BOA may have not reached the top like she – or we – envisioned, but she did prove that she’s not like the udder queens. The Toronto-based performer and self-described “bitch on arrival” made quite the impression on Drag Race fans thanks to her
splits, high kicks, death drops, jumps boisterous personality, unconventional runways and charismatic confessionals. She also won the hearts of viewers for opening up about her experiences with ADHD, addiction and sexual assault.
In the most recent episode of Canada’s Drag Race, the star told her fellow competitors that she was beaten and robbed when she refused to be intimate with man she met in a club. “It came out naturally because the conversation was happening, so I felt the need and that it was right to tell my story,” BOA tells GAY TIMES. “I’m glad I did and it was hard to do… I hope that people are able to see my strength and hopefully use that as an example. Hopefully me speaking out about that will help one person at least.”
Shortly after her elimination, we caught up with BOA to discuss her time on the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race, why it was important for her to share her story and how a queens’ placement on the olympics of drag doesn’t “determine who you are as an artist.”
Hi Boa! How are you?
I’m good! It’s nice to see you Sam.
When they were telling me that I could sashay away, I was like, ‘FUCK YES!
It’s very nice to see you too. I have to apologise for the state of my hair.
Your hair is perfect. I love it. Sickening mama, the boots, yes gawd!
I’m so sad to see you go! How did you feel after your elimination?
I’m feeling awesome! I’m feeling great. I feel happy. I came and did what I needed to do, which was make lasagne, obviously. I feel fulfilled, I feel amazing, I feel intelligent, I feel stunning, I feel gorgeous, I feel a bit hungry, I feel thrilled, I feel good, you know? I feel pretty!
I really thought it was going to be your week.
Me too! I guess we learned that it… wasn’t. It’s okay though! At the time, my wings were really painful on me because I had to hold them – something snapped. Then my feet hurt really bad because I have bunions, so I was in a lot of pain. When they were telling me that I could sashay away, I was like, ‘FUCK YES! I’m going to go ice these babies right now.’ I felt like it was my time. It was bittersweet. I felt thankful and relieved, also sad. I went there to win. We all go there to win, kick ass and hopefully win that $100,000 and the crown. But when I was lip-syncing, I was like, ‘You know girl? You did such a great job, you should be so proud of yourself and hopefully you’re making a difference. A year ago, you would never be here, so just look at yourself.’
I mean, top seven on the first season of Canada’s Drag Race…
That’s cool. And you know what’s funny? Lemme tell you something. I love Katya, she’s my favourite queen in the entire franchise – personality wise – and she used to say, ‘Oh yeah, top seven, this and that and the other thing,’ and before I was like, ‘This is kinda funny.’ But that is legit a thing, because top seven is good bitch. It’s not easy! I don’t just wake up and do all this stuff like it’s nothing. It was really a race. It was very challenging, and it’s something to be extremely proud of.
Also, like Brooke Lynn said on Twitter a few days ago, your placement on Drag Race is not a true reflection of your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.
It really doesn’t. Me being cast on this show does not mean I’m one of the top queens in Canada. It means that I took proper steps and showcased who I am properly and then a chance was taken on me, essentially. Anything can happen! Look at Juice going home first. Juice Boxx is a fucking amazing queen, she works her ass off. Can I swear?
Great. She is such a great queen. When I saw her there I was like, ‘Ooh bitch, competition.’ Thank god I was wrong… Just joking! She really is so amazing and she’s so talent. She’s such a wicked performer, great makeup artist, has incredible outfits and she’s incredibly versatile. If you follow her on Instagram, you’ll see all of the looks she does. She is definitely not a one-trick pony, and it just goes to show that you never know. You never know what’s going to happen and winning, losing, not getting on or going home first doesn’t determine who you are as an artist.
Me being cast on this show does not mean I’m one of the top queens in Canada.
When you sashayed into the werkroom, a couple of the queens felt some type of way. How would you describe your reputation in Canada?
For a long time in the Toronto scene, I struggled with drugs and alcohol a lot, which I talked about briefly on the show. That’s something that messed up my reputation. It was more than ‘Boa’s a mess,’ it was a struggle of mine and it was something I needed help with. That, I think, tarnished my reputation a little bit. Last May after my birthday, I made the decision to make that change. My partner was three months sober at the time so I basically told him that I need help, and we went to a couple AA meetings. I saw a counsellor and I’ve been completely sober ever since.
