Lemon Gave Us Life (& Acrobatics) On “Drag Race: UK vs The World”

As bright and vivid as her name suggests, Lemon entered the RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs The World competition as one of the representatives from Canada’s Drag Race. Her stateside sensibilities and Canadian perspective always made her a diverse queen, and while her eye-popping talent show performance didn’t keep her in the competition, she is taking these lemons and making lemonade. Lemon and I caught up to chat about her new single “Sweet & Sour” her latest Drag Race experience, and how in a way, it made her fall in love with drag all over again. 

Michael Cook: As part of the cast of the first season of UK vs The World, it must have been truly amazing to kick of the season standing on the main stage and watching your fellow competitors emerge from behind. that now-famous door. What was the most surreal aspect of the experience for you? 

Lemon: I think it was just seeing people that I have seen and loved on Drag Race, and lined up for at DragCon, and now being in the same competition with them. One aspect of Drag Race is that I think that we should all start on the same level, and everyone should start at the same place. It was really cool that I was at the same level as Jujubee, Mo Heart, and Baga Chipz; all these people that I love. It was super cool to be one of them, and just be “one of the girls”.

MC: Had you had a chance to watch all of the franchises that the other girls that were competing against you came from? 

L: I had not watched Thailand, which Pangina (Heals) was on. I did watch Holland, which Janey (Jacke) was on and I thought she was amazing. I would say that I am a Drag Race fan and I definitely do watch it. The past year has been a little traumatizing to watch, but I think I just may get back into it. 

MC: The talent show got to showcase what each and every competitor had to bring to the competition. What you did was truly, authentic Lemon. When you sat back and saw everyone else’s talent, did you wish you had gone bigger production-wise or were you happy with the sickening performance you delivered? 

L: I wanted my talent show to be something that you would pay twenty dollars for at the door, go in and sit down, and scream the entire time. I know I did, because I was in a room full of people when it premiered, and everyone screamed the whole time. I know that I did what my intention was. If I was sitting behind the judges panel, I would have lived for what I did. I think that my looks, from my entrance, to my peformance, to my runway look, they were absolutely gorgeous. I think as much as I would love to change the outcome, the outcome was never up to me. I can’t change what I had done because it was exactly what I wanted to do. 

MC: Have you always been so level-headed and clear on how things go in your life? 

L: I was a competitive dancer growing up. We are taught that if you lose it doesn’t matter, and if you win it doesn’t matter. What matters is did you go out on stage and do your best version of “this”. If the answer is yes and you came in dead last, my dance teacher would give us a huge hug and say “you were amazing”!  If you didn’t do your best and you won everything, my teacher would almost be like “this is garbage”, you know what I mean? Being in the arts and being a dancer, and having such a rich arts education, I think that is something that I was really excited by and I was able to understand that four people’s opinions are very valid at this time. They don’t make up the world’s opinion about what I do though. 

MC: Speaking of the judges, you finally got the opportunity to be judged by RuPaul. What was that experience like? 

L: It definitely was surreal in way, but in other ways, it was not what I pictured. Obviously, I wasn’t like “this is the best day ever” (laughs). It was obviously not ideal, but it was really exciting to be in front of them. I have looked up to RuPaul & Michelle for a really long time. 

MC: Your brand is very cohesive, so when you step out of the box it is truly exciting. What is something that you want to do to truly step out of the box and move outside the “Lemon” brand? 

L: That is really what I think I did on the show. My runway look was a perfect, polished, pageant, perfection look. On Canada’s Drag Race when we were told to bring pageant looks, I came dressed as a toddler. I think going for the very classic, polished and expensive drag was not what the audience of Canada’s Drag Race was going to expect from me. I think that I pushed myself to a place that Lemon has never been before. I did it in a way that stayed true to my brand, which is typically what the show looks for. 

MC: Where is home now? Do you think there is a time where you may see yourself in the United States completely or are you simply a Canadian girl at heart now? 

L: I am actually still living in Toronto. I don’t think I would “live” anywhere. I am way too international. I am going to be in Los Angeles, I am going to be in the UK, and I am going to be in Canada. I don’t feel, at least right now, that settling down and choosing a city is going to be conducive to what I want to be doing. I think a lot of people need their home base to recharge and be at peace, but I honestly feel the most recharged and the most at peace when I am on stage in front of a million people screaming for me. Making them die of laughter is what makes me tick and what makes me feel the most myself. For the past year, I think I have been missing that feeling and almost dreading doing drag, because this was so nasty to me and made my feelings hurt so badly. As of last night when the episode aired, I feel completely different. I feel totally refreshed and renewed and I am going to be back on every world stage. 

MC: What do you think the past (very challenging) year taught you? 

L: Honestly, it reminded me that the most valuable opinion that anyone will ever have is your own. Anyone can say whatever they want about me because I know exactly how I feel about myself. I had lost that for a second I think and I was convinced otherwise of how I felt about myself. This year has reminded me “who the fuck cares what a panel of four people think when four million people are streaming my song”?

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