From the clown-tastic drag of Jimbo to the diversity of Scarlet Bobo, the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race was filled with immense talent fashion galore. Despite beyond worthy opponents, it was Toronto’s own Priyanka who rose to the top and snagged the title of Canada’s Next Drag Superstar. This self proclaimed Empress of the North has plans for music and touring, but first sat down with me to chat about the Drag Race experience, battling with fellow competitor Jimbo, and how this hi-energy queen is relishing in her much deserved victory.
Michael Cook: Congratulations on snagging the title on the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race! You are the first Canada’s Next Drag Superstar. How does it feel; have you been screaming all day?
Priyanka: Thank you! I did it, can you believe it? I have been screaming and the amount of times I have yelled “I’m a winner baby, my dreams have come true” all day long. They are both valid statements though, so I’m okay repeating them!
MC: What does it feel like to be not just part of the first cast of Canada’s Drag Race, but to be the first winner? You will set the tone for the series as it goes forth as the first one to snag the crown.
P: I love it; How can you be as iconic as I am (laughing)!? It’s really cool to be the first one to walk into the workroom and set the tone for the entire season and then end up winning the entire thing. That is history all in itself I think. It feels overwhelming, I still cannot believe that this is my life and that we have watched ten episodes of Canada’s Drag Race and now we are finally at the end. The impact of someone named Priyanka winning Canada’s Drag Race is all kinds of political and I love it.
MC: Representation-wise you are right, it cannot be denied that this has been a huge year for Drag Race winners who truly represent the country.
P: It’s so big, it is crazy. I have people in Guayana reaching out to me and saying that they cannot believe how out and proud I am and that I am Guayanese and it is so amazing. It is really cool to really be existing on television and then inspiring other people to be who they are. It is cool to see that the brown girl won Canada’s Drag Race, and that the two black girls won All Stars and Season 13 in the states. It Is just so cool that it is what people will know now and that is what is written in history.
MC: Speaking of, have you heard from any of your favorite winners after your own big win?
P: I heard from Shea Coulee, she FaceTimed me yesterday. I was like “how did you get my number, what is happening here” (laughs)? She was so happy for me and so proud of me, and I had only met her once it was just wild; I haven’t looked at my DM’s yet, but I am assuming Jada is in there, maybe Alyssa Edwards finally has written me. I am praying, I know that she is a lovely fifth alternate, but I am praying that Alyssa will reach out to me. Alyssa if you are reading this-please call! (Laughs)
MC: The season got a great deal of attention because the level of talent was very high and each of the girls really brought something to the runway. Jimbo specifically was a fan favorite and spoke publicly about how he felt you should be in the bottom. Have you squashed that beef?
P: Jimbo is the most angelic demon I know. He is so mean spirited, but also so caring and sweet, it is so confusing. One minute he is telling you how pretty and beautiful you are and that he loves you, the next minute he’s saying “your wig is crusty you look like you flushed your head down the toilet” (laughs). All that stuff he said about me isn’t a big deal because its just so Jimbo; he’s unapologetic. Take me down, of course. How did I get into the finale wearing a paper dress in front of Michelle Visage? How does that even happen, that is a miracle. But because I am a legend, icon and pillar-sorry Jimbo!
MC: You really showed a deeper side of Priyanka when you spoke about your father. Where does your relationship with your father stand now?
P: My father is so cool and so lovely and he bugs me so much, he is very very proud of me. He wants the whole 100,000 for himself of course. He is still processing it, I am giving him the time to educate himself on the LGBT community and understand drag. His brain and upbringing tells him that men should never dress up in women’s clothing ever, but now his son is doing something that he was always told men should not do. He has to process it and continue to fight what his brain tells him. I am helping him out, he is understanding, he is patient, and he is proud of me.
MC: During the competition, did it ever shift when you went from being just a competitor to a point where you looked around and realized that you could actually win the entire competition?
P: It was when I told Michele Visage that I was selling the dress like I was selling used DVD’s on the street corner. That was when I said “you are here to have a good time, you love drag, you should win this girl”. Before that, I would say it was when I swung that wedding dress off the runway, that was also a winning moment for me.
MC: What does Toronto have to say about one of their hometown favorites being crowned Canada’s Next Drag Superstar?
Well, Brook Lynne Hytes has made it clear that I am not the Queen of the North, I am the Empress of the North, she remains the Queen of the North (laughs). There is a video on my Instagram story where you can hear the crowd on Church Street when they announced that I was the winner and you could hear the crowds cheering for me. I wasn’t even on Church street!
MC: What’s next for Priyanka?
P: You are going to be getting a Priyanka EP, you will have that delivered in a couple of weeks, I promise. I want to start an online YouTube series with Lemon also. I want to go on tour, we just announced a cross Canada tour hosted by Brook Lynn Hytes. I just found out about the tour today, so that’s another prize on top. It is going to be a good time and I am excited to put on shows. I have spent so many years on camera that I want to put more time and passion into putting on live shows for people. There is nothing like performing in front of an audience and having them so happy to watch drag.
MC: What would you tell the Priyanka that that was hosting a Toronto kid’s show and dreaming of quite possibly entering the world of Drag Race?
P: I would tell that person that you gotta get those demons outta your head. Open the closet door and step out of it. And you just have to Be Gay!
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