– ETALK’s Traci Melchor joins cast as Canada’s Squirrel Friend –
– Crave and OUTtv are the exclusive Canadian streaming homes of
CANADA’S DRAG RACE, and the upcoming RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK, premiering Oct. 3 –
– CANADA’S DRAG RACE is produced by Blue Ant Studios and is based on the format of the iconic U.S. series produced by World of Wonder Productions, Inc. –
TORONTO (September 26, 2019) – Hot off the high heels of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE’s four wins at the 71st Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, Crave announced today the dynamic and diverse panel of judges presiding over Season 1 of its new original series CANADA’S DRAG RACE.
For the herstorical first season, drag artists will have to slay the DRAG RACE stage in front of a dynamic and diverse panel of judges, including uber-popular Brooke Lynn Hytes; actor and activist, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman; and model, runway coach, and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL mentor Stacey McKenzie. Additionally, ETALK Senior Correspondent Traci Melchor joins the series with a heavy dose of fabulousness, as Canada’s very first Squirrel Friend.
“I’m thrilled to reveal my hand-picked judges for CANADA’S DRAG RACE. By the power vested in me, I command them to go forth and be my ‘Judge Judys’ of the North,” said RuPaul. “I have complete confidence in their ability to choose Canada’s first drag superstar!”
Check out Crave’s official DRAG RACE YouTube Channel featuring highlights from RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE and CANADA’S DRAG RACE.
Each week on CANADA’S DRAG RACE, the resident judges will helm every episode, visiting the Werk Room, introducing challenges, revealing episode twists, and deciding who “Sash-ehs Away”, and who stays, after the epic Lip Sync For Your Life performance.
As Canada’s Squirrel Friend, Traci will be making special house visits to test the queens with some challenges and provide a dose of reality when needed! Fans can also expect weekly celebrity guest judges to join the panel and introduce Main Stage challenges and themes, as well as critique the queens.
“Condragulations to my Canadians Queens!,” said Brooke Lynn Hytes “I’m so excited as the time has finally come for the world to see the talent that Canada has to offer. Start those engines…and may the best Queen win!”
“I am beyond thrilled to be part of bringing this cultural phenomenon up north!” said Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. “I cannot wait to see what the upcoming legendary Canadian Queens are going to serve to bring the house down boots!!!”
“I am super excited to be a part of the Canadian Drag Race family, and I can’t wait to see our Queens serve and kill it on the runway!” said Stacey McKenzie. “This is a chance for us to showcase Canada’s unique brand of voice, personality, and presence.”
Here’s the tea on the CANADA’S DRAG RACE judges and Canada’s Squirrel Friend!
Brooke Lynn Hytes
Resident Judge, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Never fear, the Queen of the North is here! Equal parts ballerina, showgirl, and 90s supermodel, Brooke Lynn Hytes is drag perfection personified. After training at the National Ballet School of Canada, this extraordinarily talented queen danced her way into hearts across the world in 2008 as a principal ballerina with “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo,” an all-male drag ballet company. Driven by that experience, and her passion for dance, beauty and the stage, she honed her skills, winning multiple Canadian pageants, before turning her eye toward the U.S., and competing for the coveted Miss Continental Crown, a title she snatched in 2014. In 2015, Brooke Lynn accepted a prestigious position as one of the “Playmates” at Play Dance Bar in Nashville. Determined to show the world what Canadian drag had to offer, she competed in Season 11 of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, placing second, and becoming a fan favourite and hero to the Great White North.
Resident Judge, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Actor and activist Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman is a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion, particularly for people of colour and the LGBTQ community. A longtime collaborator with DRAG RACE producers World of Wonder, Jeffrey is known for his roles as iconic queer men in film and TV series, and came to prominence for his portrayal of the ambitious producer, Jay, in Lifetime’s dark comedy-drama UNREAL. Jeffrey is a queer, biracial man who was adopted at 12 days old and raised by a white family in rural Alberta. At 16, he began modelling and travelling the world, working for top brands and designers. He landed his first acting role at 21 and went on to star in Season 8 of AMERICAN HORROR STORY and the 2016 comedy film Dirty Grandpa, alongside Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron. He has appeared as a celebrity judge on RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE as well as RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE ALL STARS. He also hosts his own podcast, “JBC Presents: Conversations with Others.” Jeffrey was named one of “Five of the Best” in Out magazine’s feature article “Canada’s Coolest,” and one of Canada’s top rising stars by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. He is passionately involved with the Human Rights Campaign and created the Bramon Garcia Braun (BGB) scholarship in his name, awarded to LGTBQ actors of colour whose work promotes inclusion in the entertainment industry.
