Now Or Never

Drag 101: Canada's newest drag performers get schooled

Meet the Drag Class of 2018! After an eight-week course, first time performers attach their eyelashes, calm their nerves and sharpen their attitudes for their drag debut in Winnipeg.
Ruby Chopstixxx, Shanita Dee and Skirt Browning apply their makeup before their drag debut. (CBC / Sara Atnikov)

Want to become a drag queen or king but don't know where to start? There's a class for that.

Pharaoh Moans watches as her 'drag kids' get prepared for their big debut. (CBC / Sara Atnikov)

For the past two months, five aspiring performers have gathered in an empty room at Winnipeg's Prairie Theatre Exchange. Under the watchful eye of their drag fairy godmothers, they've practiced their walk, perfected their makeup and sharpened their attitudes — all with the goal of becoming the country's newest gender-bending entertainers.

And now, they're ready for their drag debut.

"I feel really humbled and so excited for them and their energy," said co-instructor Bobbi Hudon, also known as Pharaoh Moans

"I've been doing drag for 18 years," agreed Vida lamour DeCosmo. "This is part of what I want to do: mentor and teach the new generation."

With help from Pharaoh and Vida, the five students — who go by the names Shanita Dee, Lex Contralata, Skirt Browning, Ruby Chopstixxx and Peppermint Phattie — have been honing their drag personas. Although drag is often associated with gay men, four out of the five new performers identify as women.

Peppermint Phattie works on her eye makeup. (CBC / Sara Atnikov)

As the queens and king prepare, the mood in the dressing room is equal parts excitement and anxiety. This performance marks the first time that their family and friends will meet their drag alter-egos. 

Their looks range from Lex Contralata's "pink military realness" to Peppermint Phattie's "clown mom gets off her day job at the painting company". 

But the transformation is more than a cosmetic one. Skirt Browning says that embracing her drag persona has also made her more comfortable taking up space that women are sometimes denied.

"It's really about the spaces that women are allowed to occupy — and how much space they're able to take up. So Skirt has the entire stage."

Watching the "drag babies" attach their wigs and put the final touches on their contouring, Pharaoh Moans gets a little emotional about the drag community she's helped birth.

"I'm a very proud mother," said Moans. "And there's no labour pains! I'm loving it!"

Winnipeg's drag kids make their debut

3 years ago
1:09
Watch as Canada's newest drag performers join forces for their finale number in Winnipeg. Can you spot the death drop? 1:09

This encore Now or Never segment originally aired in June, 2018

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