How has being sober affected your drag?
It has affected my drag 100%. When I quit drinking, I had more motivation. I wasn’t feeling like shit all the time. I had better finances because of it. I didn’t have any other hobbies, so I was like, ‘Why don’t I just invest in my drag?’ It became such a labour of love for me, where I was trying to polish everything and do all sorts of things that I wanted to do that alcohol held me back from doing. About three months after becoming sober, when I was in that little period of time, the casting was announced for the show. It was perfect.
You also opened up about the time you were assaulted – was this important for you to talk about?
Going in, I knew I had a story, but it wasn’t something where I was like, ‘I’m going to go in and tell this story.’ It came out naturally because the conversation was happening, so I felt the need and that it was right to tell my story. I’m glad I did and it was hard to do… I hope that people are able to see my strength and hopefully use that as an example. Hopefully me speaking out about that will help one person at least.
Hearing stories like that, as well as seeing queer people supporting each other, is exactly why this show is so important.
When I say that me and the girls are a family, we really are. We talk every day – except for Lemon, I hate that bitch. No, I’m just joking! Me and Lemon are actually pretty close and I love her a lot. We really are such a family. We are there for each other because nobody else in the world has that experience with you.
The reception for Canada’s Drag Race has been wild on social media – how does it feel to see queens from the North being recognised internationally?
It’s good. I’m so happy. We deserve it. We work so hard. We always work hard. Drag in Canada… we bust our asses. One of the reasons is because for the longest time we didn’t have Drag Race, so we weren’t able to have such a huge platform. Two, a lot of the drag in Toronto is called Marathon Drag – are you familiar with that?
I’ve heard the term before…
For us, we don’t do one or two cute spotlight numbers. Sometimes, you get to do that, but other times you’re put to work bitch. We walk into the club and we paint a mug for a reason because we are going to be showing it all night. We can do anywhere between six to 15 numbers a night. Yeah, it’s crazy. Depending on how long the show is and how much you talk… Thankfully, I’m an outspoken fat bitch so I can sit and talk on a microphone forever! I get sweaty, girl. I start with I Will Always Love You and I will end up with sweat all down my back.
I was on a plane the other day and I was sitting in the waiting area. I get paged to the desk and I’m like, ‘Oh god, they found the cocaine in my ass.’
How have you personally found reception from Drag Race fans on social media?
For the most part, it’s been really great. Obviously, there is some negativity, but that’s their problem and not mine. I’ve got a lot of love from the fans and it’s been absolutely incredible. These people are so passionate about the show and so passionate about drag, that it’s so enlightening to see so much… passion. I’m just doing me and it’s nice because I live in the gay village!
Have you been clocked yet?
Yesterday I was taking out my garbage and someone was like, ‘IS THAT BOA? ARE YOU BOA?’ I was like, ‘Yah, hey!’ It happens all the time. I was in the gym the other day and someone asked to get a selfie with me. It’s crazy because people ask to take photos of me, like, three times a day. I get clocked 10 times. I was on a plane the other day and I was sitting in the waiting area. I get paged to the desk and I’m like, ‘Oh god, they found the cocaine in my ass.’ It wasn’t that at all, so I walked up. I try to greet service workers like super-smiley because I used to be a service worker and it sucked. I hate customers. Anyway, she looks at me and goes, ‘I KNOW YOU.’ My real last name is my drag name, so that probably helps me get clocked a lot. She was like, ‘You’re amazing, I’m such a fan,’ and then she got onto her computer and switches my seat to give me a full entire row to myself. It was great. I was gagged!
What kind of impact do you think this series will have on the drag scene in Canada?
When the show was announced, there was a switch. People just upgraded everything. Everyone’s been working so much harder, everyone’s been blending their makeup – which is nice! It’s really been changing the industry. I guess visually, and as a whole, queens are going to higher levels because they want to get on the show. So, there’s that. Hopefully, it changes the industry financially, because drag is now being shown to all these different people. I guess we’ll find out soon and I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed!
Canada’s Drag Race airs every Thursday in Canada and the United States on Crave and WOW Presents Plus, and every Friday in the UK on BBC iPlayer.