With a Canadian drag legacy and a perspective that started on the other side of the world, Bombae brought a unique and distinct flavor to Season 3 of Canada’s Drag Race. While her departure left us without a chance to see another stunning club-kid inspired runway from this inventive performer, what it did do was open up the world to this effervescent performer. I sat down to chat with Bombae about her Drag Race run, what it was like going through the experience with some of her closest friends, and what it will be like returning to India for a tour as Bombae!
Michael Cook: So looking back, how do you look at your Canada’s Drag Race run?
Bombae: As someone who thought that they were going to go home every single week, I had the time of my life. I grew up watching Drag Race in India so actually being on the show was a dream come true.
MC: Why did you think that you were going to be sent home every week? Was it based on the actual experience or was it something that was truly just in your own head?
B: It was in my own head. I would go back to my room every night and say “I’m going home tomorrow, I should just start packing now”. Then I would dress for the runways and think that I was going home that day, but I at least would go home looking good!
MC: You were almost the Greek chorus of the season, with fantastic confessionals, and having an inside knowledge of so many of the girls. Is there a specific way that you yourself took on Drag Race?
B: The way I went into Drag Race, it was like a drag bootcamp; in my mind, we were being paid to do what we love on tv. When I got there it was like, “Oh Halal is here, Fierce is here, Jada is here”. These are all my friends, it felt like were were at a drag bootcamp just doing what we loved. It wasn’t like I knew what their strengths and weaknesses were, it was just every day being giddy that we were on Drag Race. “Oh My God, we’re doing Snatch Game-what is our life”?
MC: It probably helps not being overly strategic, because at the end of the day, being overly planned out can possibly work against you.
B: Yeah, you can have a plan and say what you are going to do when you get to Drag Race, but day one when you get there, that plan gets thrown out the window; so what’s the point?
MC: Looking at your whole experience, you had some truly high highs and some lows. What is your rose and thorn from your Drag Race experience?
B: My rose would be getting into an outfit and watching the other girls look at me. The first mini challenge when I got into that black garment they were all like “who is she, why is she here, what is going on”? That would be my rose, I love people’s reaction to my drag. Hearing that from my peers and the other contestants, every week they would be like “oh she’s doing it again”! My thorn, it just got very stressful. It is a competition there is no time. Sometimes I let the stress get the better of me, but I am only human.
MC: Some of the interactions within the workroom show the familiarity that existed between so many of you. Did the pressure cooker environment you were all existing in contribute to that as well?
B: It was the pressure cooker we were all in, and we all realized that we are on Drag Race. A few of us realized that we are on Drag Race, on a tv show, let’s make good tv. At least some of the Toronto girls know each other and the things we say to each other, that is how we talk to each other in our green rooms. We are shady, we are all friends, but we do that with each other because we know each other. In this competition, suddenly we were behaving that way with girls that we didn’t know. There was obviously places where that was misinterpreted like “she really hates me” but that wasn’t it at all; that is just how we bond and kiki.
MC: You’ve been to New York City and New Jersey before, so how do you see the drag in the States and the drag in Canada?
B: I wouldn’t say Canadian drag is a melting pot, since were not all merged together. We have a lot of immigrants that come to Canada and a lot of us bring our cultures with them, but we don’t merge them. It’s more like a charcuterie board; you have a board with all of these different flavors and kinds of people who come and showcase their drag, and you see that all across the country. I’ll see something happening in Vancouver and I will think that I want to participate in that event or do that.
MC: When did you know that drag was going to be a little bit more than a hobby and would be your actual career?
B: it would have to be the first time that I performed at a Pride event, I did Toronto Pride about two years back. I came off stage and everyone was telling me that I had to keep doing it and said “whatever happens, don’t stop doing drag”. Before that it was a hobby, then gears started turning in my head and I thought that “maybe this could be a thing”!
MC: Now that you are officially a Ru girl, what do you think you want to do now?
B: What a dream come true. My friends in India didn’t know that I was on Drag Race and when the cast was announced, they sent me videos of them screaming and crying. The biggest thing that I am going to do in December is that I am going to tour India as Bombae. I started drag in Canada and I have not been back home in five years. I am going back and am going to do a four city tour and it is going to be amazing, I am really looking forward to it. I am excited to take back everything that I have learned to India for a month, and have fun with my people.
MC: An added layer of your trip is that your family is still in India, but they don’t know you are performing in drag as Bombae still, correct?
B: Yes, they still don’t know. I think as for telling them, it is going to be a Mrs. Doubtfire situation, that is how it is going to be for a while. I think any conversation telling my parents that I am a drag queen has to be a conversation that I have in person. Also, not just any drag queen, I have been on tv. It’s so much bigger than just being a hobby. I don’t know how they are going to take it, but we will see….