Resident Judge, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Stacey McKenzie is a supermodel, TV personality, motivational speaker, and easily one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion industry. Self- trained, Stacey has appeared in magazines including Vogue (U.S., Italian, British, Korean, and Spanish), Harpers Bazaar, Interview, Essence, Flare, and in advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gaultier, and major cosmetic brands. Vogue recently dubbed her as one of the five Jamaican Models to change the face of fashion! Stacey created Walk This Way Workshops Inc., an organization designed to empower and educate people interested in the fashion industry. In 2013, she launched The Walk Camp for young girls – a two-week experience to empower girls to value their uniqueness, inspiring them to find their individual voice. Stacey has been recognized for her community contributions by various organizations, including the University of Ottawa, the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, and the Jackie Robinson Fortitude Award. Stacey can also be seen on Season 23 and 24 of the hit reality series AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL as a Model Coach/Mentor, and?acts as a celebrity style expert for various TV outlets.
Traci ‘Stay Fabulous’ Melchor
Canada’s Squirrel Friend, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Beloved for her outgoing and lively personality, Traci Melchor is an icon in Canadian broadcasting. Vibrant, witty and fab, she is best known as a Senior Correspondent for Canada’s most-watched entertainment program, ETALK. Throughout the years, Traci has interviewed hundreds of stars, including Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Drake, Cher, NKOTB, Khloe Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Cardi B, Hailey Baldwin, RuPaul, Gigi Gorgeous, Selena Gomez, Ross Matthews, Mark Wahlberg, Kerry Washington, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Joan Rivers, Ryan Gosling, Dolly Parton, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Janet Jackson. Traci began her career by hosting the legendary RAPCITY on MuchMusic, and has since co-hosted THE SOCIAL, held various entertainment reporter roles, and guest starred on numerous TV and film projects including CSI and LIZZIE McGUIRE. Traci was named one of the National Post’s “Worthy 30” for her contribution to the television industry and has written entertainment articles for Elle, Essence, and The Source. She is a board member of LEF (The Learning Enrichment Foundation) and has also been known to werk the runway in support of various causes including the Dare To Wear Love Fashion Show and The Heart Truth Fashion Show at Toronto Fashion Week.
As previously announced, Crave and OUTtv formed an unprecedented partnership that extends the reach of international television phenomenon, RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE in Canada. This partnership includes the new Crave Original Series, CANADA’S DRAG RACE, the first-ever Canadian adaptation of the show, and all past seasons of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, currently available on Crave, and the much-anticipated RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK, premiering October 3.
In association with Crave and OUTtv, CANADA’S DRAG RACE is produced by Blue Ant Studios. World of Wonder’s Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, and Tom Campbell serve as Executive Producers. RuPaul serves as Executive Producer. Executive producers for Blue Ant Studios include Betty Orr, Michael Kot, Laura Michalchyshyn and Mike Bickerton. Robin Johnston is Director, Original Production, Factual, Bell Media. Production Executive for Bell Media is Danielle Pearson. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media. Jeff Hersh is Vice-President, Strategy, OTT Distribution & Premium SVOD, Bell Media. Tracey Pearce is President, Distribution and Pay, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media.
