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Venus on the ‘magnitude,’ joy, and responsibility of being Canada’s Next Drag Superstar

Venus on the ‘magnitude,’ joy, and responsibility of being Canada’s Next Drag Superstar

Venus
Courtesy of World of Wonder

Canada’s Drag Race season four's winner on the unbelievable moment she knew she had won, meeting her international sisters at DragCon UK, and why she’s intends to be a queen for the people in her reign

rachiepants

The last flurries of snow have settled and Canada has a brand new Drag Superstar!

After an incredible season of fierce looks, iconic moments, and a lip sync slay-off for the ages, Venus managed to edge out some of the stiffest competition that they’ve seen in the Great White North in Aurora Matrix, Denim, and Nearah Nuff. Ultimately, Venus succeeded in snatching the title, crown, cash prize, and scepter — and make herstory in the process as the first Metis two-spirit person to do so.

PRIDE caught up with Venus after a whirlwind week of being crowned and immediately hopping on a flight to London for DragCon UK where she walked the pink carpet as the newest member of Drag Race royalty. The experience was equal parts thrilling and surreal, but now with a chance to breathe and take it all in, Venus is reflecting on where she came from and, more importantly, where she”s going.

PRIDE: Congratulations on being named Canada’s Next Drag Superstar! How are you feeling? Has it sunk in yet?

VENUS: I’m still processing everything. It's been a whirlwind of a week, I think it's truly been the most tremendous, congratulatory week that a Queen could possibly have, going from the finale to [DragCon] UK, getting to spend time with my top four sisters, and then meeting so many people that I have admired for so long. Now that I'm back home in my hometown, it's going to slowly start sinking in. I'm taking the next few days to just reflect and understand the magnitude of everything.

I think “magnitude” is exactly the right word. Take me back to the moment you heard your name called and you learned you had won. What were you thinking and feeling in that moment?

I was very peaceful going into the finale party, I had just seen Aurora [Matrix] the night before in Montreal, and we did a show together. So it was nice to have a moment of like, 'Whatever happens happens.' We love each other so, so much, and getting to share this has been amazing.

I made sure to give myself a lot of time to prepare for the event. And then getting there is one of my indigenous inspirations ... my great glam-mother, she blessed the space, and we did a smudging moment together.

So I just felt like this was out of my hands, I don't control how this works, I can only control my reaction. But then when it came to that moment, which was so much more intense than I could have ever imagined. I just remember shouting that I needed to get [the Girlfriend Experience] on the phone because she was in the UK. I was like, 'I need her to like be here for this moment. I promised her.' So we ran to get the phone and all this was happening. And then as soon as they heard the first vowel of my name, I was just like, 'Oh my gosh it's happened! I was having this visceral reaction to what was going on just because there was so much emotion built up over these past few months, and then getting to just release all of that I was quite literally shaking. Yeah. But it's beautiful. It felt so nice to finally cry it all out.

That’s so interesting and you bring up how there’s a wait between filming and learning who won. How do you compartmentalize the anticipation while you wait all those months?

When I first got home, I was overanalyzing every little thing that had happened. Doing a compare and contrast. And then the noise starts to settle... through my own meditation and how I deal with stress. I was like, 'I've done what I what I've done, what has been filmed has been filmed. I've put my best foot forward.' The moment you start to spiral, you could go to a million different places but none of those places are real, those are hypotheticals.

Now I can actually get some proper rest. And maybe these Drag Race dreams — and sometimes Drag Race nightmares — will hopefully go away and I can just focus on the year to come.

Speaking of what’s next, as you mentioned, you went straight from the crowning to DragCon UK. Did you have any special moments with the fans or your sisters while you were there?

I got back to my place, I had to finish packing. I slept for maybe 90 minutes and then had to go to the airport. By the time we got to London, it was 8:00 in the morning, we get to the venue for like 9:30 and we have to be on the pink carpet at 10:30. I was like,' well, that's physically not happening for me to be in drag. So, I put on my diamond look with the mask. People were like, 'Oh, people want to see your face." And I'm like, You know what, as the winner, I'm going veto that and say I'm going to do what I want to do today.

She’s drunk with power!

It was iconic. It was such a good move because it was like people loved the look from the show. Miss Envy Pero was like, 'Oh girl, you did it right, you know exactly what you're doing by wearing this mask today.' It was also kind of nice because it was so overwhelming. I'm not even off of the highest high of my drag career and I'm meeting all these people I've admired for so long. Now I have to talk to them and act like the coolest cat in the room when I just want to scream. So I had to hide a lot of my emotions on my face.

How was it meeting with your fans now that you are officially Canada’s Next Drag Superstar?

By the second day when I can see everything. When you see that there are people waiting in line to meet you for sometimes an hour or two it's so wild to wrap your head around that people are genuinely excited to meet you and are spending their time at this convention to see you. People are giving you gifts and saying how you've made them feel throughout the competition. That is just such a rewarding experience.

I'm gonna spend this next week absorbing and reflecting because they're such tremendous memories to carry. And I don't want to act like it's just a normal thing, because that's not normal. We're experiencing something that's so fantastic and of our wildest dreams.

Was there anyone who really touched your heart?

Oh my gosh, this one drag queen they were seven years old named Coconut. They were just like, so fab! I think that's the biggest thing, seeing young kids come up to me, and we're having these conversations, and then I see their parents, and they're standing off to the side and it makes me emotional, because getting to see these parents that are showing their children the possibilities of the queer experience and queer joy, and that they can be whoever they want to be. I think about my young self and [wonder] what would life have been if we had this incredible world where we got to meet all these different types of princesses, drag kings, and everything in between. What does that do to a child? It instills confidence and a safe feeling there that these kids walk away with being like, 'I can be all of these things.'

Wow, you’re so right. The number and variety of queer icons that kids today have now is so incredible compared to when we were growing up. I am curious, is that part of what you’ll be doing with your reign?

Oh, absolutely. I just got a very exciting email yesterday — which I cannot share — but there'll be moments of connection. That's a huge thing for me, I'm such a people person and so getting to be around other young people who are just finding themselves in this world and getting to share what my journey has been a huge part of where I foresee myself within this reign. I'm really excited for the next 365 days until that next person comes along. I'm taking the moment to revel in this and then it's time to get to work.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.