With a mega-watt smile and talent to spare, Vivian Vanderpuss added a special brand of fabulous to Canada’s Drag Race this past season. While she didn’t snag the crown this season, Vanderpuss managed to showcase some talents she wasn’t aware that she had, as well as got to stretch some muscles she was already familiar with & fine tune them. I sat down to chat with Vanderpuss on her Canada’s Drag Race run, what she has planned next (boutique cat products?) and she spoke openly about her family and the passion and support that they have showcased for her drag journey.
Michael Cook: Tell me about your Canada’s Drag Race experience...
Vivian Vanderpuss: It was pretty amazing and like nothing that I expected. I don’t think you can expect what does happen and the whole process, especially since it was my first time on a reality television show. I think it was really fantastic and that I was really able to show the things that I wanted to show and so many things that I am proud of and things that I am proud of collaborating with other artists on, as well as things that I created myself. I also did a ton of things that I didn’t know that I could do or see myself doing and it really pushed myself out of my comfort zone; now I feel like I can do so much more.
MC: That was very evident in several of the runway challenges, as several of the garments you created truly showed your stepping outside of your comfort zone to very positive critiques from the judges.
VV: A lot of the runways were different aspects of my drag. Macabre, death, the vintage, the camp, I like to play with all of it and then blur the lines between them, I feel like I got to show people a lot of different sides of my drag. I think from my Meet The Queens video people kind of put me into one specific category, and I think that is natural, we like to put labels on things and categorize them. I was really glad that I got to show the diversity of the characters that I got to portray.
MC: What do you think your rose and thorn is of your Canada’s Drag Race experience?
VV: The rose is meeting and celebrating amazing queer art with these amazing artists. The thorn?-losing two inches of my hair line. I didn’t measure, but…(laughs)
MC: For you, when did drag go from being a potential hobby to a true passion and career path for you?
VV: I think since I was talking to my mom about doing it, she said that if I was gonna do it go all in and do it all the way. I think from the beginning, I poured my heart and soul into my drag. Then you just get better at doing it and experimenting with different things, like learning to style wigs and things like that. It really can be an all-consuming hobby, so it can be easy for it to become your whole life; and now it is!
MC: It’s interesting that you were able to have such an open dialogue with your mother at the onset of your drag career. What is it like to have that ability to speak to your mom about your drag journey?
VV: It is pretty spectacular. My mom and my dad, my whole family really are an incredible support. I think especially in the earlier days of doing drag I would bounce ideas off my mom, like I would say what if I did “this” or she would say she heard a song the other day and that “you have to do this”! My whole family is back in Ontario and after I started doing drag, the first time that I came home since then, my mother gave me all of my grandmother’s and great grandmother’s costume jewelry. A lot of the earlier days of my drag were really informed by the spectacular women in my life. It still is today, but especially with mementos from people. That is why I really love when people gift me their family jewelry, or things that really mean things to people. I can breathe new life into it and that is the beauty of mementos and vintage stuff in general.
MC: I mean, where would we as gay men be without fabulous women right?
VV: Well there you go! Now that is a fact….
MC: So where do you go from here with the platform you’ve gotten from Drag Race?
VV: I kind of got a taste of traveling and performing elsewhere and I am really loving that. I am excited to bring my drag around the world, I don’t know where that will bring me next, I would love to go to the UK. I am working on a one woman special and just exploring what this new world is. It really does expand your world to so many opportunities to collaborate. That has probably been one of my favorite things about this whole experience, the ability to collaborate with other artists and just creating together and bringing my visions to life but through the lens of someone else.
MC: Five years from now, where do you want Vivian Vanderpuss to be and what do you want to have accomplished?
VV: I just hope that I am feeling still really fulfilled with my drag and that is feels really challenging and it still feels fresh. I would love to have some kind of one-person act/play/special, I have a couple of ideas that I kind of showed on the show, but I would like to expand them into a full show. If I could just travel the world and bring people joy through my art, that would be pretty spectacular. Maybe I could have a line of boutique cat products or something who knows?
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