Arts·Canada's a Drag

The power of Céline: How drag artist Crystal Slippers made Montreal home by channelling Queen Dion

After immigrating to Quebec from Israel, Guy Hermon felt lost...until a new day came. Watch Canada's a Drag Season 2 now.

After immigrating to Quebec from Israel, Guy Hermon felt lost...until a new day came

Crystal Slippers as Céline Dion on her wedding day. (CBC Arts)

Crystal Slippers 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.​

When Guy Hermon immigrated to Montreal from Israel, he wasn't quite sure how to navigate himself in a new world. But then two women filled his soul and drowned his fears, shattering the walls for a new, new sun: Céline Dion and Crystal Slippers.

Hermon invented Crystal as his drag queen alter ego, and her performances quickly became heavily influenced by none other than Céline, who felt like the ideal person to emulate to find a place in Quebec culture.

"The first drag competition that I won, I did a Céline Dion number," Crystal says. "Just because I was like, 'This is Quebec, I need to do something that people know.' And I didn't even think how deep that rabbit hole goes. She's this weird and awkward girl with this amazing voice and this ambition that is rare. And she somehow came to be one of the biggest pop stars in the world, ever. Every time I think about it, it just makes me happy."

And, we promise, once you see Crystal Slippers do Céline, every time you think about it will make you happy too.

Watch the episode:

Episode 5 5:48

Series Producers: Mercedes Grundy and Peter Knegt
Episode Director: Ashley Duong
Episode Cinematographer: Thomas LeBlanc Murray
Packaging Editor: March Mercanti 
Titles Designer: Hope Little

Before he moved to Quebec and became Crystal Slippers, Hermon was in the Israeli army, which is not exactly the ideal place to come into one's queerness.

"When I was in the army, I couldn't express any kind of feminine behaviour or be out," he says. "In order for you to live as a queer person, you have to carve your place into society — no one's going to give it to you. And I feel like drag queens are inspiring people to do that. They're being like, 'Look how fun it can be to express your inner sissyness.'"

Once Guy found Crystal, he found a way to do just that.

Crystal Slippers begins to transform herself into Céline Dion. (CBC Arts)

Crystal — who has been active in the Montreal drag scene since 2013 — describes her drag style as "cerebral." 

"I tend to stay away from dance pop hits, and I don't do a lot of dancing and sexy poses," she says. "I use a lot of spoken words, interview parts and music that I edit myself, and try to create a story with a beginning, middle and end. I'm always looking for the emotional process, just like in drama. I really enjoy exploring the life stories of old show and screen legends; I find great inspiration in that."

That, and Céline Dion, of course.

Follow Crystal Slippers on Instagram

Meet the other 12 kings and queens in the second season of Canada's a Drag here.

About the Author

Peter Knegt

Peter Knegt has worked for CBC Arts since way back in 2016, with highlights including co-hosting weekly live talk show State of the Arts, writing the regular LGBTQ-culture column Queeries and playing integral roles in the launch of series The Filmmakers and Canada's a Drag. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films and the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.