Delivering more Emmy® Award-winning programming than any other service, Crave is Canada’s prestige entertainment offering, with HBO, SHOWTIME®, Starz, Hollywood-hit movies, a superior collection of kid’s movies and programs, and thousands of hours of acclaimed television series, specials, factual programming, and originals that can’t be found anywhere else. Crave is the exclusive home of HBO in Canada, delivering HBO’s current slate of signature dramatic and comedic programs, documentaries, films, and live specials, as well as titles from HBO’s extensive off-air library. Crave is also home to current SHOWTIME series and specials, and past SHOWTIME hits. Crave Original hit series include LETTERKENNY; candid interview series MUCH STUDIOS PRESENTS: MIKE ON MUCH IN CONVERSATION WITH…; upcoming darkly funny “true crime” comedy NEW EDEN; apocalyptic new original comedic documentary series WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE; Crave Original stand-up series, and animated series LITTLEKENNY. Crave is available directly to all Canadians with access to the Internet at Crave.ca, via iOS and Android, and other platforms. It’s also available through participating television providers across six 24-hour High Definition linear and on demand channels. Crave is from Bell Media, Canada’s leading content company, providing Canada’s most-watched and most-acclaimed television programming on network, specialty, pay and digital platforms. Visit our website at Crave.ca.
OUTtv is Canada’s national LGBTQ+ television network that offers a compelling mix of drama, comedy, talk and award-winning movies. Their original programming includes The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, The Whole Package, Sex & Violence, Never Apart TV, Don’t Quit Your Gay Job, Knock Knock Ghost, Doctor Barry and original documentary strand Outspoken. OUTtv is the Canadian initial license holder for the Canadian broadcasts of RuPaul’s Drag Race, House of Drag, Naked Attraction and Undressed. OUTtvGo is OUTtv’s streaming platform where subscribers can stream their favorite series and movies and discover new content exclusive to the service. OUTtvGo is available for iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku and on web browsers. OUTtv is also available in Canada as an
Amazon Prime Video Channel and on the Apple TV App. To learn more about OUTtv visit outtv.ca.
Blue Ant Media is an international producer, distributor, channel operator, and gaming video content company. We operate seven production houses around the world, creating content for broadcasters and streaming platforms, ranging from documentaries to animated series to dramas. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a substantial catalogue of content, including one of the world’s largest 4K natural history offerings. Blue Ant Media operates linear and SVOD channels on multiple continents under 14 brands including Love Nature, Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada), ZooMoo, Arcade Cloud and more. Omnia Media, our gaming company, has the largest gamer talent network in the world. It creates and distributes gaming video content across digital and OTT platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, and more. Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with nine international offices in Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Dunedin, London, Washington, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei.
Around the world, CANADA’S DRAG RACE will stream on World of Wonder’s premium service WOW Presents Plus, the international home of Drag Race US, UK, Thailand, Chile – and now Canada. For more than two decades, award-winning production company World of Wonder has introduced audiences to new worlds, talent and ideas that have shaped culture. Programming highlights include: Emmy® Award winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1/Logo), “Million Dollar Listing” LA & NY (Bravo), “Dancing Queen” (Netflix), “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” (Fuse), and “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” (National Geographic); award-winning films and documentaries including “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,” “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” “Inside Deep Throat,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “I Am Britney Jean,” “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” “Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking,” “Monica in Black and White,” Emmy-winning “The Last Beekeeper,” and Emmy-winning “Out of Iraq.” Seven of WOW’s films have premiered at the Sundance Film festival including “Becoming Chaz” and “Party Monster.” World of Wonder has also created a substantial digital footprint with its YouTube channel WOWPresents (1M+ subs), SVOD digital platform WOW Presents Plus, along with an award-winning blog, The WOW Report. World of Wonder’s bi-annual RuPaul’s DragCon is the world’s largest drag culture convention, welcoming 100,000 attendees across LA and NYC in 2018. Co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey authored The World According to Wonder, celebrating decades of production, which can be found online at http://worldofwonder.net/. Randy and Fenton were honored with the IDA Pioneer Award in December 2014, celebrating exceptional achievement, leadership, and vision in the nonfiction and documentary community, named to Variety’s Reality Leaders List in 2017, and chosen for the OUT100 list in 2018 for their trailblazing work in the LGBTQ+ community. World of Wonder was also selected for Realscreen’s 2018 Global 100 list, which recognizes the top international non-fiction and unscripted production companies working in the industry today. World of Wonder creates out of a historic building/gallery space in the heart of Hollywood.