mainstream culture focuses heavily on the gender binary, I turned to drag as a way for me to examine and escape the restrictions placed on me based on my appearance."
Eddi was inspired to start performing because they "felt like it would allow me to fully express myself in a safe environment."
"12 years later and I'm still at it, so I really believe this type of art is a valuable part of my healing process as a two-spirit Métis person. Now that I have come to better understand and accept myself for who I am on stage and in life, I am inspired to continue performing so I can share what I've learned."
"I hope to help others in my position find ways to love themselves in a society that says we shouldn't."
Follow Eddi on Instagram.
Meet the other 12 kings and queens in the second season of Canada's a Drag here.