MC: You have had so many experiences throughout your career, but so many experiences of yours are unique. Where do you see Bombae in five years?
B: I feel like my time on the show, watching myself and seeing how I act and sound, you really have the gears start turning in your head and you want to really lean into that fantasy. In my head, I am stunning. In five years, I want to be my most self actualized version of Bombae; but why wait five years, I mean lets say one year. I want to tour, meet people across the world and take my art on another level . There is room to grow and I want to take myself to another level; it’s like, “you did this crazy thing called Drag Race-what else can you do”?
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Drag queens are known to turn a phrase with their endlessly inventive names, but Irma Gerd remains one of the most clever names-and most dynamic queens-we’ve seen come through Canada’s Drag Race. They managed to ride the line between staying true to their distinct aesthetic as well as stretch muscles during the competition that will take them far post-Drag Race. I sat down to chat with Irma about their Drag Race run, the queen they found themselves closest to and what their drag family (the equally brilliantly named Phlegm Fatales) mean to them.
MC: Tell me about your whole Canada’s Drag Race experience.
Irma Gerd. I would say that it was crazy fast and crazy fun; when they say its a race, they are not kidding. It’s absolutely breakneck speed and you are just trying to keep up. I am pretty happy with how far I made it.
MC: Throughout the competitoin, you not only got to show what makes you a unique and dynamic performer, but you also got to stretch some other muscles and really get out of your own comfort zone, is that fair to say?
IG: I agree. I think I showed stuff that I have not shown myself before. When I am designing a concept, I am thinking about what have I shown before, what things have I made, how can I learn and do new things and break molds for myself?
MC: What is something that you got to try on Canada’s Drag Race that you’re able to take into the next stage of your drag career?
IG: I think the speed at which you paint your face has really changed the way that I do it. I was one of those people who would dawdle and take three hours to paint my face, now I can paint a face in about an hour. It’s good because I am not messing with the tiny details and am perfecting the overall painting.
MC: On your season, there are either girls who are extremely tight during the competition or girls that are consistently battling it out. We saw a great deal of strong interaction in the workroom, both good and bad. What do you attribute that to?
IG: There was definitely a lot of drama, it felt like every day you would walk in and wonder what was going to happen today. Maybe it’s an East Coast sensibility, but it was kind of like “you guys have fun over there, I’ll be over here making jokes in the corner”.
MC: Who do you think you have left the completion extremely close to?
IG: Vivian Vanderpuss. From the moment I walked into the workroom, I was the second to last person to walk in so I came in to a wall of people. I looked at her and it was like “who is she”?! It was this magnetic connection and she just has that energy that I want to be friends with.
MC: Your friendship with Vivian definitely read as one of those unique friendships on Drag Race that is both organic and truly seems to come from a place of mutual admiration. Additionally, your styles definitely enhance and compliment each other, is that fair to say?
IG: I wouldn’t say that we were the same, but I would definitely say that we were parallel. There is definitely some kind of something we have in common, comedically maybe…
MC: When did you know that drag was going to be much more than simply performing in a bar and would be a passion that you would be following?
IG: I would say back in 2017 I started taking my drag a little bit more seriously. I would do weekly Drag Race screenings and people would come to see me; they could watch at home, but wanted to come see me perform and talk about it. I started taking it seriously, investing money into it, and the past couple years have been such an amount of growth.
MC: Now that you have this amazing platform, what do you think you want to do with it now?
IG: I want to do shows were I can tell stories. Either a one woman show or with my drag family The Phlegm Fatales. I would love to be able top take them into the bigger spotlight that I have. The Snot Rocket was a little homage to my drag family, we’re just goofy slimy little weirdos. We’re an all non binary drag family on the East Coast of Canada, and you wouldn’t think it living on a rock in the Ocean, but here we are!
MC: Has your perspective always been out of the box and tried and true to what you want to do? And do you attrirubte any of that to your drag family?
IG: Well my drag family came later, I’ve been doing drag about ten years and been with my drag family since around 2018. Drag is first and foremost, split splats, death drops, hair flips. and pretty girls; I like to be different. I like to make jokes that make people a little uncomfortable with that gross humor and I like having a different visual sensibility as well. Something that makes people a little uncomfortable, that darker side of beauty. I went to art school and got tired of making art that would just hang on the wall. I lost interest in painting and printmaking; you never get to engage with the audience. They get to engage with this thing, and you’re just at home hoping people liked it. With drag, you feel the electricity. You see people laughing, crying and giving you money; and I like money!
MC: Now that you’ve gotten to have this experience, where do you want your career five years from now?
IG: Five years from now, I hope that I will be able to say that I am taking a little break from my world tour one woman show because I have to go film a “secret thing” that I can’t talk about! I would love to go back and do it again, I think second time is the charm!
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