Whenever a queen like Océane Aqua-Black is cast on a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it is almost always a treat. This Montreal queen brought elegance and a sense of hilarity to Season 2 of Canada’s Drag Race and while she has departed the completion, Aqua-Black has plenty of plans to keep herself front and center in our minds. I sat down with this full of personality performer and we chatted about her Drag Race experience, the challenges she would’ve loved to have had a chance at, and that now-legendary leap.
Michael Cook: From the moment you entered the Canada’s Drag Race workroom, your personality and specifically your laugh was absolutely infectious. I don’t think we have seen a laugh this distinct and beloved since RuPaul’s Drag Race legend Latrice Royale!
Océane Aqua-Black: I think so to, a lot of people say that Latrice and I have the same laugh. I have always had the laugh for as long as I can remember.
MC: While shorter than you anticipated, your run on Canada’s Drag Race was spectacular would you say that is fair to say?
OAB: Yes, it was an adventure. I have always been the type of person who likes the unknown, the challenges, so I was served (laughs)! I loved it.
MC: Your injury during the first mini-challenge of the competition was shocking, yet you pushed through. How did it feel the moment you jumped and felt that something was not right when you landed?
OAB: I was afraid. I was afraid because I didn’t want to leave because I was injured and didn’t have any control over it. When I jumped, I heard a little crack and thought “Oh No”! Of course I was concerned about that.
MC: You are a veteran of drag compared to some of your fellow competitors. What was it like bringing in an established style and pedigree into a competition with queens that might not have as much experience?
OAB: I know what I am doing, I knew my character, I know who I am; I am comfortable and at a comfortable place with myself. Of course, even if I have done drag for eighteen years, we are still learning all the time. During my time at Drag Race, the girls and I gave each other tips that we didn’t know before. It never stops growing. I was a little intimidated, probably because of my age when I found out how much younger the queens were; it was like “am I gonna be able to keep up with that” (laughs)!? It was a great learning experience though, it was incredible.
MC: From the time when you started doing drag in Montreal, what was drag like at that time and how has it changed?
OAB: Oh there is so much. First of all, I started in Quebec City and then went to Montreal because there was more opportunity there for me. I think that drag has changed because my drag mother taught me the roots of drag, with big presentation. I have always been into that, but I think drag has been taken to a more edgy place, it’s about so much more than being beautiful and smiling. I think you have to adapt and that is the secret to a long career. If you can adapt, you can pretty much do anything. Makeup has changed since I began, costumes, the way to do shows, even the crowd is not the same. Crowds are not the same and they can be more difficult, but it brings you more challenges. You want to please them and you want to exceed their expectations.
MC: On Drag Race, you jumped into the pit in the mini-challenge, designed your own costumes, and did choreography. What is one thing that you didnt get to do that you really wish you had on the show?
OAB: Acting, I have a background in theater for ten years. Give me any character and I am going to nail it. If I had something to tell the girls, if they chose me for a challenge like that, the other team should be scared; it is one of my biggest strengths. I am a really expressive person so I can easily be in any type of character and play on both sides. ‘Snatch Game’ of course, I was ready!
MC: Okay, you must tell me who were your Snatch Game options?
OAB: I had Cardi B, she is such a character! I also had a famous YouTube personality, Norman. Freeman. He is absolutely crazy with that little wig, he is so crazy; it would have been incredible.
MC: You now have a big platform now, and a million dollar personality. What’s next?
OAB: I do have many projects, but I don’t want to give too much away, I want people to be surprised. you can expect some songs, some music videos, maybe an album. One thing about me is that I am not afraid to work and have worked all my life for what I have. Nothing is going to stop me unless it’s a knee (laughs)! I think people are going to hear about me; that is what is great about Drag Race, even if you don’t win, you have a platform where you can introduce yourself to the world. There is so much to accomplish.
MC: What is the one thing that you think drag has taught you about yourself?
OAB: Drag taught me that it is okay to be different. There are so many different styles of drag and you have to be open to it. I come from an old drag style, so I had to adapt to everything that is coming and changing. I would say that I think drag taught me tolerance. At first you see something and you are not sure of it, then you talk to the people doing it and where they’re coming from, and it opens you to a new universe. I always thought at the beginning that doing drag was being beautiful with gowns, but through the years I realized I could be whatever I want. I had a costume made as an ant, and a dragon costume! It is not always just to be beautiful, it’s all about doing drag.
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